Low Blood Pressure = lower calories burned during workouts? Anybody know?

#1
I have noticed that I have to adjust met levels for every workout I do significantly to match what my HRM says. I am on the low end of normal in terms of blood pressure (106/70, with a pulse that is in the 60s, resting in the 50s), and am wondering if that might be why. I feel completely maxed out energy wise while working out, so it isn't that I'm slacking. I'm more curious than anything...
 
#2
So when you do a hiit workout your bp is that low?? And pulse too?? If so are you on cardiac meds? Otherwise it doesn't sound right...unless I'm completely misunderstanding what you're saying.
 
#3
No, sorry, I wasn’t clear. I’m sure they’re higher when I’m working out.

I have seen a vascular surgeon for other circulation problems (Raynauds and possible TOS) and he said that he didn’t want to put me on the standard course of treatment since it would drop my blood pressure another 10, putting me squarely into officially low blood pressure 100/60). I’m just on the low side of normal right now (resting.) The lower BP apparently runs in my family. My pulse is great... thanks to Cathe. It used to be higher, but clearly aerobic capacity has strengthened my heart.
 
#4
Not a medical doctor so I can only speak from my own experience. I have low blood pressure, it's been this way for years. My docs, especially during my pregnancies, have advised that I add salt (sea salt, iodized table salt , kosher salt ) to my foods. Please note that I am talking about homemade, whole foods, NOT eating processes foods (loaded with sodium garbage). I know this is counter to most American's needs, but most Americans don't have low blood pressure. This has helped me.

I don't know why it affects heart rate during workouts, but I noticed the same effect with low HRM readings despite killing it in terms of intensity. I think for me it is also due to having very advanced cardio capacity. ...not bragging. Just been working out intensely, with Cathe and others, for nearly 2 decades. To avoid the frustration, I have switched to the Perceived Rate of Exertion method. It works for me. I also don't workout to hit calorie burn goals, so getting that info from an HRM is irrelevant to me as well.
 
#5
I don't know why it affects heart rate during workouts, but I noticed the same effect with low HRM readings despite killing it in terms of intensity. I think for me it is also due to having very advanced cardio capacity. ...not bragging. Just been working out intensely, with Cathe and others, for nearly 2 decades.
This is me too. We use the MyZone heart rate monitor during our HIIT boot camp, and I am working out at a much higher intensity than most people in the class. My heart rate stays fairly low despite my effort. There are some novices in the class who can reach close to their maximum heart rate while doing very low intensity moves. I've been doing HIIT for years (with Cathe and at this bootcamp) and my heart is very strong. My resting HR is 50. Some days it's frustrating to see others burning it up in the calorie department, while I'm working so hard and burning half the calories. I just chalk it up to being in great shape, and take away from it that my heart is healthy and strong.
 
#7
I have noticed that I have to adjust met levels for every workout I do significantly to match what my HRM says. I am on the low end of normal in terms of blood pressure (106/70, with a pulse that is in the 60s, resting in the 50s), and am wondering if that might be why. I feel completely maxed out energy wise while working out, so it isn't that I'm slacking. I'm more curious than anything...
Your numbers are almost identical to mine. Your blood pressure has nothing to do with your calorie burn. The number of calories burned during a workout is dependent on the zone you work out in (ie intensity) and not your HR. The zone is indirectly measured using the HR. If you used the formula that starts with 180 minus your age, you most likely ended up with the wrong range for your zones. The size of your heart (literally) determines the HR range for each zone. Larger hearts pump more blood per stroke and don't need to beat as often to deliver oxygen. You need to do a field test and figure out your max HR and then adjust your zones. To give you an example, Zone 3 for me is in the 150's-160's bpm because I have a small heart. For DH, the same zone is in the 120-130's because he has a much larger heart. My HR hits 180 during some of the more intense workouts without any problem. DH's never gets up to 160. Once you correct "your zones", the calorie burn will correct itself. I'm yet to meet in real life a person that can accurately use that generic formula.

Your calorie burn is also dependent on your VO2 max. If you have a Polar HRM, do the fitness test and calculate your VO2 max. Repeat every few months. People who are fit assume incorrectly that they burn less calories during a workout because their HR is lower. As the VO2 max goes up so does the calorie burn even when the HR drops. VO2 max is genetically determined and some people can raise it much higher than others (ie they burn more calories than others at rest and during a workout).

