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  1. #1
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    avg/good heartrates

    I had to to a fitness test today and I got all my heartrates measured, but I have nothing to compare to.

    I was a 65 at rest, peaked at 165 during an intense 3:30 stairclimb excercise, and was at 92 within 10 seconds of the step excercise. The trainer wrote all the stuff down but wouldn't comment on the results. I'm just curious whether this is a good level or not, and what other people's heartrates are in similar situations I guess.

  2. #2
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    Hmmmm... first of all, making comparisons to others is useless. The reason why you get tested is because everyone's heart rates are unique to the individual. So you get nada, zero, zip, nothing by asking what other people's heart rates are in similar situations. What, you're gonna compare me, a 5 foot 1 woman to you? Are we exactly the same physique? Are we even the same sex? What is gained from that?

    Second, if your trainer won't comment on the results, they are either 1) morons who don't know what the significance of the tests are, so they can't explain, so they act like they can't tell you anything, or 2) they boggarting your results and just don't want to share. Either way, if you pay for the session, and they run a test, you are to have the results. What, you are doing the test for their amusement? Why the heck did they perform a test on you if not to give you results? Can you imagine going to college for 4- 5 years and not receiving one report card, then on graduation day, they say "hey seely, you aren't graduating. You never performed to satisfactory expectations". What, how are you supposed to know what your performance was so that you could graduate! Tests are made so that people can find out what their capabilites are, and the results are there to tell you how you are doing and what you can do to improve. Period.

    Beyond that, the test they gave has very little to nothing to do with what your goals are for cycling. If you are looking for heart rate ranges for cycling, you need a CYCLING test. Stairclimb? What the heck is that about? You are a CYCLIST, not a STAIRCLIMBER. What, are you training for the "Hustle up the Hancock" stair run in Feb '05? What? Didn't this trainer know you are a CYCLIST, and that you're training for the upcoming cycling season?

    We trainers are supposed to train you for your field. The tests given are for folks who are looking for general fitness, so for them, it's ok to have a step test and stair test. But for those who are into running, cycling, rowing, or whatever else your field is, you should be tested in your field (I assume you are not new to exercise). And trainers are supposed to interpret your test results for you. When you finish your test, they should write up what your results are, explain what they mean, and set some goals for improvement, as well as put together a training plan for you so the next time you take the test, we can look for improvements.

    What, was this a trainer at Bally Fitness or something? Sheesh!

    I'm not upset with you... I'm upset with the trainers out there who have no idea of what they are doing, and on top of that, they confuse the clientele. I see all kinds of trainers when I'm out in the health clubs, and it's especially troubling to me when I see them demonstrating nonsense moves that make no sense or have no basis in reality, and it makes me upset to see trainers acting in a completely inane and irresponsible manner- it just doesn't help you any, does it? I almost ripped a hole out on a trainer at one of my gyms this morning. Then I took a deep breath, called over the manager, and proceeded to write up a 2 page report on what I saw this idiot doing wrong, and gave her a 30 minute lecture on what she needed to do to improve her staff. I pay good money to belong to that gym, and I ain't paying for incompetence! Neither should you.

    Get a new trainer. Run Forrest, Run!

    Koffee

  3. #3
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    No they are good trainers, and it was free... its for a cycling trip I am going on. They want to make sure we don't die on the trip and are in reasonably good shape before we go. The stairclimb was just to guage our recovery from a short intense workout as I understand it. I think our professors had told them not to give us our results, but the trainer gave me mine and just said she couldn't really comment on them. I'm thinking its because they don't want us to go into the trip with any preconceived ideas or something. The goal of the trip is to learn about biochemistry, fitness and nutrition and the role they play in an active persons life (hence why we are biking 700 miles). I think we also do this as a before/after thing so we can see some improvement when we get back. I just asked because I don't know anything about heartrates and was hoping someone could shed some light, sorry if it kinda rubbed you the wrong way.

  4. #4
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    I had to to a fitness test today and I got all my heartrates measured, but I have nothing to compare to.

    I was a 65 at rest, peaked at 165 during an intense 3:30 stairclimb excercise, and was at 92 within 10 seconds of the step excercise. The trainer wrote all the stuff down but wouldn't comment on the results. I'm just curious whether this is a good level or not, and what other people's heartrates are in similar situations I guess.
    Yep. I second what Koffee said. The trainer sounds like a bone head.

    From your avatar you look like a fairly young chap. I'd be willing to bet you could push your MaxHR over 190 if not 200. A 3:30 minute stair climber session will not allow you to obtain anywhere near your true MaxHR. Besides max heart rates are sport specific, i.e. your running MaxHR will be different from your cycling MaxHR. Also, a person's MaxHR or Resting HR have no bearing on their athletic performance. They are only useful for you to guage your own training/fitness.

