*UPDATE* Psychological Effects of Heart Rate Monitor Use Study

12/21/2010: Preliminary results were reported at Indoor Cycle Instructor in October 2010. Manuscript in preparation. Once published, results will be made available on this site and at ICI.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


8.26.08: I did this training session today on the ArcTrainer (some of you know it as the Gazelle?). You can do this on any cardio machine, a Spin bike, running, skating... whatever. Just be aware of your chosen modality's mechanism for increasing your heart rate (increasing resistance? increasing incline? faster pace?).

Purpose: To take control of your day. To accept a challenge head-on, and insist on owning it. (Background: Medical school, as it were, has a way of making me feel like I'm not in control of my life at all times. It makes me anxious. I decided to take my only 55 minutes of free time and conquer that anxiety, through a specifically designed training session. Ever feel like that? If not, find something else you want to work for!)
HR Parameters: Maintain 80% MHR for the bulk of the session. Recoveries at 75%; dipping no lower than 75%... HR *not* reaching 85%. Remember: training juuuuuuust below lactate threshold (the point where we switch from fat-burning to sugar burning) helps us to increase lactate threshold! What these HR parameters accomplish: 1) Increasing our fat-burning level; 2) Setting a difficult, but manageable, goal. 80% is no joke... remember, that's "comfortably uncomfortable" -- can talk with a lot of effort, but you HATE it.

Preparing for Battle (Warmup/Intro Effort: 7 mins)
3 mins: Gradually build up to 65% MHR.
2 mins: Gradually build up to 70% MHR
2 mins: Gradually build up to 75% MHR

Go Get It. (15 mins)
5 mins: 80% MHR (adjust resistance/pace to maintain HR)
45 seconds: 75% MHR
5 mins 80% MHR (adjust resistance/pace to maintain HR)
45 seconds: 75% MHR
6 mins 80% MHR (adjust resistance/pace to maintain HR)
2.5 mins: 75% MHR

Key points: Remind yourself of the goal you started with. Close your eyes any time you get bored. Find a groove, a rhythm you can make your own. Talk yourself through it.

Focus and Breathe (~10 mins)
SPEED INTERVALS: MAINTAIN 80% THROUGHOUT (quick recoveries at 75%)
Find 80%. Find two songs (~ 5 minutes long each) with choruses that make you feel empowered. Pick up your pace at the chorus, while BREATHING your HR down. Do not let your HR come up higher than 5 beats past 80%. In between these aerobic intervals, recover to 75%... as soon as you hit it, load the intensity again to ensure not to dip below 75%. You are training yourself to recover while still working very hard.

Count it down. 3 more... 2 more... 1 more. Don't worry about how many seconds each interval last -- find the chorus... you know when it's coming, you know when it's ending. Anticipate each one - and when that chorus is just about to kick in, BAM! Power with control. Keep that HR at 80%.

One More Time (~15 mins)
5 mins: 80% MHR (adjust resistance/pace to maintain HR)
30 seconds: 75% MHR
5 mins 80% MHR (adjust resistance/pace to maintain HR)
(Tell yourself how refreshing the last 5 minutes are going to feel... almost there....)
5 mins: 75% MHR... nothing higher, nothing lower!

Cool Down (~3 mins)
Keep moving til you get back to 50-55% MHR. Keep moving and breathing. Then go stretch and foam-roll and tell yourself you're awesome.

*Music Tips: The Riddle by Marco van Bassen is an amazing 5.5 minute song that is PERFECT for that 5 minute sustained 80%. For the aerobic intervals, I've been rockin' "First Time" (Lifehouse) and "What Do You Want From Me" (Cascada) a lot. Another good song for the sustained 80% movements is "Pump It Up" (Danzel) -- which, as an aside, I can't stop blasting in my car either...

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