Tag Archives: Diet Coke

The Skinny on Heart Rate Training

26 Feb

I’ve had a lot of questions regarding heart rate monitors in the last several weeks so I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to the low down on heart rate training.  Heart rate training is quite popular among endurance athletes like marathoners, cyclists, and triathletes.

I first learned about heart rate training when I started training in Spinning back in 1992.  In the beginning it seemed like too much information to me, but after using heart rate training for racing and training athletes, I started to like what I saw .  Heart rate training showed me a lot about my clients.  It taught me when I should push them, when I should force them to go slower, and when they needed rest.  It also made me realize that there was a big difference between how hard the heart was working and how hard people thought they were working.  Through heart rate training I helped people achieve more and learn more about their bodies and abilities.

In many group exercise classes, I teach by RPEs, which is an individuals Rate of Perceived Exertion.  If someone has a heart rate monitor on, I can give them target heart rate zones, but I don’t always like to do that because most people don’t truly know what their heart rate training zone is.  Why?  Because there is a magic formula that most people use that does not account for their fitness level.  What is that magical formula?  220-age will give you your maximum heart rate.  However, if that is the only information you needed, how can you tell me that couch potato and the marathoner have the same heart rate during one of my spinning classes?  You can’t, which is why, if you have a heart rate monitor, you should be using the Karvonen formula, which is the goal standard, to determine target heart rate zones.

Below I have listed an awesome calculator for you to use, once you know your resting heart rate.  All you need to do is enter your resting heart rate and the rest is calculated for you.  To truly determine your resting heart rate, I would advise sleeping with yoru heart rate monitor on a day when you don’t have to set an alarm, which for most people would be a weekend day. Once you wake up, look at your heart rate.  Repeat this on another day and that should be your resting heart rate number.  The reason you don’t want to do it the day you set an alarm, is that your reaction to the alarm could cause your resting heart rate to be much higher.  It could also be higher if you are not well rested.  The lower your resting heart rate, the better.  Keep in mind, genetics do play a role in determining your resting heart rate, but so does does training.  I can remember training a local celebrity who had an extremely low resting heart rate.  Her husband could not understand why hers was lower than his.  She was in excellent shape and her numbers proved it!

To find out your max, you can use the equation, 220-age or when you are working out, sprint as fast as you can and use the highest number you see.  Your max heart rate may differ from one sport to another.  Your maximum heart rate is genetic.

The calculation you use for the Karvonen formula is listed below or you can plug your numbers into an online calculator (see the link below).

The Karvonen formula:

The Karvonen method factors in resting heart rate (HRrest) to calculate target heart rate (THR), using a range of 50–85% intensity:

THR = ((HRmax − HRrest) × % intensity) + HRrest

Example for someone with a HRmax of 180 and a HRrest of 70:

50% Intensity: ((180 − 70) × 0.50) + 70 = 125 bpm
85% Intensity: ((180 − 70) × 0.85) + 70 = 163 bpm

To make it simple, use these five training zones:                                                  1.  Recovery=60-70%                                                                                             2.  Endurance=71-80%                                                                                        3.  Strength=81-85%                                                                                             4.  Intervals/Race pace=86-90%                                                                         5.  Speed/Shorter Racing=91-100%

Try doing the equation or plug your numbers into the online calculator:


I have also included a link on where you can get one and how much you can expect to pay.  I would NOT recommend any heart rate monitor that does not use a chest strap.  Chest straps are for accuracy, so if it doesn’t have a chest strap, I can’t say it’s accurate.  I have been using Polar heart rate monitors since 1996 so I highly recommend any Polar heart rate monitor.  If you are looking for a monitor that just does heart rate training, I recommend a simple model, the Polar FT1 Fitness Heart Rate Monitor, listed in the link below, which is only $41 online.  Other models may include the number of calories you burn and more.  If you are a triathlete, you may want to consider a Garmin, Timex, or Polar watch that monitors your heart rate and also has a GPS functionality.

Go to this link to see the different models and prices:


The 411 on the chest strap, wet the center of the plastic piece with some water from your water bottle.  Women, put it at the bottom of your sports bra and men, place it right above your rib cage.  Once you wear it a few times, you will get used to having it on.  Try to keep the chest strap in the same place so you don’t lose it.

More questions?  Post a comment to this blog or send me an email at Madeline@Madfitness.com

In Health and Happiness from Jamaica,




27 Jan
English: Holiday Edition bottles of Diet Coke

Image via Wikipedia

Today during lunch I stopped to get some gas and I got that craving for something sweet and needed a little boost. Deciding that it was too early to stop at the bar for a Long Island Ice Tea, I went into to the Royal Farms for a Diet Coke.  I only wanted a sip, so as I looked through the large selection, I saw the regular 20 ounce and then a mini 12.5 ounce.  How sad is it that 12.5 ounces looked like the kids’ version to me!  What has happened with portion size in America?  I think it has truly distorted peoples’ perception of what a normal portion should look like.

In America we are fortunate to have so many opportunities and it is a society where more is often perceived as better.  More cars, more homes, more clothes, more surgeries. more jewelry, more luxuries, more food…you get the point.  However, when you travel to Europe, you will often see the opposite.  Overseas, less is often perceived as more and yes the portion sizes are often 1/2 to 2/3 less than here in America.  With smaller portion sizes and more active people, you will see less obesity.  With larger portion sizes in activity, we see more obesity.  It’s obvious what happening.  I’m not asking you to save the world, I’m asking you to save you and your family.

I got the 12.5 ounce bottle of Diet Coke and didn’t feel the need to finish it.  It’s part of my less is more kick.  My goal is to choose smaller portions, by doing so I will no longer drink a 20 ounce bottle of Diet Coke just because it is there.  Who really needs an XL soda or a large coffee???  If I feel like eating a cookie or nuts, I will get a smaller bag.  My body doesn’t need 10 cookies at one sitting nor a pound of nuts.  It needs good nutrition so I can run a strong marathon and teach a great class.  It’s about making1 change at a time for a healthier and happier life!

How will you downsize in 2012 or what change have you made that has helped you lose weight and feel great?  Let me know!

Best tune ever:

In Health and Happiness,

Madeline Dolente