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Anyone who has ever used a piece of cardio equipment at a fitness club is familiar with the concept of heart rate training zones. A typical set of heart rate guidelines presented on the display panel of a treadmill or elliptical trainer includes three target zones with names like “fat burning”, “aerobic fitness”, and “peak performance”. Each of these names is associated with a target heart-rate range that is given as a percentage of maximum heart rate. For example, the fat-burning zone might be 55 to 65 percent of maximum heart rate, aerobic conditioning 65 to 85 percent of maximum heart rate, and peak performance 85 to 100 percent of maximum heart rate. A formula of 220 beats per minute minus the exerciser’s age in years is used to calculate maximum heart rate.
Research has shown that most people ignore these guidelines and instead regulate their exercise intensity by feel. Specifically, they choose an intensity that feels moderately hard, because (at least subconsciously) they want to work hard enough to get something out of the workout but not so hard that they are uncomfortable. This effort level usually puts the heart rate near the high end of the aerobic conditioning range. And every workout is exactly the same: Challenging but not too challenging.
The results that exercisers get from this approach to training are much better than the results they would get from sitting at home on the couch. But they are much worse than the result they could get from a different approach that included various kinds of workouts with different heart rate targets, some lower and some higher than the heart rate levels people usually hit when they work out by feel. The typical gym exerciser has no idea he or she could get better results from the same amount of exercise with a better approach to heart rate training. That’s because the heart rate guidelines found on the display panel of a stationary recumbent bike at the gym are just too basic. They don’t explain why or how to use heart rate monitoring to get better results.
Heart Rate Zones for Runners: A Better Way The heart rate training guidelines used in running are more sophisticated and effective than the guidelines that are ignored by most gym exercisers.
There are four key differences: 1) Running coaches use more zones—typically five instead of three. 2) Running coaches use narrower zones. 3) Running coaches leave small gaps between some zones, so that certain heart-rate ranges are generally avoided in training. 4) Running coaches use the individual runner’s testing-determined lactate threshold heart rate to calculate customized heart-rate training zones instead of a general, age based maximum heart rate formula.
The heart-rate training zone system used by PEAR is similar to the systems that most running coaches use.
Here it is:
|Zone#||% Lactate Threshold|
A new runner, or even an experienced runner who hasn’t trained by heart rate, is likely to look at these guidelines and say, “Gee, this system seems more complicated than the one on the treadmill I use at the gym.” In fact, the PEAR heart rate training system is actually very easy to use. While it is a little more nuanced than the three zone system, it’s significantly more effective.
PEAR Sports now allows you to accurately find your personal VO2 Max number. VO2 Max is a measure of aerobic capacity, or the maximum rate at which the body is able to consume oxygen during exercise. It is a reliable indicator of cardiovascular fitness. The upper limit of your VO2 Max depends partly on your age and gender.
PEAR is able to determine your VO2 Max (i.e. fitness level) to within 96% accuracy of a laboratory test. Your VO2 Max will be calculated each time you complete an outdoor running workout with GPS running and while wearing a heart rate monitor. But we’ve also designed a workout specifically for calculating your VO2.
Completing the Fitness Number Workout
In your My Workouts screen, find the Your Fitness Number or Heart Rate Calibration workouts. Complete either workout with a heart monitor to receive a VO2 Max result. Your workout results screen will show you your fitness number (VO2 Max) at the completion of this workout, and you can view your average score from your profile.
For a shorter, walking version of this workout, search for the Fitness Number Walk workout using the search function.
To Find Your VO2 Max Number Results:
Navigate to the main menu ☰ and tap your profile picture. Your most recent VO2 Max will be listed as “My Fitness Level.”
** To receive a VO2 Max result, you must set “Location Services” on and run outside. Please note that your VO2 max will not be calculated with an indoor treadmill workout. Distance tracking is necessary to obtain a result.
Heart Rate Training zones are used by many coaches and trainers to help athletes maintain optimal exertion levels and a balance of high-and intensity training. PEAR’s five-zone training system is based on the Lactate Threshold. This unique number corresponds with your optimal fat burning zone and determines each of the five zones.
When you use a treadmill at the gym you might see heart rate target zones listed on the equipment, but how do you know if these zones are accurate for YOU? PEAR has solved this problem by developing a Calibration Workout that estimates your Lactate Threshold based on perceived exertion.
Once you have completed this workout, your unique zones will be calibrated for all workouts, ensuring you hear accurate feedback throughout your training.
