In our blog post, “Introduction to Heart Rate Zone Training” we break down what heart rate zones are and why they are a useful hack to help you accomplish your goals faster. I won’t repeat myself, so go read that first and then come back here to learn how this all works in Loops.
HOW TO USE TARGET HEART RATE ZONES WITH LOOPS
Each morning after you complete your 60-second breathe session on your Apple Watch, Loops gives you your Daily Outlook. This tells you what your body is capable of that day.
I know what you’re thinking – you get your Daily Outlook, then what? Each Daily Outlook is accompanied by an activity recommendation tailored to you and your goals.
For example, if your Daily Outlook is an Active Recovery Day Loops will recommend you complete an activity in Zone 2, at 61-70% of your Max HR for the specified duration. Monitor your heart rate during activities using your favourite fitness app on your Apple Watch.
HOW DOES MY DAILY OUTLOOK RELATE TO HEART RATE ZONES?
You may have noticed that there is some colour coordination going on with your Daily Outlooks and the Heart Rate Zones. Yes, that was on purpose.
What does this mean?
Each of the four Daily Outlooks have a corresponding Heart Rate Zone we suggest training in on that day.
Max Performance Day
On a Max Performance Day, your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is dominant, meaning your body is prepared for strenuous physical activity. To be more specific, since your SNS is very active it increases the flow of oxygenated blood that is full of nutrients to the places that need it when exercising, such as your heart and working muscles¹.
On your Max Performance Day, we suggest you complete an activity in Zone 4, at 81-90% of your Max HR for at least 30 minutes. When performing activities in Zone 4, your body is working at its maximum capacity to improve performance. You’ll be breathing hard and working anaerobically, using primarily carbohydrates to fuel your performance.
On Relaxation days your body is experiencing a significant amount of stress either physically², mentally or both, so we suggest you complete relaxation activities that don’t go above Zone 1, 50-60% of your Max HR. We suggest something like a yoga session for 30 minutes.
In order to allow your body to recover you need to engage in the opposite of stressful activities … aka relaxation exercises. So go ahead, have a nap on these days, do some yoga or pilates … even treat yourself to a massage. These types of activities activate the parasympathetic branch of your nervous system to restore balance within your body, allowing you to recover³.
Active Recovery Day
On your Active Recovery Day, we suggest you complete a low-intensity activity in Zone 2, at 61-70% of your Max HR – trying to keep it closer to 60-65%.
You’ve probably gotten an Active Recovery Outlook the day after you completed a hard workout, but likely not your hardest effort. This is because your body has partially recovered. Active recovery works in a few different ways: it places enough stress on the body to encourage it to recover to optimal by increasing blood flow – allowing your muscles to recover and reduces that muscle soreness you might feel after a tough workout4.
Think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears – make sure you keep the intensity low enough to reap the benefits, high enough to make fitness gains, and just enough to recover faster.
On your Rest Day, we suggest you take a passive recovery day and sleep for 7-9+ hours, to maximize your recovery.
When your Daily Outlook is a Rest Day, your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) is working hard bring your bodily functions back to ‘normal’ – lowering your blood pressure, slowing down your heart rate and replacing glycogen (energy for muscles)5.
See … that wasn’t so bad. Get your Daily Outlook tomorrow, set your goal & crush it! You are already one step closer to reaching your fitness goals! 💪