Heart rate monitor training isn’t just for the high level athlete, marathon runner, triathlete, cyclist or gym rat. It can and should be used by all fitness levels regardless of your experience or fitness goals. Heart rate monitors come in many different models that range from high tech gadgets with training software so you can monitor everything you do in training and recovery, but they are also available in a simple model that will give you the basics in how to measure and manage what you do with your fitness plan. Sure the treadmill at the gym has a heart rate level gage on the dash, but is it accurate? In my experience, it just doesn’t provide the feedback necessary to be successful and efficient.
When you exercise, how do you really know what you’ve accomplished? Sure you can monitor external factors such as speed, level, resistance, incline and time, but does that tell you enough to help you reach your goals? Probably not, and here’s why.
Heart rate training consists of monitoring and measuring what your heart is doing during an exercise session and we measure heart rate in beats per minute, or bpm. We can also measure your cardiovascular fitness level by VO2 max, which simply stated, tells you how efficiently your body uses oxygen. In a cardio fitness plan, you can break up bpm into different training zones, each providing a different physiological response from the body. For example, you must have oxygen present to burn fat, so you can train in a low heart rate zone that allows you to use oxygen to burn fat. You can also work to increase your VO2 (volume of oxygen), which allows you to increase your body’s ability to use oxygen so you can work harder for a longer time period helping you burn more calories more efficiently. So if you know what zone you are training in, you can better measure your progress and get the results you want.
Take the guesswork out of exercise and learn how to manage what you are doing. If you are having trouble losing weight, burning fat, or are hitting a training plateau, now you can identify what elements of your training program aren’t working and make adjustments. The heart rate monitor is probably the single most useful piece of exercise equipment that you could invest in. Consult with your personal trainer about what is the best model of heart rate monitor for your fitness program.