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After: Refuel Your Tank.
After your workout, Ms. Platt recommends refueling with:
- Fluids. Drink water, of course. Blend your water with 100% juice such as orange juice which provides fluids, carbohydrates.
- Carbohydrates. You burn a lot of carbohydrates — the main fuel for your muscles — when you exercise. In the 20-60 minutes after your workout, your muscles can store carbohydrates and protein as energy and help in recovery.
- Protein. Eat things with protein to help repair and grow your muscles.
It’s important to realize that these are general guidelines. We have different digestive systems and “a lot depends on what kind of workout you’re doing,” Platt said.
So do what works best for you. Know that what you put in your body (nutrition) is as important as you what you do with your body (exercise). Both are crucial to keeping your engine performing at its best.
Ideally, fuel up two hours before you exercise by:
Not fueling up before you work out is like “driving a car on empty,” said Platt, an American Heart Association volunteer. You also won’t have enough energy to maximize your workout and you limit your ability to burn calories.
- Hydrating with water.
- Eating healthy carbohydrates such as whole-grain cereals (with low-fat or skim milk), whole-wheat toast, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, whole grain pasta, brown rice, fruits and vegetables.
- Avoiding saturated fats and even a lot of healthy protein — because these types of fuels digest slower in your stomach and take away oxygen and energy-delivering blood from your muscles.
If you only have 5-10 minutes before you exercise, eat a piece of fruit such as an apple or banana.
“The key is to consume easily digested carbohydrates, so you don’t feel sluggish,” Platt said.
Important to get the maximum heart rate right
- Find your pulse with your fingers, not your thumb, while lying in bed before you get up in the morning.
- Count your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply by four, or 30 seconds and multiply by two. Example: If you count 32 beats in 30 seconds, your resting heart rate is 64 BPM (32 x 2).
- Record your heart rate for five days.
- Add the five days’ resting heart rates together and divide by five to find your average resting heart rate.
Your heart rate training zone is a critical element in exercise. You must train at a variety of different heart rates in order to stimulate your body to improve your fitness level. Taking your pulse and calculating your heart rate during a workout is one of the primary indicators in ascertaining the intensity level at which you and your heart is working.
The most accurate measure of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
is to have a stress test performed by a trained professional.
Some fitness facilities can do this testing but your best choice would
be to consult your doctor about taking a stress test under medical
This page will calculate your approximate
MHR from several different formulas based on gender, age, weight
and if known your Resting Heart Rate (RHR).
The first set of calculations use the basic formula for MHR.
Take the Fetal Heart Rate (FHR),
which is 220 for men and 226 for women,
and subtract your age:
MHR = FHR - age
Then you use standard percentage calculations to get the 60%, 70% and
If you know your RHR the Karvonen Method is more accurate for
figuring Target Heart Rate (THR).
It uses the same basic MHR calculation but does a better job of
estimating an individual’s THRs by using the RHR to
adjust the numbers.
80% THR = (MHR - RHR) * 0.8 RHR
To discover your RHR you should take your pulse
first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.
Repeat this for five days in a row and average the five values to get
a base value for your RHR.
The third calculation uses a formula developed by Dr. Dan Heil after studying
1500 walkers at the University of Massachusetts.
This formula calculates MHR using the additional factor of body weight.
For men only there is a constant value of 4.5 added to the final result.
The formula looks like this for men.
Leave off the addition of 4.5 for women:
211.415 - (0.5 * age) - (0.05 * weight in lbs) 4.5
Every individual is different.
The results of all these MHR calculations are approximate.
The standard error for the basic formula can be as high as 12 to 24
beats per minute.
Again, the best measure of your MHR is to have a supervised
Exercising while your heart rate is between 60% and 80% of your
MHR is a good aerobic workout.
It’s recommended for building up a solid fitness base and
burns fat that your body has stored rather than carbohydrates that you’ve
A good aerobic workout between 60% and 80% of your MHR
should also leave you refreshed and invigorated instead of tired
and worn out.
Fill in the top section of the form and hit calculate to automatically
fill in the bottom sections.
Maximum heart rate (HRmax) is an important tool to uncover cardiovascular disease. During stress testing, age-expected maximum heart rate is used as a guideline for when the test should be concluded. If the test is finished before the load is high enough, you risk not to detect subclinical heart disease. Therefore, it is of great clinical relevance to have a way to accurately estimate HRmax.
