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891 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Jun 6, 2007 7:48 PM by runawayjesse
goindownsouth Amateur 469 posts since
Dec 14, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 5, 2007 8:04 AM

What is the best way to calculate the right HR range for me?

Good morning, gang.

A little background on me real quick... I am 6'0", male, and weigh somewhere in the 240s. I have been running relatively consistently for the past year and change, which helped me lose over 80lbs.

I have always heard varying stories on the right HR range for exercise while trying to lose weight. I have been following the 142-or-less thought, based on some things I have read in the LHR training section. But I just want to make sure I am doing things the right way.

For weight loss, is it still safe to say that one should be working out at 60-70% of MHR? Or do I need to refine that some?

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Be well,

  • CoreyH Rookie 55 posts since
    Jul 5, 2007

    You didn't mention your age. Also, do you have any racing goals?

    I would at least consider doing one (max two) speed days per week. Try mixing in some intervals, run medium-fast for 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes. Find some articles or training programs that take you through the myriad of options for this kind of thing. You might find it to be more fun and potentially more rewarding for losing weight than the constant slow stuff.

    There are definite benefits to the long slow approach, but it is not your only option and the whole "fat burning zone" is somewhat of a myth.

  • joedadd Pro 122 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    I was in a similar situation as you, 34, 240 pounds, 5'10". One mistake I made while dropping from 290 to under 220 was running too fast when I was in the 240 - 250 weight range last summer. I began to run intervals and tempo runs because I was bored with my slow pldding pace . One morning i couldn't do anything due to overtraining. I wasn't able to run more than one mile at a time for quite a few weeks. I would suggest slow and steady 70% to 75% MHR with the occasional fartlek to mix things up a bit until your weight is down to close to 220.

    I'll race you to 200 pounds !|src=|border=0!)

    Good luck.


    12/18/2011 - 280 LBS

    10/2/2012 - 248 LBS

    Short term goal - 10/31/2012 - 241 LBS

    Intermediate Goal - 230 LBS by 12/31/2012

    Long term goal - 190 LBS - Sometime in the distant future.

    Running: Complete Broad Street Run May 2013

  • runawayjesse Rookie 538 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    I wouldn't recommend slow running at all for weight loss. The more jogging you do the more you become better at jogging the less calories you burn doing it. This is why some even high mileage runners still watch what they eat. lots of people with the goal of losing body fat do something called HIIT. Much more effective at burning fat. Also a steady weight/strength training diet will do wonders.

    more on HITT-

    HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

    HIIT is a protocol of alternating high and low intensity exercise, for example sprint/walk intervals.

    Research has shown a number of physique-enhancing benefits to HIIT:

    • “High intensity training may prove beneficial if used properly. For example, its potent stimulation of whole body lipolysis during exercise leads to a rapid influx of plasma free fatty acids after intensity is lowered. In this context, it is postulated that performing a notably short, high intensity session, followed by a long duration, low to moderate intensity workout, may optimize lipid oxidation.” (4)

    By following HIIT with a little steady state cardio, you’ll oxidize mobilized FFAs so they don’t re-esterify into triglyceride and hang around. Cool eh?

    • In fact, HIIT may actually curtail the propensity for fat storage:

    ” is highly probable that sprinting-evoked, systemic AMPk activation simultaneously curtails an individual's natural genetic propensity for fat-storage as well. This is because, in response to the rapid ATP-depletion prompted by those repeated, maximal-intensity bouts of anaerobic expenditure, AMPk also works to curtail Acyl-coenzyme A: diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT1) activity and glucose uptake into adipocytes.

    This saves ATP for energy repletion rather than having it "misallocated" to synthesize new triacylglycerol (TAG) in your adipocytes. (5)

    • HIIT has a higher EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) than steady state cardio.

    • It leads to rapid improvements in VO2max and endurance performance (6) – this means you’ll perform better lifting workouts, too.

