Rollerskating, for me, is a very intense workout. I've found the secret to enjoying myself is to push as hard as I can. I don't like pop music, but when skating I can tolerate it when the songs are fast. I keep my speeds fairly high most of the session, and I rarely sit down—usually just for games. I can hold heart rates of over 183 BPM (100% of my estimate maximum) for 3-5 minutes at a time without a problem, and I can do this a few times a night. When on the skating floor my heart rate rarely drops below 165 BPM (90%) and often stays above 175 BPM (95.6%) for periods of 10 minutes or more—especially early in the evening.
I've been rollerskating for 21 years and this activity has long served as my primary form of exercise. That probably explains why I am able to hit and hold my highest heart rates with this activity. But I have noticed something else as well. When I started skating again this summer it had been after a long break—like more than 5 years. I was bicycling regularly and my body fairly acclimated to sessions of high intensity workout. When I started skating again I found I was able to burn around 2,000 Calories in 3 hours (actually around 2 hours, 50 minutes). So that became my goal each session. I have been finding, however, this goal is fairly easy to meet. In fact, the last couple of weeks I have been burning 2,500 Calories for the 3 hour session. Since I track my heart rate for skating sessions, I decided to plot the data I have from my high intensity skating sessions.
This graph looks a bit messy because I put in both my average heart rate, maximum heart rate and Calories burned each hour. However, there is a clear upward trend in all 3 fields. My average heart rate has increased from around 145 BPM (79%) to 160 BPM (87%) which has pushed my calorie burn from 725 Calories/hour up to over 850 Calories/hour.
What I find interesting is that I skate once a week most weekends for 3 hours. That's it. And just these 17 skating sessions over 5 months shows clear signs of improvement. My body is clearly able to improve, and it happens with less effort than I thought was required. The jump from 2,000 to 2,500 Calories in 3 hours is a 25% increase. I can't say what has been the key to this. I know eating correctly before skating improves how I feel toward the end of the night. My morning protein shake should provide the nutrients for building muscle, and my vitamin regiment should be helping muscle repair (exercise damages muscle). Whether these two factors play any significant role I don't know. This does make me excited to see what I can do when bicycling season returns.