T Nation

High Heart Rate

I am a 49 year old male who is 25 lbs overweight. I do 4 to 6 hours/week of mixed aerobic and resistance training. As I type this e-mail my heart rate is 98 bpm and is high (over 100) in general. Other than needing to lose fat and to become fitter is there any supplement that I should look into to reduce my resting HR? I take several vitamins and minerals - are any known to raise HR? Thanks for any advice. L

I’m no where near a physician so this is merely advice from a personal trainer, but I would be very concerned about your RHR if you where a client of mine! That is VERY high and probably should be looked at by a physician. Speaking of that, have you had a physical/tests run to see what’s going on?

As far as what a trainer would look at, how long have you been training 4-6 times per week? If its been any length at all (2-3 weeks) your RHR should have already come down by now since your cardiovascular system should be getting more efficient (heart pumps at a greater volume per beat and capillaries are being grown to distrubute more oxygenated blood faster).

Even a very inactive over-weight/obese person might have a RHR of 80-90, but 100+ is very concerning. What is your height/weight/bodyfat?

As far as natural vaso-constrictors, niacin and B12 can speed up your RHR if taken in large enough quantity. So can supplements too many to mention as well as asprin. Also, probably the biggest factor is caffeine intake or a combination of caffeine and one of the affore mentioned. How much coffee/caffeinated beverages do you consume? Do you take any metabolism boosting supplements?

Get back to us with more details and we’ll see if we can help you. In the mean time, if you haven’t yet got a physical, that would be my #1 priority if I was your trainer.

TopSirloin

Another great post, TopSirloin!!!

lablanco, I really do hope you’ll listen to TopSirloin and get a handle on your situation. Once you have a diagnosis from a medical professional, you can go about correcting/improving your situation.

Go to your family doc first, of course, but if he can’t provide you with any hard answers, get to a good cardiologist ASAP!

[quote]lablanco wrote:
As I type this e-mail my heart rate is 98 bpm and is high (over 100) in general.[/quote]

Maybe you’re supposed to have that high a heart rate. I do, and while “experts” get very concerned about it, I don’t have high blood pressure or anything. I can sustain a cardio workout for twenty minutes at a heart rate of 187 bpm, which at 35 years old is about 2 bpm over the “you would drop dead” rate. I’m a little out of breath afterward, but I’m certainly not falling over exhausted. And they say that as you get into better shape your RHR goes down, but I really haven’t seen this happening. (I do have thallassemia, which may have something to do with it.)

This is not to say that TopSirloin and TampaTerry don’t know what they’re talking about; they do, and they’re veyr knowledgeable about how the human body performs and reacts in a general sense for the average person. In an average person, a 98 bpm RHR is cause for great concern… but I would suggest you might just not be average.

You SHOULD go and see a doctor, because you MAY have a real condition. If you don’t, however, and your only concern is that big number on the heart monitor… it’s really not that important. People are different. Work from your resting heart rate as a basis; when you’re relaxed and calm, your heart rate will drop as low as it needs to drop. If that’s 98 bpm (mine is 93), then it’s 98 bpm.

When you go and work out, don’t judge anything based on the number, judge it based on how you feel. If you’re panting and out of breath and feel like you’re going to keel over, that’s too much; look at your heart rate, and remember that number’s too high. If you feel like you’re doing nothing at all and you could keep going forever, look at your heart rate and remember that number’s too low. This will ROUGHLY determine your aerobic and anaerobic heart rates, and if you try to hit somewhere around the middle of that range, you’ll be getting productive results from your workout.

Again, DO go see a doctor just to be sure, but if all he has to say is “your heart rate should never go above 220 minus your age”, don’t worry about it unless it hurts.

I’m curious, does anyone here know how much coffee you can safely drink a day before it starts to affect your RHR?

I think I’ll throw in my 2 cents here. That heart rate in my opinion (non-medical) is due to lack of physical conditioning. I’m going to provide you with an example. There was a time period when I was 17 and I cut myself down from 190lbs to just under 160. I was running 10-20 miles a week at 7min/mile, working out with tremendous volume, and caddying (walking 10-20 miles a day with golf bags). Hence to say I was under 5% bodyfat (imagine 1mm caliper readings on your stomach) and I had RHR of 60bpm…the few times I measured it when I laid in bed. On contrast when I bulked up again a few months later and was up to aroudn 200 I went for a physical and my RHR was over 90.
I hope this helps.
Jason

Without going to a doctor it’s impossible to say if this is serious. High RHR is often, although not always, associated with high blood pressure.

I had a high RHR (100-110) and went to the doctor some years ago. I found out I had high blood pressure. My doctor put me on one 50mg. Atenolol tab/day. That, along with getting back in shape, reduced my RHR to 55-60, and my blood pressure is now normal. In fact, my doctor is now talking about taking me off the Atenolol!

GO GET IT CHECKED BY A DOCTOR.

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