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I Love Heart Monitors…I Hate High Heart Rates

February 2, 2010



You have all felt it. You are working out-walking briskly on the treadmill, lifting weights in a weight-training class at the gym, or doing a work-out video at home-feeling the burn and suddenly you are sweating like a pig and huffing and puffing like you are about to blow down a toothpick house. That is your heart suddenly bursting into action after realizing you were serious about the whole exercising thing. 

I love heart rate monitoring. Now, I say this like I have been doing it for a long time…nope, I haven’t. I just started using this method in my workout. I have seen the heart rate scale on treadmills, elliptical machines  and bicycles at the gym before but have never worn a monitor. I have used the heart-rate handles on the machines, but really, who can hold onto those things while you are sweaty and panting for air. 

After talking with my sister-in-law, while out of breath during a Leslie Sansone 3-mile walking tape, about how a friend of hers in the Air Force lost weight and became a marathon runner by using the heart rate monitor. He wore the watch with the chest belt, and followed the guidelines exactly, even though people told him it wasn’t worth it. By following the guidelines, you keep track of your heart rate by ensuring that when you get above your maximum heart rate, you pull back and slow down until you are again in the safe zone. By doing this you use your heart as a guide to burn fat for fuel and get your endurance up. 

So using the friend as inspiration I have started to wear a hrm during workout videos. Man, the things you don’t know about your body. Using it during the walking tape my rate was easy to track, backing off during the second mile which is the fastest and most difficult during the tape. It got up to 168 beats, so I retreated, slowing down, then once it was in a safe zone again back to speed walking I went. 

Polar FT60

I hate the monitoring because it won’t let me do the fast, hardcore working out that I want to do. I decided to where the hrm during my Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and Chalene Johnson’s Turbo Sculpt videos and boy am I weak. I was fine during the 30 Day Shred cardio and core work, but the strength training my pulse went up to 185-195; kind of scary. So less I went on my pendulum and curtsy lunges, less I went on my walking push-ups and shuffle squats. It made me mad that by wearing it just to see what my heart was doing, I got to see how much it spikes while using my whole body for strength training. 

I also hate that when doing the walking tape, that when I am walking and sweating, I look to my monitor and see that it isn’t very high. But, I am sweating and red in the face and breathless, why isn’t my heart rate up. I have problems on both sides. Hopefully this means my heart is getting stronger so I get to push harder on the cardio? 

I also hate that I don’t know what is a good brand or if the ones that are in Target and Walmart are good enough. The one that I use now does not display the calories burned, and is hard to maneuver through the settings on the watch. Do I go all out and buy the Bodybugg, which everyone knows about from Biggest Loser; but I have read on other blogs that it works. Do I spend a some money on a Polar FT60 which has a lot of bells-n-whistles and got a good review on consumer reports, or go for cheap and not a lot-which means just keeping the one I have and being happy. Hmm. 

I found this– that calculates your target heart rate and gives you the below advice with your info and it also gives you target heart rates for each-  

 Target Heart Rate 1: General Health – A great deal of research indicates that being active at 50 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate, consistently and for a total of 30 minutes on most days, reduces the risk of developing many chronic diseases. Low intensity activities like walking, gardening, household chores or easy cycling will achieve this. If someone does not need to lose body fat and they are not training for a sporting event, this may be all they need to do to stay healthy. 

Target Heart Rate 2: Weight management – If your goal is to reduce body fat and you have been relatively inactive, you will need to train at a level of 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is still within your comfort zone and allows you to exercise at a steady pace for a long enough time to burn off a substantial number of calories. 

Target Heart Rate 3: Aerobic Conditioning/Weight Management – If your goal is to improve your cardio-vascular conditioning for better stamina and endurance, you should train within a zone of 70-80 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is also a good zone for fat burning if you are already fairly fit. This heart rate zone represents a more vigorous level of activity. 

Target Heart Rate 4: Advanced Conditioning – If you are in top shape and training for a sporting event like a 10km race, a triathlon or tennis, you might need to include some workouts that are 80 percent and above your maximum heart rate. This level of training is both physically and mentally demanding so it is not something you would do on a daily basis. And it is not for everyone. Only the real fit should consider working in the range. This zone is also a fat burning zone if you are extremely fit. 

Remember that ideally, your exercise program will include workouts in each of these ranges – short and hard to long and easy. 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2010 4:31 pm

    i really love all your posting choice, very interesting.
    don’t quit and also keep penning in all honesty , because it simply nicely to follow it,
    excited to look into a whole lot more of your own article content, kind regards 🙂

  2. Jim permalink
    December 15, 2010 10:42 am

    Don’t pay any attention to those heart rate zones. They are mostly useless. Case in point, if you enjoy a high intensity workout and can maintain it for 30 mins or more then it doesn’t matter what the formula says. You will be in your aerobic zone in a workout like that.

    Also, where and wear are different.

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