Exercise! - ANOTHER Heart Rate Question!

View Full Version : ANOTHER Heart Rate Question!

08-26-2008, 02:14 AM
Can I add my own muddled heart rate question? I didn't want to jack the other thread.

As time and exercise experience move on I'm better able to handle high heart rate zones. I'm easily able to maintain a HR of 161-175, talk, and not have the feeling that I'll vomit or explode. Once I drop the intensity, my HR rapidly drops as well, easily going from 160's to 110's in a minute or so. Once I hop off a machine and head to the car my HR is back in the 50's.

I worry because the Crossramp/elliptical thingy I use lately reads my Polar wireless and shows me in the red. Red is never good is what's been emblazoned in my brain. Red is blood, stop signs, bad bank balances and crazy computers.

For instance, my Polar shows for today's workout (the crossramp set at maximum intensity) shows I was at 90% for 47 minutes, 94% for 12 minutes and 65% for the remainder of my 70 minute workout. Looking over records, back in April when I first got the Polar and was fairly new to voluntary exercise it shows I worked at 50% tops. Also, in April, my hanging out laying around at home heart rate was always in the 90 bpm range (ACK!) where now it's in the high 40 bpm to mid 50 bpm range.

I exercise every single day and consider my workouts to be tough. I challenge myself.

So the questions...

Does this high heart rate and the ability to handle it mean I'm fit or in terrible shape? Like I said, I can breath and converse comfortably while I'm doing it, it drops rapidly when I lower the intensity or stop. If I were to lower the intensity to avoid red flashing lights my body wouldn't feel challenged.

So, is it bad to keep the HR that high for the majority of the exercise session? I'm talking intense cardio, not strength training with my PT (although there are certain moves that really get my heart pumping) or walks. How in the world could I ever do HIIT if my heart rate is high already? Should I ignore the flashing red light and continue on my merry way? It impedes my progress, I actually get intimidated by it! I could go harder, but won't because I don't know the answers.

Because I exercise hard every day I keep a careful eye on my resting heart rate as I don't want to overtrain - per my doctor. Blood pressure is perfecto if that matters. I average out to about 80 minutes a day and don't want to wear myself out or be unable to do this.

I need a Heartrate for Dummies book.

Shannon in ATL
08-26-2008, 04:06 PM
I'm interested in the answers you get to this question too, but I also have a question about your Polar, FB. Which one do you have? I have a really old one that I'm thinking about upgrading...

08-26-2008, 04:39 PM
Ok, keep in mind that "high" is relative.

Personally I think you should quit worrying about the colors on the elliptical or whatever. Remember that those machines are designed to measure an AVERAGE based on a calculation that many consider to be nothing more than a general guideline.

Honestly, I think the best answer to your question is in what you, yourself, said: If I were to lower the intensity to avoid red flashing lights my body wouldn't feel challenged.


08-27-2008, 01:57 AM
Thanks so much for clarifying. I worried I was damaging my heart or something. Now I understand there are no concrete rules. I truly wish there was a good book or resource for understanding this. I'm going to pick the brains of all the trainers at my gym tomorrow. If I learn anything useful, which is iffy I'll report back with more info.

08-30-2008, 06:34 PM
I had the same query and asked my trainer - he basically said that I'm fitter than I think and that the machine flashing red should basically be ignored. Pay more attention to the whole perceived exertion concept etc :)

08-31-2008, 01:38 PM
The fact that your heart rate goes back down quickly means you are FIT. I would trust your HRM - and ignore the colors on the machine.