What does heart rate have to do with effective training?

Sweat is running, your heart is pounding, you’re running out of air, you’re getting side stitches, and your muscles are cramping. “Keep going.” “There’s got to be more to it than that.” “Only when I really power up will I be effective”. These are often the thoughts when you start fitness after a long break from training or even when you are very fresh.

The motivations are different. Simply to get fitter, to lose weight, to do something for your health or even to compete. But no matter what personal goal you have set for yourself, it is important that you train in the optimal range despite your desire to work out and reach your goal quickly. And heart rate plays a not insignificant role in this. Some people may think that pushing the heart rate up until it’s almost impossible is ideal – but far from it, depending on the fitness level, training level and objective, different heart rates are effective. If the pulse rises too high, for example, fewer calories are burned, but more on that later….

First, let’s get back to basics. What is the job of our heart? – Exactly, to pump blood through the circulatory system so that our organs, first and foremost the brain, are supplied with sufficient oxygen, harmful substances are removed from the cells, nutrients, salts, etc. arrive where they are needed, and the mixture of fluids in the intracellular space and extracellular space maintain the ideal balance.

The heart rate indicates how often the heart beats per minute. This can vary depending on height and weight, fitness and health status, and heart size. As an adult, the normal range is when the heart beats between 60 and 80 times per minute. At rest, of course, the body does not need as much oxygen as during physical activity. The pumping rate of 60 – 80 times is therefore sufficient to transport enough blood into the circulation that has been enriched with fresh oxygen in the lungs.

During physical activity, our muscle cells need more oxygen. Comparable to an engine, our muscles also only function when they receive sufficient fuel. This fuel is fats and carbohydrates to convert them together with oxygen into energy. For the muscles this is ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Enzymes in our cells break down ATP into adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and a free phosphate, releasing energy. Three-quarters of this energy is used to contract the muscle. The rest goes off as heat, or sweating. Now ADP has to be turned back into ATP to become energy again.


For this to happen, our body has invented two mechanisms: Aerobic and anaerobic energy production. And here again our oxygen comes into play, transported into the cells by our heart with a good heart rate. In aerobic energy production, the body needs oxygen and water. Anaerobic energy production takes place without oxygen, but is much less effective.

Aerobic energy metabolism takes place at low exercise loads with a lower heart rate. This includes, for example, swimming or a slow endurance run.




Where do muscle cramps actually come from?

If training is hard and at the limit, for example in weight training, weight lifting or sprinting, not enough energy can be obtained via aerobic metabolism. The muscles need too much energy in a short time. Anaerobic metabolism then kicks in immediately. The body converts carbohydrates into energy through lactic acid fermentation, which produces lactate.

This lactic acid is then the cause of muscle cramps, which occur until the body is optimally supplied with oxygen again.

If the heart rate increases permanently too much, this is a sign that the body has switched to anaerobic metabolism. For a short time, the muscles can sustain this, but long-term training success is achieved by creating a healthy mix between high frequencies and low frequencies.

So the goal of training should always be to get the body used to being more efficient in the long term and to move the lactate threshold up, the point at which the body switches from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism.

This is where your trainers from FIT TEAM Zurich come in. Together we can define your goals in an individually adapted training plan and bring about an increase in performance. During the training sessions, your trainer will make sure that you maintain the optimal heart rate in order to reach your goal – in other words, to push yourself and increase your performance on the one hand, but not to overtax your body on the other.

We are happy to support you in a comprehensive outdoor training program. Online or of course in one-to-one training with our sophisticated cardio and functional training program.

By the way: In anaerobic metabolism, the body does not access the fat depots, because the body needs oxygen for this. So if you have weight reduction as a goal, you would do well to train mostly in the aerobic range.

The same procedure as every year


Every year not only Christmas time comes, but also the time afterwards around New Year’s Eve and New Year, when we review the past year and set goals for the new one. The advent season was used to feast: sweets, roasts, delicious sauces. We realize that we have only partially achieved the goals we set last year. The time for ourselves and sporty activities has once again come up too short.


Whereas it is usually our inner weaker self which keeps us from attaining our goals with self-made excuses such as “I just don’t have time”, “Just one more time and then I start next week” or “I really need this cigarette to reduce my stress level now”, the year 2020 presented us with some real challenges:


In the home office, our route goes from the study to the kitchen and back. Our legs become heavy and the calorie requirement drops to a maximum of one kilocalorie per hour, which has been proven in studies. The walk to the supermarket is the greatest of feelings. In addition, there is the mental strain that weighs on us due to the limited number of human contacts. Our routines, such as fitness studio twice a week, group cycling and hiking tours or skiing trip cannot be fulfilled with a clear conscience or are even prohibited. It is of course clear to everyone why these things are not possible, but they lead to the fact that we have implemented all the more difficult to reach personal goals.


