PostHeaderIcon Train More Effectively with a Heart Rate Monitor

I don’t know about you but this time of year (in Canada) I’m not cycling outdoors. Never the less I don’t sit at home. I just move my workouts indoors. Cycling on a stationary bike can be fun in a spin class and gives you a great workout. One of the things I use to add my training is a heart rate monitor.

 Heart Rate Monitor Today’s heart rate monitors have made it easier for athletes of all levels to get the same feedback they would get from a high-priced trainer. It’s like having a personal coach strapped to your wrist.

If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, you keep track of your efforts by time or distance. However, with a heart rate monitor, you can get a much more accurate and detailed indication of effort. Your heart tells you how hard you are exercising, how fit you are, and how you are recovering. Knowing these things helps you determine your routine and therefore make your training more effective.

 Heart Rate Monitor A heart rate monitor consists of a watch unit you wear on your wrist and a chest transmitter strap. The chest transmitter senses your heartbeat and constantly transmits that information to the watch. The watch displays heart rate, calories burned, time of workout etc. depending on the make and model. The watch can also be worn as a regular sports watch, even when it is not connected to the transmitter strap. It displays all the usual things like time of day, alarms, stopwatch functions, etc.

There are some units that don’t use a chest strap. These normally measure the pulse when the user places two fingers on each of two buttons on the watch face. Though pulse is a decent measurement, it does not give you the same level of continual information a chest strap will.

One of the first things you need to know when using a heart rate monitor is what your maximum heart rate is. The formula for determining this normally is to subtract your age from 220.

The next thing you need to do is calculate at what percentage of maximum you should be exercising at. For cardiovascular training, research has determined exercising at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate is best for fat loss and building endurance. In order to increase your fitness, exercising in the 70-80% of maximum range will do the most good.

 Heart Rate Monitor There are different features available depending on your make and model of heart rate monitors as I have already said. Some are more useful than others, beyond having a constant measurement of heart rate. It is also helpful to be able to set zone alarms if your heart rate goes to high for instance. Or be able to see where you are compared to your maximum heart rate. Some will do all the calculations for you, telling you when to ease up or to pour it on, depending on your workout for that day. Others will just show you your heart rate, and you will need to know what the upper and lower limits are for your workout.

Don’t get all excited about a huge number of features, just shop around for the features you need. How many times do you buy electronics with all the features and the only use 10th of them? Too many extra features may also confuse you and discourage you from using your heart rate monitor on a regular basis. It’s better to get something simple that you can commit to using regularly. Still, if you can handle it, there are some sweet features available and if you enjoy and use all the features go for it.

Whatever heart rate monitor you choose, use it regularly. It will provide you with so much detailed information about your training; you’ll wonder what you ever did without it, and you’ll never want to be without one again.

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3 Responses to “Train More Effectively with a Heart Rate Monitor”

  • I was actually searching something different on Google, but found this post and i’m glad i did, thanks, this is definately a good read.

  • Just a quick comment to thank u 4 your useful article. Do u know where I could find more on the subject? well done. Nicola x

  • Six Pack Abs says:

    You bring up some good points…I’d like to know what you would advise in my situation. My goal is to shed about 15 pounds in the next couple of months. But there are such a huge number of “systems” out there and I have no idea which one to trust. Can somebody point me towards a good plan for burning fat and adding muscle?

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