Principle No. 2 of Heart Zones Training: Multiple zones give multiple benefits.
Remember all those charts on the walls of aerobics or weightrooms, charts listing our “target heart rate zone”? Good. Now forget them. If we want the individualized benefits of Heart Zones Training, we’re going to forget about that single, set zone and concentrate instead on several smaller, more specific zones. Why? Because what we want from our training plan are multiple benefits – to be not only leaner, but stronger and healthier.
It’s great to fit into your clothes comfortably, to hear “hey, you look trim,” to feel the inner satisfaction of accomplishing something as simple as running up a flight of stairs without breathing hard, to be able to keep up with your friends, and then give them that Cheshire smile that says it was easy.
Further more, despite what we might want, we live in a world of constrained time. We’ve all felt the frustration that comes from seeing people who don’t have our time problems giving us advice on health and fitness. The simple fact is that few of us have unlimited time for exercise.
The only way to get the multiple benefits we desire in a realistic, doable amount of time is through an understanding of the multiple zones our hearts work through.
Heart Zones Training provides us with multiple benefits because, during the training, we will be exposing ourselves to multiple stimuli. One of the wonders of the human body is its uncanny ability to adapt to whatever stresses we throw at it. This is, of course, a two-edged sword. If the stresses we expose our bodies to are watching television and eating chips, we become very good at spectating and getting fat! But, if we expose the muscular system to resistance training, it adapts into this stronger model.
Back to those aerobic room charts. We told you to forget the “target heart rate zone” (which will be discussed) because there are, in fact, five training zones, each providing its unique benefits:
Within each training zone, different physiological activities – different stimuli to the body – occur. For example, if you want to get the health benefits of lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, you need to train in the Healthy Heart zone, because those are the principle benefits of that zone. If you want to get faster as an athlete, you’ll be spending at least some time in the Red Line zone, an area that fitness folks rarely touch. When you’re spending time in each of these different zones, you’re accumulating the benefits of each one. These physiological and psycho-biological benefits include the metabolizing of different fuels (i.e. burning fat and carbohydrates), strengthening sport specific muscles, cardiovascularly conditioning different oxygen delivery systems, and training kinesthetic pacing skills.
The best part of it is you get to choose what benefits you want, and when!
More to come ..
Keep your eyes peeled as we continue to release excerpts throughout upcoming weeks. If you want to read the entire book, make sure to swing by our online store and grab a copy: The Heart Rate Monitor Guidebook.