Heart Rate Training

Team there are a handful of different metrics we track in order to understand how our health & fitness is improving overtime; body-weight, body fat percentage, the weights we use (hitting new pr’s), the times we complete workouts, our range of motion, etc. 

We are going to add another layer to these metrics, heart rate. 

Many people today use some type of fitness tracking device, but are you getting the most out of it? Tracking your heart rate throughout a workout can confirm that you are making healthy gains. 

The ideal heart rate percentages will be listed in the workout notes in the Sugarwod app for you to follow. Not everyday will have a percentage, but most workouts will include it for the conditioning piece of the workout (our typical part B). 

Below is general information on heart rate training and what you need to know. 


First, the percentages that will be listed in Sugarwod are a percent of your max heart rate. There is a simple equation to find your max heart rate

220-Age = Max heart rate

220-42= 178


The second piece of information you will need is where you are at in your fitness journey, we have 3 groups: 

-Building Health: 

  • New athletes just starting their fitness journey, little to no experience 
  • Body Fat Over 30%(male)   25%(female) 
  • May have one or more of the following: hypertension, high blood triglycerides, diabetes (type 2)

-Maintaining Fitness: This is where most of us will find ourselves

  • 3+ months of continuous & consistent exercise training
  • Starting to look at other aspects of building a healthy life: sleep, nutrition, stress management

-High Performance: Being in this group is temporary. Used when there is a big  focus on improving for sport. Staying here for too long will result in overtraining and injury 

  • 1+ years of training experience at the Maintaining Fitness level
  • Below 20% body fat
  • Will move in and out of this group, back to maintaining fitness to balance performance with health & quality of life. 

Those are the basics you need to know, but if you want to geek out a bit more, keep reading. 

There are different heart rate zones that we will train to help us achieve different adaptations in  our health and fitness. Each of the following is an important training zone to become well rounded. 

-Aerobic Threshold

  • Workouts over 20 minutes 
  • Overall intensity is light
  • 60-70% of max heart rate (zone 2)

These workouts will seem “easier” – they are longer in nature, you get really sweaty, but you’re able to talk a bit throughout. At the end you should feel good, recharged, energized. 

-Lactate Threshold

  • 9-20 minute workouts
  • Moderate intensity
  • 70-85% of max heart rate (zone 3 to 4)

These workouts help us become more efficient at using the fuel we have available and build high end aerobic endurance. 


  • Short time duration 
  • Hard, High Intensity
  • 90%+ of max heart rate

Short, intense efforts. You would not be able to maintain these efforts for more than a few minutes. Usually achieved through interval training. 

The heart rate percentages will be there if you want to use them and if you don’t that is okay too. You can use it to make sure you are scaling a workout to fit the intended stimulus or to put some pep-in-you-step when you should be going a bit faster.