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 reaching 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 reach your fitness dreams faster. It will also help you when you hit a plateau and your body isn’t progressing the way you want it to. When you wear a monitor, you know you’re training at the right intensity. You know you are not overtraining or undertraining your body. In other words, you’ll see better and faster results, pushing your motivation through the roof! You will know that you are on your way to being the best you can be.

But there are other ways you can use one that you may not have thought of. If you play sports, you probably do speed drills during practice. Using a monitor during speed work allows you to gauge how quickly your heart reacts to these exercises. Your pace should mimic the demands of whatever sport you’re playing.

Are you into weightlifting? If you’re doing aerobic/muscle training like Crossfit, using one ensures you’re working at the desired intensity. If your workout has a recovery time, you can see how much your heart rate drops while you rest, which is a very important thing to monitor.

So how is a monitor best used?

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 the example) and multiply 60 – 70%: 180 x 60-70% = 108 – 126

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

How do you ensure this? A heart rate monitor!

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