I don’t have to tell you that exercise is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle. The countless health benefits to regular exercise include lowered triglycerides, improved good cholesterol (HDL) and lowered resting heart rate, just to name a few. Many people are not aware of exactly how much or how hard they should exercise for optimal longevity or for event specific purposes. This is where knowing your heart rate zones can be very helpful.

An easy and fairly accurate way to find your Heart Rate Reserve (HRR) is to plug your numbers into the Karvonen formula which is worked out below. If you are interested in getting pin point accurate reading, you’ll need to have a VO2MAX test done in a lab. So lets assume you aren’t doing that anytime soon and this will do…

Karvonen formula

220 – your age= Maximum Heart Rate (VO2MAX)

VO2MAX – Resting Heart Rate = Heart Rate Reserve

Heart Rate Reserve x Desired Training Intensity % (see zones below) + resting heart Rate.


Below is my HRR Calculation for working at 70% for your reference as well as a side note that may apply to some of you who train at a high level…

40 year old example of the Karvonen formula at 70% :

220 – 40 = 180BPM

180 – 64BPM = 116

116 x 70% = 81

81+64= 145BPM

Note: I actually do know my VO2MAX and it’s much higher than 180 at 201BPM which means that at 70% I would be working at 158BPM. The Karvonen method will calculate your VO2MAX lower than you think it should be if you train hard frequently. 

Recovery Zone – 40% to 60%
Active recovery training should fall into this zone (ideally to the lower end). Its also useful for very early pre-season and closed season cross training when the body needs to recover and replenish.

Aerobic Zone – 60% to 80%
Exercising in this zone will help to develop your aerobic system and in particular your ability to transport and utilize oxygen. Continuous or long, slow distance endurance training should fall under in this heart rate zone.

Anaerobic Zone 80% to 90%
Training in this zone will help to improve your bodys ability to deal with lactic acid. It may also help to increase your lactate threshold.


To your health,

🙂  Coach Michelle

Gumsaba Fitness Class schedule Wednesday 9/16/15

5:30AM Sunrise Danville Womens only class – Coach Karen – Classic Coreture

6AM Sunup Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Briana – Sweaty Betty

8:15AM Sunrise Moraga Womens only Class – Coach Briana – Sweaty Betty

9AM Sunshine Walnut Creek Womens only class – Coach Jentry – Classic Coreture

11:00AM Cytosport Boot camp Lite Benicia – Coach Michelle (private class) TRX Intervals

12:00PM Cytosport Boot camp Benicia – Coach Michelle (private class) TRX Met Con

2PM Cytosport Gentle Yoga – Coach Michelle D. (private class)