Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

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sgupta
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Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby sgupta » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:43 pm

Hi all!

Nifty community. =)

So I need some help/feedback re my heart rate and thought this might be a good place to post and get some expert/other user opinions. I'm 33, 5'11", just under 230 (I started my journey at ~250, so making progress!), and have been using an incline trainer as my primary exercise for about 7 months now. I started at 7 days a week (3 of them with some stretching, light free weights, abs, etc.), but I think I overtrained a bit I think, so I'm now doing it 5 days a week, excluding holidays, to give myself a few more recovery days (though I often do some light things like short walks to a family member's or something those days). My health is generally good...a little bit of prehypertension, which I'm working to get down and having some success with.

Anyways, onto my questions about Cardio Training. Since I'm 33, 220-33 = 187, which should be my ballpark maximum heart rate. My Incline Trainer (for those not familiar, it's a treadmill that can go up to 40% incline) comes with exercise programs to get in shape...several of them...which seem to be very effective (they add variety...some are steady...some have intervals, etc.). I always get a really good workout, and completed the first 3 (Level 1) treadmill (low incline) workouts no problem (honestly they were a bit easy), and the first of 3 (Level 1) higher incline workouts no problem (harder but very doable). But now I'm on the second of the higher incline workouts for Level 1 and starting to get a heart rate that approaxhes max (monitored with a Polar Monitor).

I've heard you should keep it at around 85%, which in my case is 158. Unfortunately I'm now regularly exceeding that (some of these workouts have inclines up to 30% or so, which is a challenge even at 1-1.5 mph speeds). I put a "hard cutoff" at 177 (~95%), where I keep the incline but reduce the speed of the machine to the slowest possibly setting until my heart rate falls, but it concerns me a bit that I'm hitting that.

I feel fine when this happens. Obviously it's quite a workout, but there's no pain, dizziness, etc...I am taking deeper breaths and such, but I don't feel "short of breath" or otherwise uncomfortable. If I pay attention to my heart I can sort of feel it, but again, it's not a feeling I'd describe as particularly uncomfortable. Also my average heart rate for the whole workout is still well under the 158; these bursts are typically for a few minutes max (as most of these workouts either ramp up in incline then back down or have intervals of some kind).

So my questions:
1.) Am I okay to keep working at these workouts as is, reducing speed when I hit the 177 (so ideally I'll never hit the 187 - I did that before and it was scary even though I didn't feel bad)?
2.) If I keep at this, will my heart rate eventually start to fall during workouts like these? I'm a bit disappointed if I'll never get beyond these workouts. [There are probably 10+ levels, and I'm still on level 1...]

Especially since getting into these higher incline workouts, I'm having more success losing weight, so I'd really like to continue. By the way, I do have a doctor's appointment coming up in February and I do hope to discuss this with her as well. I'm also aware that my MHR could be higher than the estimate, which I think is likely the case since I hit it before without feeling ill, but as my father died of a heart attack fairly young (on a treadmill, no less), I really am not comfortable pushing it too much...

Thanks all for any advice! I really want to get in shape, and this machine is working great for me, so it's going to be frustrating if I can't advance at all!

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Boss Man
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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby Boss Man » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:41 pm

Hi Shaun.

I would suggest you try perhaps switching to a lower intensity level 2 workout and working from there, as you might have hit the ceiling limit on the level one workouts, it might be time to move up a bit and see how that works out.

You definitely did the right thing scaling down from 7-5 days however.

Are you doing the 5 days consecutively or not?

sgupta
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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby sgupta » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:59 am

Thanks Boss Man,

Interesting...I hadn't considered that idea, but it's a good one. Thanks!

You think at the end of the day this would be more beneficial than continuing the high incline workouts I'm doing now then (and slowing down when heart rate gets too high)?

Should my heart rate eventually fall to something where I'll be able to do these?

Thanks!

sgupta
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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby sgupta » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:03 pm

Oh, and somehow I forgot to answer your last question. No, I'm generally skipping Tuesdays and Thursdays. So that gives me Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (and I do light weight training, abs, pushups, stretches those days) and then Saturday and Sunday as treadmill only days. Occasionally (holidays or days I'm really busy late or didn't sleep well the night before, etc.) I allow myself an extra skip too, but it has to be for a legitimate reason.

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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby Boss Man » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:36 pm

The good thing is you're not caning the cardio and allowing some rest.

