Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Active Metabolic Assessment (AMA) Results

Have you used Heart Zone Training?  I see lots of conflicting information out there, so I guess I'll find out if what I heard yesterday is true.  For now, I'll go forward with the idea that it is.  I've heard of heart rate training before, but never really paid much attention because I always figured I'd never get my heart rate up high enough to matter.  I assumed a heart attack would come first, therefore why bother?  Well, I received a whole bunch of more info from my gym yesterday.  Here's what I learned from my assessment:

We are told there are 5 zones for Heart Zone Training.  Zone 1 and 2 are the most efficient at burning fat and that's where I was told I should be to also build endurance.  This is sweet because I don't have to work my butt off to effectively burn the most fat.  If you want to checkout more on Heart Zone Training, you could try this link at about.com.

Here are my AMA results in beats per minute:

Zone 1:  103-112
Zone 2:  113-121
Zone 3:  122-130
Zone 4:  131-140
Zone 5:  141-151

The high number in Zone 5 is not my max heart rate.  My max heart rate is somewhere around 176.  To determine your ideal fat-burning zone, check out the following:

1) Determine your max heart rate.
If you'd like to see your max heart rate, this chart at active.com let's you determine your percentages.  For max, just enter 100%.  It also gives you a recommended target range.  My target range is 96-149.  Note the high number is 149.

2) Determine your resting heart rate.
If you can find your pulse, you can measure your resting heart rate (of course you can also use a heart rate monitor).  If you've never checked it here's how at ehow.com.  Do this when you first wake up or after you've been sitting for awhile - like now if you're sitting to read this post!  My resting pulse is 55.

3) Determine your Heart Rate Training Zones.
Keep in mind, results vary on levels of fitness.  The results from this site called "DigiFit" most closely matched the results I received from my AMA.  I used the high number from the results in step #1 instead of my actual max heart rate to get results similar to the assessment.  

The Karvonen results were the absolute closest being only a few beats different...

Zone 1:  102-111
Zone 2:  111-120
Zone 3:  120-130
Zone 4:  130-139
Zone 5:  139-149

My coach told me that I should shoot for 112-125bpm (so pretty much zone 2 on both charts) to efficiently burn fat and train for endurance.  If you just want to burn fat, you could train in zone 1, it just takes longer.  EX:  300 per 30 minutes in Zone 2 (120 bpm) instead of 240 per 30 minutes in Zone 1 (110 bpm).

So, why not just go to zone 4 or 5 and train for much less time?  Well, in those higher zones, we are burning more carbs than fat.  That's where Gatorade and Cliff Bars come in handy.  But more on that in another post.  Here are the fat burning percentages from my AMA chart:

Zone 1:  91-84% fat 
Zone 2:  84-63% fat
Zone 3:  63-52% fat
Zone 4:  52-0% fat
Zone 5:  100% carbs

Well, I hope this has been somewhat informative.  It was certainly a learning experience for me.  Have you ever done one of these assessments?  Trained using heart rate?  I'm curious to hear what you've experienced.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Triathlon Coach - CHECK!

Yes, I finally lined up a tri-coach.  I'm checking this out for a month to see how it goes.  I say a month because it's crazy expensive.  But I've gotta say that being accountable to someone other than me will be a welcome change.

I met with my new coach last week and he has already set some pretty different workouts than the path I was on with BeginnerTriathlete.com.  He wants to focus more on the endurance side of the sport in all three areas rather than on all the strength training I was doing.  Don't get me wrong, there's still strength training, but instead of different muscle groups 3 days/week, he's giving me full body strength training only 2 days a week (with a minimum 2 day break between the two days).  He also has me swimming, biking and running right off the bat.  Some days they're combos of two areas (like swim 500m then bike for 30 min) and some days it's just one.  

Tomorrow I go in for an Active Metabolic Assessment at my gym.  This is pretty cool.  It "identifies the optimal heart rate zone where your workouts are most effective." Basically, they find out where my heart rate is supposed to be for me to burn the most fat as opposed to carbs.  I was told that I should be prepared to sweat.  Yay.  Can't wait.  Hope I don't throw up.  Oh wait, it's a 9 hr fast prior to the test so no worries there.  Well, I'll let you know how it goes!  

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