Did you know that you could work out religiously and still not feel fit? The reason is that there are specific exertion levels at which our bodies build endurance and speed. These are measured by our heart rate. Keeping your heart under 70% of your maximum heart rate (MHR) will allow you to burn fat, other wise you are simply wasting energy and fatiguing your muscles. In other words, you are doing more harm than good.
A heart rate monitor will help here by helping you keep within the correct level of exertion at all times.
WHAT IS MAXIMUM HEART RATE?
Maximum Heart Rate tells you how many beats per minute can you heart pump during hard exercise. It is very simple to find your maximum heart rate. All you need to do is subtract your age in years from 220. That is, if your age be 20 then your MHR would be 200. This means that if you want to burn fat then your heart rate should be just fewer than 154 beats per minute. It is as simple as that.
There are two zones of your heart rate. One is the aerobic zone which is 70-80% of your MHR. If you are looking to build endurance, you should be working out in this zone. It is possible to keep up in this zone for quite a long time, even hours.
The second one is the anaerobic zone which is 8-89% of your MHR. If building muscles is your goal, this is the zone for you. However, it is possible to work for only a few minutes in this zone. Exercising in this zone will push your Anaerobic Threshold (AT) higher. This way you will be able to bike, run faster and harder.
Therefore, major part of the workout should be devoted to the aerobic zone.
WHAT HEART RATE MONITOR TO SELECT?
So now, it is clear that it is necessary to remain in a specific heart rate zone to achieve your goal, whatever it is, muscle building or endurance building. Hence, the heart rate monitor would now seem to be great workout pal signalling every time you get off your entered beats per minute (bpm) mark.
There are many good heart rate monitors available. Some are described below so that you can choose the one the most suits your needs.
The grey monitor is sure to attract you, as are its many cardiovascular virtues like testing fitness, prescribing training zones and ensuring that you know how many calories you have burned per workout. It also beeps if ignored for three days, so it will surely keep you on track. The thin strap makes it suitable for a thin wrist and you will be comfortable to wear it everyday because of its ergonomically crafted sensor strap.
Suggested retail price: $170 US approx.
Free Style Circuit Seven
This is a great one for using outdoors. It is tough and boasts of large buttons, which can be operated even with gloves on. It has a great woven-nylon wristband. However, it lacks enough eyelets so small wrists would have to pass this one. On the other hand, it is perfect to use on a bicycle, complete with large numbers that are visible from a bicycle handlebar as well as a rubber mount.
Suggested retail price: $200 US approx.
Schwinn HRM II
Simple display, big numbers and a bright light make it a sure choice for bikers. It is so simple that you can see your heart rate and the time of the day only by touching a button. It has a secure Velcro band so that you can wear it on wrist or bike with the handlebar mount provided.
Suggested retail price: $150 US approx.