Thursday, September 10, 2015

In The Zone


So we know that if we want to achieve our goals, we need to engage in a journey.  We need to do something about it.  The effort that we put into achieving any goal can be compared to a workout.  The most efficient way to progress towards our fitness goals is to identify our Training Zone and workout within it.  The same is true of our Goal Achievement Journey (GAJ).  Whatever it is that we need to do to obtain our goal is most efficiently done within our Zone.

Our Physical Training Zone
The boundaries of our personal physical training zone are identified using our heart rate (HR).  We have an overall training Zone.  The highest zone is our upper limit.  We will call this Zone 5.  The lowest zone is our lower limit.  We will call this Zone 1.  In Zone 5, the HR is calculated as 90-100% of our maximum heart rate (MHR).  MHR is the maximum rate at which our heart should beat when we’re working out.  In fact, it is best to work below this rate and not above it for the most efficient progress towards our fitness goals.  It can be calculated by the following equation:

220-Age = MHR

Radial Pulse
If I’m 46 years old, my MHR is 174 bpm (220-46 = 174).  This is a general number that applies to all 46-year-olds.  Since my body may be at a different fitness level than the general population of 46-year-olds, I can factor in my Resting Heart Rate (RHR) in order to personalize it a little further. We take our RHR when we are the most rested.  A good time to do this is before we get out of bed in the morning.  We count the number of radial pulses in 60 seconds.  Then we crunch the numbers in what is called the Karvonen formula.

MHR – RHR = a

a X .90 = b

b + RHR = c

c = 90% HR, the lowest level in Zone 5

Accounting for my MHR (174) and RHR (60) to calculate the bottom of my Zone 5:

174 – 60 = 114

114 X .90 = 103

103 + 60 = 163

My Zone 5 (90-100%) HR should be between 163 – 174 bmp.

Calculate my Zone 1 HR which is 50-60% of my HMR:

114 X .50 = 57

57 + 60 = 117

114 X .60 = 68

68 + 60 = 128

My Zone 1 (50-60%) HR should be between 117-128 bpm.

Our overall zone—Zone 1 to Zone 5—can be further divided into Zones 4, 3, and 2.  Calculate your own zones using the above equations and substituting the correct % for each.  Note the goals of each Zone.

Zone 5 90-100%
(Goal = Break out of Plateaus)

Zone 4 80-90%

(Goal = Increase Strength/Speed)

Zone 3 70-80%
(Goal = Maintain Speed/Endurance)

Zone 2 60-70%
(Goal = Develop Endurance)
 

Zone 1 50-60%
(Goal = Recovery)


(Sources:  Digifit and Topend Sports, Note: some of the goals are my own addition)

Perceived Exertion
The next step in identifying our personal zones is to use Perceived Exertion.  We can tell if these general HR zones are too low or too high for us personally by paying attention to our own judgment of how hard we feel when we’re working. 

Too Low
If the general HR ranges are too low for us:
• we will need to sit down to keep our HR in Zone 1
• our HR will climb above Zone 1 when we feel like we're walking easily
• our HR will climb to the top of Zone 3 or above when we feel like we're just warming up
• our HR will be way above Zone 5 when we feel like we're in the center of our zone--the level of intensity we could stay at for long distance workouts

Too High
If the general HR ranges are too high for us:
• our HR will be below Zone 1 when we feel like we're walking easily to moderately
• our HR won’t even have hit Zone 2 when we feel like we're warmed up and ready to move into the center of our zone
• our HR is still way below Zone 5 when we’re giving it all we’ve got

