Two Ways to Assess Your Heart Fitness Every Month

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to assess our “heart” health! 🙂 Here are two tips from MYZONE to use your MYZONE belt to assess your heart fitness every month! 

Let’s start with the definition of cardiorespiratory fitness. Cardiorespiratory fitness is the ability of our heart, lungs, and vascular system (blood vessels) to supply the cells of our working muscles with oxygen and nutrients to produce the energy needed to perform rhythmic and dynamic movement over time.

As we become more fit our heart, lungs, and vascular system transport blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the cells of our working muscles more proficiently and efficiently. We can measure these improvements in our heart fitness over time using our Myzone belt.

Two quick and easy ways to track your heart fitness each month are to assess your resting heart rate and submaximal heart rate response to a specific work rate.

1-Resting Heart Rate

Resting Heart Rate

Resting heart rate (RHR) is the number of times our heart beats in one minute when we are at complete rest. In general, a RHR of 60-100 beats per minute is considered normal for adults, while well-trained individuals may have a RHR lower than 60.

We’ve written about a “fit” heart previously:

A “healthy, fit” heart is highly efficient. It does just the right amount of work – no more than is needed – in order to avoid undue stress. Since we need our heart to work for the length of our life, a more efficient heart is ultimately better for our health and longevity.

As our cardiorespiratory fitness improves, our RHR will decrease over time. In general, one can expect a drop of 20-30 beats per minute in resting heart rate after starting and committing to a regular training program. This change may take 3-6 months or more of regular training.

This improvement occurs because our heart becomes stronger and more efficient at pumping out more blood with each beat – called a stroke volume increase. Further, our vascular system becomes more pliable and allows for faster, more efficient transport of blood.  Our heart does not have to work as hard at rest because it has improved its efficiency.

Myzone automatically stores our RHR as the lowest heart rate it detects when we are wearing our belt.

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Resting Heart Rate Assessment

Here is how to do a quick RHR assessment every 4-8 weeks:

We recommend that you strap your belt on and wear it while you sleep overnight OR put it on first thing in the morning and lay down for about 10 minutes. Make sure you hear one beep to indicate that your belt has activated and/or open your app to the “Workout” screen to see that your belt has synced. By wearing your belt overnight or first thing in the morning, you minimize the effect of any external factors that may impact your RHR like caffeine or emotions that may cause you to be less relaxed. To further minimize the effect of variables on your RHR, hold as many variables constant as possible (i.e. perform the assessment at the same time, get the same amount of sleep, maintain your workout routine). 

After you’ve done your RHR assessment, go into the “My Body Metrics” section of your Myzone app. You should see your resting heart rate on the left side of the screen.

In order to keep a running log of your RHR, write it down and keep it stored somewhere you can reference it. Monitor how much your RHR improves over time.

2-Submaximal Heart Rate Response

Submaximal Heart Rate Response

Submaximal heart rate is any heart rate less than maximum heart rate (MHR). Our Myzone Zones are based off of submaximal heart rate zones. Gray = 50-59% MHR; Blue = 60-69% MHR; Green = 70-79% MHR; Yellow = 80-89% MHR; Red = 90-100% MHR.

The more fit we become, the more of an exercise stimulus (or work rate) is required to elevate our heart rate up into the higher submaximal intensity zones. Similarly, our submaximal heart rate response to the same work rate will decrease over time as we become more fit.

For example, if running at 6.5 miles per hour at a 1% incline on the treadmill got us into the RED zone (say ~92%) the first few times we ran at that work rate, we may find that our heart rate only reaches the YELLOW zone (say ~85%) after a few weeks of training.

The Activity Calendar feature of the Myzone system makes it convenient to monitor changes in our submaximal heart rate response over time. Take a look at similar workouts you performed in different weeks and different months and take note of your average intensity, your peak heart rate, and your intensity graph – see if you can notice changes in your submaximal heart rate response. This will require you to be diligent about labeling your workouts (and maybe attaching a picture to help you remember) so that you can compare over time.

