The Cardio Zone
Author: Tedd Falk Training zones became popular when fitness equipment manufacturers started putting the green, yellow, and red heart rate charts on their equipment, but many were probably wondering what it all meant. Isn’t cardio just cardio? Today we talk about the cardio zone, and how it can benefit you. So where does the cardio zone fall into our colorful heart rate zone chart? The cardio zone begins after 70% of your max heart rate, and within this 70%-100% are a few sub classes of the cardio zone. The first, being the aerobic zone. When you are you working out in the aerobic zone, you have probably begun to jog or run, instead of walk, and have started to sweat at a good rate. However, you are still meeting oxygen demands to where your muscles are not deprived. This is typically the zone to train in if your goal is to increase your heart and lung capacity, or in other words, your endurance. Uh oh, that angry dog just started to chase you down the street. It’s time to turn the afterburners and break into the anaerobic zone. The anaerobic zone is a tough zone to maintain and we are now turning to the muscles in an oxygen deprived state where you will begin to build up lactic acid. Well that doesn’t sound good at all, why would I want to be in this zone? Training in the anaerobic zone will improve the maximum amount of oxygen you can consume (Vo2 max) and you will also burn calories at a faster rate. But if I can only handle this intensity for a short amount of time, I won’t burn that many calories right? There is some truth to that, which is why it’s good to vary between aerobic, and anaerobic exercise (Hello Interval Training!). Last up is the red zone or the max zone. You literally cannot work any harder and probably wouldn’t be able to say a single word in between breathing. This is where a high level athlete might train within a sprint regimen and it will help build overall strength. At this point you are also burning about 90% carbohydrates and 10% fat. Cool, you now have a basic understanding of the cardio training zone. Now go out and do some cardio!