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Sharpie 03-10-2013 03:07 PM

Exercise Physiology? Target HR?
Does anyone know some good (friendly) exercise communities they can recommend? Alternately, any folks here know much about human exercise physiology who wouldn't mind answering some questions I have typed below?


I had an overuse injury in my knee and through rest and stretching, it's mostly back to being pain-free and functional. I've also been away from home and eating like ... er ... well, not so well. So between the two, I need to get back at it and have downloading myfitnesspal to my phone and gotten back into my running shoes. Soon I'll be home and back in the saddle too.

What's the deal with 'target heart rate'? I read that I should be at about 160bpm, but when I do that I don't feel like I am really pushing myself, and I really want to be able to run faster, farther (and I have a goal of being fit enough that my resting heart rate drops back below 70). Is it bad to work to 190, keep it there for 5 minutes or so, and then ease up until I go back down to 160, and then repeat? I feel like I am really getting a workout when I do that, but feel like I'm breaking some 'rule'. And I don't really want to hurt myself again.

I am watching what I eat, but on days I exercise and burn more calories, how important is it to eat more calories to compensate and keep my 'net' intake above 1375 (estimated BMR)? Does it really matter all that much on a daily basis, or can I just make sure that the weekly total averages out high enough?

livelovelaughride 03-10-2013 06:57 PM

There is a linear relationship between maximum heart and respiration. In other words the higher you are in your maximum HR the faster/deeper respiration usually is. Then it levels off. I'm trying to remember the physiology behind it.

You may be genetically lucky and have the ability to work to your max HR and still think there's lots in the tank, like me. If you are gasping for breath, nauseous, and not sweating, its probably a sign you're too far into the upper limit of your HR or over it. It is possible to train harder and higher over your max. I don't advise this because I don't know your fitness level.

The intensity of your workout will burn more calories in the post recovery phase. The fartlet exercise approach (interspersing periods of high intensity with lower) is fine. Do listen to your body. Being in anaerobic metabolism does create more lactic acid in the body. It's not bad, just takes some time to recover the oxygen debt back to your pre-exercise level. Plus it could make you sore. You sound like you have a high max vo2.

Clayton Taffy 03-10-2013 07:43 PM

Sharpie 03-10-2013 09:21 PM

livelove, I'm glad there's a name for what I am doing! I am not saying that I feel good and can keep going at max HR forever- that 5 min is about all I've got, but I can go again pretty quickly. I don't stop sweating or get nauseous unless I'm riding the heat injury/exhaustion line, which I am sad to admit, can be a near thing down here in the TX heat. Normally though, I'm just sweaty and out of breath when I work that hard. It didn't come easily- I had to join the army and have mandatory workout requirements to get to this point. :)

Great chart TC! I don't think I've actually seen it all laid out like that- just the calculators and the little notation that warns (Target=XYZ) and always has come out to the border line of what your chart labels aerobic and anaerobic. The chart makes it somewhat less 'you're going to die' than the calculators had!

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