Jan 042011

ZebOne of the reasons I started training for the Iron Man was to give me something to do other than drink.  I realized that alcohol had caused me numerous problems and decided to end my use of it entirely. 

It has not been easy.  I had tried quitting numerous times before, which I did, but never for good.  I would quit for a month or two, but I made the commitment to stop entirely and have done so.  Over the holidays, it has become even more difficult as constant get togethers with old friends brings me in to situations that encourage drinking.  During these social occasions drinking is almost always involved.  It is difficult to find people to do activities with that do not involve drinking.   I decided to make the commitment to become an Iron Man and hope to meet friends along the way. 

My brother is my best friend and it is great that he and I can do this together, but I want to help establish a community of people where health is what we put our focus around and not alcohol.  So, if any of you are up for it, feel free to contact and join us in improving our health and making friends along the way.

This picture was taken in downtown San Luis Obispo. 

After turning 21, I spent a lot of time inside of bars,  and San Luis Obispo has an amazing bar scene.  But, on Saturday night instead of stopping in for drinks, I decided to run past the bars instead. 

Watching the young people, dressed up and ready for a night of drinking, I realized how much my life has changed.  Running past those bars on a rainy night in downtown San Luis Obispo symbolized a defining moment in my life.  Instead of stopping in for a drink and passing time, I turned my focus towards accomplishment and achievement, to setting goals and completing them.  I turned my back on my past, the life that I had known and headed toward the future I desire, the future I deserve.

Dec 142010

ZebIn these series, I will focus on apps, that can be used with smart phones to be used during training.  As an early Christmas present, my parents got me the Verizon Droid.  It was fascinating to see all the unique features and functions that this phone can do, one such app, is “Instant Heart Rate”  which after 10 seconds measures your heart rate.

Why is heart rate important to training?  Heart rate is important for several reasons, it establishes our fitness level, gives us a benchmark to decide how much training is needed and informs us if their is a concern.

Heart rate establishes our fitness level.  When exercising, your heart rate should be in the target heart rate zone in order to be exerting yourself enough to receive fitness benefits.  It is also important not to go above the danger zone as that could be dangerous.  I have copied a chart from the AmericanHeart.org so you can find your target fitness level:

Age Target HR Zone
50–85 %
Average Maximum
Heart Rate
100 %
20 years 100–170 beats per minute 200 beats per minute
25 years 98–166 beats per minute 195 beats per minute
30 years 95–162 beats per minute 190 beats per minute
35 years 93–157 beats per minute 185 beats per minute
40 years 90–153 beats per minute 180 beats per minute
45 years 88–149 beats per minute 175 beats per minute
50 years 85–145 beats per minute 170 beats per minute
55 years 83–140 beats per minute 165 beats per minute
60 years 80–136 beats per minute 160 beats per minute
65 years 78–132 beats per minute 155 beats per minute
70 years 75–128 beats per minute 150 beats per minute

Be careful not to reach the max and when exercising, be sure that your heart rate is in the target area to receive the benefits from exercising.

The target heart rate is also a good indicator of how much exercise is needed to see improvement.  For example, if it takes longer to get into the target heart rate zone than when you first began your workouts, it shows that you have built your fitness up to a higher level.

Monitoring your heart rate can also indicate you if there are any serious medical issues involving your heart.  For example, if it takes a long time for your heart rate to come down after exercise, that could be a serious issue.  Or if your heart rate is above or below certain levels when at rest.

The “Instant Heart Rate” app does have it’s benefits, but after looking at it, I don’t think that it will be of much use at this point and time.  I know I have to push myself to a level where I will constantly be in the target zone without actually having to monitor my heart rate, so for now I don’t think I will use it, but perhaps in the future it may have it’s benefits.

Do you have any apps that you use when working out or training?