What is your heart rate telling you?

If you have ever done a Curves workout, you know we check Heart Rate every 8 minutes, but do you know why? It’s simple! Training in the appropriate Target Heart Rate Zone for your fitness level and age is key to training smarter. When you train in the appropriate target heart rate zone you receive the benefits of both strength and cardiovascular training.

Your Curves workout just found its new best friend – Curves’ Fitness tracker: the Myzone Switch! About 1 in 5 people today have some kind of fitness tracker that records activity and heart rate, but where these trackers fail, is they don’t tell you if you are training in the appropriate zone to reach your goals.  That’s where the Curves Fitness tracker is different! Our tracker gives you moment-to-moment feedback on your heart rate so you can reach your goals with real-life data that’s tailored to you. Innovation is a key Curves value, and we are always looking for ways to incorporate the latest research and new technology into our program to keep members having fun and leading strong lives.

This technology is the perfect fit for the Curves workout since our foundation is interval training, which are the fluctuations in heart rate as we overload the muscle with resistance on the machine and then sustain your heart rate on the metabolic condition stations. However, there may be times when performing powerful movements such as burpees, where your heart rate will increase on the metabolic conditioning stations.

So how does it work? The Curves tracker rewards effort when you workout inside and outside of the club by displaying real-time heart rate, calories, and intensity with five color-coded zones which makes it easy for you to quickly see which zone you are in. Each zone grants a simple reward-based metric called a MEP (Myzone Effort Point) that align with the World Health Organization guidelines for physical activity.

You will earn:

  • The Grey Zone 50-59% of Max. Target Heart Rate. Moderate-intensity zone, used for warm-up, cool-down, and activities that do not elevate the heart rate. You earn 1 point for every minute in this zone.
  • The Blue Zone: 60-69% of Max. Target Heart Rate. Moderate-intensity zone, used for warm-up, cool-down, recovery, and steady-state exercises. You earn 2 points for every minute in this zone.
  • The Green Zone: 70-79% of Max. Target Heart Rate. Moderate to high-intensity zone, used for steady-state exercise and recovery during interval training. You earn 3 points for every minute in this zone.
  • The Yellow Zone: 80-89% of Max. Target Heart Rate. High-intensity zone, used for the work phase of interval training or steady-state exercise. You earn 4 points for every minute in this zone.
  • The Red Zone: 90-100% of Max. Target Heart Rate. High-intensity zone, used for the peak phase of interval training. You earn 4 points for every minute in this zone.

Training within the Blue and Green zones are optimal for cardiovascular training, strength training, and fat burning. Working out in these zones ensures you are using a higher percentage of fat and carbohydrate as a primary fuel source. These zones are where you will spend the majority of your Curves workout. This will help you build muscle and burn fat. These zones will ensure you are burning fat while you are here and increasing your metabolism to burn more calories after you leave!

Working in the Yellow and Red zones are great ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Your heart is a muscle, and just like other muscles in your body, your heart needs to be challenged in order to become stronger. Pushing yourself to work in the yellow and red zones for brief stinks helps to improve your cardiovascular conditioning.

Wearing your Curves Fitness Tracker during your workouts provides your Curves Coach with valuable information. They can quickly see when they need to push you a little harder or encourage you to back off a little to help you reach your goals. This is one more tool to help customize your workouts to help you reach your goals.

Each month you will work to earn 1,300 points! We make your workouts FUN and FAIR since these points are earned by your effort, not your fitness level. Let’s not forget this tracker has the added benefit of community because we know everything is more FUN with a Friend. The Curves Fitness Tracker allows you to connect with other Curves Friends so you can cheer each other on toward your fitness goals!

Common questions about the Myzone Switch:

Q: I’m just beginning my exercise program and I have a lot of goals. Why don’t I just push myself to get into the yellow and red?

A: There is definitely a time and place for yellow and red, and you might find that you reach these zones with little effort when you’re first starting out. However, it’s very important to use the blue and green zones to build an aerobic base, which allows our bodies to take in and utilize oxygen efficiently through aerobic metabolism. When we train in the blue and green zones over a prolonged period of time, our bodies adapt by increasing the size and number of the powerhouses of our cells–our mitochondria (this adaptation is known as increased mitochondrial density). We also see an increase in our vascularity as more blood vessels form to bring oxygen to and remove waste from our cells.

We want to make sure we have a solid aerobic base before trying to push ourselves to anaerobic training (higher intensity training in which our bodies’ demand for oxygen exceeds its supply).

Q: I’ve been told that if I want to lose weight, I should only exercise in the blue and green zones to burn fat. Is this true?

A: Not quite. While fat is metabolized in a greater proportion during lower intensity activity as compared to higher intensity activity, this does not necessarily equate to weight loss and fat loss. In fact, we’re burning our highest proportion of calories from fat when we are at complete rest, but that doesn’t sound like the recipe for success, does it?

Weight loss, maintenance and gain come down to energy balance–the amount of calories consumed versus the amount of calories expended. A negative energy balance means that we’ve burned more calories than we’ve taken in; this is where we see weight loss.

When we exercise at higher intensities, we burn more calories overall during the workout (setting us up for negative energy balance). Although a large proportion of these calories will come from carbohydrates, we’ll still burn a good amount of calories from fat – sometimes more than if we were working at lower intensities and burning fewer total calories! As such, if your goal is weight loss, we encourage you to use the blue, green, yellow, and even red zones as part of your training program.

One final thought on weight loss and burning calories. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories while you are doing the activity. Strength training or resistance training exercises not only burn calories while you are doing them, but they increase your metabolism to burn more calories after exercise as your muscle recover from your workout.

Q: How can I use the blue & green zones to prevent overtraining?

A: The blue and green zones are great for both stand-alone recovery workouts and recovery intervals during high intensity interval training (HIIT).

While it can be tempting to push ourselves into the yellow and red zones during all of our workouts, it is vital that we take it easy on some workouts to prevent overtraining. Overtraining is a condition of chronic fatigue in which our exercise performance declines and we are more prone to illness. A nice rule of thumb is that if you do a high intensity workout, make your next workout a “recovery” workout in which you stay mostly in blue and the very early portion of green. We encourage you to experiment with this and find the rhythm that works best for you!

We can also aim to recover back down to the blue or green zone during the recovery intervals of a HIIT session. Achieving the blue or green zone on a recovery interval can indicate that our hearts are becoming more efficient as we continue our training program. You can find out more about heart rate recovery in this post.

You may find that pushing yourself to work hard on the Curves machines or with the Curves resistance band increases your heart rate. Use the station in between to recover by aiming for the blue or green zones.

We hope this answered some of your biggest questions about the blue and green zones. Every zone has its value, and we hope that you embrace blue and green!

The MYZONE workout heart rate monitor can make a big difference in meeting your fitness goals. Let us know how your workouts are going!  As you post your progress on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, use the hashtags: #myzone, #myzonemoves, and #effortrewarded. Keep moving forward!

For more information about Curves women’s gyms, visit ‘Why Curves’ or find your local Curves gym here and talek to one of our Curves Coaches about starting your fitness journey today!

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