Category Archives: Fitness Talk

Heart Rate Zones and Bluetooth GADGET

heart rate monitor

While I was training a client today, we got to play with a new gadget that she received for Christmas – we all love gadgets right! She received the Polar H7 Heart Rate Sensor – it is a Bluetooth heart rate strap that sends the information to her iPhone so no more clunky watches are needed. She received the strap and then downloaded the free app onto her phone. What I really liked about this gadget was that I could easily see her heart rate and calories burned on her phone while she was exercising. The strap also had a great range, we used the entire fitness floor and it never lost signal.

Heart rate monitors are a device which tracks your heart rate as you exercise and should be used to gauge your training. They are no longer just for the hardcore athlete or runner but can benefit everyone.

Benefits of wearing a heart rate monitor:

  • Lose weight effectively – weight loss cannot be done without proper nutrition and exercise. To lose weight you need to raise your heart rate as much as 80% of your maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes. Using a monitor can track your progress.
  • Measure your effort and make sure you are really working as hard as you THINK you are – you can make sure you are getting into the appropriate heart rate zones. They could help put the fire back into your program if you see your heart rate doesn’t really get that high or your workouts weren’t as long as you thought!
  • Track progress and recovery – the more fit you become the quicker you can recover and longer you can maintain a higher working heart rate.
  • Look for signs of overtraining – higher resting heart rate and not recovering as quickly might be a sign that you need to take an extra day off.
  • Keep track of actual calories burned and your workouts – the apps you download keep track of it all – I am a numbers girl so I like to see the information.
  • Great way to link the mind and the heart!

To help you calculate what your heart rates should be, I’ve included a sample of Cardio Guidelines that I give to my new clients.

Keep in mind – you do NOT have to be on a piece of cardio equipment to achieve these goals.  Today my client did strength work like squats, pull-ups, etc.  It was fun to watch the heart rate climb during squats!! She was able to get into all 3 of the targeted heart rate zones and burned close to 500 calories during our session.  Plus strength training builds muscle which burns more fat even while at rest. I could go on and on but that is for another post.

 Cardio Guidelines

 Your target heart rate


(220-age) x 65%        (220-age) x 80%                   (220-age) x 86%

(220-age) x 75%        (220-age) x 85%                   (220-age) x 90%

Zone 1                           Zone 2                                        Zone 3                         


ZONE 1 – 65%-75% Max. Heart Rate

Conditioning Phase:  30 – 45 minutes per session.

This includes a 5 min. warm-up before reaching target heart rate each workout.

Once you’ve achieved this conditioning phase then ZONE 1 should always be used as warm up zone.

ZONE 2 – 80%-85% Max. Heart Rate

Aerobic Phase

Training in anaerobic ZONE 3 – 86%-90% Max. Heart Rate

Interval Training:

5 min. warm-up

5 min. @ ZONE 2

60 – 90 seconds @ ZONE 3

REPEAT UNTIL REACHED 30 – 45 minutes

After you’ve been conditioned thru these phases you can alternate between zone 2 and zone 3 training.






Supplements: are defined as something that completes or enhances something else when added to it and include vitamins, minerals, fiber and amino acids.  In the world of fitness; supplements are commonly used by those involved in bodybuilding and athletics. These supplements may be used to replace meals, enhance weight gain, promote weight loss or improve athletic performance. Among the most widely used are vitamins, protein  powders, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), meal replacement products, creatine, and weight loss products. I do not believe in the use of many of the thousands of supplements out there. I absolutely would never recommend any supplements for weight loss! The only supplements that I take are: BCAA’s, fish oil, vitamin D, creatine, daily multi-vitamin, and protein powder – that is it!!

Amino Acids: Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Twenty percent of the human body is made up of protein. Protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes. Amino acids play a key role in the transport and storage of nutrients, affect the function of organs, glands, tendons and arties and they are essential for healing and repairing tissue (MUSCLE). There are 20 amino acids. Humans can produce 10 and the others must be supplied by either food or supplements. The 10 that humans can produce are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine. The essential amino acids (ones that we do NOT produce and are required by diet or supplements) are arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, could result in degradation of the body’s proteins—muscle and so forth. Unlike fat and starch, the human body does not store excess amino acids for later use—the amino acids must be in the food every day.

BCAA’s : Branched chain amino acids are very popular with athletes who are searching for ways to increase lean mass and performance. The branched chain amino acids are Valine, Leucine, and Iso-leucine. BCAA’s reduce muscle fatigue, speed recovery, decrease the loss of other amino acids from muscle during exercise and help the body absorb protein.. BCAA’s are rapidly depleted from the muscle when training. Taking BCAA’s before and/or during a work out will increase performance and delay fatigue. Taking BCAA’s immediately after will lower cortisol levels and replace BCAA levels in the muscles faster. I take 5g pre and post workout.

