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Calculate Your Exercise Target Heart Rate


Resting Heart Rate (RHR)   Max Heart Rate (MHR)   Use a Heart Rate Monitor 
 Exercise Target Heart Rate (THR)   Karvonen Formula

 Why do I need to know my Exercise Target Heart Rate?

To Optimize Your Workouts and Your Results - By using your Exercise Target Heart Rate, you can maximize your workouts to get back in shape more efficiently. If you are not seeing the results that you expect from your exercise program, it may be because you are not using sufficient intensity in your workouts. 

For Safety - Knowing your Exercise Target Heart Rate and your Max Heart Rate is important for your heart's health and safety during cardiovascular workouts. 
Do not exceed you max heart rate. 

How To Get Back in Shape - Use a Heart Rate Monitor Watch

Use a Heart Rate
 to Get
Back in Shape Faster

Use  a Heart Rate Monitor to help you keep track

of  your  heart rate during exercise.  This allows you to

adjust the  intensity of your workout accordingly.

You may find that when youstrap on a heart rate

monitor, your heart rate is either too low for your

exercises to be effective or too high to be safe.

Optimize your workouts. Use a heart rate monitor.

How To Get Back in Shape Safely:  As always, it is important to note that if you are new to exercise, or have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor to determine appropriate exercise target heart rates for you. The following formulas are for information, but may not be appropriate for your condition. Only your physician can advise you.  Learn the Warning Signs and Precautions, before beginning an exercise program to get back in shape.

What is My Resting Heart Rate? (RHR)

Your Resting Heart Rate is the number of beats that your heart beats during one minute. To find your resting heart rate, take your pulse:

  •  For one full minute 
  •  First thing in the morning when you wake up 
  •  Before you get out of bed 

  It is best to take your resting pulse several days to get an average. 

What is My Maximum or Max Heart Rate? (MHR)

Your Max Heart Rate is the number of heart beats that you should not exceed in one minute. When exercising, you do not exercise at your max heart rate.  Instead, you select a percentage of your max heart rate, that you choose to target during exercise, depending on your exercise goals.  This percentage is usually between 55% to 85% of your max heart rate, depending on your condition and your exercise goals.

To Calculate Max Heart Rate, use this formula:  MHR = 206.9 - (0.67 x age)

(Note: You may be familiar with the old formula to calculate max heart rate:
220 - age = MHR. The newer formula now used to calculate max heart rate is more accurate: 206.9 - (0.67 x age) = MHR.)

Alternatively, if you are young and active you can sprint 200 meters all out two different times and take your highest heart rate which is a good estimate of your max heart rate.

 What is My Exercise Target Heart Rate? (THR)

Your Exercise Target Heart Rate is the targeted number of beats that your heart beats during one minute of exercise. Your target heart rate is calculated based on your max heart rate (and your resting heart rate with the formula below).

In general, you calculate a lower and upper level of your exercise target heart rate so that you have a range within to workout. For example, you may choose a training % of your max heart rate (MHR) as follows:

55% to 65% of your max heart rate if you are new to exercise
60% to 70% if you tolerate moderate exercise and want to lose weight
70% to 80% if you are more fit and want to improve endurance
(Above 80% to 85%, we assume that you are already in shape and not within our "back in shape" model.)
      * Use these values in your calculations below.

If you are doing Interval Training you may set your training % as follows:

For the Intense Work Phase - 80% to 85% (or more if you are fit)
For the Recovery Phase - 60% to 70%

If using the Tabata Protocol for high intensity intervals, you would push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest or back off for 10 seconds of recovery, and repeat this routine 7 to 8 times in a period of 4 minutes.  Use a heart rate monitor to avoid exceeding your max heart rate during intervals.  Using the Tabata Protocol will improve both your aerobic and anaerobic systems.

The Target Heart Rate training % that you choose will depend on your age, health and your goals of exercise.

Calculate your Exercise Target Heart Rate using the Karvonen Formula:

Karvonen Formula:  (MHR - RHR) x ___% + RHR = THR

THR = Target Heart Rate
RHR = Resting Heart Rate
MHR = Max Heart Rate
HRR = Heart Rate Reserve

 Easier:  To calculate your exercise target heart rate, using a calculator based on the Karvonen Formula, we refer you to Brian Calkin's heart rate calculator.                                       

Harder:  To calculate your exercise target heart rate on your own, using the Karvonen formula, follow these steps:

 (MHR - RHR) x ___% + RHR = THR

  1. Get your resting heart rate, RHR 
  2. Calculate your max heart rate: 206.9 - (0.67 x age) = MHR 
  3. Calculate your heart rate reserve (HRR): (MHR - RHR) = HRR 
  4. (Heart Rate Reserve x Training % i.e. .5 to .80*) + RHR = THR 

Get back in shape effectively and safely.  Exercise using your target heart rate.  Use a heart rate monitor, warm up completely, workout within your target heart rate range, and cool down fully.

To purchase a heart rate monitor, please go to our Amazon Store.  


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