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Posts tagged ‘exercise’

Calculating the %of VO2Max to train at.

We already know what Vo2 Max is, why it is important to train it and at what intensities we should train to improve it. Now all we need to figure out is how to calculate those percentages to know  if we are training at the right intensities.

Let’s not forget that training intensities between 40-89%Vo2Max can improve the aerobic capacity in normal people. This means that people who are not in such good shape can train at 40 %  of Vo2Max, or even lower, and already see improvements, while people who are in better shape will have to train at higher intensities. Remember that two of the ways to improve VO2Max are by:

High Intensity Interval Training ( 80-100 % Vo2Max)- Only people who are well fit should train at those percentages.

Long Slow Distance Exercise ( 50-65% Vo2Max)- The run should usually last longer than 30 minutes.

Ok, so now the moment we have all been waiting for, how to calculate the intensity of Vo2Max you are working at. So, we do this through a method called the KARVONEN METHOD. It works because it is based on the linear relationship between hear rate and Vo2 with increasing work.

The steps you have to do are the following:

  1. Calculate your Heart Rate Max ( 220 minus your age)-This formula is not exact and the potential error with the standard deviation can be +-11 beats per minute.
  2. Calculate your  resting HR- It is usually better to do it in the morning
  3. Calculate your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)- This equals Heart Max- Heart Rate Rest.
  4. Target Heart Rate (THR)- This is the heart rate we want to work out.

Remember that there is a linear relationship between heart rate and Vo2 with increasing work. That is why this formula works. So let us say that I want to work at 80% of Heart Rate Reserve the formula would be as follows..

THR= HRrest +0.80 ( Heart Rate Reserve)

I will use myself to put things more clearly. I am 34 years old, my heart rate at rest is 58 and I want to train at 80% of Vo2 Max.

  • Heart Rate Max:220 -34= 186
  • Resting Hear Rate: 58
  • Heart Rate Reserve: 186-58= 128
  •  THR= 58+0.80 (128)  and my Target Heart Rate would be 160.4, meaning that if I wanted to work at 80% percent of my VO2Max my heart rate would have to be at 160 beats per minute

I know it seems a little bit complicated but once you get the trick of it it will be quite easy and your training’s will be much more effective!!

Try it out and let me know if it works. Until next time




The myth of high repetitions. Do you really tone up by doing more repetitions?

Everyone who has ever gone to the gym probably has heard that ¨if you want to tone up or lose fat you have to do more repetitions¨, but is this really true? Well, in principle it is, but most people do it wrong, let me explain.


It´s not the repetitions that make you lose weight, it´s the time that your muscles are under stress, which it turn will make them burn more calories and at the end cause you to tone up or lose fat. So when the trainer at the gym gives you a training plan and tells you to do certain exercises, and tells you that you have to do 12-25 repetitions, you have to have certain things in mind:

  • First, you should chose a weight that allows you to perform 12-25 repetitions at a slow controlled tempo. Meaning chose a heavy enough weight, but a weight that you can control.
  • Second, like I said before, the most important thing is TIME. It makes no sense to do the exercise fast,  that is the mistake most people make.
  • Third, the object of high repetitions is to increase the time our muscles are under stress to burn more calories.
  • Fourth, when you do the exercise your muscle should be under continuous tension for 60-120 seconds.

So now, let us imagine you have to do 20 repetitions for an exercise, every repetition should at least take you 3 seconds to perform, to reach the minimum objective of 60 seconds. The American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine usually recommend a tempo of 2 seconds up, 2 seconds hold and 2 seconds down.


Also, something very important and that people usually forget is that, after you are done with your ¨set¨ or exercise, you should only rest in between 30 to 60 seconds. We don´t want our heart-rate to go down and we need to keep moving to continually burn calories.


A good training that is effective for this type of workout is a circuit training. A circuit training consist of for example 6-8 machines or exercises. You do one machine and go right to the next one. After you are done with all the machines (that´s called a set) then, and only then, you rest 30 to 60 seconds. You do can do that 3 times and that would be an effective training for weight loss.


In my next blog I will talk about the abdominal. Why are we so obsessed with this muscle? Is it so important? What´s the best exercise for the abdominal and is there such a thing as upper and lower abdominal? I will try to answer all this questions in my next blog. Until next time.




Clark M, Corn R. NASM OPT Optimum Performance Training for the Fitness Professional, 2nd Edition. National Academy of Sports Medicine.2001


Baechle T, Earle R. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 1994 National Strength and Codition Association.2nd Edition:2000.



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