    Give the 2 x 20 test a go and see if you get different results
    2x20 Anaerobic threshold test
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

  5. #5
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Mine's usually in the upper 40's at rest normally. In bed, it hits the low 40's. Lately it's been at 42-43, I can get it to dip into the 30's if I'm relaxed and not thinking about much.
    After 20-30 miles, if I hit a hill and crank it up, my max heart rate jumps to over 190.
    For comparision, I'm 22.

  6. #6
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Hm, I'm 22 too. I am curious enough now to go buy a HRM finally.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    No they are good trainers, and it was free... its for a cycling trip I am going on. They want to make sure we don't die on the trip and are in reasonably good shape before we go. The stairclimb was just to guage our recovery from a short intense workout as I understand it. I think our professors had told them not to give us our results, but the trainer gave me mine and just said she couldn't really comment on them. I'm thinking its because they don't want us to go into the trip with any preconceived ideas or something. The goal of the trip is to learn about biochemistry, fitness and nutrition and the role they play in an active persons life (hence why we are biking 700 miles). I think we also do this as a before/after thing so we can see some improvement when we get back. I just asked because I don't know anything about heartrates and was hoping someone could shed some light, sorry if it kinda rubbed you the wrong way.
    For testing general fitness, as I said, it is not a horrifying manner to do so. BUT if you are trying to use these values for cycling, that's a NO- and they are BAD trainers if they can't make your results crystal clear to you and explain the results to you so that you have confusion on what these test results show. She SHOULD really comment on them. If she can't, then she probably DOESN'T know what the results mean, and that's why she really can't comment. It's incompetence, and it shouldn't be tolerated, even if it's free.

    There is definitely a better way to conduct this trip to learn about biochemistry, fitness and nutrition- they are really being about as non-scientific as it gets when you use general fitness tests for cycling, and you have no clear manner to test your theories and come to some solid conclusions. At the very least, they should give you better testing methods that are a bit more scientific than this. A stair and step test is not going to change within a weekend. No one is going to be that fit in a short amount of time to see a difference unless you are tested scientifically (and even then, you will not see any real results in a weekend either).

    What rubs me the wrong way is the incredible incompetence of people who are supposed to be professionals who do more harm than good, then leave the person being tested with more questions than answers. And one day, you will seek the advice of another professional, and that person will be left to clean up the mess of the idiot you were working with on the stair and step test.

    Koffee

  8. #8
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    The trip is a month long... 700-800mi... across Australia. We did a bio impedence (I think thats what its called) test too, that was interesting. The guys leading it have a PhD in bio chemistry and organic chemistry, and the organic chemist is the chair of our chemistry department. I would hope they know what they are doing. The trainers we used were mostly grad students with one faculty supervisor... like I said, we are not supposed to know our results, so I dont really blame them for not telling me how to read the data at all.

  9. #9
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    Got it. A month may show some kind of improvement... perhaps for the newer exerciser, they will see a significant change. But for the average exerciser, it may not show enough at all, which may prove to be discouraging if there are avid exercisers going on the trip.

    If they are keeping the results to themselves because they are conducting a study (and therefore, cannot tell you what the results are), then it's not your right to ask. It's known that if people know what the parameters of the test are, or what the researchers are looking for, they could skew the results by trying to produce the results the researcher is looking for. In your case, the trainer would have been better off to firmly tell you that you cannot have the results of the tests because knowing the results could actually cause you to spoil the testing! BUT at the end of the test, it is always a courtesy and expected by the researchers to give you the results of the test, the write-up involving your participation, and they should explain what those results mean for you.

    Bio-impedance tests are interesting.... sometimes, I can believe in them, and sometimes I can't. For them to work optimally (in my opinion), you have to be dry, but not dehydrated, you have to know how much exercise you do for the researcher, and you have to know what time of day you eat for each of the meals. Then they take all kinds of measurements from you (ie hip, weight, height, etc.), and if everything is spot-on accurate and you are pretty (anally) precise, I think it can be a good thing.

    Good luck to your trip.

    Koffee

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    Koffee, my first reaction (assuming the initial perception the trainers were good) was avoidance of liability. I see way too many lawsuits over simple things such as this, which is too bad.

    But I too am concerned about HR because I am 45 and when I am trying to keep up with my local group for a 50 mile ride, I will ave. 160 bpm. Will a quality stress test by the local clinic show me anything?

