Training for a healthier Heart

Victor Williams

March 12, 2021

Curious how you can achieve your fitness goals without overworking your body?

While many people exercise for the aesthetic benefits that come along with consistent exercise, many folks looking to start a training regimen aim to improve their overall health, how they move and how they feel when they move.

It’s common knowledge that improving fitness generally means lowering the risk for things like coronary heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases that can be reversed by a consistent training regimen and balanced healthy diet, but what isn’t common knowledge is how to go about implementing a training program that will produce the desired effects as it relates to heart health and lowering the risk of these diseases.

“Isn’t all movement, good movement?” you might ask. Sure, while making sure that you are active does tend to help you maintain a healthier body for longer, many people - trying to achieve some sort of life hack or shortcut to weight loss/health, work way too hard for the results they’re after that can end up in overtraining, which is arguably worse than not training at all.

So, how can we make sure you aren’t working too hard, which can counterintuitively produce negative results? The best thing you can do is start from square one and build your aerobic baseline and that usually means going much slower than you would think. Eighty percent of your workouts should be low intensity, YES EIGHTY%. Unless you’re a competitive athlete, the benefits of training frequently at a high intensity or are hard to find. Being that most of us spend the majority of our lives at a low intensity, shouldn’t we spend time making our bodies more efficient at what we do a day to day basis? That’s the true meaning of functional training.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that HIIT training doesn’t carry tremendous benefits once you have given your body time to build up to the demands of intense training, I am just saying that - for body recomposition, fat loss and the improvement of cardiovascular health - low intensity training (on a scale of 1-10, somewhere between 4-6) is the way to go, which a small dosage of high intensity training mixed in here and there.

The best way to ensure that you’re training in the right heart rate zone (zone 2 for baseline development, zone 3 for capacity development) is to purchase an accurate heart rate monitor that you should use with every training session. I strongly recommend using the Polar h10, which is used in many clinical studies and research programs with organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). I use polar every day in training and can personally speak to how much it’s helped me improve my overall fitness. While Apple Watches do monitor heart rate, I’ve found them to be very inaccurate for myself or for the people I work with - sometimes by as much as 70%.

Bottom line - burn fat, improve heart health and lose weight by following the 80/20 rule, which means 80% low intensity training and 20% high intensity training. Mix in heavy lifting (without burning until failure) in order to build strength and muscle. If you want to build muscle mass and add inches to your chest, arms or something like that, then we want to work until failure.

Remember, you don’t have to do all of this yourself - I’m here to help and can build a program based off where you are to get you where you want to go! Whether in person, virtual or online coaching, I’m here to serve and help the best I can.

Happy Training!