Determining Your Heart Rate Training Zones

Personalized Heart Rate Zones are a crucial tool in planning, tracking and implementing workout routines in the Fitdigits app. The most accurate way to get custom heart rate zones is with a metabolic assessment done at a professional assessment center. However, that can be a pricy and time consuming option. A much more affordable option that also provides accurate training zones is a Fitdigits Fitness Assessment.

However, if neither of these options work for you and you are not up to taking an assessment, there are many equations to find custom heart rate zones. If you know your Max and Resting Heart Rate, you can get a wide variety of zones on the Determining Your Heart Rate Training Zones page.

Here you will find HR zones using percent of Max HR, the Karvonen method, Zoladz method, Joe Friel Running or Biking formula, and ABCC/BCF guidelines.

 

train

The Scosche Rhythm Plus

compass_in_hand_0Take a journey with me, to a time before cell phones made for an able guide in even the harshest wilderness. For an explorer braving uncharted territory, one of their most prized possessions was a compass. A compass that rang true acted as a guiding light in even the darkest of times, a good reading leading them to their destination unscathed. Therefore, before they embarked on an expedition, it was of the utmost importance to travel with a credible and consistent compass.

Fast forward to the present, and to your own personal health and fitness journey. No matter where this long and winding road leads, it is undeniable you will need a reliable compass. When it comes to working out, your compass is a heart rate monitor. A heart rate monitor (combined with the Fitdigits app) will inform and instruct your workouts, allowing you to learn how your body responds and rejects certain workout types. You need a heart rate monitor that is comfortable, reliable, durable and distinctive. You need the Scosche Rhythm Plus.

At this point, we here at Fitdigits consider ourselves heart rate monitor experts. Fitdigits was the first app to track Heart Rate, and we were using watches and monitors before that. We have tried more heart rate monitors then we can count, and after countless hours and workouts with a monitor grooving to our own personal beat, we came to the conclusion that the Scosche Rhythm Plus is one of the best in the business. What makes the Scosche Rhythm Plus stand out? Glad you asked.

  • Where You Wear It– The Scosche Rhythm Plus is worn around your forearm instead of on your chest. We can’t tell you how many times we gave the gym a free peep show when you had to adjust, take off or put on a traditional chest strap
  • The Rhythm Plus goes right on your forearm.

    The Rhythm Plus goes right on your forearm.

  • No Replacing Batteries– The Scosche Rhythm Plus is re-chargeable, meaning you never have to worry about going to the store and figuring out which tiny battery belongs in your monitor. Just charge it after each workout and you never have to worry about it dying right in the middle of a killer sweat session.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy– The Scosche Rhythm Plus uses state-of-the-art technology in Bluetooth Low Energy. This allows you to be over 100 feet away from your phone, allowing you to have a worry-free workout without a bulky cell phone on your person.
  • Sleek, Modern Design– While not necessarily quantifiable, the Rhythm Plus just looks cool! It brings to mind a fancy gadget from Sci-Fi or James Bond. No, Q did not cook this bad boy up in his lab at MI6, but it certainly feels that way, using integrated dual LED/optical sensors to produce real time pulse monitoring.
  • Lightweight and Travel Friendly– The Rhythm Plus can fold up to about the size of a Ping Pong ball, allowing you to just plop it into your pocket.

Let the Scosche Rhythm Plus be your guide to a better you! At only $79.95, it is the ideal companion to the advanced heart rate functionality that the Fitdigits app offers.

Robert Gets Fit For Family

Testimonial by Fitdigits User Robert L.

I was 57 years old and about 70 lbs overweight. I had developed high blood pressure and my blood sugar was in the “pre-diabetic” range. Worst of all, my daughter’s kidneys had failed requiring constant dialysis, and I wanted to donate a kidney to her. Sadly, because I had let myself go so badly, I wasn’t considered an acceptable donor. I realized I needed to do something, So I immediately started a diet and gradually eased into an exercise program. With renewed self-discipline (and the grace of God), I lost 10 lbs per month and attained my goal weight within just a few months. I increased my exercise levels and have been able to get my blood pressure down to the normal range, and my fasting blood sugar is normal also! But my continual problem was the inability to find a heart rate strap that would accurately measure my level of fitness.

