Identifying your fitness training zones
In a variety of training modes either swimming, running, rowing, etc, there exists a methodology of correct practice. Looking for example an individual undergoing through a training session, that requires developing further the aerobic capacity, the need for knowing if the intensity is in the range that promotes just that, is vital to success. But how do you, or your coach verify that what you planned ahead is actually obtained? In other words how can one ID and monitor correct training zones – intensities to train by?
It’s is crucial first to understand that the body during physical activity (PA) is operating under different energy systems. Each intensity is highly correlated to a different energy system, and by training in that intensity, you are gaining an advantage in that area that you have planed to do so. Let’s look how we can ID those training zones in a basic but rigorous training test. Undertaking a GXT or ( graded exercise testing) in an exercise physiology laboratory, we have our individual going through this testing procedure, that will yield these valuable and MUST-HAVE TRAINING zones to use in future training. A coach that does not have these info, is “wondering blind in the forest” with no understanding of what physiological adaptations are taking place.
Using the produced training zones will pave the way for successfully improving poor areas in the fitness spectrum of an individual. With the ID and understanding of those training zones an athlete can spend time improving, either entry level basic fitness, or if needed the highly discussed Anaerobic Threshold (AT), or even the VO2max training areas. What ever the case each zones has a range or field of work. With lab exercise testing a derivative of the lactic acid curve can also take place, depicting where the athlete is producing little or excessive amounts of this biochemical product, correlated to fitness indexes.
Training at the gym for general fitness with-out any form of monitoring, or understanding what exactly you are trying to achieve? Taking the trails for a long run with- out a heart rate monitor and just going by feel? Starting to climb a mountain with your bicycle and ignoring completely your pulse rate or your breathing patterns, but just going at it? Well if one of those examples describes you, then we have good news for you. The training zones employed will optimize your fitness training and with correct planning and periodization, can yield a personal best for your next race /event / goal.
Work closely with a coach or a Fitness Professional and you are beginning to understand how your body and in extend your physiology works. We are in a point of time that we can understand when and how to inflict fatigue and work on an athlete with maximum health & fitness potential in mind. Pro level teams in cycling , and top notch swimming coaches or track and field coaches, use the physiological training zones for their athletes to stay on top of their game.
Wouldn’t you do the same to maximize your time spend with a mind on efficient training time? Leave luck and ignorance to others, and tap into the right methodology for your fit- future years to come in your active lifestyle.
K.N. is an Exercise Physiologist, graduate of the University of Alabama, an ACSM certified Health & Fitness Instructor, he holds an ITU Level II Certification as a Triathlon Coach, has been FT since 2000 , and is a multiple Ironman & Half Ironman Triathlon finisher. Currently he coaches Triathletes online, teaches FT at f/3dfts, and performs Exercise Physiology assessments at the Cyprus Sports & Research Center. e – firstname.lastname@example.org