When googling “goals and resolutions for the new year”, you find results which range from being happy, spend more time with family and friends, quit smoking, make time for yourself, exercise more, lose weight, all the way to “changing your life completely” or working less. Some goals are easy to accomplish, others require a lot of discipline or willpower. Often times you will persevere for a few weeks or months and then everyday life takes its toll. The daily routines lead us more or less quickly back into old habits. And we don’t really feel good about it. Often a guilty conscience plagues us and this leads to an uneasy feeling in the stomach.


The goal should therefore be how to really integrate your desires into everyday life without feeling restricted. This can be compared to the jo-jo effect of diets. For a few weeks you will go on without chocolate, fat, carbohydrates or anything you find tasty and then you fall back into old patterns. The result: dissatisfaction and a few kilos more on the scales. The same phenomenon applies to sports; working out five times a week after a hard day at work is almost impossible and puts a lot of pressure on you.

Integrating resolutions into your everyday life

But how do you make the goals you set really part of your daily life and ultimately create a positive attitude to life and motivation instead of stressing yourself unnecessarily?

One aspect for example is to set concrete and achievable goals. Take it upon yourself to exercise twice a week and if you manage to do it once, it is already a good result. Don’t punish yourself by not eating any sweets at all anymore, but exchange 50 percent of the indulgence products for a healthy alternative – that’s already 50 percent more than before. Set a specific goal: “This year, I’ll always use the stairs instead of the elevator.”


This can also apply to non-athletic goals. Instead of “this year I want less stress” try setting a goal of “one day a week or 3 hours a week I will set aside specific quality time for the family or for myself”. This is then consciously perceived and provides a sense of achievement. And this is also good for your soul and happiness level, because a sense of achievement leads to the release of endorphins, which are known to reduce stress and create a positive mood.

Need a motivational boost?

Are you worried about achieving your goals in the long run or are you too stuck in everyday routines? Do the pressure at work and the many daily meetings hardly leave any conscious moments for quality time?

FIT TEAM Zurich will be happy to support you and together with you ensure a better quality of life by giving you time for yourself during a personal training session. This time belongs entirely to you and also ensures that you can achieve your sports and health goals for 2021. Whether it’s losing weight, getting into better shape, becoming more flexible or preparing for a specific competition. Our FIT TEAM Zurich will be happy to support you.

Even in the current situation, this is possible without hesitation, as we also offer online training. During working hours, we offer company fitness so that sport can be ideally integrated into everyday life. If you prefer to do sports together with friends or family, we can also train in small groups. Contact us now!


Together we will achieve that “same procedure as every year” does not mean that every year the same, unrealized goals end up on your to-do list, but that you can achieve real successes and that sports, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are an integral part of your daily routine. We look forward to seeing you.



What does the dark winter time do to your body and what can you do about it?

The alarm clock is ringing. You are tired and you slowly open one eye and turn on the snooze function again. 6.42 a.m., less than ten minutes later the tormentor rings again penetratingly and not a bit more awake you open your second eye and swing your legs out of bed – no change to stay any longer in the worm bed. You stretch a little and flab into the bathroom. It’s still dark outside. The time was changed in October, but after a few weeks the late sunrise caught up with us again. In the dark you go to work and after a long working day you leave the office and you are driving through the twilight again. During the day it is often too cold or the time is too short to take a break outside and catch some daylight. What is the consequence of this? – Exactly: Our body receives almost only artificial light throughout autumn and winter. We feel limp, tired and unmotivated. It is difficult to concentrate.

Do you recognize yourself?

This tiredness and listlessness is actually not an imagination, but can be explained scientifically: the invisible part of sunlight is UV light. The ultraviolet rays are invisible to the eye, but they still have a lot to do with our bodies, because without them no life would be possible. Just as plants die without photosynthesis and light, we humans also depend on light.
In summer, UV light ensures a nice tan, but it is almost more important that UV light is required for vitamin D production and this ensures that the human body can absorb calcium, which is important for bones and teeth. Those who take in enough vitamin D can actively do something against osteoporosis.
Sunlight is also extremely important for the skin itself – to a healthy extent, of course, so that there is no sunburn or skin damage. So it helps against psoriasis, acne and other eczema.
In addition to classic medical points, light also plays a role for our psyche and our vigor. Studies have shown that 20 percent of Swedes, Norwegians and Icelanders suffer from a so-called Seasonal Affective Disorder in winter, which should not be confused with real depression, but rather shows temporary tiredness and motivation disorders as symptoms.
Light counteracts this via special receptors in the eye with a detour via our hormone levels. The receptors send a signal to our pineal gland, whose job it is to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. If these signals fail to appear, you always feel tired because melatonin is produced continuously. But if you go into the sun or light, serotonin is produced, which in turn brightens the mood and is considered a feel-good hormone.