Chubby

About a month ago I got the Scosche Rhythm armband from eBay. I had been looking for a heart rate monitor for a long time that was accurate AND was compatible with my Android phone. I had used several of the chest strap/watch sets without satisfaction. After receiving the armband and getting them configured on my phone, I have been amazed at how well it works and provides me with all the information I need to fine-tune my workouts.

My search finally ended with Fitdigits. It does so much more than just show me my rate through my workouts; it gives me tons of data AND tracks my performance over time – so I can stay on track!

At my age now, 64, I am now being evaluated to be a donor for my daughter. And I have the wonderful added benefit of excellent health – and looking forward to a long and very active life.

Robert with his son and daughter

Robert with his son and daughter

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure

Testimonial by Fitdigits User Richard M.

I was a mess. My cholesterol and triglycerides were off the charts. My doctor told me that if I did not make a change to my lifestyle I was about become a diabetic. He upped my meds and told me come back in three months for a follow-up.

Richard working out with Kettlebells

Knowing I had to make a change I began to look for ways to change my diet and to begin some sort of physical fitness activity. I had at one time walked off a weight gain and considered it this time too, but it was December and I live in blizzard country. Ironically while thinking my options through when coming back from taking my dogs on a hike I drove past a new gym in my town that uses kettlebells. I stopped in, the trainer there told me that working with resistance was a great way to get fit. That working out with kettlebells, you get two workouts for the price of one, both resistance training and cardio. He also said the first one was free to I decided to try it out. I also cut all wheat out of my diet in order to get my carb intake and high triglyceride count under control. My goal was to have things on their way to “normal” for the three month follow-up.

I’m a business process guy in my professional life, and I decided that I would take a business process approach to my health and fitness. I believe that in business that “You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure.” So I started a food diary, bought a heart rate monitor, and downloaded Fitdigits and began tracking my heart rate and calorie burns during workouts. I quickly realized that a heart rate monitor without Fitdigits is just a strap across your chest. With the assistance of Fitdigits’s Advanced Cardio Assessment, I am confident that my heart rate and calorie burn are as accurate as possible. The ability to “see” my workouts and progress is amazing.

Here’s an example: This was a workout I did recently doing a kettlebell ladder, increasing a bell size each set after working for 8 minutes each with a 30 second rest between sets. Fitdigits captured this workout perfectly. As you can see at the load increased, so did my HRR. The last 10 minutes or so are of me rowing and then doing some cool down stretching.

As I said, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and at the end of my initial three months of working out I had taken my triglyceride numbers from the upper stratosphere down to normal and off medication. My cholesterol numbers had dropped significantly too and my medication was halved and in another three months I would come off all meds. So within six months I went from a candidate for diabetes to having normal blood-work. Oh ya, and I lost 40 pounds and dropped my body fat percentage by 25%.

So take my advice and measure what you want to manage fitness-wise. They say that weight loss happens 70% in the kitchen and 30% in the gym. I can tell you that I am making the most out of my gym time thanks to Fitdigits.

60 and Still Kicking!

Testimonial by Fitdigits User Greg R.

I have been using Fitdigits for quite some time, and my iPhone has a record of 369 workouts. I use it to sync with both a MIO Alpha wrist heart rate monitor and a Polar H7 chest strap HRM. The primary use is to log P90X type workouts and I have been through the original P90X, five times; P90X3 once and am currently in the second phase of P90X2 for the second time. I also use it to log workouts at the gym on a treadmill or an elliptical.

Heart rate monitoring is a great motivator for me. For example yesterday I did the 30-minute kick boxing routine from P90X3 called MMX. It is intense; a 30-minute HIIT workout. Today’s workout was the original kick boxing routine from P90X called KenpoX. Attached are the heart rate graphs for the two. You can clearly see how the MMX is more intense, but KenpoX is almost an hour and burns more calories. (Comparison was 400 cal. vs. 565 cal.)

