What is your fitness goal? Lose weight? To have more resistance? To improve cardiovascular health? Whatever your goal, a heart rate monitor is essential to reach your goal.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term work smarter, not harder. Why would you want to overdo your cardio when working in a low zone is the key to achieving your goal? It will make your life so much easier and propel you to achieve your fitness dreams faster. It will also help you when you come to a standstill and your body is not progressing the way you want it to. When you wear a monitor, you know that you are training at the correct intensity. You know that you are not overtraining or under-training your body. In other words, you’ll see faster and better results, pushing your motivation through the roof! You will know that you are on your way to being your best.

But there are other ways you can use one that you may not have thought of. If you play sports, you will probably do speed exercises during practice. Using a monitor during speed work allows you to calculate how quickly your heart reacts to these exercises. Your pace 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 that you are working out at the desired intensity. If your training has a recovery time, you can see how much your heart rate drops while resting, which is very important to monitor.

So how do you best use a monitor?

Its basic function is to show you where it is and what 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 above or below the selected zone.

To calculate your MHR:

1. Take 220 and subtract your age. Example: 220 – 40 years = 180

2. Determine your goal. Example: You want to lose weight. To calculate your bpm (beats per minute) range, you need to be between 60-70% of your MHR (the zone where you lose weight). Take your maximum heart rate (180 from example) and multiply 60 – 70%: 180 x 60 – 70% = 108 – 126

To lose weight, you know that your heart rate should not drop below 108 or above 126.

How do you ensure this? A heart rate monitor!

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