Using a Heart Monitor to Achieve your Goals


Knowledge is power when it comes to getting the results you want out of your workout. The quality of your workout is just as important as quantity.  This is where a fitness heart rate monitor (HRM) is an effective pacer that tells you when to speed or when to slow down to achieve the results you want out of your workout.  In addition knowing how many total calories you burned during your workout can help you maintain healthy eating habits.

Heart Rate Monitor: calculates and displays

  1. heart rate
  2. target heart rate zone
  3. caloric expenditure

Read this article to learn more about determining your target heart rate and get some great ideas of how to include cardio exercise to your weekly workout routine. 30 Minute Cardio challenge

How to use a Heart Rate Monitor:

(Example: Using Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor)

  1. Moisten electrodes on chest strap 
  2. Adjust to size, and strap around chest
  3. Place watch on wrist
  4. Adjust settings to personal stats
  5. Press start button to begin session
  6. See the calories you're burning!

How to choose which Heart Rate Monitor is best for you:

There are a variety of heart rate monitors on the market. Based on your budget and fitness needs, you have plenty of options. Here are some top picks:

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor: Clear interface, water-resistant, chirp alerts, data storage, 5 color options. $58.99 on Amazon

Mio Fuse Heart Rate Training Band: LED display, links to mobile apps, built-in pedometer, water-resistant, data storage. $149.00 on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 610 Heart Rate Monitor: GPS capabilities, touch screen, vibration alerts, weather resistant, data storage with wireless upload. $179.00 on Amazon

For more information on how to choose a HRM: How to Choose and Use

Using a Heart Rate Monitor to Lose weight:

Most HRM display calories burned during a workout; many can help target your exercise for maximum fat burning. It's not always easy to say no to cheat foods. Accessibility, advertisements and product placement make it almost impossible to stick with our healthy eating habits all the time. We make up great excuses to justify our cravings. "I went for a jog today so I definitely deserve this cheeseburger!" How many times have you found yourself saying this? You aren't alone!

Knowing how many calories you burn during exercise may help you rethink having a cheat meal after a great workout.

• For those with a goal of weight loss, there must be a deficit of calories.

• This means calorie expenditure (exercise) must be greater than the calorie consumption (food).

Calorie Expenditure > Calorie Consumption = Deficit of Calories

Here is a an example of a real workout at a rock climbing gym: (anonymous client) 

  • 20 min walking/jogging intervals: 182 cal
  • 50 min bouldering: 273 cal
  • Total: 453 cal

Cheat Meal later that night:

  • cheeseburger (480 cal)
  • side of fries (395 cal)
  • Total calories consumed: 875 cal

This is a full 422 cal MORE than she just burned!

Having awareness of how your body burns calories may help you make a healthier choice for your post workout meal.

Learn More about healthy eating habits: Eating Right: Pre and PostExercise

Other cheat foods and the amount of exercise they require: 

  • Bagel w/ cream cheese: 320 cal.  =   50 min walk (at 4 mph)
  • Slice of pepperoni pizza: 285 cal.  =    30 min at-home HIIT workout
  • Blueberry muffin: 426 cal.  =   60 min Oliveyah Fitness boot camp

Take Action:

1. Make a list of the cheat foods to tend to eat. Do a quick search on google to find out how many calories they contain.  Again let me emphasis... knowledge is power! Knowing the amount of calories your cheat foods contain will help you make healthier choices in your day.

2. Get your HRM on and get your workout in. Head over to your favorite boot camp, group training, gym, pool, trail, and get your heart rate up!

3. Track your calories expended during your workout and notice how different exercises  and workouts bring different results.  Start paying attention to your HR during your workouts to make sure you are in the right zone to get the results you want.

As always enjoy your workouts... and feel proud of yourself for taking good care of your health!