MMX Workout. 400 Calories

KenpoX Workout. 565 Calories

 

What else can I say but thanks Fitdigits! I¹ll be 60 years old in February. Fitdigits is helping me to maintain my fitness and health, which are two very important aspects of life. I was able to run in a Warrior Dash in August with my two sons no doubt because of my commitment to fitness and Fitdigits has been a big help in keeping me on track.

Check out My Fitness Blog and My Website, where I write a weekly column about monitoring fitness and other parameters of life on my iPhone.

Polar H7 Not Pairing? Discharge It

I you have a Polar H7 that all of the sudden was unable to pair, you may need to discharge the sensor. To do so:

  1. Trash the Pairing. Go to Settings -> My Sensors -> Heart Rate Monitors -> Bluetooth Smart -> Details -> Delete. This step is only needed if the H7 is “ON”.
  2. Remove the battery from your Polar H7. Using a coin, open the battery cover by turning it counterclockwise to OPEN. Remove the cap. Using a sharp edge (knife), lift the battery out from inside the cap.

    Photo 1: Intact battery

    Photo 2: Battery being lifted from the cap

    Photo 3: Battery successfully extracted!

    Note: When removing the battery, make sure the sealing ring is not damaged, in which case you should replace it with a new one. You can purchase the sealing ring/battery kits at well-equipped Polar retailers and authorized Polar Services.

  3. Close the back of the peanut that used to house the battery, and clip it on to the belt, without the battery.
  4. Put sensor on and wear for 30 seconds to 1 minutes
  5. Remove H7 peanut and insert battery. Remount on chest
  6. Re-pair the H7 with Fitdigits by going to Settings -> My Sensors

If you are still unable to pair, please contact support.

Scott lost 130 pounds with Fitdigits

Scott decided to change his lifestyle

Testimonial by Fitdigits user Scott B.

Last September my wife and I made a strong and ongoing commitment to get into and maintain healthier lifestyle. I was 41 and had been morbidly obese much of my adult life. At one point I weighted almost 300 pounds. I had also been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes seven years ago and severe sleep apnea too. I knew it was critical I make some significant lifestyle changes or face even worse health risks.

We started by eating healthy and incorporating a variety of exercises, including cardio and resistance-based activities, into our daily activities. I had owned several heart rate monitors in the past and found them helpful. Both my wife and I started to use them again to track workout intensity and caloric burns. In Mid-September of last year I discovered the Fitdigits app and was blown away by its features. It quickly proved to be one of the more essential tools I used to get down to 170 pounds by April of this year and see other health improvements: I no longer have sleep apnea or have to wear a CPAP mask every time I try to sleep. More importantly, my blood sugar/glucose levels are now within very healthy levels without the need for medication! My resting heart rate went from the low 80s to upper 50s now. For the first time as an adult I can both jog and run respectable distances.

The Fitdigits app stands out from the other heart rate monitor and running apps because of the broad feature set, level of customization, the Fitdigits website, partner integration, ease of use despite the large feature set, and great support.

After getting familiar with the app and features my wife and I did the Fitdigits fitness assessments. From that we had something to measure our progress, more accurate and personalized heart rate zones, and other information the Fitdigits app uses to more accurately measure and display your heart rate related data and calorie burn. I like that the heart rate zones the Fitdigits app created support more modern information regarding optimal fat burning, aerobic, and anaerobic heart rate zones and not the old 10% increments of your maximum heart rate that have been used in the past.

The next thing I did was setup custom dashboards to display different data based on the activity we were doing. The custom dashboards are capable of displaying up to 12 items per screen, and you can have multiple screens! As an example, when I am on the elliptical I want to see my heart rate, what zone I am in, total calories burned, current calories per minute I am burning, average calorie burn per minute, total workout time, etc. If I am doing a custom workout routine I want to see how long I have left in the current zone, and how much time is left in the routine. How is all that data useful? The data is like a coach telling you how hard you are working your body, and if your efforts are in align with what you are trying to accomplish with that workout; I can look at the screen and see if I need to keep my effort as is, push it harder, or slow down.