  11. #11
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Mine is currently 78 resting, and I guarantee I can get it up over 200 by just running 100 yards around the building once, but then the elevation 13,500 feet here has something to do with it.
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    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    Mine is currently 78 resting, and I guarantee I can get it up over 200 by just running 100 yards around the building once, but then the elevation 13,500 feet here has something to do with it.
    You'd think your blood would aclimate to it rather than just your heart beating faster.

  13. #13
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid
    You'd think your blood would aclimate to it rather than just your heart beating faster.
    A bit of both. Blood thickens over time by dehydration and red cell production, but I think the O2/CO2 exchange rate can only improve so much without faster flow. The ancients who came up here on foot, without Merrell boots, GoreTex or SUVs, were real troopers.
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  14. #14
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown

    Bio-impedance tests are interesting.... sometimes, I can believe in them, and sometimes I can't. For them to work optimally (in my opinion), you have to be dry, but not dehydrated, you have to know how much exercise you do for the researcher, and you have to know what time of day you eat for each of the meals. Then they take all kinds of measurements from you (ie hip, weight, height, etc.), and if everything is spot-on accurate and you are pretty (anally) precise, I think it can be a good thing.

    Good luck to your trip.

    Koffee
    Interesting, I was wondering why they asked me about how many hours I exercise, and measured my hydration levels.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LapDog
    Koffee, my first reaction (assuming the initial perception the trainers were good) was avoidance of liability. I see way too many lawsuits over simple things such as this, which is too bad.

    But I too am concerned about HR because I am 45 and when I am trying to keep up with my local group for a 50 mile ride, I will ave. 160 bpm. Will a quality stress test by the local clinic show me anything?
    Go to the local university or a performance lab in your area and have them test you for max hr, lactate threshold, VO2 max, and while they're at it, they can look at your results and tell you at what hr you're using calories from fat and what heart rate you're using calories from carbs. If you can't afford to have everything, I would say the most important thing is to go for a VO2 max test and a max hr test. Chances are, if you're concerned about those numbers, you don't really have a good idea of what's going on with you during training rides, which means you have no idea of how to train and improve so that you're not "trying" to keep up, but that you will be instead having THEM "trying" to keep up with you. You feel me?

    Koffee

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    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    Go to the local university or a performance lab in your area and have them test you for max hr, lactate threshold, VO2 max, and while they're at it, they can look at your results and tell you at what hr you're using calories from fat and what heart rate you're using calories from carbs.

    Koffee
    Koffee, this is all fascinating to me. I had no idea that you could do anything more than look up your age on a chart to find out your max heart rate. I would love to find out what hr burns fat vs. carbs. Is this one of those that is dependent on age? What would, say, a 42y.o. female's heart rate need to be? I always wonder what is better on my 52 mile rides - higher heart-rate/faster speed or slightly lower heart rate which, of course, means a longer, albeit slower ride? Still in my target zone, of course.

  17. #17
    H23
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    Go to the local university or a performance lab in your area and have them test you for max hr, lactate threshold, VO2 max, and while they're at it, they can look at your results and tell you at what hr you're using calories from fat and what heart rate you're using calories from carbs.
    ....

    That sounds really interesting. How much do tests like that cost?
    How do I find a place that will do them?

    Does any university with a sports medicine program do this stuff for the general public?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3cannondales
    Koffee, this is all fascinating to me. I had no idea that you could do anything more than look up your age on a chart to find out your max heart rate. I would love to find out what hr burns fat vs. carbs. Is this one of those that is dependent on age? What would, say, a 42y.o. female's heart rate need to be? I always wonder what is better on my 52 mile rides - higher heart-rate/faster speed or slightly lower heart rate which, of course, means a longer, albeit slower ride? Still in my target zone, of course.
    Because individuals are all unique, there's no real way to tell you what a 42 year old female's heart rate would be. There are other factors in play, such as weight, muscle mass, VO2 max, etc. that work together to determine your heart rate parameters. Only a test would give such information accurately, which is why I tell people to get tested. A performance lab could do this for you.

    Metabolism slows as you get older due to bone loss, as well as reduced hormones in the body. Some people's metabolism slows faster than others- say... if they haven't exercised enough, or if they have less muscle mass. Metabolism can be tested, and so can heart rate as well as the amount of oxygen you take in while exercising (while increasing the intensity of the exercise over a time period until you are at your maximum intensity). It can vary from person to person, no matter what the age. I've seen some young folks with low lactate thresholds and low maximum heart rates, and I've seen older individuals with very high lactate thresholds and high max heart rates. I've seen numbers all over the spectrum of heart rates for different ages, sex, etc. It would be impossible to determine what your values are from talking to you. Tests give you specific values, and they can let you know what you need to do to improve.

