Exercise! - Understanding my new heart rate monitor




hotmama2b
03-02-2008, 12:15 PM
Or maybe I should have titled this thread, "NOT Understanding my new heart rate monitor" lol

Quick background -- I've been exercising faithfully coming on 2 years and have lost close to 60 pounds, give or take, but the noticable change has been in my body shape and tone.

Spinning has been the cardio kick I have come to enjoy the most, and I weight train faithfully with a trainer. I just now bought a heart rate monitor and am actually kind of shocked at its readings. I almost don't want to believe what it is saying! btw - I got the Polar F11. It's a pricier model, so I can't imagine it is inaccurate?

What it is telling me is that when I spin, I am averaging at 85% of my max HR, and my calorie burn has varied between 700-950 calories for the almost hour. :?: Does this AT ALL seem accurate??

And with interval weight training hard for an hour (and for an example, I would do 3 min. hard on the treadmill or elliptical, set of 20 ball squats/curls/shoulder presses with the 15s, 20 crunches, 20 push ups, then back on the treadmill for 3 min... three sets of all that total -- and my HR is up there to my max of 183ish. That's a hard workout and we'd do that for 3 sets, then superset other lifting for the rest of the time.. i'd burn 700 calories there...

So - -my question is -- if this in fact, is what I am burning, how in the world do those of you who have been successful losing, manage the calorie burn with the appropriate intake? I love to work out, but am questioning if I am working out TOO hard. The HRM tells me i'm averaging typically 85% of my max for entire workouts. Is this too much?? My trainer thinks it might be a bit high.

I guess my problem is that I am either eating too much, or not enough - and thereby being less productive. My weight hasn't budged in MONTHS, and while I am always feeling more "fit" and even a little more 'toned" every day -- I just want to see the pounds coming off.

I'm actually getting really discouraged, but if it were not for the *high* I have found my working out, I probably would have just plain stopped and gained all my weight back!

Any input is sooo appreciated!

thanks!;)


Meg
03-02-2008, 12:54 PM
Hi Hotmama (bet you are!) and congratulations on your fabulous weight loss! :bravo:

HR monitors are great sources of info, aren't they? I have an F6, so not quite as fancy as yours, but love it. :D

I'm not at all surprised at the numbers you're seeing while you're spinning (fantastic workout!) and doing regular cardio and think you're right about where you should be. 85% is moderate to high intensity cardio, which is great for fat loss and calorie burn. I typically average about 90% doing a half hour of cardio and often get pretty close to 100% of max on peak intervals. But you and I are both advanced exercisers and can handle those HRs without a problem (isn't that cool?!)

Same with your cardio circuits, like you described. They can get your HR as high or higher as traditional cardio. In fact, the highest HR I've ever gotten on myself (over 100% of max) was doing a heavy set of BB squats, which we don't typically think of as cardio!

If your HR numbers are fine, which I think they are, it sounds like you're wondering if your nutrition plan is supporting your exercise program and weight loss goals. Can you tell us a bit about it? Are you following a plan? Do you count calories? Are you weighing and measuring and writing down what you're eating? If you can tell us more about your plan, we can help you tweak it to get your weight loss back on track. :)

And :woohoo: for your love of exercise!

Azure
03-02-2008, 01:24 PM
Meg--you rock ;) Just sayin'. Also, I use a Polar F6 and I LOVE IT.

HotMama--If you've got your age/height/weight/gender programmed into it--then it's giving you the right numbers! During my cardio kickboxing class (45 min intense cardio, 10 min abs, 5 mins stretching), I burn anywhere from 550-700 calories depending on how intensely I'm working. If I half-*** it, I burn less, if I push myself to the limit, I burn more! I've heard that spin classes are SUPER intense and major calorie burners--with your HR that high, it's not surprising that you're burning more calories. From what I've read 85% is great for steady state cardio--if you're going to do SS, it should be intense! It provides more "afterburn", the more intense your workout is. ;)

Congrats on your new toy--I love my HRM. It keeps me motivated to push harder and go to the gym more often.


Meg
03-02-2008, 01:42 PM
Meg--you rock ;) Just sayin'.

Right back atcha, chickie! :hug:

hotmama2b
03-02-2008, 03:53 PM
Thank you ladies! You are both such an inspiration! :carrot:

Well, in response to my nutrition.. I really do need to make an appointment with a nutritionist because I need something in writing to better discipline myself.

A typical weekly workout schedule would be:

Spinning: 50-55 min. / 3-4x per week
Elliptical/Arc Trainer: 1-2x per week

Weight training (heavy with trainer) - supersetting/some interval 1-2x per wk
Weight training (light to moderate) -1-2x per wk

In general I am at the gym 5-6 days per week doing the above.

Eating..
This is probably my troubled area:

Typical breakfast: half whole grain bagel with 1 teaspoon (not tablespoon) of cream cheese; or Kashi cereal (1% or skim milk)

Mid-AM snack: Myoplex Lite/Muscle Milk Lite protein drink (approx. 120 cal, 20g protein); OR half a Kashi Go Lean bar or some other protein bar. Half because the ones I get are about 230 cal.

Typical lunch: 4-6 oz. of lean turkey on whole wheat wrap, spicy mustard, one slice of cheese, loaded with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, & green peppers. OR chef's salad; dressing is no more than a couple of teaspoons because I actually don't like dressing!

Afternoon snack (1-2 hrs. before gymtime): either another lite protein shake, OR the other half of my protein bar OR small handful of almonds/roasted no salt cashews.

...off to the gym where i'll burn at least 700 calories...

