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  1. #1
    Senior Member ChrisM2097's Avatar
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    Maximum Heart Rate

    I know that standard, one-size-fits-all calculation is 220-age...but this isn't really a one-size-fits-all approach, in my opinion. Everyone's different.

    Anyways, I'm 35, so according to the above, my HRmax = 185. I'm also 6'2" & 275lb. When climbing hills, my HR is around 165-175 on average, with some spikes up to 185.

    I was curious about what MY personal HRmax should be, so I e-mailed my doctor about doing a cardiac stress test.

    Below is the response:

    "As for the cardiac treadmill test, that is a test we use to risk stratify angina, which is heart related chest pain to see is there may be any potential blockages in any of the coronary arteries.

    Target heart rate for fat burning is 220-your age.
    "

    Now, the first part sounds reasonable, and typical of Kaiser...but the last sentence, according to everything I've read, leads me to believe my Dr. doesn't know what she's talking about. My understanding is that my target HR for 'fat burning' should be around 120, NOT 185.

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Doc is a waste, as so many are. Try:
    http://www.brianmac.co.uk/maxhr.htm
    for several ways to calculate MHR, none of which are accurate. The only real way is to max it out, but that's quite difficult to do. You can search this forum for more info.

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    The 2x20 Anaerobic threshold test posted in this forum is a useful guide to your heart rate zones. The "220 minus your age" is neither correct about your maximum heart rate nor your 'fat burning' zone. And as you probably know, there is no special 'fat burning' zone; you're using fat always but the ratio of fat to other fuels consumed is highest at a moderate level of exertion. So while the doctor knows angina, her answer doesn't indicate that she know fitness.

    Standard disclaimer -- no one should choose to do vigorous physical exercise against the advice of the doctor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Doc is a waste, as so many are. Try:
    http://www.brianmac.co.uk/maxhr.htm
    for several ways to calculate MHR, none of which are accurate.
    Yeah, I've frequently gone 10bpm higher than the highest max heart rate calculated by those formulas, and I don't think I've ever gone remotely close to all out while wearing a heart rate monitor. I can ride for an hour at what the lower formulas calculate as my max heart rate. The ranges indicated by the aerobic threshold test put my true max heart rate 28 bpm higher than any of those formulas indicate. So they may be right for the middle of the bell curve of a population, but I don't know that they are useful for an individual.

    So perceived exertion is a good way to start, and then doing the threshold test at an appropriate point will fine-tune the numbers for those who love numbers. And a laboratory test will get even more precise figures but at a cost.

  5. #5
    Question Authority JoeMan's Avatar
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    One method I have been expermenting with is monitoring calorie per hour use on my heart rate monitor (Polar 100RS). This has helped me define my percieved effort scale more precisely. This method is especially helpful if you are taking blood pressure medications.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisM2097 View Post
    Now, the first part sounds reasonable, and typical of Kaiser...but the last sentence, according to everything I've read, leads me to believe my Dr. doesn't know what she's talking about. My understanding is that my target HR for 'fat burning' should be around 120, NOT 185.
    It's all bogus.

    I'll attack the fat burn question first: When you start out your body will start burning free glucose, guaranteed. Then the pancreas releases glucagon to start burning glycogen (converts to glucagon). Glycogen is hard to replenish (you must eat), and so once your system has had time to get everything warmed up it'll start releasing proteins into the blood to initiate lipolysis (conversion of fat into blood sugars).

    The conventional wisdom that you must keep your body working for, say, 10+ minutes is actually accurate. Beyond that it's raw calorie burn: that VO2[max] and heart rate stuff is all voodoo. Typically if your heart rate is high, it means you're under high demand and thus burning more calories--in fact some people calculate their calorie burn based on heart rate to gauge intensity, and only worry about doing enough exercise (i.e. half hour or one hour sessions) and burning raw calories.

    Really, there's a lot of moon people here who think that when your heart rate goes up by 10BMP you're suddenly burning a lot less fat. Like somehow you're gonna burn 600kcal instead of 400kcal but not only are exactly 0 of the extra 200kcal you burned fat, but most of the other 400kcal that was fat is now something else (protein, sugar, glycogen...). Similarly, plenty of people like to argue that the 400kcal at (say) 120bpm is 300kcal fat and 100kcal other, whereas the extra 200kcal at (say) 160bpm is like 5kcal fat and 195kcal other.


    As for your max heart rate, I've found that the calculation works for me. You should never pass MHR - 10% from what I've read; what I've found by experience is that my body refuses to pass 175, and my MHR is 194--that's 194 - 19 = 175. I've made it do it on an occasion or two, for several seconds; it's not like you work 10% harder, it's more like you start spinning at 250RPM and climbing an ass-steep hill and you keep doing it until you die, and maybe you'll exceed MHR-10%. Yes, it's red-line, it's not a thing your body will pass willy-nilly. The treadmill test should give you a graph that'll show where you peak out.

    Climbing doesn't red-line me as often as biking and I'm very peaky. This is today's climb.

    Own: 2010 GT Tachyon 3.0
    Own: 2013 Trek Domane 2.0 + Revolution REV22 wheels

  7. #7
    Seņor Blues on the path's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
    As for your max heart rate, I've found that the calculation works for me. You should never pass MHR - 10% from what I've read; what I've found by experience is that my body refuses to pass 175, and my MHR is 194--that's 194 - 19 = 175. I've made it do it on an occasion or two, for several seconds
    Doesn't work for me, no way. I've been asking about this in a 50+ thread. I'm 56, so that calculation has me at 164 bmp for MHR. I've tried a bunch of other formulas and the number typically comes up at around 170. Last night I averaged a HR of just under 160 for 90 minutes, and I maxed at over 180. Numbers sound way high for someone my age, I know. But in reality I experienced relatively little discomfort for the entire ride.

    Btw, your explanation of fuel burning was excellent.
    IMO, FWIW, CFM, YMMV, E PLURIBUS UNUM

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by on the path View Post
    Doesn't work for me, no way. I've been asking about this in a 50+ thread. I'm 56, so that calculation has me at 164 bmp for MHR. I've tried a bunch of other formulas and the number typically comes up at around 170. Last night I averaged a HR of just under 160 for 90 minutes, and I maxed at over 180. Numbers sound way high for someone my age, I know. But in reality I experienced relatively little discomfort for the entire ride.
    Forget it. People differ enormously on this. I am 57. I still see numbers in the 180s from time to time, frequently go over 170, have a LTHR of about 156. On the other hand, my average HR on a ride is always much lower than that of a buddy of mine. He's 45, has a max over 200, and will average >160 while I am ticking over at 130 or so. Doesn't stop him killing me in a sprint, though.

    The formulae are bunk. Your max HR is what it is. There's nothing you can do about it and no need to worry about it.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
    Seņor Blues on the path's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Forget it. People differ enormously on this.

    ...........

    The formulae are bunk. Your max HR is what it is. There's nothing you can do about it and no need to worry about it.
    Yeah I'm with you. I made occasional glances at the HRM last night, but I was so immersed in the ride that the numbers meant very little to me.

    I'm starting to think that there are effective ways to train that will produce significant improvement that don't involve obsessing with these kinds of numbers...at my level anyway. If I was competing with world class cyclists, it would be a different story. But I don't think that will be happening any time soon..
    IMO, FWIW, CFM, YMMV, E PLURIBUS UNUM

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