Sport instead of chocolate

But because of the time of year and all of our work, the hours of sunshine and time outdoors are inevitably too short, we have to take other means to ensure that the happiness hormone serotonin is released. Sure, you can use lots of sugar and chocolate, but this effect only lasts for a short time and also puts a few extra pounds on the ribs. This is where sport comes into play: On the one hand – we all know – exercise is good for the heart, circulation and mobility, and on the other hand, the body also produces more hormones during exercise. Dopamine, serotonin and endorphins are released, which are responsible for making us cope better with stress, generally feeling better and pain no longer feeling so bad, and serotonin is necessary for feelings of happiness.

So it is particularly important in the dark season that we exercise and do sports. But it is sometimes difficult to motivate yourself when the couch and cookies are calling. Our FIT TEAM personal trainers in Zurich are happy to be your motivators. Flexible in terms of time, we adapt to your needs and training wishes – whether online training, during the lunch break, indoor or outdoor – together we declare war on the winter blues! We look forward to you.


NEW in Zürich: Interview with Trainer Austin Sunday

Since this summer there is a completely new personal training offer in Zurich: As first location of the European wide known personal trainer network FIT TEAM, Austin Sunday started the unique business model in the Swiss metropole and wants to motivate fitness fans and such who would like to become one in order to reach their personal training targets.

The native Nigerian discovered his love of sports through boxing, street boxing and weightlifting already as a young man. As weightlifter the location owner of FIT TEAM Zurich participated in state-wide weightlifting competitions. His passion for this holistic sport and his passion for fitness motivated Austin to become a personal trainer to assist people with a combination of training, a healthy lifestyle and muscle growth and if needed weight loss to get a completely new body feeling. His target is to make his customers smile after a training session with him.

His professional engagements in different countries around the world enable Austin to interact with people with different needs and requirements. After his childhood and teens in Nigeria, Austin lived in Dubai for three years where he worked as a Security Officer and where he trained his team members as well. Dealing with a wide variety of people during this time further prepared Austin to ideally approach and understand the needs of his clients. For personal reasons, he moved to Zurich in November 2019. Being a personal trainer, a healthy lifestyle and exercise are part of his everyday life. His second passion is fashion – he designs lifestyle fashion for a wide variety of occasions.

All trainings with Austin are held in English.

What can customers expect from a Training with Austin?

My goal is that FIT TEAM Zurich clients will reach their personal targets supported by me and that they reach their own next sports level. The fun factor is as well important and our trainings should always be holistic. Quite often there is not enough time for sports in the busy everyday live, therefore I would like to convey my knowledge, my passion and I would like to be the contact person for the needs of our customers. Together we develop an individual training plan and it doesn’t matter if the customer already has training experience or if we start from zero and the client wants to integrate training into their future lives. If requested we will train at the client’s home, we can meet outside, at work during lunch time or even in a fitness studio.

What is special in Zurich? What do you love here?

Zurich is a fast moving, modern and very lively city. Beside the delicious food and the beautiful countryside, what I like about Zurich is that for people here everything seems to be possible. In Zurich you have infinite potential. But additionally, I recognized that people here work a lot and everybody is running in the streets very busy – from meeting to meeting, often stressed and with serious facial expressions. Therefore, it’s even more important to bring a bit of lightness into people’s lives. They have less spare time, therefore my aim is to give one hour a day to clients which is their own quality or “me”-time. Time to charge their personal batteries and to take the weight off their shoulders. Sports and fitness is an ideal way to achieve this – doesn’t matter if indoors or outdoors.

What does an outdoor training look like? Where can customers train with you, indoors and outdoors?

In principal the location is the choice of the client. We can train at the customer s’ home or in the office or the company for company fitness classes. Alternatively, we can meet outdoors, I will bring the needed equipment. If the customer prefers to train in a fitness studio this is as well possible in the studio where the client has an active membership or at any Basefit studio in Zurich, with whom FIT TEAM Zurich has a cooperation. The customer will receive a briefing on fitness equipment and optimal training methods in the field of bodybuilding and muscle building. For outdoor trainings we also set our goals together. A focus can here be mobility and flexibility and / or getting the body in top shape through high-intensity interval training and getting the cardiovascular system going through cardio training.

Is a healthy lifestyle generally important for you?

A healthy lifestyle is complimenting the training. I am in general not a fan of supplements and absolutely an opponent of muscle building substances. A well-balanced mixture of lifestyle and training is the key and this is what we will develop and define in your trainings plan. To take supplements or protein products isolated without training does not help if it doesn’t match the training. The most important thing is to give your body the right nutrients and to make the nutrition fit the training. Protein shakes or vitamins can be added but in general healthy food with fish, meat and vegetables, enough water, sleep and breaks are more important for a successful healthy lifestyle. The client should benefit long term from training and coaching with FIT TEAM Zürich, because if you build a good foundation today you will have less backpain in the future, good joints and being mobile and flexible even in your more mature years.