A heart rate monitor can quickly become the best training tool you own. Depending on your specific goals you can use it as your own personal ally in training for a running marathon, motivation to improve your cardio, or generally to just lose weight.
Using a heart rate monitor
Most brands have the ability to:
- Count up – a stop watch ability.
- Count down – timer for intervals.
- Set up performance zones where you can ‘target’ cardio performance, calorie burning, or revving up your motivation.
Heart Monitor Training
By setting target times and zones you can set and reach your training goals and look more to your watch and gauge how you feel – far away from the bathroom scales.
You can use it to vary your workouts. One day you can set up for training intervals where you will burn many more calories in a shorter workout. Other days for endurance to improve your overall cardiovascular health and still burn calories.
By using your heart rate monitor efficiently you will indeed be a person in ‘training’ as opposed to just being on yet another diet.
Heart rate and exercise
Setting up your heart rate monitor requires you to pay close attention to your heart rate and compare it to how you feel. this way you can select your desired training zones.
If calorie burning is your top choice then the following is a general guideline that you can expect for calories burned per minute in the different zones.
- Zone 1 = 3 to 7 cal/min
- Zone 2 = 7 to 12 cal/min
- Zone 3 = 12 to 17 cal/min
- Zone 4 = 17 to 20 cal/min
- Zone 5 = over 20 cal/min
Pretty cool huh?
Watches with heart rate monitor
When you set up your target ‘zone’ your watch will beep when you drop below and you have to speed things up to elevate your heart rate and your watch will stop beeping. In the same way your heart rate monitor watch will signal you when your heart rate goes above the top target setting.
Most watches have the ability to use the factory pre-set zones, and you can also input and store your own.
You can set the timer to effectively switch from one zone to another. That way when so many minutes go by at one training zone you can switch to another. This way you can effectively do intervals and still monitor your performance.
Best heart monitor
There are many excellent heart rate monitors out there but I will speak for the one I own. For the better part of 6 years I have owned a TIMEX Iron Man heart rate monitor. And it’s only needed batteries. I still use it today for all the reasons listed above PLUS I use it so I can mindlessly multi task.
I like to jump on the stationary bike, stepper, or elliptical, and sometimes just watch a movie, a training video, or listen to an audiobook. When I do this I become absorbed in the ‘story’ and stop paying attention to my workout. There are days when going to the gym just isn’t exciting and going with a “lets just get it over with attitude” is the best one I can come up with.
On those days, to add a little incentive, I’ll have some additional entertainment on my ipod or the TV.
By setting the timer and the heart rate zone I can be assured that I am working out to my optimum because the watch is going to beep when I slow down and my heart rate falls below my target. I have to speed up or can’t hear my show!
Its a great motivational tool, and by monitoring your workouts you can continue to set new targets and record your successes. Watch yourself become a real training athlete with the addition of a heart rate monitor to your fitness journey.