Below are some informative tables and other pieces of information that will hopefully provide useful data to measure fitness and establish workout/goal targets.

Workout Information

Heart Rate Information

Body Composition Information

Body Composition Information

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is not a percentage of fat measurement, but a proxy derived from an individual’s height and weight.  Many scales and even body fat % measurement tools will also provide a BMI readout based on the input of your height and weight measurements.  Although a fair scale to give a ballpark understanding of where you fit in the normative, I prefer using a body fat percentage measurement.  I have seen individuals with a very muscular composition (low body fat) range high on the BMI.  The chart was provided by which also has a calculator and some other details around BMI. The Body Fat Percentage measurement is a way to determine the amount of fat and “lean” mass an individual has.  Below is a table which provides a breakdown of ranges for standard adults. Realize that each person needs an essential amount of body fat and to provide perspective, athletes usually range from approximately 6% – 15%.  I find measuring body fat helpful to determine the results of my workout routine.  It is not effective if my weight loss is attributed to muscle loss or if my weight gain is attributed to increased body fat.  It can also be helpful in not only determining the routine, assist with caloric demands along with provide insight into possible overtraining scenarios.

Some ways to measure are by using calipers and tape measures, or you can pick up a scale or a handheld device such as the Omron HBF-306C Fat Loss Monitor, Black monitor.  Although there are many variables that can change the readout such as time of day of reading, hydration, holding position, etc., electronic measurement devices can be easy to use and provide a sound comparison over time the more consistent the user maintains some of the noted ‘outside’ variables. The table below provided by Tanita has body fat percentage ranges for females and males.  The link will also take you to their site that provides children’s ranges and other information.

Heart Rate Information   Go to the Top

Heart rate training zones are very helpful to achieve optimal cardiovascular workout results.  As you can see different heart rate zones create varied physiological effects.  There are varied ways of determining your ‘maximum’ heart rate.  The below table provides the 220-age formula which is very basic and then factor in the percentages to determine desired range.  You can also include your resting heart rate in the formula to add some current performance assessment in the formula as provided by WikiHow.

Here is also a link that provides several other formulas. Heart Rate Wikipedia

The above/linked methods may provide some guidelines, but it is best to consult your physician to perform a max heart rate test or refer you to a professional service to conduct the test.  The more accurate you can get the max hr, the more accurate the range(s).

I have estimated my range over the year by using many methods.  I use the ranges to set different intensity levels and primarily use the heart rate results to see my progress.

Along with using HR to set target ranges, I know several successful amateur distance runners that do not use heart rate monitors, but use an intensity scale (how they feel) to gauge their workouts. Here is a link that puts your Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE) into a target HR scale. RPE/HR Correlation  This could allow your to use RPE with any HR related program.  If you have a HR monitor it is best to gauge your feel in ranges as I tend to feel more comfortable at higher heart rates the more I train so RPE can vary over time as well, but a nice way to train with less gear and get a better sense for feel. Below is a table provided by Polar that provides workout ranges (the link takes you to the Polar site where targets are generated by inputting age/max hr).

Workout Information   Go to the Top

There are a bunch of different workout routines that an individual can utilize.  I tend to stick with more basic routines that fit my time availability and intensity focus.  I get my best gains by mixing up my program with straight set workouts and circuit workouts.  A straight set is a routine that you do all sets per body part and then move to the next body part, where the circuit workout is you do a set for each body part and then do the next round of sets per body part, etc.  Each changes the focus and intensity per muscle group.  Below are a couple of sites that provide some workout programs that may be helpful.

There are things you will want to consider in choosing your workout;

  • Are you at the beginner, intermediate, or experienced level?  Note; I am a ‘hard gainer’ so I tend to stay with a beginner or intermediate level or shorten a more experienced level workout to prevent overtraining.
  • How much time do you have available for a good workout without cutting corners? Also, consider a workout length that keeps you excited and inspired.
  • What are your goals? If you want to gain mass then your routine will be vastly different than a routine geared to tone and high endurance.
  • What equipment do you have available? The more equipment you have the more elaborate your routine.  Also consider if you are going to use a circuit routine at the gym that requires a max 30 second break between sets – the gym cannot be too busy where you must wait lengthy times for equipment to free up.

Muscle and Strength

If you decide to tailor one of the programs provided by the linked websites, always try to maintain a balanced workout with ‘opposing’ exercises where if you perform a push exercise on a plane, you also perform a pull exercise as the balance offset.


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