If you really want to be able to see changes in your submaximal heart rate response over time, be purposeful about noting your work rate for each workout. Examples of this include: speed and incline for running and elliptical, rotations per minute (rpm), watts or distance for cycling, distance, strokes per minute, and watts for rowing. This can also include load, sets, reps, and rest period for resistance training, like a circuit.

Just like the resting heart rate assessment, the more variables you can hold constant each time you assess your submaximal heart rate response, the more reliable your results will be. Let’s go back to the treadmill example – 6.5 miles per hour at a 1% incline. You could perform an assessment each month on a particular day at a particular time and run for 20 minutes at 6.5 miles per hour at a 1% incline to monitor changes in your submaximal heart rate response. Perform the same warm-up and cool-down each time. You could even be as specific as trying to replicate your sleep the night prior and your nutrition and hydration the day of.

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Using Myzone for Optimal HIIT

Here are some helpful tips from MYZONE on achieving your BEST results from HIIT training! OptimalHIIT-1

#1 – HIIT Your Target Zones

When you perform HIIT, your goal is to push into the YELLOW or RED zones during the work phase of the interval and recover into the GREEN or BLUE zones during the recovery phase of the interval. 

Once you’ve outlined your HIIT workout, hold yourself accountable for reaching the target zones during each interval. Keep an eye on your Myzone tile and monitor whether you are hitting your target zones.

If you aren’t hitting the target zones you identified, consider revising your targets.

Use the metric of hitting your target zones during each interval to determine if you’re ready to progress your HIIT workout. You can increase your HIIT workout by either increasing the work-to-recovery ratio (i.e. moving from a 1-to-2 ratio to a 1-to-1 ratio) or adding more sets of intervals (i.e. performing 10 intervals rather than 8).

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#2 – Keep Time

Your Myzone App also allows you to keep time. In fact, you can set the interval timer for your entire HIIT workout. Use the interval timer feature to set the “active” and “rest” phases of each interval and the total “reps” you will perform. For example, you could set up a 16-minute HIIT workout with a 1-to-1 work-to-recovery ratio by setting 1 minute for the “active” phase, 1 minute for the “rest” phase, and 8 “reps” for your intervals.

Make sure you warm up for 5-10 minutes in the BLUE and GREEN zones and cool down for 3-5 minutes in the BLUE and GRAY zones.

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#3 – Track Your Fitness

As you become more fit, you’ll notice that you’re able to recover faster and faster. While it may take you 45-60 seconds to recover down to the GREEN zone from the YELLOW zone when you first start a HIIT program, you’ll find that you are soon able to recover into the GREEN zone much faster.

We recommend using the same HIIT workout (i.e. 10 sets of 60 seconds of work and 60 seconds of recovery) to assess improvements in your fitness every 4 to 8 weeks. Monitor both how many percentage points you recovered and how long it took you to get there. You should notice over time that you recovery and recovery speed increases.

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#4 – Know When to Rest

We’ve mentioned previously that HIIT should be performed at a maximum of 2-3 times per week so that you have an opportunity to recover between the intense workouts. Even if you’re giving yourself 24-48 hours of recovery between workouts, and 48-72 hours between HIIT workouts, your body might need a longer break from HIIT at times.

You can assess if you need more rest by re-visiting tip #1 above.  If you notice that you’re having a really hard time getting your heart rate up into the YELLOW/RED zones or recovering down into the GREEN/BLUE zones during workouts that you typically hit your target zones, your body may need more rest.

Another tip is to check out your Activity Calendar and assess your graphs and pie charts over the past few weeks. Do you see a lot of YELLOW/RED and not much GREEN/BLUE? That might mean it’s time to mellow out for a while. If you have specific MEPs or calorie burn goals, you can always trade out a HIIT workout for a longer duration, lower intensity workout to hit your goals.

As always, listen to your body and use the Myzone App feedback to make sustainable training choices.

Happy HIITing!