Creatine: It used to enhance high-intensity exercise performance. It is a nitrogenous organic acid produced in the liver that helps supply energy to cells all over the body – particularly muscle cells. It is made out of three amino acids: L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. Creatine is transported through the blood by an active transport system, it is then used by muscles that have high energy demands, such as the brain and skeletal muscle. In fact, around 95 percent of creatine in the human body is stored in skeletal muscle. I take 5g pre workout. Below is a great article on the different types of creatine – I use MONO.

Protein Powder: Is a supplement manufacturers create from high-quality sources, such as milk, soy or eggs. They contain all the essential amino acids, which are those that your body cannot make and therefore you must include in your diet. I like to drink a protein shake after intense work outs (leg days) to help with my recovery! I also use protein powders to cook and bake with to increase protein servings.  I prefer powders that are strictly protein and contain no fat or carbs.

Whey Protein Powders: They are milk based and contain high levels of branched-chain amino acids. These powders are great for helping to build muscle, prevent muscle breakdown and assist in post-exercise recovery.

Casein Protein Powders: These powders are also milk based and supply your body with a slow-digesting form of protein, which ensures your cells receive a steady supply of this nutrient. These are ideal before bed to help supply the body during sleep or longer periods of time.

Visit to order your supplements.  I support their vision of HONEST SUPPLEMENTS FOR HONEST MUSCLE.  They do not sell any of the unnecessary supplements, only the ones that I honestly use and need.  They focus on making what they do sell the BEST!

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Cardio Chat


BPM                                               Heart beats per minute. Normal range is 60-100 BPM

Resting Heart Rate                Your heart rate taken at complete rest – taken as soon as you wake up BEFORE getting up out of bed.  An indication of improved fitness is a lowered resting heart rate         

Maximum Heart Rate          Is the highest heart rate an individual can achieve without severe problems through exercise stress. Can be calculated by using the formula 220-age = MHR

Heart Rate Zones                  To make tracking your exercise intensity easier to manage, groups of heart zones are commonly used.  There are numerous ways to calculate zones but below are the NASM’S guidelines:

ZONE 1 – 65%-75% of Max. Heart Rate (220-age)  – Purpose is to build aerobic base and aid in recovery

ZONE 2 – 80%-85% Max. Heart Rate (220-age) – Purpose is to increase endurance and trains the anaerobic threshold

ZONE 3 – 86%-90% Max. Heart Rate (220-age) – Purpose is to build high-end work capacity – when done properly you cannot stay in this zone for more then 30 – 90 seconds at a time. I have clients start with 5 minute warm up – then get into Zone 3 for as long as possible then 2-5 minute recovery, repeat and complete cycle with 5 minute cool down.  Number of cycles depends on level of fitness

MISS                         Cardio session where you maintain – Moderate Intensity Steady State (Zone 1 & 2)

HIIT                            High Intensity Interval Training (Zone 3)

Intensity                    The level of demand placed on the body by a given activity

Aerobic                     Oxygen is necessary for sustaining many bodily functions when activity is longer than 30 seconds.  These activities are said to be aerobic; meaning WITH oxygen in the muscles. Example – long steady run

Anaerobic                 Activities that last for seconds and are not dependent on oxygen for proper execution are said to be anaerobic; meaning WITHOUT oxygen in the muscles. NOTE – the body still does generate sufficient oxygen in this state. Example – 20 second sprint OR BODYBUILDING – heavy lifts at low rep range – or jumping – any high intensity movement

Anaerobic Threshold        The exercise intensity at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the bloodstream.  This happens when it is produced faster than it can be removed or metabolized.  This is described as the BURN and GASPING for air


What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients (macros) are nutrients that provide calories or energy. There are three macros that provide different functions (purpose) for the body:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Fat


  • One gram = 4 calories
  • Primarily builds and repairs body tissues/muscle
  • Can be used for energy when diet is lacking calories or carbohydrates
  • 15 – 30% of total caloric intake
  • 1 – 2.0 g/kg depending on goal, activity level and total caloric intake
  • Can be found in meats, fish, eggs & dairy, legumes,  etc


  • One gram = 4 calories
  • Body’s main source of fuel and preferred form of energy
  • Spares PROTEIN for building muscle
  • Needed for central nervous system to function properly (kidneys, brain, heart)
  • 50 – 75% of total caloric intake
  • 25g should include fiber
  • Provides bulk to diet aiding in fullness by keeping glycogen stores full
  • Maintaining proper blood sugar levels
  • Can be found in fruits, whole grains, starchy foods like sweet potatoes or rice, and vegetables


  • One gram = 9 calories
  • Important for normal growth and developments and provides cushion for organs
  • Fat is the most concentrated form of energy
  • Provides TASTE
  • Act as carriers for vitamins ADEK
  • 10 – 30% of total caloric intake
  • Can be found in nuts, nut butters, oils, avocado, etc