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The heart-rate monitor, get one!

By August 16, 2010 - 7:22am

A good way to help manage your weight or monitor your weight loss progress is by tracking the amount of calories you are burning during your workouts. The only way to get an accurate reading on this number is by wearing a heart rate monitor. You can now purchase one on Amazon.com for as little as 32.99! Act fast the normal going rate is 50-80 dollars! This easy to program device will monitor your heart rate throughout your workout so you know what percentage of your maximum heart rate (220-your age) you are at . A good way to track progress is to compare the number of calories you expended with your heart rate at that time. As you progress in your workout you should be able to burn the same number of calories with less energy expended, meaning with a lower heart rate. Also, the more in shape you are should translate to more calories expended during your workout because you should be able to workout at a higher intensity with less breaks. The lowering of your resting heart rate is another sign of progress. A healthy range for your resting heart rate is 50-80 bpm. Knowing how many calories you burn in your workout will also allow you to see how many extra calories you should be taking in on a daily basis to either loose, gain or maintain your weight.

Case in point: Today, August 2, 2010 my client, Selim, burned 1035 calories during our 1 hour session. His peak heart rate was at 166bpm and his average heart rate was 138bpm. He is 32 years old, which means at the peak of his workout he was training at approximately 88% of his maximum heart rate and on average he was at approximately 73% of his maximum heart rate.

It's important to note that if you are solely looking to burn fat you must keep your heart rate at 65-85% (varies slightly depending on the shape you are in) of your max for minimum 45 min each time so you are keeping below your anaerobic threshold. Once your heart rate goes above this percentage your body begins burning glycogen in your blood for energy and less fat. It also starts building muscle for added energy.
I can't stress enough, I encourage you all to go out and purchase a heart rate monitor today. As for my clients, I will track your progress during our sessions right here on my site.

Now that you know how many calories you are burning during your workout it would be good to also know what your basil metabolic rate is- meaning the number of calories you should be consuming on a daily basis when you're not working out in order to maintain your weight. Once you have this number you can adjust this number slightly in order to help you gain or loss weight because your weight is reflected upon the ratio between the number of calories you are consuming each day and the number you are expending. Thus if you want to loose weight you want to be burning more than you are taking in and vice versa. However, you should never go below 1200 calories on any given day because then your body goes into "starvation mode". To find out what your resting caloric intake should be at the weight you are currently at follow the formula on my website (link removed by EmpowHER moderator) under The Harris Benedict Equation. You will need to know your current weight, height and age to complete the formula.

Content edited by EmpowHER moderator

By October 15, 2010 - 12:23pm

Hi May in OZ,
The Harris Benedict Equation doesn't take into account the calories burned by existing large amounts of muscle mass...the equation is more effective for those close to their ideal weight or those at ideal weight. If you want to lose weight, you need to decrease the amount of intake calories to lower than the amount found in doing the equation. As Noelle states, you shouldn't go below 1200 calories to avoid starvation mode.
Here is a link explaining the equation:
By knowing your resting heart rate, and exercising heart rate depending of type of exercise, you can figure out where you need to be to burn calories. Hope that makes sense, the formulas are included in the wiki page.
Let us know how else we can help, and good luck with your weight loss.

October 15, 2010 - 12:23pm
By October 15, 2010 - 2:57am

How does knowing your exercising heart rate tell you how many calories you've burned please?
I have a nice chest strap/watch combination heart rate monitor but am not aware it can do anything but tell me my length of time exercising along with my lowest, highest and average heart rate during the session.
Many thanks
May in Oz

October 15, 2010 - 2:57am

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