Archive for June, 2008

The 5 Heart Zones

Monday, June 30th, 2008

After about 4 months of using my Polar F6 heart rate monitor, i have learned that working out at different heart rate ranges affect the body differently and that working yourself out at maximum exertion is not necessarily beneficial to your body. In fact, there is an optimal target depending on your personal goal. I also learned that working out on the upper zones is not cumulative (i.e., that you DO NOT gain the benefits of the other zones below it).

In the book Heart Zones Cycling by Sally Edwards and Sally Reed, they describe two methods for determining these heart zones: either by figuring out the maximum heart rate (HRmax) or aerobic treshhold (aka VT1). These are practically identical except for Zone 5 where the treshhold based range is further subdivided into 3 subareas (5a, 5b and 5c). For simplicity, I wil just outline the one based on maximum heart rate here which divides the heart zones from 1 to 5.

Zone 1 (50% to 60% of HRmax)

  • calories burned come from 10% carb, 85% fat, 5% protein
  • less than 4 calories per minute
  • VO2: 28 to 39
  • first point of aerobic benefits
  • calories come primarily from fat
  • used for maintaining a healthy heart
  • improve metabolism
  • mood improvement
  • improved self-esteem
  • works well for a gentle recovery ride
  • reduces blood cholesterol
  • lowers blood pressure
  • stabilized body weight

Zone 2 (60% to 70% of HRmax)

  • calories burned come from 15% carb, 80% fat, 5% protein
  • less than 7 calories per minute
  • VO2: 40 to 58
  • used for building skeletal muscle mass
  • decreases body fat
  • improved aerobic function
  • increase mitochondria
  • more efficient fat metabolism
  • ideal for warm ups and cool downs

Zone 3 (70% to 80% of HRmax)

  • calories burned come from 55% carb, 40% fat, 5% protein
  • less than 10 calories per minute
  • VO2: 49 to 70
  • oxygen consumption
  • VO2max increases
  • endorphins, a stress reducer, are released (resulting in cyclist’s high)
  • key fitness zone
  • builds resistance to fatigue
  • increased endurance
  • builds cardiovascular efficiency
  • improved appetite control

Zone 4 (80 to 90% of HRmax)

  • calories burned come from 70% carb, 25% fat, 5% protein
  • less than 15 calories per minute
  • VO2: 71 to 83
  • improved fitness and endurance
  • aka high intensity training
  • stressful for a beginner
  • not an easy training zone to stay in
  • high physical stresses

Zone 5 (90% to 100% of HRmax)

  • calories burned come from 90% carb, 5%fat, 5% protein
  • less than 20 calories per minute
  • VO2: 84 to 100
  • also known as red-lining
  • zone above lactate treshhold or first ventilatory treshhold
  • athletes suffer pain
  • high intensity
  • not sustainable
  • heart can not contract at or near its maximum for long
  • taxing oxygen capacity
  • stay too long and reach complete exhaustion

So what do these numbers mean? I guess the bottomline here is that how hard you need to work out depends on your primary goal. Is it to loose weight? Is it to increase your athletic performance (like ride faster when cycling) or extend your endurance (increased distance when biking)? One can also deduce from this that there is such a thing as a “sweet zone” when working out. If you overdo it (aka overtrain), you risk working so hard that it will take longer for your body to recover or you could be in pain (and with very little gain at that). This could be among the reasons why people who try gym memberships eventually give up after a few months when they think feel they’ve been working very hard at the gym and yet don’t get the results they expect.

By the way, in case you’re wondering how to figure out your maximum heart rate, a quick and easy formula for HRmax is: 210 – [your age] (this is in beats per minute). I also found a formula for calculating HRmax on wikipedia but the quickie version works similarly to what my Polar F6 calculates.

Related links:


San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County. from Kyo Suayan on Vimeo.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Now in HD. Where the Heck is Matt?

14 months in the making, 42 countries, and a cast of thousands.

How was your weekend?

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Anthony’s Birthday 2008 from Kyo Suayan on Vimeo.

After doing some game testing at EA last Saturday morning we went to Anthony’s birthday party in San Mateo where we spent most of the afternoon. It was nice and warm out there and had some relaxing time to catch up with friends. When we got home, I plugged in the PS2 and played FIFA ’08 which I thought was pretty good (well detailed) and something a hardcore soccer fan would probably enjoy.

Following day was Father’s Day and after mass we had lunch at the Banyan Garden where they serve a fusion of Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai and Chinese dishes. The Roti Canai was probably even better than the one at Banana Leaf in Milpitas and the Pineapple Fried Rice was OK (don’t tell my doctor!).

We passed by the Union City library after that and I then did a quick 45 minute edit of the video and photo montage from Anthony’s birthday. We had an early dinner at Chat Patta Corner for some Chole Bhature (really good when enjoyed straight from the kitchen) then a quick grocery run for the week at the Safeway nearby. We rented Will Ferrell’s Semi-Pro (which was so-so compared to Anchorman and Old School) and The Bucket List featuring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson which I thought was pretty good.

Then it was Monday again.


5 Minute Visit to the Mothership

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Anna won some tickets to the San Jose production of Disney’s High School Musical so we took the kids in the middle of the week and it was Kamille’s last day of school anyway (and despite the fact that I still have not recovered from a Killer Tomato attack on Sunday).

Incidentally the Center for Performing Arts was just right across the Adobe headquarters so I took the opportunity to take some snapshots at their lobby on Almaden boulevard. I must admit I’m a huge Adobe fan.

Adobe HQ, East Wing

My Kind of Shop Window!

Adobe Window Exhibit