Feel the burn!

Can you feel it? Do you know how any calories you burn during your workout? Do you have a BodyBugg? Do you rely on the gym equipment to track your burned calories? Please imput your weight for a more accurate calorie estimate.  I never bothered much with that.  Mostly I was shy about putting my big fat numbers into the machines.  How dare anyone potentially see me put in my weight.  So I just worked and worked.

How about your target heart rate? Do you train in your “target zone”? Fat burning zone cardio zone? *headspins* The little chart on the older models of some machines show both.  Thanks to the great people at Polar I have a heart rate monitor that I got from a gift bag at the Prior Fat Girl meeting.  So I have used it a little bit, I really like that it seems to be a bit more accurate than the gym equipments grab pads to check my heart rate. 

I am not sure where the best place is for my heart rate, I figure anywhere above stopped is a great start, and moving my body to get going is just icing on the cake.  I read an article in I believe it was Shape Magazine that said training in your fat burning zone is an antiquated notion and is not really any better for you than in the cardio zone. 

As someone who can’t mix traditional strength training into my workout I think sticking in the fat burning zone may be wiser, but as my weight as soon as I start jogging on the elliptical my heart rate jumps up to a crazy high level!  I do get my strength training via water fitness classes using dumbbells in the water and the water itself for resistance.  Not ideal, but when you have ehlers-danlos syndrome you have you be extremely careful of what you do. 

So tonight with the time change I got a good solid workout in at the gym before water aerobics.  I like to get in a good hour or so before I hit the water, 4 days a week.  From couch to gym-sheep!  (rats are icky plus I am fluffy and cute like a sheep dontchaknow)  So with my Polar HRM strapped to my wrist and chest I popped onto the upright bike for a few mins, then onto the recumbent bike, then onto the elliptical and before I knew what time it was I needed to shower and get into my swimsuit.  I flipped through the menus and saw an astonishing 1039 listed on the calories burned portion of the HRM. 

Then genius struck! No there are days I am starving after I leave the gym.  No wonder there are days when I get to the water and my ass is dragging.  Could it possibly be that I actually worked out? I exercised?  I spent so many years being told I was not allowed to work out, that I have no concept of what I did as actually being a real workout. I work out! Yes I only burned about 1000 calories before the pool, thats what 1/3 of a pound.  But that is still good!  No it’s great!

Did I really workout? Is it really that simple?  Do I Really make things harder than they need to be? Yes! Go figure.  So do you train in the Fat burning zone or the Cardio zone? Do you know the difference?  I found The Walking Site to have some great info on what the different training zones are about since I was trying to figure all this out on my own.

2 thoughts on “Feel the burn!

  1. It’s a scientific deal Kris. Your cariovascular improvements come at 80% and above. I try to keep my HR at a medium level for me 140-150 during my work outs. From there I will occasionally burst with a song that requires it and then recover back down. Then I cool down for a a full 10 minutes and let it come back down into full fat burn zone around 126ish for me.

    • See! noone tells me these things! I read this and that and get all kinds of confused. I suppose I should break down and perhaps spring for a training session or two at the gym. Perhaps a christmas present for myself. I did contact Chris at Polar directly for some help about the heart rate question since he said he had no problem helping out if we had any questions about it.

      Heres an excerpt from his email if you are interested in his answer to my HELP question…

      It sounds like you are on the right track for sure! Generally the 60-70% of HR Max Zone which is outlined as your “Fat burning” zone will burn more fat calories but since the intensity is slightly lower you will burn less overall calories. If you train at a lower intensity generally you can exercise for longer period of time, so your body will just be working more efficiently at burning energy(calories).

      The “fat burn” zone is also a good way to build up a good “base” while having less of an overall impact on your joints and muscles. So as you get fitter, your joints and muscles will be adapting as well to the workload to support the exercise. I had a client once in my PT days who started was around 300lbs. She came in SO motivated and would push herself to the limits and saw immediate weight loss results.. The issue was that she was working so hard she had all sorts of pain and health problems because her body wasn’t adapting quick enough to her activity. She went from a couch to high intensity workouts. So I had to actually dial her training way back, gave lower intensity – longer workouts on machines that had less impact(elliptical, rower and bike). The actual weight loss results were slower, but she was getting healthy overall. She came down to a very healthy weight and actually started running and doing 5k races without doing any damage to her body.

      So in short – I’m a believer in the lower intensity + longer exercises

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