The modern fitness world strongly promotes the benefits of exercise intensity. Moreover, many fitness enthusiasts ask the ultimate questions such as; what is the most effective intensity for good recovery? Others are focused on the best intensity that can burn the visceral fat and that can result in a weight loss. These are also many other question marks. That is why it is imperative to know the so-called different zones and their advantages. Therefore, this article will provide a unique analysis of the general benefits of training at various intensities in terms of percentage of maximum heart rate (%MHR).
To have a better understanding of which zone is ideal for you, it is imperative to distinguish them.
Figure 1.1 The Five Zones Model
I -The Beginner Zones
Zones 1 & 2: 50-59%MHR (Gray) and 60-69%MHR (Blue)
The Grey Zone and the Blue zone are the most effective for beginners in the fitness and bodybuilding world. On that note, it is important to emphasize that Zone I and Zone II can have a galvanizing effect on the prospect of building a strong aerobic base. To be more specific, these two zones can improve your overall ability of the muscle cells to absorb and utilize the oxygen, which is an important puzzle of the process of building lean muscle mass and fitness stamina.
These are great zones for those beginning a fitness program to build an aerobic base. What does it mean to build an aerobic base? Improving our ability to take in oxygen and efficiently transport it to working muscles. Further, our working muscles are developing a greater ability to utilize oxygen to make fuel to support our exercise. Our capillary (small blood vessel) beds are expanding, and our heart and lungs are getting stronger.
Yet, it is important to underline that these two zones are also beneficial as they offer a good recovery from intermediate and advanced exercisers. Additionally, these two are ideal for a longer duration workout you can burn fat more efficiently. However, it is important to clarify that these two zones can be effective in the long term. This is based on the fact that the blue and the grey zone can stimulate the body to burn fat as a source of energy.
II – Intermediate Zone
Zone 3: 70-79%MHR (Green)
The Green zone can be also described as the next level. To be more specific, this zone is ideal for fitness enthusiasts that are ready to progress to the next level. Moreover, Zone 3 can accelerate the progress and elevate the so-called Anaerobic threshold, which is the level of oxygen. In simple words, this zone can increase our ability to prolonged workouts at higher intensities without fatigue.
Furthermore, this zone can be ideal for interval and tempo training. In the same time, this zone can prompt a steady fat loss due to the higher exercise intensity. This is based on the fact that the body will be prompt to utilize the stored fats to fuel the needed energy needed for reaching the next fitness level.
III – Advanced Zones
Zones 4 & 5: 80-89%MHR (Yellow) and 90%+MHR (Red)
These two zones are based on the short duration – high-intensity exercise method. Moreover, the yellow and red zones usually result in quick fatigue. Furthermore, as you improve and increase your fitness levels, your ability to sustain prolonged exercise periods in these two zones will increase as well. In other words, training in Zone 4 and 5 can significantly increase your maximal oxygen uptake. Therefore, the domino effect is an increased ability to extended exercise at submaximal intensities.
Additionally, these two zones can optimize the prospect of burning stubborn fat. This is based on two key elements. The first and foremost is based on the simple formula that higher intensity usually results with a higher fat loss. Combined with that the two zones can generate the so-called post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). This is the additional oxygen consumption which is the key for recovering from a high-intensity workout. Simply said, Zone 4 & 5 can create a state in which your body will still burn fat even during the post-exercise or in the recovery process.
The Bottom Line
On a final note, we can conclude that the different intensity zones can offer a broad spectrum for the average gym regular. However, it is imperative to select the right zone that will correlate with your current abilities. That way, you will put yourself on the right track for improving your fitness levels, and your overall health and wellbeing.