Listen: "True To Your Heart"
Summary of Fitness GAJ
So the fitness GAJ goes like this:
1. What is your fitness goal? 
    a. Break out of plateau
    b. Increase strength or speed
    c.  Maintain speed and endurance
    d. Develop endurance
    e.  Recover
2. What are the Zones you need to work in to obtain that goal?  1-5?
3. What is your MHR? (220-Age)
4. What is your RHR? (morning radial pulse)
5. Figure out your HR range for each Zone.
6. Get a HR monitor or take pulse periodically during exercise.  Pay attention to your HR and Perceived Exertion
7. Exercise within the zone according to your goal
8. Track distance/time, elevation/time, speed/zone; watch for improvements.  These indicate you are obtaining your goal.
Training Zone for Other Goals
Our physical fitness training zone is identified using our HR.  We also have a training zone for other types of Goal Achievement Journeys (GAJ).  This can be identified using our Spiritual Heart Rate (S-HR).  But we can’t directly observe this HR like we can our physical.  It has to be evaluated only by Perceived Exertion.  There are no specific numeric zones.  We can rate our GAJ as bored to tears, easy, exciting, confident, challenging, really hard, want to die.  We want to avoid bored to tears and want to die.  Our Zone is in between easy and really hard ("...my yoke is easy." Matt 11:29-30).  We should know what our upper and lower limits are.  So our highest and hardest zone is Zone 5.  We are working at what we would call our 90-100% capacity--really hard.  In order to find Zone 5, we should first identify our Spiritual Maximum Heart Rate (S-MHR).  We do this by evaluating our past experience.



Spiritual Maximum Heart Rate (S-MHR)
Think of a time in the past when you worked way too hard.  After such an experience you felt like quitting and never getting back on your GAJ.  You felt like a failure even though you kicked your butt to do your very best.  You thought that nothing you did was ever good enough.  You may have become spiritually or physically injured.  You were way angry and hurt.  You may have even gone so far as to contemplate taking your own life or wishing you could die.  So that’s when you went over your S-MHR.  You want to be able to sense when you’re approaching this point and slow down.

Spiritual Resting Heart Rate (S-RHR)
Since each of us are at different spiritual fitness levels, we can factor in our Spiritual Resting Heart Rate (S-RHR) in order to understand why our zones are what they are.  Our S-RHR is the result of our continuous relationship with the Cause we go to for peace and healing.  It is where we can obtain the greatest degree of rest.   Know that if we experience an influx of pure peace even though we are alone, there is someone else spiritually with us.  It’s a time to regroup, evaluate our GAJ, go back to the drawing board, and edit our goal if needed (#Marriage, #Prayer).
The more completely, efficiently, AND sustainably this relationship is able to calm us and keep us calm under pressure, the better spiritual shape we are in.  When we’re in better spiritual shape, we are able to run faster in our service to others, endure longer, and lift heavier burdens without being overly fatigued and without losing it.  So who is your Cause?  Does your relationship with him/her enable you to return to a state of rest when you need it?  Does it help you keep calm in the face of high levels of stress?  Are you able to regroup there and untangle your knots that unavoidably occur in GAJs? (Note:  we usually have a team of Causes who are on the same page regarding us.  For example, we can have a spouse, our Heavenly Father, Savior, and Holy Ghost, our church, our parents, a sibling, and/or a good friend.)

 
Identify your Zone 5: 
Think of a time in the past when you were working very hard but were not going over the “want to die” edge which enabled you to finish your commitments to obtain your goal without giving up first.  You may have been tempted to become angry or deeply hurt but you didn't yield to it.  You wouldn’t listen to failure thoughts or put downs (lack of support) from others (especially from those you love and respect) even though those are bombarding you (#Persecution).  You were striving your darndest to remember your most pure motives for starting on this journey in the first place.

If you can remember how this felt, you are able to identify your Zone 5.  If you’ve been following the Servant Program, you know this is the top of the Northwest Threshold.  It’s the Threshold in which we work to overcome plateaus, break out of bondage, and get out of old ruts in our GAJ.  Keep this in mind as you progress in your present GAJ so you know where you’re at and can understand why you’re feeling the way that you do.

Identify your Zone 1:
Our lowest and easiest zone is Zone 1.  We are working at what we would call our 50-60% capacity-easy

Think of a time in the past when you had to really slow down in order to recover from a very hard experience in your GAJ but you did not slow down so much that you never got back up (meaning you didn't quit trying to achieve your goal or you still got out of bed everyday).  You may not have been able to keep all of your commitments at your peak level, but you got through them somehow.  You did not succumb to the temptation to become apathetic to the goal you were previously very excited about.  Instead your recovery time was spent purposefully taking it a little easy in order to prepare yourself to get back into your upper level zones.
If you can remember how this felt, you are able to identify your Zone 1.  If you’ve been following the Servant Program, you know this is the bottom of the Northeast Threshold.  It’s the threshold in which we work to repair and recover but we're still not stopping all together.

