Training Load Points | Measuring Exercise Levels
Heart Zones Training Load “Points” is the first simple way for you to quantify your exercise effort – how hard and how long you are working out. Points are the magic sauce of the Heart Zones Training system because for the first time you can now measure the quantity of your effort versus the volume (distance or time). For example, runners like to quantify their training by distance volume – how far they ran in miles/meters. Cyclist like to quantify their training by hours or miles on the bike. Points are the amount of exercise and this is the holy grail of fitness training.
Heart Zones Points are effort points, physical stress points, or training load points – it is all the same. Tracking your points is the quantification of exercise stress. Points are a numerical way to measure training load. Training load points are measured using a simple arithmetic formula that is easy to calculate but even easier to calculate using our software and apps: the Heart Zones PE app for groups and the iPhone app for individuals. Both of these Apple iOS apps do all of the calculations for you behind the scenes and then displays it on your iPhone or if you train with a group, the Heart Zones PE Big Board.
From the FIT Principle to the Points Formula
If you are familiar with the principle of FIT then points are the sum of the three letters in the FIT principle. The FIT Principle stand for frequency (F), intensity (I), and time (T). By taking the FIT principle and expanding it into a measurement of the amount of exercise, the derivative equation is the LIFT formula. The LIFT formula has an additional letter in the word – the L. The L in LIFT stands for load, workout load or training load. The LIFT formula is the quantification of the FIT principle
Each heart zone has a different number associated with it which represents the amount of weight, load, stress. As the exercise intensity or the zone gets more strenuous, the weight or the numerical value for that zone increases to match the intensity of that zone. If you follow the three zone ZONING program, a heart rate training program, then the easy Blue zone is worth 1 point, but the higher intensity moderate Yellow zone is worth 3 points and the hot, hard, high Red zone is worth 5 training load points. If you use five zone Threshold or Max system, then this is the numerical value of each zone:
Training load is the product of frequency of workouts, multiplied by the intensity (fractionalized zone number) of the workout and time (minutes:seconds). When these three measurements are multiplied together they equal training load. If you were to multiply these three components of an exercise bout, you would have a measurement of total workload called “dosage”. Dosage is prescriptive. Using the the Heart Zones Training Point system, using the LIFT formula, there is a way to calculate the dosage of exercise.
The LIFT formula is as follows:
TRAINING LOAD (L) = Intensity (I) x Frequency (F) x Time (T)
Here’s an example. Your doing one workout activity a day (frequency) and the level of intensity for that workout is the bottom of the Yellow Zone (worth 3 points per minute) and your total exercise time is 30 minutes. The simple calculation is as follows:
Easy. Intuitive. Yet, there’s one more step that you deserve to receive point credit. Zones are a range of heart beats. Zones vary in size. And, since a single zone could be as many as 10-30 heartbeats, the top of the zone should be awarded more points than the bottom of the zone. That’s because the range of heart beats inside one heart zones varies between individuals – it depends on the individual and on their threshold or maximum heart rate numbers. To accommodate for the fact that the top of the Yellow zone is much more strenuous than the bottom or the middle zone of Zone 3, the system “fractionalizes” the zone to give you the proper point count.
Until the advent of the heart rate monitor or the step tracker, it was impossible to objectively measure exercise stress – training load. The missing piece in the training load formula which has been missing in the assessment of exercise workload is how to assess exercise intensity – how hard is your effort (zones). This is precisely what a heart rate sensor and a step tracking sensor can provide – a measurement of exercise intensity in the zones. Only now, with the use of these new sensors can you properly measure training load – the amount of exercise that we are getting from our workout.
How Many Points Are Recommended?
30 Minutes Equals 100 Points
The golden zone, if you are like many a time crunched workout enthusiast is the moderate Yellow zone. Zone 3 or the mellowYellow zone provides you with enormous aerobic benefits like burning lots of calories – especially calories from fat while increasing your endurance. In other words, the golden Yellow zone of moderate intensity activity might be the biggest bang for your investment of time.
Why is 100 Points a number to achieve in 30 minutes? That’s because all workouts should consist of warm up time at the beginning and a cool down time at the end of your workout time. See the chart that shows how to get 100 points in 30 minutes.
45 Minutes Equals 150 Points
The more time you can invest in your workout at the higher zones the more points you earn. And, if it is your goal to provide the same benefits just mentioned – weight loss, endurance capacity and no-pain enjoyment of the workout – then by extending the time in the Yellow zone by 15 minutes and than adding more Zone 5 the Red Zone, you earn 150 Points.
60 Minutes Equals 200 Points
Points are the magic sauce – the most important number you can follow, challenge, and progressively increase as your fitness improves. Log it. Use it. And remember, the more points the fitter and healthier you will be and become.