Heart Rate Monitors – Gadget or Fitness Tool?

Heart Rate Monitors – Gadget or Fitness Tool?

Heart Rate Monitors – gadget or fitness tool?

From elite athletes training for marathons, triathlons, and the Tour De France; to ‘the guy next door’ that has a garage full of every piece of fitness equipment ever sold on TV after midnight…you have seen all of them wearing heart rate monitors at one point or another.  But what exactly is their purpose?  How is it going to give me the body I want?  Should you include a heart rate monitor in your gym bag?  We will answer all those questions below…so keep reading!

What are some of the benefits of a heart rate monitor?- No matter what your goals are, whether it is to lose weight, strengthen your heart, relieve stress, or build muscle; wearing a heart rate monitor can help you achieve those goals by helping you find the right intensity and pace.  You can’t train the same way each day, and the heart rate monitor allows you to target different energy systems within the body.

There will be your high intensity days with a focus on short-duration and explosive speed.  You will be looking not only for max heart rate, but also looking at how fast your heart rate can return to base levels after explosive exercise.

On other training days, you will focus on maintaining a set heart rate range for a longer duration.  This will build your cardiovascular endurance and a heart rate monitor can keep you in that range.  Believe it or not, a lot of times the heart rate monitor will tell you to ‘back off’ a little bit as your heart rate is getting a little high for the intended zone you are working on.

What are the heart rate guidelines? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults should exercise at moderate intensity (50–70 percent of maximum heart rate) for at least 30 minutes five days a week, or at a vigorous intensity (70–85 percent of maximum heart rate) for 20 minutes three days a week.

Heart Rate Monitors CAN aid in weight loss – it is recommended to exercise at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes or more per day with short intervals (1 to 2 minutes) of high intensity at 90% of your maximum heart rate which helps to burn stored body fat and increase your resting metabolic rate. We hear this but how do you KNOW you are hitting that rate? Heart rate monitors will keep you in check.

They keep you HONEST- a heart rate monitor may be effective at helping you work out harder. You can set the alarm to sound when you fall below the target rate.  You may THINK you are working out hard enough to reach your goals but only your heart knows for sure. The monitor also keeps you from over training as well as kicking you in the butt on those days you DON’T feel like getting your heart rate up!


For the monitors to work effectively, you need to determine your resting heart rate and your maximum heart rate. To find your resting heart rate; before you get out of bed in the morning, lie very still, and count your pulse for one full minute. Repeat over the next three mornings then average them out by adding the three together, then dividing by three and you will have your resting heart rate (RHR). There are many formulas for determining your maximum heart rate (MHR), but the least objectionable one is: HRmax = 205.8 − (0.685 × age).  This is much better than 220 – age, but not as effective as actually doing a “stress test” to determine max HR.

Choosing the right one: The variety and brands of heart rate monitors can be overwhelming.There are beginner and basic models as well as sport specific models for running, cycling, strength training, cross training. Some models allow you to upload your workout to your PC or MAC to further analyze and customize your training.

The most common complaint that I hear about heart rate monitors is they can be complicated to use. Ask your friends and fellow athletes for referrals.  It may be best to purchase in store and have the experts show you how to operate the model you choose.

What is the verdict?

In the end, if a heart rate monitor gets you off the couch, out of the house, and gets some sweat running down your face…it is definitely a worthwhile investment for your healthy lifestyle!


Solutions not Excuses,

-Natalie Jill

Bloat, Fat, and Fatigue BE GONE! Give me 7 days to teach you the habits to get the weight off and change your life FOREVER! Start HERE





Natalie Jill

Natalie Jill is a leading Fat Loss Expert and high-performance coach. She helps you change the conversation around age, potential, pain and possibility. She does this through a SIMPLE and FUN unique method that you can find in her best-selling books, top-rated podcasts, interactive programs and coaching sessions. As a 50-year-old female, she KNOWS the struggles and pain that can come with aging! She takes the guesswork away and help you kill the F.A.T. (False Assumed Truths) holding you back from achieving your goals. To know more about Natalie Jill, you can visit her Facebook Profile, Tiktok, and Instagram.