Dinner: can widely range.. from a chicken bake dish I'll make for the family, with a starch like brown rice, or pasta; frozen veggies (which I always prepare with some seasoning and/or salt/pepper. OR if we do order pizza -- i'm really disciplined about it.. i'll eat one slice of cheese and always order a garden salad and eat that..

AFter dinner -- I am sometimes hungry again.. i'm always hungry :( I will snack on something like some crackers.. only whole grain stuff in myhouse, but I might grab a handful of those or a yogurt to take the edge off so I'm not going to bed starving.

According to my HRM week before last I burned over 6,000 calories for the week... I really worked out quite hard that week and of course if I don't see immediate results, I get discouraged. The following week, I only made it to the gym 3 times due to scheduling and burned only about 2,700 calories. This AM I was down about 3 pounds, however I was also finishing up my period and do drop a few --- so I'm sort of discounting that.:?:

Well, you get the idea.. in addition.. water - I drink plenty of it, in case that question comes up too! I'm no perfect, so there are weeks I am going out with the girls and eat more than the usual, but I figure I am working out SO hard, that I should still see some weight coming off.

Whew! Thanks again for your input! I really need to see that nutritionist. :?:

Azure
03-02-2008, 06:15 PM
I don't know what the exact calorie count there for a normal day is for you, but it's looking a little low to me personally (just eyeballing what you posed). Try making an account at FitDay or Daily Plate and tracking all for food for a few days to see where you're at.

To lose weight, depending on your height and current weight and because you're working out so hard, I would say eating between 1400-1600 calories a day (or cycling them, with high and low days). You're working your body hard, and you've got to feed it enough while you're at it!

hotmama2b
03-02-2008, 06:28 PM
I don't know what the exact calorie count there for a normal day is for you, but it's looking a little low to me personally (just eyeballing what you posed). Try making an account at FitDay or Daily Plate and tracking all for food for a few days to see where you're at.

To lose weight, depending on your height and current weight and because you're working out so hard, I would say eating between 1400-1600 calories a day (or cycling them, with high and low days). You're working your body hard, and you've got to feed it enough while you're at it!


Well, I think you might be right and it's something my trainer has said.. he wanted me at 1400-1700 a day, actually.. and I do track my food in a journal, so I know there are days I am under that. The other hurdle we have discovered with me is that I am actually afraid of food! I am SO afraid of gaining weight back, that I just stop myself from eating enough some times. I know that might sound warped... but sadly if there IS a day I am unable to get to the gym, it is as if I forget that I work out altogether and eat probably too much that day!

On Gym days (which is most), I am obsessive about what goes in my mouth and that is a challenge for me :( I wish I could just "eat to live", not live to eat. :( I don't want to sabbotage myself, so that is why I come to this forum..I know there has to be someone out there who understands my fears.

My next order of business is to get rid of my sized 18-22 clothes that are still sitting in my closet. Why the heck am I keeping them?? My one friend said, "get rid of them! You are never gonna be that big again!" Why can't I believe her!?

OH - it is so mental, isn't it?:(

Azure
03-02-2008, 06:59 PM
It is more mental than it is physical, by far. Most of us didn't become overweight or obese because of our genetics. Most of us became overweight or obese because we have a warped relationship with food. Food is our therapist, our best friend, our drug of choice.

My sister is a pot smoker--she's also done other illegal drugs and has been a binge drinker. I used to judge her so harshly for her addictions, wonder why she was doing things that hurt herself and others. It wasn't until I began my weight loss journey this last time, and began looking at my deeper "issues" with food that I came to realize I was just like her. Maybe my drug of choice wasn't illegal, but I would use food to numb my emotions, just like she used drugs for the same thing. We were both self-medicating.

I understand your fears. Completely. I'm finally coming away from the anxiety I've had every other time I've tried to lose weight. I've been at this weight (about 155) three times before in the last two years, so close to goal. And I've sabotaged myself ten pounds in the wrong direction, and it's been a rollercoaster of losing and regaining those 10 pounds--why? I think part of me has been afraid to be at my goal weight. Sounds crazy, but I think it's true.

This time, I have a new feeling about it. I'm no longer anxious and afraid, just determined. It's awesome that you have a trainer working with you (supersets and HIIT tells me that you've got a trainer who knows his/her stuff, too!), and maybe a trip to a nutritionist or therapist might help. You know you should be eating more, and you know that obsessing about food isn't healthy. Obsessing is what got me in trouble every other time I tried and failed...I've stopped obsessing this time around and lo and behold! I'm losing weight, and I'm not stressed or anxious about it.

Hang in there, hon. You can do it...you might have to face your emotional demons, but you can face and defeat them, too.

hotmama2b
03-02-2008, 07:27 PM
I understand your fears. Completely. I'm finally coming away from the anxiety I've had every other time I've tried to lose weight. I've been at this weight (about 155) three times before in the last two years, so close to goal. And I've sabotaged myself ten pounds in the wrong direction, and it's been a rollercoaster of losing and regaining those 10 pounds--why? I think part of me has been afraid to be at my goal weight. Sounds crazy, but I think it's true.



Azure, I have long said I was afraid of being thin and only someone overweight could understand that! I have thin friends that just don't grasp that, but it is very real. I am not really sure what I am afraid of?:?: Well, I am going to make that appointment with the nutritionist and I'm already in marital therapy (another story about a marriage on the mend).. I might be all therapied out! lol I am going to take a different approach on the food, and maybe just not think about it so much... just eat well and not obsess.

Thanks! PS -I'm originally from Mass. :D