About heart rate.
Heart rate(HR) is measured in beats per minute (bmp). It shows how many times the heart beats in 60 seconds in order to pump blood around the body. Your Standing Heart Rate (HRstanding) measures the number of heart beats per minute when the body is at rest. Your heart rate maximum (HRmax) indicates the fastest your heart can beat to pump blood around the body in bpm. HRmax is only 'indicated' as it's worked out theoretically, using a general formula that in reality can have 20-30 bpm leeway either side, depending on the strength and health of the heart and cardiovascular system of the person being measured. Although there are ways deemed more precise, the quickest way to work out your HRmax roughly off the top of your head is simply:-
HRmax = 220 - your age.
HRstanding is always an actual measured reading as this is very simple to obtain just from counting your pulse rate. An HRstanding reading in the range of 60 to 85 bmp would be indicative of good health. Below that even healthier. Some athletes have standing heart rates as low as 30bmp. Above 85 bpm indicates that you should start taking steps to reducing your HR through diet and exercise. If you have concerns about your heart rate, you should always get your health checked out by a doctor, particularly before you undertake any kind of strenuous exercise.
Heart Rate and Diet.
Cause of high HR.
Being over weight in general, having a high blood pressure, poor circulation, or high bad cholesterol all make it much harder for the heart to pump oxygen and energy in the blood to where it needs to go. Your heart will have to beat many more times per minute just to get the same job done. Furthermore, under these conditions, the rate at which its beat increases will also be faster whilst taking longer to return back to the higher HRstanding.
Reducing your HR.
Diet wise, to do the best you can for your heart rate, you should aim to do what you can to prevent the above conditions. Lose weight if you are over weight, eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, and fibre. Reduce your salt, alcohol and saturated fat intake as all these raise blood pressure. Don't smoke. All these are necessary steps but can only go so far. To really get a strong healthy heart with the cardio vascular system to match, you need to get regular exercise that will workout your entire cardio vascular system and heart as well as your muscles. The Max Outs in The 4 Minute Max Outs along with the dieting guide and food guide are the perfect tools for achieving all of these goals for obtaining a healthy heart rate.
When was the last time you had a medical check up?
Even if you don't have concerns about you heart rate, you should still always get your health checked out by a doctor from time to time, particularly before you undertake any kind of strenuous exercise. If you have underlying heart or respiratory problems, then any high intensity exercise, whether it be sprint intervals, spinning, elyptical sprints, row sprints, or HIIT routines like The 4 Minute Max Outs, are not the best option for you. A form of lighter cardio would be a better option.
Heart Rate and Exercise.
With physical activity your HR will rise during the exercise then lower after a period of recovery, gradually lowering your HRstanding overall long term as you repeat the process over time. This is because your heart and cardiovascular system get stronger and more efficient as a result of cardio exercise. The intensity of the physical activity relative to your own level of fitness will determine by how much your HR will rise in a workout. So getting HR readings during your workout is an excellent way to measure the intensity of your workouts and make sure you are in a healthy range for your heart during your high intensity interval training sessions. You could do this by wearing a heart rate monitor during your workout or by taking your pulse in your workout rest periods. Use the 2 fingers by your thumb to find your pulse on the other arm, at the wrist on the thumb side. Count the beats for 15 seconds and multiply the result by 4 to get your current HR. 100% intensity would be you working out at your HRmax. Although you really do have to push yourself hard to get results, if you are pushing up to and over your indicated HRmax it is advisable to lower the intensity of your workout slightly as to not over do it.
However, rather than rely on the rough formula above, or buy lots of fancy equipment which may or may not be accurate, it's much better and more practical to listen to your body for signs that you might be overdoing it. As already said, there is a lot of leeway in the HRmax calculations as everybody's body is different. Keep track of your own heart rate at various intensity work rates and how these relative increases make you feel. It's important to listen for the tell tale signs from your body's feedback that you might be overdoing it.
IMPORTANT: Listen to your body's feedback.
You don't need to monitor your HR just to know if you over doing it. Discomfort from heavy breathing or muscle tiredness is perfectly normal and part of the process. In fact if you're not experiencing this, you need to work harder. Embrace it and overcome it. It's there to help you! But do listen your body for symptoms such as light headedness, chest pains, headaches, and or nausea. If you experience any of these you should stop to recover before continuing or even stop for the day altogether. As you get fitter from regular exercise, you will do better the next time provided you have allowed for recovery. Remember, if you have concerns about your heart rate or heart, you should always get your health checked out by a doctor, particularly before you undertake any kind of strenuous exercise.
HIIT and HR.
With HIIT routines like The 4 Minute Max Outs, the aim is to get your HR as much as possible between 70% to 95+% of your HRmax during workouts so that you are in the 'maximum cardio benefit zone' for the longest amount of time during your workout. The diagram below illustrates this zone along with the misleadingly named 'maximum fat burn zone' (see the burn fat and tone up section for why the 'maximum cardio benefit zone' is actually the maximum fat burning zone too!). This is the fundamental basis behind HIIT and why HIIT is so effective, you have to push your cardio vascular system to the limit (safely) then take a short break to recover when needed, but only long enough to be able to push your self to the limit for the next short high intensity interval burst. It's this repeated process that will improve your health very rapidly and more efficiently than other forms of training by keeping you training in the 'maximum cardio benefit zone' for as long as possible. The 4 Minute Max Outs use a wide variety of isolated and full body speed, strength and power moves to get you into this heart rate zone quickly and keep you there in a way your body can sustain that level of high continuous intensity through out an entire workout.
HIIT and long term benefits to HR.
Be mindful however, that whilst you have to push yourself as hard as you can to get the best results you can (there is just no point in an easy work out - you have to push yourself), you still can only workout at the level of intensity that your own level of fitness will permit for a session. This level will then increase with regular exercise as time goes on and you get fitter, allowing you to continuously push yourself that bit harder each time. As a result of this you will find your HRstanding will lower and you will be able to work much harder before you reach your HRmax. You will also find that your elevated HR after exercise will return to HRstanding faster the fitter you get. This is all a sign of a good healthy and strong cardio vascular system and heart. This is one of the main aims of, and life changing benefits you will receive from The 4 Minute Max Outs.