Train smarter, not always harder

Why are you entering the red zone everyday of the week and expecting to feel good? Let’s talk heart training zones and how you can make the most out of it.

The red zone is maxing out your effort, reaching the top of your heart rate zone, pushing your body to the limit, and stressing your muscular and cardiovascular system. 

Those workouts are important, but not everyday. Those training sessions should be strategically placed where you can make sure to put your best foot forward as well as have a solid recovery.


Have you ever felt your heart beating so hard and your breathing being so laboured that your chest would almost burst out? This is the red zone of your heart rate. 

Everyone’s red zone is different as we all have different heart rate threshold depending on age, sex, fitness level and so on. And there are different ways to measure your maximal heart rate although a metabolic test like we do at Andfit with our Pnoē machine is the most reliable method. 

When you are in the red zone, you are basically working at your maximum heart rate. Your heart and your blood and respiratory system will be working at their maximal capacity. Lactic acid will build up in your blood and after a few minutes you won’t be able to continue at this intensity.

The red zone provides the stimulus of anaerobic, high-intensity, glucose burning, short term maximal efforts. Depleting these glucose stores require a re-fueling, that is rest and recovery.

For these reasons the red zone is not a sustainable zone for training every day as you will be taxing the capacity of the oxygen, fuel and the skeletal and heart muscles to their respective limits. Obviously, the payback is certain to come up later with possibility of experiencing chronic fatigue, constant soreness, inflammation, stress, increased cortisol and increased potential for poor form and injuries.


On the other end, you do not want to avoid the red zone completely. This is where you can see fantastic improvements in athletic performance. If you learn to reach this heart rate zone and train in it for a short time on specific days in your training plan, you are sure to reach the highest levels of your performance.


There are five heart rate zones (HR zones) and they are calculated as a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR).

The red zone is the closest to your maximum heart rate at Zone 5 (96% to 110% of your MHR) while the yellow and green zones are between 70% and 90% of your MHR (Zone 2 and 3). 

The yellow/green zones are aerobic, at a lower intensity, fat burning, long term moderate efforts. These fat stores last for hours and stress the body less, requiring less recovery and rest.

An effective training plan will include different types of workouts with varying frequency, duration, and intensity spaced out so that you have time to recover. This means that some workouts should be short and intense, some long and light, some can even be long and tough. It’s the variety that makes your workout regimen effective.

You are certain to find some good purpose for spending some time at every heart zone and accomplishing various specific goals by doing so. 

In the yellow and green zone you are working on your form and mobility with less intense, volume-focused workouts. This is where you can improve your gymnastics skills by practicing drills or where you work on your weightlifting form in a safer way without attempting a maximum lift.

You will then train in the red zone on specifically designated days, depending on your goals and metabolism, to rip off the benefits of those less intense days and drills. 


Not only a varied training plan is more sustainable in the long term. You will also ripping far more benefits health-wise than training in the red zone every day. Less stress applied to your body and mind, and more intention going in each training session following your goals. A win-win approach.

We’re excited to announce that cardio-metabolic testing is coming soon to Andfit thanks to the newly developed portable metabolic analyser from PNOĒ.

Whether you are a beginner who wants to get healthy and strong, or an athlete who wants workouts physiologically customized to you based on heart rate, our testers can help you take your fitness to the next level. 

Book a free No Sweat Intro with us today. We will help you with goal setting and planning.

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