If you feel like your workouts just aren't working, you may want to try tracking your heart rate. It’s an easy, accurate way to monitor progress on your fitness goals, and all it takes is your wearable device or some simple math.
To track your heart rate while exercising, you can either use a heart rate monitor (like the Polar OH1) or take your pulse and count the number of beats per minute. As you work out, you’ll want to calculate starting heart rate, max heart rate, and the amount of time spent in your target heart rate zone. Your target heart rate will change, depending on what results you desire.
Intrigued? We asked our MYX Fitness Programming Specialist, Melanie Melillo, to share her expert advice on all things heart rate.
Q. What are the benefits of heart rate tracking?
A. Heart rate is a reliable indicator of exercise intensity. Tracking your heart rate helps you make sure you are working out hard enough, but not too hard. It also gives you real-time feedback, allowing you to tailor your workout for the exact results you are after.
Q. How long should I exercise in my target heart rate zone?
A. Typically, a minimum of twenty minutes is suggested at your optimal heart rate. You will likely need to spend more time in this zone if you are looking to change your body composition or training for an event. How quickly your heart rate recovers after exertion is a very important indicator of overall health and fitness.
Q. What kind of workouts do you recommend for heart rate training?
A. Aerobic exercises like cycling, running, walking, cardio, and dance are great for training in all heart rate zones. They allow you to drop your heart rate for recovery, spike it for high intensity, and maintain a steady effort for endurance training, where your body burns the highest percentage of fat calories.
Bootcamp style workouts and strength training, especially short sets of lifting heavy weights, tap into the body's anaerobic system. This spikes your heart rate into your high zone when you are working and drops it back down in between sets.
More mindful types of movement, like yoga, Pilates, and Barre, tend to stay in the lower heart rate zones but can get your heart rate up with certain movements.
At MYX, we use heart rate zone-based training with the Polar OH1 optical heart rate monitor to help you get to your goals faster and more efficiently. Remember, some medications can impact your heart rate, so it’s always good to consult with a doctor before starting a new workout. Time to get tracking!