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Wedding Day Diet: Your Target Heart Rate


Natalie Thomas, Us' deputy news editor, is hitting the gym with Buff Brides author Sue Fleming (Katie Holmes was a devotee prior to marrying Tom Cruise!) before saying "I Do" to her beau of three years, Zach Friedman, on May 30. Check her weekly blog — with step-by-step workout plans, diet details and photos — on every Thursday.

Getting your heart rate up and in the "target zone" is important for optimal fitness results — it improves cardiovascular endurance while also burning calories.

To calculate your target heart rate use the following formula:

220 – age = Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
Multiply MHR by .60
Multiply MHR by .80

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Those two numbers indicate your target heart rate range. You should keep your heart rate in that range while exercising for optimal fitness results. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, you can measure it by taking your pulse. Take your pulse for 6 seconds and then add a zero to that number. That is how many times your heart is beating per minute.

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For example, I am 30 years old. (220 – 30 = 190. 190 x .60 = 114. 190 x .80 = 152.) So, my target heart rate is between 114 and 152, and I should strive to stay within that while working out for the best results. Yesterday, I took my pulse and it beat 16 times in 6 seconds, I added a zero and found that my heart rate was 160, which is slightly high for me. If my pulse is too high, I’ll take a little rest or do an exercise that’s not as cardio-intensive like sitting on the ball and doing bicep curls. If it’s too low, I’ll do a set of jumping jacks, run in place or do the mountain climber to get it up.

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I'm spelling this out for those of you who are mathematically challenged like me. The second I see numbers and equations, my eyes glaze over and I assume it's too complicated for me. Trust me, it's really easy. If I can do it, you can do it, too! No excuses!