What is your fitness goal? To lose weight? To have more endurance? To improve cardiovascular health? Whatever your aim is, a heart rate monitor is essential to hitting your goal.
I'm sure you have heard the term work smarter, not harder. Why would you want to overdo your cardio when working in a lower zone is the key to achieving your goal? It will make your life a lot easier – and push you to your fitness dreams faster. It will also help when you hit a fitness plateau and your body is not progressing the way you want it to. When you use a monitor, you know you are training at the correct intensity. You know you're not over-training or under-training your body. In other words, you will see better and faster results, pushing your motivation through the roof! You'll know you're on your way to being the best you possible.
But there are other ways you can use one that of which you may not have thought. If you play sports, you probably do speed drills during practice. Using a monitor during speed work lets you to calculate how fast your heart reacts to these drills. Your rate should mimic the demands of whatever sport you are playing.
Are you into weight lifting? If you are doing an aerobic/muscle workout like Crossfit, using one ensures you're working at your desired intensity. If your workout has a recovery time, you can see how much your heart rate lowers while you are resting – a very important thing of which to keep track.
So how do you best utilize a monitor?
Its basic function is to show you where and your heart rate is. You can set the minimum and maximum heart rate (MHR) based on your fitness goals and it will alert you when you go over or under your selected zone.
To calculate your MHR:
1. Take 220 and subtract your age. Example: 220 – 40 years old = 180
2. Determine your goal. Example: You want to lose weight. To calculate your bpm (beats per minute) range, you should be at 60 – 70% of your MHR (the zone in which you lose weight). Take your maximum heart rate (180 from the example) and multiply 60 – 70%: 180 x 60-70% = 108 – 126
In order to lose weight, you know that your heart rate must not fall below 108 and should not go above 126.
How do you ensure this? A heart rate monitor!