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    SDLEE514   16,510
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I'm working too hard?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

And so, a bit delayed, but here's my recap of the first week of the new year and how my goals are going. I hope everyone has had a great start!

So, some of my shorter term goals were too lose the weight I gained over the holidays (about 4-5 pounds) and I've lost 2 lbs so far, back to my original "goal" weight although now I'm pushing it down a little more.

Second, I was to stay on track with the training program from my new heart rate monitor. This I almost met. I set my HRM training program to lose weight and it told me to exercise for 5.5 hours, mainly in zone 1 (fat burning zone) and burn 1550 calories. I came in at just under 5 hours of exercise and burned just under 1500 calories. Also, I don't think the HRM program takes diet into account, so given that I lost 2 pounds in a week, I would be verging on unhealthy loss if I exercised more and/or ate less; so, I'm satisfied with my first HRM training week. I reset my weight and my program adjusted to 1500 calories to burn this week. Not a whole lot different but slightly more reasonable.

Here's where I'm confused...you all probably know the different cardio zones, 1 is the lowest which still burns fat, 2 is fitness improvement, and 3 is max performance. Everyone has different zones, but typically zone 1 would be 60s-70% heart rate, zone 2 70s-80s%, and max would be 80s%- 90+%. My HRM has this "OwnZone" feature which is really cool, before each work out it adjusts your zones for that particular day and how you're feeling, so you do a quick warm up and it "reads" your body, soo some days I've had my zone 1 start at 70% so I have to work harder to even burn fat.

However, I also feel like I don't have a lot of differentiation between my zones, so I have trouble working out at a specific zone. So last week, when my HRM program said I was supposed to work mainly in Zone 1 and some in 2, and NONE in zone 3, some of my workouts I got up to zone 3 and it told me I need to workout in that zone less. I tried doing "easier" workouts which I don't like doing because I like to sweat but, I needed to spend more time in zone 1. So, I did 50 minutes of yoga but less than half the time I was in Zone 1, the rest of the time my heart rate wasn't high enough. Most of my workouts I have, Jillian, etc. will get me into zones 2 and 3 so I guess I'm working out too hard. But is there such a thing??

I feel like I should know this. To lose weight, calories expended must be more than calories in. If I work harder it just means more calories burned, right? I'm still burning fat right? Is there any downside to this? Should I really try to stick with the HRM program and workout more in the fat burning zone 1 and slow down if I reach zone 3 rather than pushing myself? I can't find a happy-medium, either I find an "easy" workout that doesn't work me hard enough to even be in a zone or, I work myself too hard and end up going in zone 3. If I set the program to fitness improving or max performance rather than lose weight, I know it it would be having me work in those zones, but I'm sure I'd still lose weight. I guess I'm unsure what I should be focusing on right now.

Anyone else use a HRM? any advice on finding that balance in my workouts?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RYDERB 1/11/2013 2:49PM

    Looks like you've already gotten great advice. I have a HRM that does the same thing. But I use it to prevent myself from exceeding my Max HR. When I compare my total calorie burn and percentage of fat burned, after any workout, I burn more fat caloies in a high intesity workout than when working out in the fat burning zone . Plus you're suppose to burn more Fat calories after a high intensity workout.

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SQUIRRELLYONE 1/11/2013 2:03PM

    Looks like everyone beat me to the punch: basically, the "fat burning zone" is the heart rate at which your body chooses to burn fat as its fuel for exercise. However, at that heart rate, you burn fewer calories than you would doing heavier exercise, so even if you are "burning fat", you're burning less.

FYI: most people are in the "fat burning zone" while walking, so most "workouts" will take you out of it!

Keep up what you're doing :) Sounds like you're working out at a pace that's comfortable for you!

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SDLEE514 1/9/2013 8:25AM

    Thank you all for your thoughts, comments, and suggestions! I feel a little silly now, feeling like I should have done more research into the zones thing and not realizing that they don't mean much. With that being said, I'm going to take your advice and just keep doing what I'm doing because it works for me. I still love working out with my HRM to at least know I'm in some sort of target zone, and how many calories I'm burning. Thanks again all!

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CLRWILLIAMS25 1/9/2013 8:02AM

    I, too, think the zone thing is kind of wonky. I've read a few articles specifying not to work out in the fat burning zone on various cardio machines because you aren't pushing yourself as much as you could/should. I think that if at the end of the week, you feel like you've had some great workouts, that is really all that matters. I don't have a HRM, so I can't speak to the HRM-specific questions.

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LAURAAT 1/8/2013 12:38PM

    If what you've been doing so far has been working, I think that's the way to go. So if that means working in 'zone 3' or whatever, so be it. Just keep an eye on your heart rate if you do, and make sure you're not pushing too hard.
I'm another un-believer in the 'zone' stuff. Never really gave it much attention.

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LEB0401 1/8/2013 12:30PM

    Like HFAYE, I've also read in several sources those "zones" don't mean anything. I'm like you, I think that if you're moving you're burning calories.

HRM's are great for training, though. You could always use it without following the program.

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LYNSEY723 1/8/2013 12:30PM

    To tell you the truth, I don't believe in this stuff about working out in "zones". To further support that, I just read The Femable Body Breakthrough - and it sounds like it could help you. It focuses a lot on getting out of doing cardio and using strength training as the primary way to burn fat and gain muscle. I just did my first workout, so I can't tell you my results at this point... but I'd recommend reading it and seeing what you think!

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NEPTUNE1939 1/8/2013 12:27PM

    I don't use HRM but you raise some interesting questions. I'm a believer in strength training and moderate cardio. It took me a year to drop 38 Lbs and reducing my body fat below 10%. For me, losing weight slowly proved effective in getting rid of unwanted fat while retaining muscle strength. Its good that your looking into the HRM subject as knowledge is truly empowering, Earl emoticon

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IRP1114 1/8/2013 12:26PM

    I use a heart rate monitor but do not aim to stay in any zone. Mainly use it to track calories burned and also to make sure my heart rate does not go crazy on my because I have had problems in the passed with erratic heart beat. So I am just use to monitoring it now for that reason. Most of the problems I had where as a teen but I have monitored it for many years now. It came in handy when my Dr asked how hard I was working out while pregnant too.
Good luck figuring out what works for you! I think if you just keep it varied you will continue to make progress. Do what you like and what feels right to you! emoticon

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HFAYE81 1/8/2013 12:22PM

    I don't know about all these "zones", I have read a Spark article that says they don't really mean much. I agree with VANNEM, I would do what works for you. emoticon

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VANNEM 1/8/2013 12:18PM

  i think you sould stick to the plan that works for you


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