As for the alteration to treadmill settings suggested, I don't know how your heartrate will differ in terms of MHR or THR, as there's many differing factors that could affect it like viscerol fat levels around the hard, are their any issues pumping the blood, vasodilation levels in the arteries influencing rate of bloodflow etc.

sgupta
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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby sgupta » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:50 pm

Yeah. I did about six months of 7 days a week with almost no skips (only skips were travelling one day and getting ill two, and even other days I was still a little ill but feeling better I was trying to work out), and I knew something was wrong when I started getting twitchy, irritated, tired, and just generally feeling awful (plus achy in my legs). So I ended up taking ~2 weeks off completely around the holidays before starting again and seem to be doing much better with allowing for more rest and flexibility. I seriously think I may have overtrained from reading up about it (which is something I didn't realize could happen at the time). I suppose the positive is, since I was motivated enough to do 7 days a week, 4-5 days a week seems easy now, and I'm glad I proved to myself I can stick with it, but yeah...sometimes you can do too much of a good thing.

I do have excess weight that's slowly coming off. As far as vasodilation, I've been working (with a doctor, who I see again next month) to get my blood pressure down a smidge. I'm taking garlic, cayenne, fish oil, and some arginine/citrulline to help with the BP (and promote vasodilation in general), along with some other basic vitamins.

As I said, I feel quite good working out - these concerns are mostly about what's best for me in accomplishing my goals of becoming more fit without overtaxing my heart in unhealthy ways.

The more I think about it, the more I'm tempted into trying the Level 2 low-incline (treadmill-based, essentially) workouts as you suggested could be appropriate. I have a feeling you're right and those will be very doable for me while keeping my heart rate inside the target zone. My only concern is potentially losing progress at a steeper incline, but I have a feeling if I get in better shape at a lower incline, that should assist eventually in tackling the steeper workouts anyways. And the Level 1 treadmill workouts would be way too easy at this point.

My only other alternative would be repeating the first Level 1 incline program I could do (got me around the 85% mark but not consistently over), but I already repeated it once and am a bit bored with it even though it's a great workout. So maybe moving on to Level 2 for something new and interesting is the ticket.

Thanks again, and any other feedback is of course very welcome and appreciated!

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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby Boss Man » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:34 pm

Well don't get hung up about things like a "fat burning zone" as that's not that accurate.

For example in relation to heart rate it's oftne been suggested that.

50%-60% is for general fitness.

60%-70% is for fat burning

70%-80% is for stamina

80%-90% is when you're bodybuilding

90%+ is when you're doing really hardcore bodybuilding.

However that second range or array relating to THR is a bit ropey, as fat burning could be very realistic when working in the 80%+ range and as 1lb of muscle burns an extra 45-50 calories a day, then upto a point bodybuilding can permit muscle gain and fat burning simultaneously.

So if you're doing cardo and looking for a limited varience in relation to a desirable % of THR, then don't bother.

The overtraining or going stale as it's also known that you eluded to in the past sounds defintitely like what you were doing and hopefully with the couple of days rest injected into each week, you'll be much able to cope with the rigours you put your body through, especially if you keep the off days split, as opposed to training 5 days straight then having 2 days off.

sgupta
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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby sgupta » Thu Jan 30, 2014 2:27 am

Thanks for the great feedback, Boss Man!

Well the good news is I decided to start Level 2 of the treadmill routines per your suggestion. If anything, it's a tad easy (though the first one generally is, then they ramp up). But that certainly tells me you had the right idea. Also, these concentrate on a bit higher pace at moderate inclines. My problem with the higher incline workouts is, the incline's staying around the same heights as the ones I could do, but they're increasing speed, and I must not be conditioned enough for it. So this should possibly help.

As it looks like the treadmill workouts will ramp up a bit slower, by the time they start to get challenging, I'll be ready to try that incline training one again that was giving me the high heart rate.

Thanks much for the help once again! I'll be careful not to overtrain as well!

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Boss Man
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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby Boss Man » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:36 pm

Keep believing and no worries :).

sgupta
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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby sgupta » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:39 am

=)

toddhicks209
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Re: Help Regarding Incline Training and Heart Rate

Postby toddhicks209 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:34 am

If you are unable to continue using this machine that's working well for you due to health reasons, ask your doctor for advice on doing other exercises and using other machines.


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