Analyzing Heart Rate Data
by Coach Seiji
Here's a heart rate file from a Crossfit workout last week performed by Coach Brandon and Coach Seiji's basic analysis. This is just one example of what your heart rate data can tell you.
0 to about 30 minutes: Brandon was doing mobility. Yes, it feels low intensity but his heart rate is still much higher than at rest...metabolism is elevated already and it's in a predominantly fat burning rate.
30 to 50 minutes: Brandon is actively warming up for the WOD (Workout of the Day for those non-Crossfiters out there). The main purpose of a warm up is to "activate" all fuel systems. Roughly speaking, a warm up should touch the low, middle and high part of the fuel system continuum from predominantly fat, mix of fat and carbs, and predominantly carbs. Brandon does a good job touching the first two heart rate zones but didn't activate the higher zones. If this were say a competition WOD (or before a moto), he would want to make sure to get into these upper, carb dominant zones to "prime" those fuel systems so that they activate without a hitch. For more on this and how it applies to motocross, read this article.
50 to 70 minutes: The WOD (or workout). The first elevated plateau is a run in which he admitted he didn't sprint. He just cruised so in a way it was also a warm up for him. Again, in a competition setting, he would want to do this in an actual warm up routine and make sure he touched the higher zones. You can see that during the WOD, his heart rate elevated over the first half of the WOD then stabilized. This stable area is his Lactate Threshold, or the intensity level where he is still able to clear lactic acid from his system so he doesn't crater. In a competition setting, you want to get there quickly (helped by a good warm up) then hold that level for the duration of the WOD, which means you were going as fast as you could go without a fallout.
70+ minutes: WOD is over but heart rate is still elevated caused by the higher metabolic demand of recovering: refueling muscles and liver with glycogen, beginning the muscle repair process, etc. NOTE: for all you weight loss peeps, this is where you are really losing weight; the hours afterwards where your heart rate and metabolism are elevated and you are burning calories at a much higher rate than at rest...a reason to workout in the morning...as soon as you go to sleep, your metabolic rate drops.
Okay, that's a brief overview of what a person's heart rate might look like over the period of a workout. Wearing a heart rate monitor and tracking results can be a very powerful tool in one's overall training program. This is just one example I thought you might find interesting.
That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.