The traditional formula for determining HRmax is «220 minus age», but can underestimate HRmax by up to 40 beats per minute in seniors. In fact, the method is inaccurate already at an age of 30–40 years, and gets more inaccurate the older you are.
In The HUNT Fitness Study, we measured accurate maximum heart rate in 3,320 healthy adults aged between 19 and 89. Based on these tests we made a completely new formula which estimates maximum heart rate far more accurately than «220 minus age». The HRmax Calculator is based on this formula: «211 — 0.64*age».
Read the full article:
Age-predicted maximal heart rate in healthy subjects: The HUNT Fitness Study
Our research shows that the variation in maximum heart rate within age groups is fairly large. Genetics contribute more to maximum heart rate than physical fitness. Therefore, it’s hard to make a calculator that can estimate maximum heart rate precisely, and we recommend all of you who want to find your real HRmax to test yourself by pushing yourself to exhaustion:
- Warm up thoroughly so you start sweating.
- Do two intervals, each four minutes long. During the intervals you should be too short of breath to talk. Intersperse each interval with three minutes of active rest.
- Start the third interval, but two minutes in, increase your speed even further an run until you’re too exhausted to continue. Your HRmax will be the highest heart rate you reach. The heart will reach a plateau at which it cannot beat any faster, regardless of how much you increase the workload.
If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, you can measure the maximum heart rate by holding two fingers to your neck for 30 seconds right after finishing the test. Double the number you get to find your HRmax.
During 4×4 interval training, you use your maximum heart rate to give the heart good exercise. Our HRmax Calculator calculates at which heart rate you should exercise when performing this kind of interval training.
- Start with a ten minute warm-up at approximately 60 % of HRmax to get you sweating.
- Do four intervals, each four minutes long. The last two minutes of each interval your heart rate should be at 90–95 % of HRmax, so you become short of breath. Use the first two minutes of each interval to reach this heart rate level.
- Between each interval, your should perform active resting at a heart rate of approximately 70 % of HRmax. This is the zone where the body clears lactic acid most efficiently.
- End with a ten minute cool-down with lighter activity after the last interval.
First Things First: Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re at rest. A good time to check it is in the morning after you’ve had a good night’s sleep, before you get out of bed or grab that first cup of java!
For most of us, between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm) is normal.1 The rate can be affected by factors like stress, anxiety, hormones, medication, and how physically active you are.
When it comes to resting heart rate, lower is better. It usually means your heart muscle is in better condition and doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain a steady beat. Studies have found that a higher resting heart rate is linked with lower physical fitness and higher blood pressure and body weight.2
This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.3
In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rates. Target heart rate during moderate intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while during vigorous physical activity it’s about 70-85% of maximum.
The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.
Target HR Zone 50-85%
Average Maximum Heart Rate, 100%
|20 years||100-170 beats per minute (bpm)||200 bpm|
|30 years||95-162 bpm||190 bpm|
|35 years||93-157 bpm||185 bpm|
|40 years||90-153 bpm||180 bpm|
|45 years||88-149 bpm||175 bpm|
|50 years||85-145 bpm||170 bpm|
|55 years||83-140 bpm||165 bpm|
|60 years||80-136 bpm||160 bpm|
|65 years||78-132 bpm||155 bpm|
|70 years||75-128 bpm||150 bpm|
Now that you have a target, you can monitor your heart rate to make sure you’re in the zone. As you exercise, periodically check your heart rate. A wearable activity tracker makes it super easy, but if you don’t use one you can also find it manually:
- Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
- Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) and press lightly over the artery.
- Count your pulse for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to find your beats per minute.
Important Note: Some drugs and medications affect heart rate, meaning you may have a lower maximum heart rate and target zone. If you have a heart condition or take medication, ask your healthcare provider what your heart rate should be.
Cooling down after a workout is as important as warming up. After physical activity, your heart is still beating faster than normal, your body temperature is higher and your blood vessels are dilated.
It’s good to stretch when you’re cooling down because your limbs, muscles and joints are still warm. Stretching can help reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscles cramping and stiffness.
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities:
If your heart rate is too high, you’re straining. Slow your roll! If it’s too low, and the intensity feels “light” to “moderate,” you may want to push yourself to exercise a little harder, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
If you’re just starting out, aim for the lower range of your target zone (50 percent) and gradually build up. In time, you’ll be able to exercise comfortably at up to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Woo hoo!