The ability to easily create custom routines is very nice. Sometimes I just want to burn a lot of calories, other times I am doing a structured high intensity interval training workout to boost my cardio, and other times and am focusing on cardio endurance. Routines help guide you so that you stay on track with the proper intensity levels throughout the workouts.

As mentioned, the Fitdigits app has the ability to display a lot of useful data during the workout but it also stands out from other similar apps in what you can do with the data post-workout. The app itself saves all the workouts locally and syncs them to your Fitdigits account online. I find it incredibly useful and motivating to compare past and present workouts to monitor my progress. I can see very clear improvements in my cardio and running speeds on a regular basis. Doing the fitness assessments regularly and comparing those is also very helpful to track progress and ensure the cardio related settings within the Fitdigits app update and maintain accuracy.

The web site allows you to setup different types of goals so that that you can better track, measure, and get reports on your progress. Both my wife and I have found the goal related features very helpful in staying committed. We both have weekly calorie burn and workout duration goals. Since I can now run, I also have a weekly distance running goal too.

One of the other great features about the Fitdigits Ecosystem is that they have partnered with some of the other popular fitness-related resources. My favorite is MyFitnessPal. Many people, including my wife and I, use that free site to plan our meals and track food consumption. We like that our workouts get synced to the site so we can track net calories (consumed calories minus burned calories).

I previously purchased two Garmin FR-620s ($450 each) for my wife and I before Fitdigits implemented the BLE stride sensor feature. I have to say, after using my Polar HR strap and stride sensor with the Fitdigits app—the Garmin watches will only be used on very long runs. Thankfully Fitdigits has made it very easy to import data from Garmin and other companies that use common exportable data logging formats.

Overall I feel the small cost of the Fitdigits app, compatible heart rate monitor, their optional MVP program features, and taking a little time to both understand how to use the features and setting up an obtainable action plan are an amazing value and a must have investment for anyone that wants to improve their fitness.

Fitdigits “is a Brilliant App”

Testimonial by Fitdigits user Tom M.

I have been using Fitdigits on and off since October 2012, however in the past year this has grown to almost daily. I am currently in my second year of study in Exercise Physiology. Fitdigits is by far one of my top apps, and at a great price, there is so much that you can do with this. It has many functions that allow you to extrapolate the data that it records. I am using the Polar H7 chest strap, as it is not bulky and easily hidden under a shirt. Also, it is great if you happen to be weight training, as it leaves your appendages clutter free to allow full Range Of Movement.

Fitdigits allows users to obtain very accurate caloric burn and it also pairs with MyFitnessPal app, which is fantastic for calorie counters as there is no longer a need to guess or manually input energy expenditure for a workout. It also allows the user to monitor how there body is coping with stresses placed upon it. Interval training, in my opinion, is able to be maximized with the use of this app. Being able to have heart rate (HR) thresholds to be met instead of time cut offs is very helpful. An example of this is working as quickly as you can to get close to 90% of Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) then returning to 60-70% of MHR, before repeating.

There are two other fantastic features of this app that I enjoy, the first being that you aren’t locked into a particular piece of hardware. The user is able to chose one that suits them and their training needs. The other is that if you get stuck in life’s busy rut and are unable to exercise, it doesn’t nag you like other apps do, it does remind you but it’s very subtle and polite about it for example “come exercise with us”, or “Let’s take a walk”.

All in all this is a brilliant app and most of my friends have it as a result of its brilliance. You can see in the HR data I have attached below how I have physically adapted to some weight training, this is a result of my cardiac adaption to stress, and an increase in cardiac output as a result of aerobic conditioning. Thanks Fitdigits!

7 Foolish Fitness Follies

7 Foolish Fitness Follies

April Fool’s Day is a chance to celebrate our foolishness with silly pranks and hoaxes on family and friends. However, we often play practical jokes on ourselves that do more harm than we intend, especially when it comes to our health and fitness.

According to the Food Research and Action Center, over two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. These startling statics tell us the importance of health and fitness education and that it is not something we should fool around with. There are so many misconceptions about working out that we hear often, so we decided to roundup some of the most common.

