heart rate for newbies

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by eagles633, 6 Mar 2018.

  1. eagles633

    eagles633 Active Member

    hi, i'm a newbie tx for letting me join.
    iv'e got my bike and all the gear. the missis even bought me the garmin with the heart rate monitor for xmas. being new i'm well out of shape, beer belly and all that.
    iv'e been out today and done a 10 mile ride. stopped a few times knackered. anyway my worry is on the garmin connect app my avg heart rate is 156 with a 174 max and i'm %60 of the ride in zone 5, red zone.
    is this normal for a new chunky way out of shape guy?
    hope thats made some sense. sorry for the poor spelling and grammar. i'm crap at it.
  2. Slick

    Slick Veteran

    Nobody cares about the spelling and such. Obviously I'm no expert but it sounds normal enough to me, but we are all different apparently.
    eagles633 and Alan O like this.
  3. Slick

    Slick Veteran

    As you get a bit fitter, you can probably get that max rate up a bit.

    If your worried, talk to a pro.
    eagles633 likes this.
  4. welsh dragon

    welsh dragon a permanent vacancy now exists

    My advice is to forget the heart rate monitor. Just enjoy riding your bike. Take it slowly. Do not push it it too far. If you get tired, stop. Concentrate on the time you spend on your bike not distance. Gradually build up your time in the saddle. With time, your fitness will increase and couple that with eating better you will lose weight which in turn will help with fitness levels.

    Just have fun. Forget the rest.
  5. Been cycling for a number of years. Never measured my heart rate. Never wondered what it is. I cycle. I enjoy. I get fitter. I go further.
  6. If you haven't set the max HR in garmin and you've got a higher max than the default according to the garmin you'll mostly be in the red even if you aren't. My max HR is set to 200bpm but IIRC the default is 178bpm. Occasionally a garmin update has restored the default making it look like I was in the red, when I wasn't. If you want to train on HR you need to find out what your actual max is and don't use the default which for most cyclists its way off. Your max if it was truly found shouldn't change as you get fitter just the longer you can operate before burning out . Or some rides which were pushing the max are now done at a lower HR for the same or better pace.
    eagles633, ADarkDraconis and Slick like this.
  7. MrPorridge

    MrPorridge Active Member

    North West England
    I'm no expert in heart health but I am a bona-fide expert in being a fat, out-of-shape bloke.

    I don't have a proper heart rate monitor but I'm currently using an exercise bike and I monitor my heart rate using a fitbit wrist tracker. I had the same concerns as you in that much of my sessions are spent in the red "peak" zone, i.e. 85% of my theoretical maximum heart rate. The results I get from the fitbit seem to match the readings from the handlebar sensors on the bike so I'm guessing that it's reasonably accurate.

    I too was worried about potentially doing myself harm by spending so much time in the "peak" zone, as I've read that this can be damaging to your heart. I have also read that these maximum heart rate calculations are estimates (typically 220 - your age) and that we all vary. I believe that the only way to find your true maximum heart rate is to be monitored while pushing yourself to the limit which, for obvious reasons, should be done under expert supervision. Given that my estimated maximum heart rate is 220-51=169 and that I've regularly been in the 170s and occasionally hitting 180 without any ill effects (other than sweating and some huffing and puffing) I'm guessing that my maximum heart rate isn't 169.

    I've recently had a health check at my GP and all seemed ok, other that being overweight (hence the health kick). The gist of the advice I've received is that these things are only a guide and that as long as you feel ok (i.e. not in actual distress or pain) you're unlikely to be doing any damage. That said, it might be worth getting a check-up if you're unsure or in any way concerned by how you feel when exercising. Better not to gamble with your health and all that.
    swee'pea99, colly, eagles633 and 2 others like this.
  8. I like Skol

    I like Skol I'm adamant I haven't got any PPI....

    Another vote for putting the garmin away. Just enjoy your cycling, ride to places you want to see/visit. Make pleasure your ride barometer and forget about monitoring your heart rate.

    I'm no pro cyclist or elite athlete but I can turn a tidy pace when needed and give many riders a good run for their money on any of the local Pennine hills. I have never, ever even considered monitoring my heart rate when riding. Just isn't necessary.
    Enjoy your riding or you won't keep at it!
  9. bpsmith

    bpsmith Veteran

    I echo the above on enjoying your riding. There’s no point otherwise.

    I do have to disagree with some points though. I love stats of all kinds and there’s plenty you can use when cycling. I like looking at power and at HR both during and after a ride.

    If you like stats, it’s great, and adds to the enjoyment. If you don’t then don’t bother. We’re all different.
    Afnug, JhnBssll, iancity and 4 others like this.
  10. Reynard

    Reynard Veteran

    Cambridgeshire, UK
    +1 for putting the Garmin away and simply going out and having fun with your bike.

