Take Control with Heart-Rate Training

You may have an Apple Watch, Fitbit or another fitness tracker to watch your heart-rate, but unless you know how to use that information, you’re missing out on the benefits of heart-rate training.

Heart-rate training can lead to weight loss, improved overall fitness, reduced cholesterol, improved insulin sensitivity and lower blood pressure. This is because hitting your optimal heart-rate zone leads to fat loss and improved endurance.

You also feel as if you are taking your fitness into your own hands and controlling your workouts.

Basically, heart-rate training involves keeping your heart rate, or beats per minute (BPM), within a certain range while working out in order to fine tune your workout and get the most out of it.

To find your max heart rate, the most common formula is to subtract your age from 220. For instance, for someone 25 the max heart rate would be 195, and for someone 50 the max heart rate would be 170.

Next, find your resting heart rate by checking your heart rate as soon as you wake up, before getting out of bed and facing the world. Then plug this into the formula below to get your target heart rate.

[(220 – Your Age – Resting Heart Rate) x Intensity] + Resting Heart Rate = Target Heart Rate

For example, for someone 25 years old with a resting heart rate of 60 who wants to work out at 60% and 80% intensity, the equations would look like this:

[(220 – 25 – 60) x .6] + 60 = 141 bpm

[(220 – 25 – 60) x .8] + 60 = 168 bpm

Create a range to work out in. For example, the 25-year-old can use the formulas above to work out between 60% and 80% intensity.

Now that you know the formula, use it to determine where you want to be while working out. If you want a low-intensity workout (fat-burning zone) stick to 40% to 65% intensity. For conditioning or endurance, shoot for 65% to 75% intensity.

Performance workouts, harder and longer, need a range of 75% to 85%. High-intensity workouts with brief bursts of 10 to 60 seconds each, need 85% to 95%. Aim for HIIT workouts at least once a week or more.