Supplement Timing Benefits

 

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Are you confused about when to supplement and which ones to take? Our friends at BPI have a few tips to help you create a program that can fit any schedule! If you’re a high-level athlete, you understand the importance of meal timing and which workouts to do at what time of day. But do you apply this same systematic approach to your supplements? Do you know which ones will help you maximize your gains and the best time to take them each day?

If not, you may not be getting the most out of your supplements. Your body chemistry is not made up of a bunch of random reactions, so you shouldn’t treat your supplement regimen as a free for all. You need a coordinated approach to what you are taking and when. Use this fundamental supplement strategy as your guide to the five key times of day to supplement and why.

MORNING

When you first wake up, your body is coming out of a fasted state, which means it’s starting to break down your muscles in its search for nourishment. To prevent muscle loss, you need amino acids.

Whey protein isolate – Whey protein naturally contains the highest levels of branched-chain amino acids and has high bioavailability. Make a shake using 1-2 scoops of Protein for breakfast.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) – Although Whey HD™ delivers 5 grams of BCAAs, adding additional leucine, isoleucine and valine to your morning shake will help build up your reserves for the day. We recommend 3-5 grams.

 

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MEAL TIME

You already have your meals planned out for the day. Now, incorporate your supplements into this plan to optimize nutrient absorption and energy production.

Multivitamin – On a strict diet, you may lose some important micronutrients. Plus, when training, your body already requires more vitamins and minerals to fuel your metabolism. Make up for these imbalances by supplementing with a multivitamin, preferably one formulated for your gender. Take it with breakfast, or as directed.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, keeping your bones strong. It also helps reduce body fat, increases strength and promotes muscle growth. This vitamin is fat soluble, so eat it alongside the fats in your diet. Make sure you are not exceeding 4,000 IU when combined with your multivitamin.

Fish oil – The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help reduce inflammation, promote heart health and increase fat metabolism. Take 1-3 grams with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

PRE-WORKOUT

Everything you do prior to your workout will factor into your performance. Prime your body with a pre-workout supplement that delivers the following ingredients:

Betaine – Studies show betaine improves muscular endurance, hydrates cells and reduces inflammation, among other things. Take 1.5 to 2.5 grams between 30 and 60 minutes before your workout.

Caffeine – In addition to the “buzz” you get, caffeine can also decrease your perceived exertion and muscle pain in the gym to help you work out harder for longer. Take 200 to 400 milligrams, 30-60 minutes before training.

BCAAs – BCAAs act as energy for muscles during your workout, boosting your endurance and helping to prevent muscle loss. Take 3-5 grams, 30-60 minutes before you begin.

Beta-Alanine – Consistent beta-alanine supplementation boosts your muscle carnosine levels, which increase energy and endurance so you can go harder for longer. Take 3-5 grams, 30 minutes before you head to the gym.

POST-WORKOUT

You’re well aware of the post-workout window in which you need to eat to supply your muscles with nutrients. Now add these supplements into the mix to maximize your growth and recovery.

Whey protein isolate – Whey is the ideal post-workout protein. It raises amino acids quickly and keeps them elevated for about 2-4 hours. Plus, it boosts anabolic insulin better than any other protein, shuttling glycogen and other nutrients into your muscles for optimal recovery. Make a shake using 1-2 scoops of Whey HD™ and drink it immediately after your workout.

Creatine – Taking creatine with your post-workout meal, particularly one with protein and carbs, helps ensure that these nutrients are delivered to the muscle. It also draws water into your muscle cells, signaling the body to increase repair and providing that full, hard, muscular look. Mix 2-5 grams of creatine into your post-workout protein shake.

 

BEDTIME

It’s the end of the day and you’ve pushed your body to the max. Sleep is your time to rest and recover, so your supplement strategy should support these functions.