  1. I need to get in shape to go to the gym.
  2. The gym is not a beauty pageant. It is a place to do the dirty work needed in order to live a long, happy and healthy life. Who are you trying to impress? Like anything else, working out takes practice to master and just getting there is half the battle. If you keep waiting for the right time to start working out, that time will never appear.

  3. Cardio is the best way to lose weight.
  4. While Cardio is “a” way to lose weight, it is not the only way or the best way. Try to vary your workouts, mixing in plyometrics and stretching along with Cardio. Weight lifting is a great way to target fat loss in particular, as weight lifting will keep your metabolism pumping even after you finish working out.

  5. No pain, no gain.
  6. If something hurts beyond a typical muscle burn, stop what you’re doing. If you don’t receive the proper guidance on form or how to execute a tricky workout move, it can be dangerous and lead to serious injury. Always check with your instructor or consult with a personal trainer on how to execute certain exercise movements if you haven’t been taught before. Peruse this list of common workout mistakes to make sure you are using proper form.

  7. I have to push myself to max effort to see results.
  8. It is better to workout smart then just give max effort until you self-combust. Depending on your health and fitness goals, you should plan and execute workouts that have you transitioning between multiple heart rate zones. The notion that you have to give continuous max effort to get a good workout is one of many heart rate training myths that have sprung up over the years.

  9. Weights will bulk me up
  10. This one is mostly for the ladies who fear lifting weights will lead to bulky muscles. Unless you’re eating more calories than you burn, then you won’t bulk up. Since woman lose muscle mass with age, it’s important to add weight and strength training into your fitness routine. Lifting weights also helps build bone density which is very important for females as well. Always lift a weight that’s heavy enough that you find it challenging.

  11. I worked out so hard today, so I deserve to treat myself.
  12. Don’t reward yourself with fattening food–it will just derail all the hard work you did. No matter how hard you workout, you can out eat any fitness program. Maintaining a healthy and well-balance diet is essential to supplementing your workouts.

    On a related note, just because you completed a hard workout does not permit you to be a couch potato. Daily activity is important, and you should try to reach 10,000 steps everyday. Stumped on how to reach that benchmark? Check out our 10 Tips to Walk 10,000 Steps Every Day.

  13. Cardio machines give me a very accurate read on the number of calories I burned
  14. Purchase the Saddle Today!

    These machines use a very generalized formula to compile your caloric burn. The best way to track calories is with a Heart Rate Monitor such as the Polar H7 and a heart rate tracking app such as Fitdigits. Scoffing at the notion of bringing your iPhone with you to the gym or out on a run? Try The Saddle, the new and innovative way to take your iPhone with you while you exercise. It mounts right on your wrist for easy access and viewing and features a lightweight design that makes you barely notice it is there.

Heart Rate Monitoring is at Fitdigits’s Core

Testimonial by Fitdigits user David S.

Having decided I needed more Heart Rate analysis than my Garmin 310 Forerunner/Garmin Connect combination provided I began the process of testing the myriad of fitness/running Apps available for the iPhone. I finally identified iRunner by Fitdigits as the one that would give me the information I required.

iRunner by Fitdigits stands above other Apps because it is designed with Heart Rate monitoring at its core rather than an added extra; for me heart rate based training is essential for anyone who is serious about improving their performance.

I use a Polar H7 Heart Rate strap and an iPhone 5 and it works seamlessly. The App allows me customization of my Heart Rate Zones and of what I see and hear, allowing me to achieve the goals I have set for each training session; I have found no other App that delivers this kind of functionality.

Once I have completed my training session the information breakdown given by the App is excellent, but when it is uploaded to the Fitdigits website, My.Fitdigits, along with a Fitdigits MVP Subscription the analysis starts to stand out against other fitness sites. I can now analyze my cumulative Heart Rate data for any period and any training type. I now know if I am spending the right amount of time in each zone for any phase of my training. It was this functionality that led me to doing a VO2 Max test to nail my Heart Rate Zones, which then took my training to another level.

I have been using iRunner since June 2013 and have no doubt that it was a major contributor to setting PRs in the Half Marathon and 10k this year!