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Why Heart Rate Training Works

Posted by CraigFriedman on Oct 21, 2011 8:30:43 AM

By Craig Friedman, EXOS

No matter your speed or fitness, miCoach uses a unique method of cardio training that’s valuable for you. You won’t compare yourself to others or follow a general workout designed for the masses. Instead, your training is designed specifically for you and dictated by your current cardiovascular fitness. How can it be so individualized? It’s a matter of physiology—yours.

The way your heart responds to exercise is based on your body’s unique makeup—your actual heart rate in beats per minute (BPM) is relevant only to you and your body. The harder you exercise, the faster your heart beats to supply your muscles with energy and oxygen. As you improve with training, your heart rate response decreases over time, meaning your muscles are better able to extract oxygen from the blood, and each pump of the heart delivers more blood to the muscles.

Since this response is different for everyone, miCoach measures heart rate and lets you know how hard you’re working. miCoach designs cardio workouts that utilize four personalized heart rate zones (Blue, Green, Yellow and Red) that vary in intensity and guide you toward your goals. Also, miCoach guides your efforts with real-time coaching, telling you what to do while you’re working out. If you’re going too fast, miCoach will tell you to slow down. If you’re too slow, you’ll be coached to speed up. This makes it easier to stay within the training zones that miCoach prescribes.

By using heart rate based training, miCoach takes the guesswork out of working out. You’ll immediately see how your body responds to exercise, so regardless of your experience or fitness you’ll know if you’re training right to get the results you want. And since heart rate training helps you keep track of your improvement, you’ll continually make strides and avoid plateaus in your training, while reducing your risk for pain and injury. And it’s fun!

Here’s a closer look at the benefits of heart rate training.

Avoid overtraining.

It’s counterproductive to push your body’s limits every time you train. Some workouts should feel easier, while others should challenge you in new ways.  Using your heart rate as a training guide provides the right mix of effort. For instance, on days when you may feel sick or tired, your heart rate may be higher than normal during exercise. You’ll need to reduce your overall effort to stay in the same zones, so your body will get the break it needs. And on days where you feel better than usual, you can really train hard while staying in your training zones. As a result, you’ll make gains, feel fresh, and avoid burning out mentally and physically.

Know your body better.

Sleep, caffeine, and other factors can affect your heart rate, but if you’re training consistently you should begin to notice how your heart responds to exercise. If training becomes less of a challenge and you stay within all your zones easily, you’ll know you’ve improved and you may need to adjust your zones by taking a new Assessment Workout.

Track your progress.

As your fitness improves, you’ll be able to stay within your training zones more easily. For instance, early on in your plan, it may be challenging to train in a higher effort zone for more than a few seconds, but as your plan progresses and your fitness improves, you’ll be able to handle harder workouts, spending more time training in the more intense Yellow and Red Zones. miCoach tracks your progress with a history of time spent training in each zone, as well as your percentage time spent in each zone. So you can view how hard you work in a particular workout, as well as how you progress through your miCoach plan.

Pick up the pace.

A true measure of fitness is being able to do higher amounts of work (pace) at the same level of intensity (heart rate). miCoach shows you how to see this change by comparing your heart rate to your pace. For instance, when you begin a miCoach plan, a brisk walk may feel hard, and your heart rate will be elevated as a result. As you improve, you can see how your pace changes at various heart rates. In a matter of months, you may be able to jog or even run at the same heart rate at which you previously walked.

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