Print out this heart rate zones sheet as a quick and handy guide for calculating your aerobic heart rate zones.
When I started my fitness journey September 2016, I did a lot of things the hard way. I had the wrong running shoes (I now swear by these running shoes), I started out with workouts that I may not have been physically ready for, etc.
One thing that I struggled with during my cardio workouts was knowing whether I was pushing myself correctly. I am a little lazy when it comes to cardio exercise. If I don’t walk or jog on a treadmill, I tend to slack off and slow down my pace.
But, how do you know if you’re pushing yourself enough during LISS or HIIT? How do you know (besides it being harder to breathe) that you’re pushing too much, too quickly? That was something that plagued me when I first started my fitness journey.
Thankfully, when I purchased Anna Victoria’s FBG guides 1 and 2.0, she had amaaaaaaazing explanations on the different types of walking/jogging/running cardio and when to implement each during the 12-week guides. It was super helpful when I took my first RunBet challenge. You had to calculate your optimal aerobic heart rate zones using a little bit of simple math.
I used to think I had to memorize my heart rate zones in order to know if I was “in the zone.” When I created this cheatsheet on my notes in my phone, I knew it would be great to also print out. I currently have it mounted at eye level on the wall in front of my treadmill.
FREE Heart Rate Zones Printable
What is Maximum Heart Rate?
Maximum heart rate is the upper limit of what your cardiovascular system can handle during physical activity. (Note: if you are an athlete your maximum heart rate may be a little lower or higher, but this age-based formula works for most people). Most doctors and personal trainers recommend you exercise at 55 to 85 percent of your max heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes to get the best results from your cardio workouts.
Heart Rate Zones
Calculating your heart rate zones is really easy. All you need to do is subtract your age (in years) from 220. This gives you your MAXIMUM heart rate. Then, you use that number to calculate the percentage range for each of the following types of cardio.
LISS – When you hear the therm “fat burning zone,” people are usually referring to this heart rate zone. LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State exercise. A brisk walk for 30 minutes four to five times per week in this zone fulfills most people’s cardio needs. LISS can also be incline walking or light jogging.
LIMIT – Low Intensity Medium Intensity Training is the gateway to interval training. When I first attempted to jog, what I was actually doing was LIMIT. I would alternate between a quick walk and a medium pace jog every 1-2 minutes. If you’ve ever tried the C25k app, this is the type of cardio exercise you are doing to help build your endurance as you work up to a jog.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training is the craze that’s driving the fitness industry at the moment. BBG and the BodyBoss Method are both HIIT workouts. These are designed to be tough! I like to alternate between a light walk (or even total rest) and a full out run (6mph-7mph) for 30 second intervals. I can usually only last 15-20 minutes on the treadmill.
MISS – Medium Intensity Steady State is similar to LISS but at an increased speed. After a while, my body urged me to jog (crazy, right) and this is what I challenged myself with. I typically jogged at 4.5mph for 30 minutes or so. The last 5-10 minutes are the most difficult of this type of cardio as you’re tired and want to slow down. Don’t stop!
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Sprints – This is the most intense form of cardio. Like, INTENSE! The few times I’ve done sprints I needed a 2 minute period of rest or light walking to catch my breath after 30 seconds of sprinting (8mph on the treadmill). It was no joke! Because it’s so intense, you should only do this for about 15 minutes maximum. You won’t burn many calories during a sprint session, but your body continues to burn calories for HOURS afterwards!
I hope you guys find this printable useful! Pin this post for later so you can refer back to the different types of cardio exercises. I’ve found that as long as I set long-term cardio goals, it is easier for me to avoid boredom on the treadmill. For example, during the weeks I did LIMIT, I tried to slowly increase the speed I’d jog at during the medium intensity intervals.
Don’t forget, exercise is free therapy. Get your sweat on today!