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How to Calculate your Target Heart Rate


I'm sure you've heard by now that the ancient HR guideline of "no faster than 140 beats per minute" (BPM) has been refuted. As all pregnant women are different, it is safe to assume all heart rate ranges will also vary.

Personally, I like to use a scale of 1-10 to determine how hard my clients are working. (We don't work above a 7 at any point during pregnancy.) However, this can be tricky if you're exercising on your own and you're just not sure how hard to push.

I will remind you... pregnancy causes a slight increase in our heart rate AND the 220- age formula has been up for some debate. Take these formulas as a suggestion, not gold standard. If you feel short of breath, dizzy, fatigued, or unwell, please reduce your workload!

There are 2 formulas that you can use to determine your Max Heart Rate during exercise. Grab a calculator!

The first calculation is simple to calculate:

1) Determine your max heart rate based off your age:

220-your age = Estimated max heart rate (you would only be able to maintain this heart rate for a very short amount of time)

For example:

220- 30 = Max HR of 190

2) When NOT pregnant, the intensity of your cardio sessions should range from 65% to 85% of your max heart rate. (You can vary more with interval training, of course.)

220- (age) x .85 = HR1 (example: 190 x .85 = 162)

220- (age) x .65 = HR2 (example: 190 x .65 = 124)

For more intense (and shorter) training sessions, you could keep your HR around 70-85%. (When you're NOT pregnant.)

During pregnancy you might want to stay at a lower range so you can breath deeply or talk during the entire session. You may want to use a more moderate range of 55% - 70% of this number to calculate a range that feels more comfortable. (Again, this is personal, so please play around with a range that works for you. If you were an athlete before getting all pregnant, and it feels comfortable to train with a higher HR, by all means go for it.)

So as you can see, it's much more important to have numbers that are more personal to your situation, especially with pregnancy. Your resting heart rate will naturally be higher during pregnancy, so you would need to change your min/ max heart rate during cardio sessions in order to accommodate this.

Keep in mind... every day is different. If you felt fine at a higher heart rate yesterday, but you feel like you're barely working and your HR keeps spiking... scale back.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

My indoor cycling program is an amazing workout that you can download to your phone and bring to the gym. It's super efficient and you can use your Target Heart Rate to push yourself (or scale back) as needed for your goals.

No more getting bored on the bike, no more wasting time in the gym!

Download your copy today, click HERE!

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