PEAR uses the following heart-rate training zone system:
|Zone#||% Lactate Threshold|
*You also may manually set your zones under Settings>Heart Rate Zones>Custom Value
The PEAR app will connect to many third-party heart monitors, including wrist-and chest-based heart monitors.
The device model must have the following features:
- Emits a Bluetooth 4.0 signal (i.e. BLE or Bluetooth Smart)
- Non-proprietary (compatible with third-party apps)
Please note that some popular heart monitors, such as Fitbit and Garmin are proprietary devices and will not work with PEAR or other third-party apps.
The following is a list of known compatible monitors that we have tested with the app.
- Apple Watch Series 1, 2, 3, & 4 (requires PEAR installation on watch)
- Samsung Gear S2 & S3 (requires PEAR installation on watch)
- Mio Fuse
- Mio Slice
- Galaxy Watch
- Google Watch
- Wahoo TickR
For more information on Heart Rate Based Coaching and our heart rate features check out this article, Heart Rate Based Coaching.
The PEAR Pro Trainer has a communication tool within the platform that allows all correspondence, feedback, and chat to occur without the need to access personal text messaging or email. Locate this tool at the bottom of the screen by tapping on the speech bubble icon.
Yes! When creating a workout, you will find “Advanced Options” at the bottom. Here you are able to record a message that will play during that particular exercise within the workout.
PEAR Pro Trainer has a music option called Feed.fm. To access, tap the music note in the lower right of the workout screen. You have the option to select from a variety of genres and the option to “like” or “dislike” songs. The music will “duck” or soften when coaching is presented. Users can use their own music as well; they simply need to “Disable” the music in Feed.fm then open their own music, podcast, etc.
Whether using an Android or an Apple phone, connection to the health apps improve your experience by allowing access to your health data. The additional information will help calibrate and personalize your experience.
To enable health within the app:
- Open PEAR App.
- Select the menu icon in the upper left hand corner
- Select partners
- Select ‘Connect’ button for Health
- Open the Health App, and select Sources.
- Toggle all categories ON.
PEAR uses the GPS in your phone or smartwatch to estimate distance during run, walk or bike ride. The app cannot measure distance using a pedometer or accelerometer.
To track distance, you must turn on Location Services by taking these steps:
- Navigate to your phone’s general settings.
- Select Privacy
- Toggle Location Services to ON.
- Scroll down, tap PEAR and select “Always”.
While running, cycling or walking, you can see how strong your GPS Signal is by viewing the bars displayed in the Workout Screen.
***How to improve GPS accuracy***
The more obstructions there are between you and the sky (where satellites send location data), the less accurate GPS may be. Therefore, objects like buildings, trees and tunnels, and even your clothing and body can get in the way. To avoid this, it might help to put the phone in an unobstructed place, such as on an armband, handlebar mount, back pocket, etc. But keep in mind that discrepancies in distance are expected with every GPS device. As an example, when running a 5K, you might end up running further than 3.1 miles on your device, simply because of the track you took (like running on the outside of a track).
The algorithm used in the calculation of “calories burned” is provided by “The Journal of Sports Science” involves the following:
In the calendar select “Monthly View”. Tap and hold the workout you want to reschedule until it becomes shaded in a blue block. Continuing to hold your finger down on the workout, drag and drop to the newly desired date.
In the Training Plan, you can tap “edit” if you wish to alter the day of the week to train, or if you want to shift a whole week at a time.
With PEAR, you have the option to select Km or Miles (metric or English). You can select this option by accessing your profile. Tap Menu>Name at the Top>Edit Profile>select English or Metric found under birthdate.
- Toggle all to “ON”
- Apps & Notifications
- Select ALL for Read and Write
PEAR does not manage app subscriptions nor the collections of fees. The user must access their account to unsubscribe.
iPhone App Store
- Launch the Settings app on your iPhone, then select iTunes & App Store.
- Select your Apple ID at the top, then tap View Apple ID from the popup menu.
- Enter your password when prompted and select OK.
- Tap Subscriptions, then select the name of the subscription you’d like to cancel or modify.
- Turn the Auto-Renewal option to ‘Off.’
- Log into Google Play, tap the menu in the upper left.
- Tap Account.
- Tap Subscriptions.
- Tap PEAR, then Unsubscribe/Cancel.
Galaxy App Store:
- Log into the Galaxy App Store, tap menu in upper right.
- Tap My Apps.
- Tap Receipts.
- Tap Items.
- Tap PEAR, then Unsubscribe.