    Without even knowing what your real values are, it would be nearly impossible to talk about a "target zone". And target zones will vary depending on what you're looking to train.

    A test would definitely answer a lot of your questions.

    Koffee

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by H23
    That sounds really interesting. How much do tests like that cost?
    How do I find a place that will do them?

    Does any university with a sports medicine program do this stuff for the general public?

    Tests vary in cost, but I can't tell you what the cost will be. I've seen it as cheaply as $75, and as much as $250. It depends on what you want to test, and what the facility charges for each test.

    I can't tell you what the local universities do and don't do. All I can do is tell you to start by calling them up and asking about testing. If they can't, or won't, ask for a place you can go that will. I haven't ever run into a university that doesn't test the general public, but try them anyway. Also try the different fitness clubs and see if any of them offer these tests. Some of them do.

    Koffee

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    In the Dallas area, my understanding is the Cooper Clinic will perform these tests. I'm going to check it out and will post my results...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LapDog
    In the Dallas area, my understanding is the Cooper Clinic will perform these tests. I'm going to check it out and will post my results...
    Very cool... let us know when you go in for testing!

    Koffee

  22. #22
    Senior Member trirmk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H23
    That sounds really interesting. How much do tests like that cost?
    How do I find a place that will do them?

    Does any university with a sports medicine program do this stuff for the general public?
    H23, check out http://www.cadencecycling.com . It's probably close to your location (I think Baltimore?) because it's in Philly. VO2 max tests and lactate profiles are going for $150 per test I think.

  23. #23
    MB2
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    I had my VO2 max done by Fitness Concepts a few yrs ago. They're in the DC metro area. Not sure what they charge now. They sponsored our bike club and so we got a break on the tests.
    Testing was done while I was on my bike. I had a true maximal test. Info I got included:
    (Results for 54 yr old woman at 60.3 Kg and 166.4 cm
    VO2: 2.76
    HR at AT: 157
    endurance HR: 141
    RQ: 1.02
    VEb: 102.7
    O2/Kg: 45.7
    I burned 138.28 cal
    5.00 g of fat
    22.15 g of carbs

    and more, incl HR zones. Test lasted 17 min on bike and I could barely turn the pedals by the end, I was so out of breath and fatigued. I think my max HR was something like 173. It hought I was going to die, which seemed to mean it was pretty maximal.

    I found it very interesting, but the numbers are specific for me on that January day.

    Mary

  24. #24
    Redrider pfknob's Avatar
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    Koffee:
    I just started reading this thread and it appears that you are the knowledgeable one when it comes to training. I appreciate your comments and I learn a lot.

    I am a fast-recreational cyclist and I have been riding for about a year. I am 44 yrs yound w/ a max hr at 190. My resting is 55. I use a Polar S520 on my rides and I love it. (Santa's bring me a 725 and Mrs. Clause is going to inherit my 520).

    What is the method that you use to calculate the different training zones? For example, I had been using the simple MHR x 65% - 79% for aerobic zones, etc. I came across the Kavroen method which is based on subtracting your resting HR and then multipying it by the result at the various zones, and then adding back your resting HR. Obviously, using the Kavoren method is going to give you higher training zones.

    Your advice/experience would be appreciated. I may have some follow-up questions. Thank you.

  25. #25
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    The best way to calculate different training zones is to get tested at a performance lab. Seriously, I advocate testing over anything else if you're serious about training. You may think you know your max heart rate, but without a test, you could be underestimating or overestimating. Most of the time, I find that people underestimate max heart rate, which can throw off your training a bunch, since you end up training at lower heart rates than you actually could, which makes you slower and less fit.

    You're in San Diego... there is a performance lab there at the San Diego State University that is VERY good. It is a good investment in your training, but if you're serious about training, and you want to be exact, then I would highly recommend them. But before you go paying for the test at their exercise physiology labs, call over and see if they're doing any research with that department where you could volunteer for the testing. Then it'll all be free, and they'll give you a readout of everything they're testing you for. Either way, they'll tell you what your max heart rate is, what your lactate threshold is, and your VO2 max heart rate is. Then based on your training goals, they can tell you what your training zones will be.

    Well, if you can't afford to do that, then try out the 2X20 anerobic threshold test I posted a while back: 2x20 Anaerobic threshold test. It is not as precise as being tested, but it can come pretty close if you're honest and follow the test. I've taken both and been off with the 2 X20 by about 5 beats. It's not bad to be off 5 beats, but at the time, if I went by the 220- age, I would have been off by about 11 beats, which would have meant I would have been undershooting everything.

    Koffee

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