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Protect Your Heart, Part 1: Understanding Heart Rate Zones

Protect Your Heart, Part 1: Understanding Heart Rate Zones

February 12, 2019

Tis the season: hearts are everywhere. Chocolates and love notes aside, let’s use February to talk about how to protect your heart: and no, we don’t mean swiping left or sliding into DMs. Your heart is one of the most essential parts of your body, and the first step is understanding exactly how heart rate zones work.

Knowing your heart rate zones is a great first step in understand how hard you are working, and how your body is responding to your workout.  Your heart rate might be much different from the person next to you depending on age, gender, fitness level, and individual variations,and that’s ok.  A good start is to find YOUR Maximum Heart Rate, using this simple formula: 220 minus your age.  Once you have that figured out,every workout will fall into one of the 5 zones.

Zone 1 is you just existing. As you start the class and gradually warm up, you’ll find that your heart rate rises gradually as you get warmer and warmer, moving you into Zone 2.  Think about using Zone 2 during your warm up before the real work begins.  When doing a steady workout, you might have aimed for Zone 3 and stayed there for the duration if your time on the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike. HIIT workouts are going to demand frequent bursts into  Zone 4 and sometimes short ventures into Zone 5 before coming back down for a rest.  Hit that interval hard, take abreather as your heart rate comes down, then get ready for more intervals working back into these high zones.

As you get into the workout and work your way into these high zones, pay attention to your breathing, the pounding of your heart,the searing in your muscles.  Listen to what your body is telling you, and push yourself into that zone that is just gets you uncomfortable.  

The great news is that HIIT workouts are great for your heart and body!  Like revving the engine on a car, these ensure that your body gets to experience the whole range of intensity levels that steady endurance alone can’t offer.  And as you get fitter, the same intensity workout will start to feel that little bit easier and you can push yourself harder!

Stay tuned for the next of our Protect Your Heart series: the best foods for heart health.


Catalyst Fitness member James Thompson is a 4-time National Championship- winning rower who competed for the Canisius High School, West Side Rowing Club, and Cornell University teams. He currently competes as an elite level cyclist with the Shickluna Bikes/Catalyst Fitness cycling team.

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Protect Your Heart, Part 1: Understanding Heart Rate Zones



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5 Ways to Actually Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

January 15, 2019

Passing the weight ball

Right about now is the time where most people give up on their resolutions.Be honest with yourself- where are YOU with your own personal goals?Are you on track to lose those 10 extra pounds? How are those jeans fitting? Is every macro really getting tracked?

Getting back to your pre-baby figure or losing your love handles are worthwhile endeavors, for sure. But to keep your motivation from flagging, you need to focus on something deeper — a goal that will sustain you well beyond 2019 while giving you a profound appreciation for the transformative power of exercise.

The good news: it’s never too late. Science has proven it takes three weeks to develop a habit, and we haven’t hit that yet! So rather than aspiring to a purely aesthetic goal, dig deeper with these five resolutions:

Be a goal-GETTER, not just a goal-setter

Commit to participate in at least one fitness event that you’ve never tried before. Choose something appealing and challenging, whether itbe a new niche class, a fun local 5k or a yoga fest. Make it even more meaningful by signing on to an event that raises money for a cause,like the Ride for Roswell. Then, dedicate yourself to training toward that goal.

Rewrite your genetic blueprint

Does heart disease run in your family? Start running! Exercise has a remarkable ability to help us overcome our genetic lot, whether it’s a predisposition to a physical illness or a mental disorder. Take your fitness regimen the next level and make yourself the strongest branch on your family tree.

Model a healthy lifestyle for others

When your health improves, it shows — and not only on your waistline.Taking care of yourself gives you more confidence and improves your mood. Yes, your family and friends might give you some good-natured teasing as they see you entering macros into My Fitness Pal or getting up early to hit that 6AM Sprint class, but in time, they’ll be inspired to follow your lead. By modeling a healthy lifestyle,you’re doing a good deed for those you care about — and gaining new training partners in the process!

Perform better

Staying active helps us move through our days with ease. We have better balance and straighter posture. We eat more mindfully and sleep more deeply. We take fewer sick days and have fewer problems concentrating. When you resolve to improve your performance in 2019,you resolve to become the most resilient version of yourself.

Bring structure to your life

In order to dedicate yourself to healthy living, you have to allocate time in your schedule to working out. When you do that, your days become more structured, helping you stay organized and on top of your goals — personal and professional. At the same time, you’re more adaptable when life throws disruptions into your routine.

Motivated to stick to your New Years health goals? Enroll in our January special now!

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