So our overall Spiritual Training Zone is between our Zone 1 and Zone 5.  When we’re working on obtaining our goal and diverge past the NW (Zone 5) or NE (Zone 1) Thresholds we’re no longer training.  That means we’re not progressing towards goal achievement.  We can divide our overall Spiritual Training Zone further into Zones 4, 3, and 2 similar to the physical fitness zones discussed previously. 

Zone 4 (80-90%)
Think of a time in the past when you started ratcheting up your workload (or your workload was ratcheting up on you).  This made it so you had to increase your normal speed or the commitments you normally keep on a daily basis.  You had more things on your plate.  You weren’t sure if this all was going to work out but you didn’t know how else you were going to accomplish your goal.  You felt stressed but you were excited about the challenge.  You were able to focus on the end results and they kept you pumped.  This is the lower level of the NW Threshold just below Zone 5.

Zone 3 (70-80%)
Think of a time in the past when you were in the groove.  You mastered the process you needed to continue in to obtain your goal.  You were now focused on just staying there in that sweet spot.  Your were balanced and progressing steadily.  You could’ve stayed there for the rest of the journey only taking time off for your other commitments and to rest.  You looked forward to each new day.  You felt motivated and at the top of your game. Your goal didn’t seem very hard at all to obtain because life was good just engaging in the journey to get there.  This is your Balance.  It's the CENTER OF YOUR ZONE.

Zone 2 (60-70%)
Think of a time in the past when you were just getting started on a GAJ.  You  were  trying to get down the part you had to play to obtain your goal.  There were unanswered questions so you were taking a leap of faith in moving in this direction. There were a lot of stops and starts—should I or should I nots?  You were worried about being upstart by actually thinking you could obtain such a goal.  Each new day you were learning something new.  There were times when you whispered to yourself, “How can this be so beautiful?” You were motivated to continue despite your doubts. You were game for the adventure.  Your curiosity and hopes were high.  This is the upper level of the NE Threshold just above your Zone 1.

The Zones
So here’s a summary of the zones and what our goals would be if we chose to work in each:
Zone 5
Goal = Triumphing over Plateaus, Breaking Bad Habits, Getting Out of Bondage—finally moving past the constant breakers that have kept you from progressing for a long time
Zone 4
Goal = Strengthening, Upping the Intensity, Getting Faster    
Zone 3
Goal = Center of Your Zone, Balance, Maintaining, Joy in the Journey, Demonstrating That This Is the Level I Prefer to Be at Forever
Zone 2
Goal = Discovery, Treasure Hunt, Give Me a Purpose!, Research, Wow!
Zone 1
Goal = Recovery, Taking it Easy, Slowing Down to Catch your Breath


Summary of General GAJ
1. What is your goal? 
     a.  Get over a plateau and out of the  
          same old ruts
     b.  Strengthen your abilities, increase 
          your speed
     c.  Maintain and solidify your groove
     d.  Discover and learn your mission
     e.  Recover
2. What are the Zones you need to work in to obtain that goal?  1-5?
3. Remember your S-MHR from past GAJs.  Don’t go above there.  Slow down when you feel it coming on.
4. What is your S-RHR? = Who are you with when you feel complete rest?  What are you doing?  Develop at least one true and continuous relationship like this.  Go there when you need healing and recovery.  Know that you have to go out from there and back into your training zones to obtain your goal.  But you can always come back frequently.  You need to always come back frequently.
5. Remember a past experience for each zone so you’re able to compare it to your present experiences in your GAJ.  Watch for conflicts that arise from working in the wrong zone.
6. Develop your relationship with your General Cause.  Pay attention to his General Effects in your heart (S-HR).
7. Exercise within the Specific Zone your heart tells you that you should be in. 
8. Track your progression towards goal achievement. Track when you get better at dealing with certain people or situations without losing it like you did before; Watch for improvements.