You probably know by now I’m an advocate of the DDPYoga fitness system. I first picked it up in August 2013 after listening to Diamond Dallas Page talk about it at length during a profanity-laden episode of the Steve Austin Show.
However, after hundreds of workouts, I only picked up a heart rate monitor for the first time this year. It was the Fitbit Charge HR, and it has dramatically changed how I do my DDPYoga workouts.
Why wear a heart monitor?
The main principle of DDPYoga is engagement, or dynamic resistance. It’s a tensing of the muscles so that the more you flex, the more blood you pump to your muscles. The more blood you pump to your muscles, the faster your heart has to beat. And the faster your heart beats, the more fat you burn.
If you are operating at your maximum heart rate or up to 25 beats per minute less, you’re engaging in aerobic cardiovascular exercise. Think running, walking, biking, skiing, or doing DDPYoga. With this type of exercise, you are burning fat as your fuel source.
In aerobic exercise, in which you exceed your maximum heart rate for a long time, you burn sugar as your fuel source, and that requires more recovery time. Think sprinting or weightlifting.
Dallas implores people to be wearing a heart monitor at the start of each workout so that your body is in its optimal fat-burning zone. If you exceed it, he recommends heading into the Safety Zone position for a few seconds so you can lower it.
So how do you know what your fat-burning zone is?
DDPYoga uses the 180 formula developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone.
Take 180 minus your age. Then, modify that number according to the rules listed on his site.
I follow 180 minus my age, minus 20 to know what my target heart rate zone is.
180-26 = 154. 154-20 = 134. So my target heart rate zone is 134-154.
How did the Charge HR help?
When I first got my Charge HR device, I did the quick and basic Energy workout to get a gauge on how it worked. Remember, I hadn’t ever used a heart rate monitor in 18 months of DDPYoga practice.
Initially, I was underwhelmed. My heart rate hovered around 100, which wasn’t close to the 130s I needed to reach just to be on the lower end of my fat-burning zone. “Maybe this thing just needs to get used to me working out,” I thought. After all, everybody’s different, so maybe there was some kind of calibration phase it needed to go through.
Later on, though, it dawned on me that I might not be fully engaging my muscles to make use of the dynamic resistance upon which DDPYoga is based. I made some adjustments, and found out that my heart rate was indeed going up throughout my workouts. With effort, I can make my heart rate soar. Not as easily as they do in the video above, but it works nonetheless.
If you’re having trouble getting into your fat-burning zone doing DDPYoga, try this guy’s video:
Four months after starting to use a heart rate monitor for DDPYoga, I’m seeing some results of using my heart rate monitor. The wrap and burn stretch on the Strength Builder (and Mix Tape) workouts on the DVDs has gotten me into the 130s, and the Mix Tape in general is the workout that keeps me the most engaged with my highest heart rates. I’m also still surprised to see I have consistently high heart rates when I’m doing Broken Table crunches. For a move that doesn’t seem like much, it sure shoots that heart rate up.
However, I still can’t find consistency in when to expect my heart rate to go up and when it won’t. For example, I noticed a drastic increase in my heart rate when working outdoors than indoors. This was especially apparent when I was doing punches a few weeks ago in the park and noticed my heart rate soaring into the 140s, a number not typically seen in my living room during the same exercise.
What to know about customizing the heart rate on the Charge HR
You have to customize your heart rate on the Charge HR if you want to follow the DDPYoga method of calculating it.
- Open up the Fitbit app.
- Go to Account.
- Go to Heart Rate Zone.
- Select that you want to use a custom zone, and then enter the Upper Limit and Lower Limit.
The caveat is that even though you select custom zones, Fitbit will still use its default zones when plotting your graph of heart rates throughout your workout. It will show you your custom zone with the graph, but it doesn’t really explain much (like what your zones are).
Tell me what you think
Now, it’s your turn to sound off with your experiences to one or any of these questions:
- What are your experiences like with using the Fitbit Charge HR for DDPYoga?
- How does the Fitbit Charge HR compare to other heart rate monitors for DDPYoga?
- What DDPYoga exercises do you find help you get into your target heart rate zone?
- What other fitness activities do you do with your heart rate monitor, and how does that compare to when you do DDPYoga?