If you calculate your VO2 max and calculate your zones correctly, your calorie burn numbers will be fairly accurate.
 
#9
Soapmaker - Really good points. Thanks, you are right!

I used to have a Polar HRM but they stopped supporting it and when I went to look for another one I wasn't really thrilled with the options. I used to be able to figure my daily nutritional needs exactly (it was really crazy how spot on it was.) I have a Fitbit now, but at best it is an approximation, and I find it underestimates my workouts... So now I'm losing when I want to maintain (or even gain back to get to my original goal weight.) Which Polar do you have? I had one with a chest strap. I think it was a T21? I got it 10 years ago most likely. LOL

I hate being at the end of the day and loading up on an extra glass of wine or an ice cream sundae when I'd rather add quality nutrients throughout the day to build muscle and get rid of stubborn belly fat. I mean, yeah its nice to eat ice cream (I love sweets), but it defeats the purpose of all the hard work I've done. I'm 4 lbs under my goal weight now - and not on purpose.
 
#10
Right now, I'm using the Polar A360. I wrote about it in the HRM thread. I got it to monitor sleep mostly and ended up using it as a watch/HRM/activity tracker. There is a new version the A370 and a new transmitter the H10. I use the A360 with and without the transmitter and it is pretty accurate. It has the fitness test built in.

It defeats the purpose to exercise and restrict food intake. The one thing we learned from the Biggest Loser is that adding exercise to diets doubles the damage to our metabolism. It takes a lot of nutrients to repair and maintain all the systems that make us healthy. I decided long ago to eat to fuel my workouts and to workout to treat myself to the food I like. I reached a happy medium.

I don't diet because it makes my VO2 max drop like a ton of bricks. Diets don't work for me but exercise does very well. It is probably because we always eat healthy. We cook almost all of our meals from scratch. Nothing canned etc... and no microwaved carbs. We don't cut out healthy fats, carbs or sugar. We control salt very carefully which controls sugar by default. We have sweet treats(homemade) once in a while (last weekend's treat: blueberry crisp with vanilla ice cream). It is all about the frequency and portion size.

Just a word of caution about being underweight. It is almost as damaging as being obese in the long run in terms of morbidity and mortality. It seems that a BMI between 25 and 30 works best for women as we get older.
 
#11
Thanks. I'll check out the Polar. I'm not actively dieting, more just making sure I stay within range... it is so easy to over do it. I do eat healthy. We normally eat out more than we have lately which keeps my weight in check. Without going out, I've dropped unintentionally. It is more about getting a routine that works.. I'm not crazy skinny, just under where I want to be.

By the way the A370 is on sale for 25% off on the Polar website (use GYM25)
 
#12
My resting heart rate is 45 and sometimes I find that the trackers don't read my heart rate correctly. For example, I'll be on the treadmill feeling like I"m going to die and it will say my heart rate is 90 which I know I feel is much higher than that. Do you run into this as well? I personally think that heart rate monitors aren't reliable when you have a lower heart rate?
 
#13
You know, I haven't watched it that closely (I did when I had my Polar HRM), but the times that I have, I've been tracking along pretty well. I guess that was my confusion. If I'm working hard, and the # on the monitor says I am, then why don't I hit the met level that is listed in the workout manager? If I were to workout hard enough to create the caloric burn based on the met level, I'd probably pass out (or twist an ankle... wouldn't be the first time that fatigue caused that!)
 
#14
I guess I really have the same questions as you, but I've never asked the dr. I get so frusterated because I know I have a slow heart rate and I know my heart rate does elevate when I exercise (i've had a halter monitor and some other tests) but yet sometimes my heart rate does not elevate to the really high maximum for my age and I think its due to the fact my heart rate is so low. So does this mean I'm exercising enough and my target heart rate is a little lower because my heart rate is so low. I agree with you there are days when I do really heavy cardio when I just feel exhausted afterward. My heart rate monitor doesn't show that my heart rate was THAT high but I definetely feel maxed out.. I am not trying to lose weight as my BMI is low - just maintain, but - Its frusterating:)
 
#15
Kristie, I think we just need to follow our energy level, in other words, do the perceived exertion test. Not all bodies work the same, but it doesn't necessarily mean they don't work, or get the job done. ;)
 

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