Heart Rate Monitor Training: MYZONE – Myths, Misconceptions and Facts

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Have you ever trained with a heart rate monitor? Do you own a monitor already but are unsure of exactly how to use it or the benefits? Let’s face it, there are a lot of wearable technology devices for fitness; FitBits, Nike Fuel Bands, Polar, Garmin, we could go on and on. But have you ever heard of MYZONE? Our clients have, but even they ask great questions regarding their technology. So let’s start by introducing MYZONE and then look at some questions, misconceptions, myths and facts. MYZONE is the most accurate form of wearable technology currently available. It requires you to wear a chest strap and tracks your workout from start to finish. But beyond tracking your heart rate and calories like basic devices track; MYZONE also tracks your MYZONE Effort Points. Those effort points or MEPs, translates to after burn – the same after burn we discussed in last week’s blog post on group fitness classes. Why is this important you may ask? Most people focus on calories and although it doesn’t hurt to do so, it doesn’t truly depict your effort in a workout. MEPs are based solely on your heart rate. How long you stay in your zones: 50-59%, 60-69%, 70-79%, 80-89%, 90-100%. The longer you stay in your higher zones the better your MEPs, the better and longer your after burn. Now that’s a lot of information and still confusing. So let’s breakdown some common questions and clean this up.
  1. How does MYZONE figure out my max heart rate?
    1. When you first start with your MYZONE, it will base your max heart rate and training zones off of an age based standard equation: Max HR = 206.3 - (0.711 x age). As you continue to train and get into better shape, you can adjust this rate accordingly.
  1. I need to burn a certain amount of calories/MEPs..
    1. As wonderful as it is to be able to view your calorie/MEPs while you train, we need to remember that these are a luxury and not an end all be all. What we mean by this is that not all great workouts have to burn 1,000 calories and 200+ MEPs. On more lifting based days, your calories/MEPs will be lower than your high intensity training days. This is normal. There is no right or wrong number of calories/MEPs, they are simply a strong guide to reward you for your effort. In general on Personal Training days, your calories/MEPs will be more towards the 500/100-150 range; on your EFX or cross training days your calories/MEPs will be more towards the 800+/200+ range. Each workout will be different and that is okay!
  1. Why are other people in their red zone more than me?
    1. When it comes to training zones remember it is based on YOUR heart rate and YOUR effort. No two people will react the same to an exercise or workout. The person beside you may get into the red during lunges while you are in the green; however you may get into the red on the battle ropes while they are yellow. It is relevant to how good of shape you are in and how hard you are pushing yourself.
  1. Why can others burn more MEPs/calories than me?
    1. Similarly to people being able to reach their yellow and red training zones differently, everyone will burn calories/MEPs differently. Calorie burn is based off of your weight, height, effort, etc. and MEPs are calculated off of training zones. Men will typically burn more calories than women – sorry ladies but it is pretty standard. However, many women can burn more MEPs by staying in their yellow and red training zones for a longer period of time. Regardless of gender, no two people will burn the same calories/MEPs in a workout based off of different height, weight and physical shape.
  1. I need to be in the yellow and red zones at all times..
    1. Along with people feeling as though they need to burn a set number of calories/MEPs per workout, many people also believe they need to be in the yellow and red zones during the entire workout. This is not true. With heart rate training, yes you want to push yourselves into those top zones, but you also want to see how quickly you can recover. This is why in EFX we follow high intensity exercises with low intensity exercises – you want to give your body a chance to recover and come down from those top zones, and they push yourself back into the yellow and red once you’ve recovered. It is not bad to stay in the yellow and red for a period of time, but you by no means need to be in those zones the entire workout.
In the end, there are a lot of benefits to training with a heart rate monitoring system like MYZONE. From simply being able to gauge how hard you are working, to being able to track your effort/calories expended for proper refueling, to adding a little competitiveness between friends, to safely training at an intensity that is safe and effective for you, MYZONE can provide that and more.


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