    Just go out for a regular bimble, enjoy the fresh air and the scenery. Start small, build up distance gradually at a comfortable pace and fitness will come in its own time.
  11. Alan O

    Alan O Über Member

    Welcome eagles633, and congrats on the 10 miles. When I got back to cycling a couple of years ago my first ride was just 5 miles - and it hurt!

    Some people suggest putting away the Garmin, but I disagree as I love gadgets like that - but let me tell you a story about the time I was in cardiac rehab after surgery...

    I already had a blood pressure thing, and I bought a heart rate monitor when I saw one on offer - the chest strap kind. At the end of one session, I got talking to one of the cardiac physiotherapists about them, and she told me they don't recommend them to most patients - because they tend to cause too much stress. People see their HR a bit high and start worrying, and don't really realize that there's a big natural range which is really no problem providing the average stays reasonable and there's no noticeable ill effect. Watching your HR rise can cause anxiety... which can cause your HR to rise.

    Your time in your peak zone doesn't surprise me at all, certainly not if you're unfit, overweight, and it's your first ride - if you stopped a couple of times because you were knackered, I'd expect that to mean you were pretty close to your Max HR.

    I have a wrist-based Fitbit device, and I like it a lot - and now that my fitness has improved a lot, it's more of a challenge to get my HR into my peak zone than keep it out!

    I say keep using your Garmin (especially as your good lady bought it for you), but don't read too much into high HR readings - you'll see them for sure, especially in the early stages. Unless you have a medical condition or you're feeling unwell (more than just a bit knackered), it shouldn't be a problem. And it might help you learn the right pace to keep going for longer distances. It can also be a good way to see how your fitness is improving with time (in addition to feeling better).

    Reynard says "Start small, build up distance gradually at a comfortable pace and fitness will come in its own time", and that's absolutely right.
    Afnug, bpsmith, Slick and 1 other person like this.
  12. Joffey

    Joffey Über Member

    My Garmin & HR monitor enhance my enjoyment of my rides. I enjoy looking back at the stats when I get home and seeing what kind of effort I was putting into a climb etc.

    If the OP enjoys this also then fair play to him.

    I'm a chunk and your HR readings don't look out of the ordinary to what mine can be. If you are worried have a work with your GP. If you haven't done any exercise for a while it can be wise to speak to them first anyway.

    If you like stats etc join Strava and enjoy then segments on there. Good luck!
    bpsmith, iancity, Slick and 1 other person like this.
  13. Jody

    Jody Über legend of a forum GOD!

    As others have said don't obsess with heart rates. When I started back after a decade break my heart was getting on towards 200 at points which as an untrained person can't be good but the more you ride and the weight drops the more this will come down with a similar effort. Best thing to do when you are pushing that hard is wind it back a little, take your time or just have a minute at the side of the road to catch your breath.

    I stopped using the BT heart rate monitor and just ride to what pace I want to keep on a given ride.
    eagles633 likes this.
  14. buzzy-beans

    buzzy-beans Senior Member

    In no way shape or form am I a qualified expert in these areas, but here is my half penneth on this subject.

    For the moment @eagles633 forget about anything which measures your heart rate and ride your bike comfortably, stopping quite frequently for a relaxing breather and as the time goes by you will discover that the gaps between your stops will gradually become wider. These infernal electronic gadgets will in real terms do absolutely nothing for you apart from make you worried!

    Your diet is (or rather should be) the singularly most important factor in getting fitter throughout your body. Quite simply, if you put in the wrong fuel your engine will simply continue being coked up and result in generally lackluster and frequently breathless performance.
    So for me, this is what @eagles633 should be doing by ensuring a balanced regular diet with very little or preferably NO processed food, reasonable levels of sugars and salts all combined with regular fluid intakes.

    I would also undertake a general, but light, fitness and exercise programme, such as not using lifts or escalators, walking more frequently rather than using the car, doing a few press ups twice a day as well as a limited number of trunk curls, squats etc. etc., by doing this your overall body performance will gradually become far better and in not to long a period of time the all important BMI (Body Mass Index) figures begin to improve.
    When cycling it is amazing how an overall fitter, more flexible and muscular body will help as, if you are cycling properly, it isn't only the legs which are working but a combination of muscles throughout the body and it is for this reason why cycling is one of the best forms of physical exercise to practice.
    Slick, Alan O and eagles633 like this.
  15. OP

    eagles633 Active Member

    wow thanks for all the great replies. i'm just playing with the gadgets at the moment. got the strava and i'm not going for any koms any time soon. i'm in the bottom %20 in most sections ha. i was watching a youtube video about using heart rate for training. the guy said try and stay in zone 2 to burn fat. the garmin app says i'm in zone 1 %zero of the time and zone 2 %one of the time.
    when i finished yesterday the garmin flashed up i should rest for 72 hours. do you think iv'e overdone it for starters?
    like i say, i'm not to bothered about the garmin. it's just something to play with and enjoy with the cycling.
    Slick and Alan O like this.
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