What are your fitness objectives? Strengthening your core? Enhancing your cardiovascular endurance? Losing weight? Gaining flexibility? When selecting the workout tips you plan to follow, ensure you select those that support your fitness objectives. To properly manage your exercise regimen, it is wise to understand and utilize your Anaerobic Threshold, or more commonly referred to as your “AT.” Whether you are taking a cycle spin class or moving to a Zumba beat, the level of your AT can shift the results of your workout quickly and dramatically.
Anaerobic Threshold Simply Put
AT is the heart rate point where your body changes its internal oxygen-providing systems to meet the varying demands of your physical activity. Anaerobic simply means “without oxygen.” For a thorough understanding, we recommend you research the technical description of this physical truth; there are many web references available on the subject. Here, we provide some simple guidelines on managing your AT to help you optimize your workout. Consider these basic AT characteristics:
- Your AT will always be unique to you. Take care to avoid comparisons with other exercise partners.
- Your AT will be different from day-to-day. Diet, stress, sleep habits as well as exercise habits influence your AT.
- Your AT will vary across exercise types. For example, on any given day, your threshold will be one rate in a Zumba class and different rate in a spin class.
Identifying Your Anaerobic Threshold
Since your AT is impacted by many factors, it must be identified each time you warm up for a workout. Heart rate monitors are an excellent tool to help mark your AT and to summarize each completed workout by providing statistics of the time spent above and below that threshold. However, wearing a heart rate monitor is not required.
You can identify your AT by listening to your body to find the point you begin to need additional oxygen. When can you no longer carry on a conversation without taking an extra breath during a phrase? When do you feel a slight tingling in your skin and begin to perspire? These are the physical signs you are at your current anaerobic threshold. This is your decision point; do you maintain this heart rate level and burn fat, or do you crank it up and strengthen your heart?
Managing Your Anaerobic Threshold to Meet Your Fitness Objectives
When your exercise activity raises your heart rate above your current anaerobic threshold, the results of your workout shift from weight loss to cardiovascular endurance. These scenarios demonstrate these targeted zones:
- Your objective is to build cardiovascular endurance: As with any other muscle, your heart is strengthened by causing it to work – by calling on it to provide more oxygenated blood to your lungs. This requires you to raise your heart rate over your AT and maintain that rate for a designated time, typically 50 – 60 minutes.
- Your objective is to lose weight: The fat-burn AT zone is below your anaerobic threshold. This requires you to keep your heart rate just below the point where your body shifts the oxygen supply mechanism and maintain it for the same approximate hour.
Factoring in your Anaerobic Threshold during each exercise session will ensure you are following your regimen plan and will move you toward your goals at an accelerated rate. If we can support you in reaching those goals, feel free to contact us.