HR monitors

A good heart rate monitor can really be an incredible tool, and one that I just recently started using.  I wish I would have started using one earlier but I’m glad I have it now.  And from time to time I get questions from individuals wondering if using a hr monitor is a good idea or not and I have to say yes!  It’s important, because a good hr monitor can give you specific information about your workouts, such as what percentage of your workout you are in the hr zone you want to be and also the number of calories your burned during the workout.

For me there are two huge benefits that I see from using a heart rate monitor.

1) Using a hr monitor helps me push myself during my workouts.  This is especially important for more cardio based workouts.  It’s easy in a workout like Plyo X or any of the Insanity workouts to slack of a bit, take more breaks, or just not go as hard as you know you can.  It’s easy even to let up a little bit and not really think about it or realize you’re doing it.  But for me, I can constantly monitor my heart rate, and if it’s too low, I know I need to start pushing myself more and going harder if I want to get a good workout in.  It’s another way to keep me accountable to actually pushing myself in my workouts to get better.

2) Knowing how many calories I burn during my workouts helps me figure out how much I need to eat.  I recently had someone on my team ask something to the effect of, “How can you even know how many calories to eat if you don’t know how many calories you burn during your workout?”  And that was a great point.  If you look at your calculation for how many calories you should be eating in a day, one of the components is the number of calories your burned in your workout.  The P90X Nutrition guide estimates this number at 600, but obviously that isn’t going to be accurate for every individual, and it’s also not going to be accurate for the same person on different workouts.  If you have an accurate count of the calories you burn, then you can adjust your food for the day to reflect those changes.  If you push really hard and burn 1000 calories in your workout, then you would need to increase your food intake to replenish your body, whereas if you have a recovery day and either have a light workout where you burn say 300 calories, then you would need to decrease your food intake to accommodate for the fact that you didn’t have a workout that day.  It may seem odd, but the information from a hr monitor can really affect your nutrition for the day.

I personally bought a Timex brand heart rate monitor, because I know they make quality products and I didn’t want something cheap that I was going to have to replace soon.  My advice if you’re looking to get a heart rate monitor is don’t go cheap.  You really do get what you pay for.  You can pick one up at Walmart for like $25, but it’s not going to work very well or give you accurate data.  You ideally want one that can be programmed to your gender, age and weight.  The more specific information that you can program into the device the more accurate the output information will be, especially when it comes to calories burned.  You also want to make sure it can give you statistical outputs of your workouts, mine has a workout review mode and will tell me my minimum and maximum heart rate, how long my workout was, how many minutes I was in my ideal zone, how many calories I burned and a few other things as well.  So I’m very happy with my purchase and wear it for all my workouts now.  I recommend getting one if it’s in your budget!

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  1. […] is an article about heart rate monitors.  I hadn’t used one until recently, but I’m realizing how important it is.  It really […]

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