We all notice it, that one person on the elliptical sweating their face off looking like they might fall off at any moment, and could probably use a drink of cold water. Thinking either, “Wow that person is killing it” or “Is it raining outside?” And then there’s the person next to them who’s working just as hard and for the sake of this article has been on the elliptical for just as long, yet looks like they have a cold breeze blowing in their face. Is one better than the other? “If I’m not sweating does it mean I’m not working hard enough?”
First off, when we sweat it’s simply our bodies attempt to cool us down as our body temperature rises. Whether it’s a hot and humid day outside here in sunny Florida and the AC in your car is broke (God forbid I know, I’ve been there), or you’ve been on the treadmill for 30 minutes walking on an incline, your body is going to react the same. Each individual’s body is different though, we know that. It comes down to a couple of things as to why some people sweat more easily and why some don’t. Some people just naturally have more sweat glands than others just like naturally some people like to talk more than to workout :). People in better physical shape tend to take a bit longer to raise their body temperature, causing them not to sweat as much. Sweating, though yes is a small indicator of having a good workout it’s not what you want to be looking for. Remember the main goal is to burn calories and to lose fat. And for best results you need to try to have your heart rate in what is called the “Fat Burning Zone”. Which leads me to why I wrote this article in the first place.
Now this is where it gets a little tough, but please keep reading! To really get the most out of your workouts and to really know if you’re working hard enough, you need to make sure your heart rate is in your THR (Target Heart Rate) zone for at least 20min. But you also need to make sure you know your MHR (Maximum Heart Rate), which is the most beats your heart can handle in one minute. Sounds like a lot of work I know, but It’s easier to figure out than it sounds. First to get your MHR simply subtract 220 from your age. So for example, if you’re 40 your MHR would be 180. This number is important to know because it tells you the hardest you should be working out. If you ever do get to your maximum zone it’s okay. Don’t dive off the treadmill, just slow down and catch your breath. Now that you know your MHR you can figure out what your Target Heart Rate is. The general rule is you want to be working out at 60 to 80% of your MHR. This is just as easy to figure out, you just have to take your maximum HR, let’s stay with 180, and multiply it by 80%. That gives you 144 beats per minute, so that’s your ideal target zone. So if you were in a consultation with me I would give you a range from 120 to about 165 to try to stay in throughout your cardio workout. But if you can maintain 144 for the entire workout, that’s perfect. You would be well in the “Fat Burning Zone!” Exciting stuff I know, but it really is very important to understand this. Some people just have to look at the elliptical to start sweating , 🙂 so its not always the best sign of a good workout. Use this information to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workouts every single time.
That’s it for now. Enjoy the day and remember “you’re only one workout away from a good mood!”