    • It doesn’t promote the conversion of type IIb (the so-called "pure" fast-twitch muscles) to type IIa slow-twitch analogues (7) (see below, steady-state cardio discussion).

    • And it can help increase carbohydrate metabolism, which can improve nutrient partitioning. (8)

    HIIT doesn’t “work” by burning off fat – it works by stimulating catecholamines (9), and catecholamines strongly stimulate lipolysis in mammals. Plasma fatty acid concentrations increase dramatically immediately after intense exercise, where fatty-acid oxidation decreases. That’s why you do some steady state cardio at the end.

    How often: If you’re going to do any cardio, do HIIT at least once and at most three times a week. Ideally, do it either on its own day, or on a leg day at least 6-8 hours away from your workout.

    If you must do it in the same session as your workout, do it right after, on a leg day. Although this may seem counterintuitive, HIIT is quite the leg workout. Doing HIIT on upper body days may compromise recovery since your legs will have less time to rest.

    What to eat: Because of the strong anaerobic component, feed HIIT the same as you would a lifting workout – target some carbohydrate and protein to provide an available pool of amino acids and to stimulate the cortisol-blunting insulin response.

    For those of us whose diets are lower in carbs, you’ll want a little carb in you pre-workout or you WON’T be able to give these sprints your all, much like a lifting workout. If your carb consumption is ample, just focus on post-HIIT carbs. At least one study showed that post-workout carbs/protein didn't impact FFA burning post-exercise: “in the post-exercise recovery period, muscle glycogen resynthesis has high metabolic priority, resulting in post-exercise lipid combustion despite a high carbohydrate intake”. (10) So your post-workout Nitrean shake with dextrose is fine here.

    Sample 20-something minute HIIT workout

    I do these on side-by-side treadmills. And yes, it looks ridiculous to see me hopping from one treadmill to the other. (11)

    • Three to five minute fast incline walk to warm up (3.5 mph, 3-5% grade works for me)
    • Flat-out (but safe!) sprint for 20 seconds (I do these at 10 MPH, flat)
    • Return to a fast incline walk for 40-60 seconds.
    • Repeat 6-9 times. Try to increase the number of sprints you can do each week.
    • Finish with 10-20 minutes of fast incline walking to burn off the free fatty acids mobilized by the intervals.

    HIIT Variations

    If you’re going to do more than one HIIT workout a week, you could do one with as many as 12 sprints with a 20:40 work:rest ratio, and the other with as many as 8 sprints with a 30:60 work:rest split.

    For those new to exercise:

    Of course, if you are new to exercise, do NOT jump into HIIT! Ease into it slowly – start with steady state a few times a week, then gradually introduce short periods of modestly increased intensity as you feel able.

    For example, instead of sprinting, you could do something as simple as alternating periods of faster and slower walking. While not HIIT, it IS interval training, and will get you used to varying the intensity while you build up your fitness level – particularly if you’re still significantly over fat. As you drop to lower and lower levels of body fat and your conditioning improves, you can increase your “sprint” speed accordingly.

    Another option: Tabata

    For those of you who find a 20:40 work:recovery interval too leisurely, may I suggest Tabata...

    • 20 seconds high intensity work (you should reach failure/exhaustion)
    • 10 seconds rest
    • 8 sets = 4 (really, really brutal) minutes in total
    • You can do it with sprinting on a track (probably the best), sprinting on a bike (also very good), or even with weights (squats, thrusters, chin-ups, push-ups, etc).

    Check out[/URL" target="_blank"> for more detailed info.

    Stubborn Fat Loss protocol

    Toward the end of a cut, when you’ve hit your body fat target (or close) but are left with small, stubborn pockets of subcutaneous fat that will NOT budge, there is a variant of HIIT that may be helpful – the so-called Stubborn Fat Loss protocol (12). I’ll discuss this in an upcoming article (don’t worry, it’s already written) but don’t worry about it for now – after Christmas eats, we’re all FAR too fluffy to benefit from this one JUST yet... <burp!>

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