Casein Protein– Casein is the most abundant protein found in cow’s milk. This slow-absorbing protein can sustain blood amino levels for up to seven hours, helping you build muscle and prevent muscle breakdown while you sleep. Mix 20-40 grams of micellar casein with 16 oz. of water and drink it right before you go to bed.SUPP

Ditch Long Cardio & Burn Fat Fast!

 

 

Helping each other keep composed through strenuous training

 

Sick of doing long slow steady pace cardio? Get in the best shape of your life by incorporating HIIT into your workout regime.  HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training- does that scare you a little? Good! It should! This type of workout is not something you can do while reading a magazine or catching up with a friend, you are working the whole time. You may be out of breath, you may be in pain, but you won’t be bored and your body will thank you! It’s a type of aerobic exercise that burns calories FAST and increases a person’s strength, endurance and overall fitness. It involves 30 second to 3 minute intervals of high-intensity cardiovascular exercises and then an alternate period with a low to moderate cardiovascular exercise. These intervals should last the same time, or the low to moderate interval should last a little longer than the high interval.

Top 5 benefits of HIIT from Bailey’s supplement partner, Pro Supps:
1) BURN MORE FAT- You not only burn more calories with HIIT, but during your HIIT routine you also kick your body’s repair cycle into hyper-drive, meaning that you continue to burn more calories and fat in the 24 hours after your workout.

2) KEEP THE MUSCLE, LOSE THE WEIGHT- Many dieters out there understand how easy it can be to lose your muscle along with your fat, and no one wants that, especially after all the hard work that was done to put on muscle. Studies prove that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to hold onto their muscle while ensuring the most fat loss!

3) IT’S EFFICIENT-HIIT is the ideal workout for a busy schedule. It’s short and does the job! Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training (done 3x’s a week) than someone jogging for an hour. HIIT is not limited to a few exercises, you can almost perform any exercise or activity in a HIIT manner; some great HIIT exercises are: high knees, fast feet, jumping lunges, squat jumps, jump roping, biking running, etc.

4) INCREASE METABOLISM- HIIT stimulates your human growth hormone (HGH) up to 450%, which accounts for increased caloric burn and slowing down the aging process while improving insulin sensivitity.

5) ENERGY USE – Since HIIT uses a system of work-to-recovery intervals, your body learns how to effectively create and use the energy that comes for your body’s anaerobic system. HIIT also helps facilitate the removal of metabolic waste from your muscles during the resting periods of exercise. This helps your body maximize the amount of air you breathe in during a workout.

Train Like A Pro!

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Keep It Exciting! 

Performing the same workout day in and day  out can set you up for failure. Boredom easily sets in when there is no variety or challenge in your exercise regimen and you may set yourself up for burnout. Athletic training is perfect for switching up your routine and challenging the body while taking exercise to a whole new level. Every workout can be kept new and exciting targeting new muscles while building endurance.

Redesign Your Training Schedule

Aim to incorporate different forms of exercise into your training each week. Choose a few cardio exercises such as running, rowing, jump rope or cycling and then choose 1-2 days of strength training or functional training type exercises like battle ropes, boxing, kettle belle swings, squats or resistance bands.

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Try New Classes! 

Classes are perfect for stepping out of your comfort zone and learning new exercises in a controlled environment helping you to train properly and efficiently. Not only will you build muscle, you will also create new friendships within a fitness community that supports you and holds you accountable. Win Win!

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Cross Train Your Main Sport 

If you are a surfer or a golfer, add strength training and stretching such as foam rolling to your program. This will help you to gain strength and greater endurance while increasing your range of motion while supporting your joints and muscles. Increasing stamina through a sound workout program will greatly improve your athletic performance outside the gym.

 

If you are a cyclist or marathon runner, increasing strength in your legs and core will help to increase stability and add strength while biking or running. For example, try implementing bosu ball workouts that target the abs and obliques for a strong core. Building strength in legs with lunges and box jumps will increase your leg power too. Mix it up, challenge yourself and keep it exciting!

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Weight Training Benefits

Weight training or training with resistance is performed using controlled movements that target specific muscles and muscle groups by primarily using isolated or compound movements.

