Oct 4, 2013

Fit Friday...The Heart Rate Monitor

Hey everyone.  Happy Friday.

Today I am really excited to talk to you guys about the Heart Rate Monitor.

If you've never worked out with a heart rate monitor I will say one thing for sure...YOU ARE MISSING OUT!!!!.

Why you ask??  This is because the heart rate monitor doesn't lie to you.  That is the best answer I can give you.  I tell the same things to my students when we wear them at school.  You truly know how hard you worked out during your workout.  AND you get to find out exactly how many calories your body burned during the workout as well.

Why is this important?

To some it may not be.  But, for me, I have seen amazing results because I actually KNEW what my body just did during a workout.  I think there are a lot of people out there that are truly in denial about how hard they work out.  This is NOT meant to be a mean statement AT ALL.  What I mean by being in "denial" is that they don't really know what a HARD workout feels like.  They don't really even know what their bodies are capable of, and it's not their fault.  The heart rate monitor takes all of the guessing away.

First let me explain how the heart rate monitor works in order to help you understand.  There are two parts to the style of monitor that I own.  I love the Polar FT4.  It comes in a variety of colors and it is SO easy to use.  The two parts are the receiver, and the chest strap.  The chest strap is worn under your bust all the way around your body.  It should be snug, but not cutting off the circulation to your major organs. Ha Ha.  The receiver is worn JUST like a watch.  In fact I wear mine as a watch pretty much every day.



The chest strap measures your heart rate and sends the information to the receiver.  It's that simple.  All you need to do is put in your personal information, such as height, weight, age, and gender.  That's it.  You wear it, and it gives you feedback.  It is what you DO with the feedback that is important.


Now that you know how the heart rate monitor works, how do we make sure you are using it effectively??

You will very quickly see what types of workouts get you to the zone you need to be in.  There are a million different methods to finding out what your heart rate "zone" should be.  220 MINUS your age is usually the oldest way to find your MAX heart rate.  However THIS website shows you the more up to date ideas. 

For the sake of making this easier I will use the old fashioned way.  If we determine my MAX Heart Rate using 220 - my age (31) it would be 189.  To find the proper zone to workout in we then go with a percentage of that max.  If we workout at 75% of our max that would make my target 142.  So I like to stay in a range around that number.  I usually try and keep my heart rate in a 40 beat per minute range.  I try and stay 10 below or 30 above that number.  So my training zone would be from 132 to 172 to stay around the 75% mark.  I would rather be on the higher end then the lower end.  You can easily determine your workout zone like this as well.

So once you've found out where your heart rate should be while you are working out, then it is up to you to find the right types of workouts for your body type and your level.  What gets MY heart rate up to 160 is not the same as what gets a cross country runner to 160.  Someone who is 50lbs overweight may get there walking up a flight of stairs, where as I may have to do sprints on the track.  That is the joy of the heart rate monitor.  It doesn't lie.  You can't be in denial when your heart is literally telling you how hard you are working.

Because it is reading your heart it can tell you EXACTLY how many calories you are burning.  This is where I have seen HUGE gains in my ability to MAINTAIN a weight.  If I know exactly how many calories I am burning then I can better understand how many calories I need to take in.  It then becomes a numbers game.

Why is this so valuable?  So many people struggle because, like I said earlier, they have no concept of how HARD they have to work to truly get it done.  Working out is hard.  You should be, especially if you are starting out or doing something new, uncomfortable.  We were talking about it at school today, people don't change unless they are uncomfortable.  It's true in fitness too.  Your body must go through a little (or a lot) of discomfort to change.  

Every day when I work out I make a CALORIE goal.  Not necessarily minutes, not cardio or weights, not the type of workout.  I know my calorie goal is usually around 400.   I try not to stop until I get there.  Some days I will reach for 500.  Some days I may set it for 300 if I'm in a rush.  I also set a calories per minute type of goal.  I give my self 10 minutes to burn 100 calories. This is what helps me make sure that when I'm working out I am going hard and not wasting my time.  I usually burn right at 400 calories for my 4 mile runs. I run at around a 10 minute mile pace.   If I am doing a workout video and it's 25 minutes long I better work hard enough to burn 250 calories in 25 minutes.  That is how I train. 

Set goals, and try and reach them.  Test your body out and learn to push yourself.  And make the most out of your workouts.

If you have questions about any of this please feel free to leave a comment,  email me at Haley.fourfitsisters@gmail.com or you can leave me a message on my facebook page.  www.facebook.com/fourfitsisters

Haley Signature






  1. I have a FitBit Flex to track steps and activity. But I'm thinking that THIS is what I need. THANK YOU!

  2. fourfitsisters@gmail.comOctober 4, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Sara...so true. I love that it is EXACT feedback. A lot of people rely on MyFitnessPal or other apps like that which are just GUESSING how you hard you worked. :) AWESOME!!!

  3. fourfitsisters@gmail.comOctober 4, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    I got mine off of Amazon for like $60. Worth every penny. It's so easy to use!

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