How your resting heart rate compares to the pros

Minute 1: How low can you go? Resting heart rate and athlete performance

Many of our super fit readers have probably caused their doctors to stare at their watches in disbelief after taking a resting heart rate (RHR) measurement. While the average American sits somewhere between 60 and 100 BPM, endurance athletes enjoy much lower numbers. Lance Armstrong in his prime reportedly had a resting heart rate of 32-34 BPM. Other than bragging rights and amused looks from hospital staffers, what can you really learn from your RHR? According to this new story, “Does Your Resting Heart Rate Determine How Long You’re Going to Live?,” it can tell you a lot about your health, but it doesn’t paint the full picture. First of all, if you’re aiming to lower your heart rate, you should try to beat the average, says fitness expert Michael Matthews. Unfortunately, the average American isn’t exactly the pinnacle of health, so a target of 50 to 80 BPM is a more ambitious goal. It’s important to realize that every heart differs in size and efficiency, so don’t get caught up on the exact BPM. Track your RHR over time, and if you see it decreasing, you’ll know your training is paying off. Getting within the healthy range is a sure sign of progress, but it’s only one part of the equation. Another metric worth considering is heart rate variability (HRV). Having strong HRV means you’re able to raise your BPM from low to high easily when you exercise. Improving HRV can be done by training in a variety of heart rate zones. Take a look at “Exercise Heart Rate Zones Explained” for tips. By calculating your maximum heart rate based on age, and then training at various percentages of your BPM limit, you can ensure your heart is ready for the increased workload you throw at it. To see how you stack up against your age group and world record holders alike, check out this “Resting Heart Rate Table.” You may also want to investigate the tables that WHOOP compiled from actual user data: “What is a Good Resting Heart Rate by Age and Gender?#BeatingRecords

Minute 2: How anxiety affects your nutrition