How do these exercises benefit you differently vs. cardiovascular exercises?

Steady state aerobic exercise that increases cardiorespiratory health may lead to many benefits on endurance and body composition, however, research has shown weight training has profound effects on the musculoskeletal systems, may help reduce lower-back pain, increase lean body mass while burning fat simultaneously and even prevent osteoporosis along with many other benefits when performed just a few times a week! Recent studies have illustrated weight training to also fight against insulin resistance while increasing the metabolic rate while helping to improve glucose metabolism and supporting blood pressure, digestion, sleep and energy levels.

 

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered! Meet with a Sweat PT professional today to  design a custom weight training program built specifically for you!

https://baileysgym.com/page/Programs-and-Services.aspx

 

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MORE BENEFITS OF WEIGHT TRAINING

LOWERS LDL – Training has the ability to decrease  LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) bad cholesterol and raise the HDL or good cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein)

IMPROVES FAT LOSS AND MUSCLE GAIN- Weight training boosts metabolism helping you to burn fat while gaining muscle over time. Over time you should notice you may be losing inches and toning up significantly.

REDUCES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

LOWERS RISK OF BREAST CANCER- Weight training has been shown to reduce estrogen levels. High estrogen has been linked to breast cancer and many other health complications.

IMPROVES MOOD- As you begin to notice the positive physical changes in your body and develop a regular exercise routine your ability to handle stress effectively will improve. Exercise also releases endorphins throughout training which help to elevate mood. Weight training allows you to sleep better, i.e. fall asleep quicker and sleep deeper.

REDUCE STRESS & ANXIETY -Clinical studies have shown regular exercise to be one of the three best tools for effective stress.

IMPROVED BALANCE AND STABILITY- Posture also becomes straighter as the core strengthens helping to stand and sit more comfortably.

 

Bust Through Your Fat Loss Plateau

Sometimes, despite constant effort inside the gym and in the kitchen, people fail to see consistent and steady results. Unfortunately, we can’t expect to keep the same exact exercise program and same diet while consistently experiencing results. Our bodies are built to adapt and if they are not given the correct stimulus, you very well may hit a plateau. The good news is, components such as change in exercise programs, intensity, workout durations, rep ranges and even time resting during sets are powerful tools to keep you moving forward.

It is a good idea to switch up your workout routine every 4-6 weeks to keep your body guessing. As mentioned earlier, a few of the primary changes you should be focusing on to continue progressing are:

  1. Switching up your exercise program
  2. Changing the level of intensity
  3. Altering the duration of the exercise

These three steps can be incorporated into your workouts in several different ways. For example, if you typically run 4 miles each morning and your results are at a halt, attempt to improve your speed or aim for a longer distance to keep your body challenged. Some other ways to improve your fitness may be to:

  1. Switch up your cardio to include various exercises such as a cycle class, incorporate sprints throughout your cardio or try out one of our functional training classes like CHAOS. These type of exercises will be training your heart and lungs differently than running at a steady pace for 4 miles.
  2. Incorporate sprints and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)  training into your workout. For example, run 2 minutes at a steady pace and follow that by a 15-30 second sprint, then repeat for 20 minutes to boost your fat burning hormone (Human Growth Hormone) while boosting your metabolism and muscle growth simultaneously.
  3. Gradually increase your endurance by adding more time to your workout. Run four miles and push your body to attempt five, six and so forth.

Another option would be to increase your workout load each week by adding in additional workout days to your schedule. Even changing up your workout style may help through minor changes such as implementing super sets, drop sets and using wider grips while lifting to target new muscles. Don’t be afraid to challenge your body! Your body adapts while it is under constant pressure and stress. Get comfortable with being “uncomfortable” and get those results you desire!

