Heart monitor: the new workout motivator?

null "A heart rate monitor will let you know if you're burning calories, how many calories you're burning and if you're in your zone or if you're not in your zone," said Madonna Grimes, /*Crunch Fitness*/.

Fitness expert Mike Michaels says many feel they should stay in their aerobic comfort zone, which is a big mistake if the goal is to improve.

"Whether you're /*aerobic*/ or /*anaerobic*/, you want to play in both areas," said Michaels.

Working aerobically utilizes more fat as fuel, but it's the total number of calories burned that makes the difference.

"The body needs stimulus, the body needs change," said Michaels. "It needs to be hit with different stimuli to help it want to adapt and change and to grow in its fitness level."

Crunch created the "Redline Spinning Class" to show people how hard or light they're working. Each participant wears a monitor and their heart rate is posted up on a big screen. To keep everything confidential, each person uses a superhero alias. The workout goes from low end aerobic, which is about 60 percent, to about 70 to 80, and then full out at 90 percent.

"You don't want to stay there very long, that's the thing ... 10, 15, 20 seconds, that's about it," said Michaels. "But at least you kind of touched it, you hit it, the body really had a stimulus thrown at it. The metabolism gets jacked up, and then it runs for hours on end after the class as well."

Heart rate monitors start at about $50 and can be used for any fitness program, not just spinning.

If you can't seem to get your heart rate up, Michaels says your heart might be telling you something.

"If you're over trained, if you're not getting enough sleep, if you're maybe fighting a cold or flu or something like that, these are things that can tax your body. And your heart is smart, it knows that if there's something that's not right or not working well within the body at a given time, that it'll hold back on you," said Michaels.

If you can't spend the money on a /*heart rate monitor*/, you can figure out your specific heart rate using the following formula for various aerobic or anaerobic ranges:

220 (women use 226) minus your age = (your maximum heart rate)
Maximum heart rate x 0.05 = (bottom of the training zone)
Maximum heart rate x 0.85 = (top of the training zone)

You can play with your heart rate during your cardio program.

  • 60 percent: a good place for warm up and cool down
  • 65 -70 percent: a nice moderate pace
  • 75 - 85 percent: a good vigorous pace that you can interval with moderate

Keep in mind that various activities will vary in heart rates as well. Swimmers will have a lower heart rate than runners.

An exercise bike that is recumbent won't get the heart rate up as high as a spinning bike.


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