I’ve never been one to enjoy the unknown. I need to know the who, what, where, why, when and how at all times. Does this sound like you too? Then listen up.
Fitness is fun because there are so many ways you can work out your body with many different methods that will help you achieve results. While I have enjoyed trying them all, with each new class I began to wonder more and more how effective these various workouts really are which is why I invested sixty well-spent dollars on a basic Polar Heart Rate Monitor off Amazon.
How Many Calories You Actually Burn is Surprising
You can take the same exact class five times and burn five different amounts of calories each time. It has to do with how hard you work yourself and what type of workout you're doing. A hardcore TRX boot camp doesn't always burn hardcore calories. I found that weight training burns more calories than I thought! Hikes burn a lot of calories (and they are fun)! These are all things my HRM showed me. I once took a Pilates class that burned 150 calories. It was a huge letdown because I always thought it was more, but gave me the motivation to do a second workout that same day and consider this for future exercise plans.
Knowledge is power! To show you what I mean I took a photo of my HRM after each workout. Take a look at these results:
When I realized how many (or how few) calories I was burning I found myself motivated to eat healthier because I knew I couldn’t afford the calories even though I exercised, or give myself the guilt-free permission to slightly indulge because I knew I put in a good workout that burned a lot of calories already that day. My target is to burn 500 calories per day working out. Tracking this with a HRM allows me to budget my time to reach those goals.
I’ve found myself balancing harder, higher calorie-burning classes like Buti and Spin some days with other days doing doubles of lower-intensity (lower-calorie burning) classes like yoga and barre.
Not only does a heart rate monitor give you a newfound ability to manage health choices throughout the day, it also gives you the ability to control your workouts while doing them.
Push Yourself for More Effective Workouts
Heart rate targeting is well known among the fitness community. More small group training classes are starting to incorporate heart rate monitors displayed on big screens to optimize workouts as they are in progress. Harnessing that control yourself, for your own workouts is empowering and simple!
You can find your max heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, mine is 220-25 = 195 meaning 195 is my max heart rate. Use this guide from Polar on how to target various zones to achieve different results.
I’ve used mine on the treadmill for HIIT training: sprint for 30 seconds until I’m at 175-180 BPM then lay off for one minute until my rate returns to a resting rate of about 120, then sprint it out again. I was astonished by how many calories I burned in much less time than a moderate run!
Do you use a heart rate monitor, and would you recommend it too?