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Fat Burning Tips

1. KEEP MOVING. A major focus to burn fat, should be to constantly keep moving. Your rest period should be as much time as it takes to walk to the drinking fountain and then get back to it. If you aren’t thirsty, then just enough time to catch your breath. Rest while standing up, we sit enough.
2.  TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FUNCTIONAL TRAINING. Incorporate the jump rope, box jumps, squat jumps or some other activity to keep your heart rate up in-between your resistance training. This effectively reduces training time because you can get your cardio and weights in together. Then if you choose to do cardio on top of it, you only need 15-20 minutes tops.
3. USE MACHINES AND FREE WEIGHTS. What machine is best? The answer is all of them! Do all of the machines, do the cables, do the DB’s and Barbells. Do it all. Mix up your workout and keep your body guessing.
4.  TRAIN HARD. Train to failure and make the most of your time. Work with a Sweat PT Trainer to find a weight that is fit for your fitness level to ensure you are challenging yourself.
5. UNKNOW YOUR LIMITS. Doubt your limits. Many people short change themselves because the weight they can lift is intimidating. If you are aiming for 15 reps and find that you can rep more weight, do it! Increase the load. The 15th rep should be your failure point and if you can rep beyond that, you need to increase your load.
6. WEIGHTS OR CARDIO? Cardio doesn’t burn the most fat, compound movements do. A compound movement is anything that recruits multiple joints. Examples of these are your shoulder and elbow joints for bent over barbell rows, lat pull downs, chest presses and shoulder presses. Your squats, dead lifts, lunges, leg presses are also compound movements. The majority of your resistance training program should be from compound movements because they recruit the largest amount of muscle tissue and that burns the most calories which in the end burns the most fat.c700x4202

Train Like An Athlete

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What are the benefits of functional training and what makes functional fitness training so good for you?
Movement Matters! Our bodies are designed to move, not to sit slumped over a computer all day. The less you move, the less blood sugar your body uses. Functional training focuses on training movement patterns rather than isolating individual muscles. If you spend most of your working day sat down in the office, sitting on the chest press machine at the gym is probably counter productive.

Posture! Functional training can help to correct bad posture and muscular imbalances caused by the daily grind, stressful jobs and hectic lifestyles.

Fat Burning! Functional training provides fantastic fat burning workouts, by using full body exercises that improve strength, endurance and boost metabolism, not wasting a minute of your session.

Muscle Tone/Density! It develops strong and lean bodies. Look at gymnasts at the Olympics, they are constantly training movement patterns and lifting their own bodyweight, not doing bicep curls or pounding away on the treadmill for hours!

Stability! Every session includes flexibility, mobility, core stability, balance and strength training principles to keep your body constantly challenged in all areas of a strong, healthy and vibrant body.

Sports Specific! Functional training provides essential training for sport specific conditioning while enhancing the relationship between the nervous and musculoskeletal system, providing quick, reactive, and powerful movement patterns – whether your chosen sport is golf, rugby or MMA.

Core Strength! In functional training, every exercise involves core activation, teaching the core to stabilize the spine against external force, through an array of differing movement patterns and body positions. Crunches alone, unfortunately just don’t cut it!

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Ask Your Trainer – Our Response from Sweat PT!

QUESTION:: “Hi. I was wondering how to build muscle the best way after 50 years old? How many reps and how many sets of each exercise would be best for me to build muscle slowly over time? Thanks.”
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ANSWER:
While it’s more difficult to build muscle with age, the best way to achieve it with a proper weightlifting program supplemented with a healthy diet. The most beneficial rep range for both muscle growth and strength is 8-12 done in 2-3 sets per exercise. Work with a weight heavy enough to challenge yourself within 8-12 reps while maintaining proper form. Also focus on compound movements, which provide a greater stimulus to the muscle and promote growth. In addition to working for muscle growth, you have to eat for muscle growth. Be sure to be eating a clean diet with adequate protein to provide the muscles with the necessary nutrients they need to recover. It’s recommended to eat small meals every few hours to keep a positive protein balance and control blood sugar levels. Ideally, include a serving of lean protein with each meal and fill the rest with whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats.