Are you wondering if you are working hard enough on your fitness routine? Perhaps you are concerned that you are pushing yourself too hard and too fast. By monitoring your heart rate during your workout, you can get a clear idea if you are optimizing your time in the gym and during group classes.
The Beat of Your Heart
Simply put, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute (BPM). BPM indicates how intensely your heart is pumping and how hard your heart is working.
Multiple published medical research papers leave no doubt that regular physical activity promotes cardiovascular health and healthy blood pressure levels.
Observing your heart rate is great to do in your daily life, but there are huge advantages to monitoring your BPM during exercise.
Are You Training Hard or Hardly Training?
One of the best ways to gauge your workout intensity is to see how hard your heart beats during physical activity. This involves a little math, but it is relatively simple.
The first step is to figure out your maximum heart rate. This will help you know your optimum target BPM. Here’s what to do:
- Maximum Heart Rate. Determine the upper limit of what your cardiovascular system can handle during physical activity by subtracting your age from 220.
- Target Heart Rate. According to the AHA (American Heart Association), your target heart rate should be 50% – 85% of your maximum heart rate.
- Resting Heart Rate. This is precisely what it sounds like. It is the rate your heart beats while doing no activity at all. The average person has a normal resting heart rate between 60 and 100 BPM.
Consider these guidelines:
- You are working effectively when you stay within your target heart rate.
- Go above your target heart rate, and you might be working too hard, putting strain on your heart muscle.
- Stay below your target, and you’re not working hard enough to gain the most cardiovascular benefits from your training.
Using Your Heart Rate to Optimize Your Working Out
As your training gets more intense, your heart rate rises. Tying training levels to specific heart rates is an excellent way to understand and control your exercise intensity. Monitoring your heart rate in five-minute increments during cardio exercise can provide you with valuable information.
Fitness experts recommend the following:
- Moderate-intensity exercise: Target your activity level at 50% – 70% of your maximum heart rate. You should be able to sustain this basic-effort zone for a pretty long time during this level. Research tells us that working out at a moderate intensity level may also be the best type of exercise for fat-burning.
- High-intensity exercise: This is 70 to 85 percent of your maximum. By maintaining this level of vigorous-intensity physical activity, you will build up your speed and strength.
Focusing on your heart rate helps you not only understand if you are exercising to get your desired results, but you will also be able to tell if you are over-exerting yourself.
How to Track Your Heart Rate
There are multiple options for tracking your heart rate during your training. These methods will help you learn why you are not seeing results.
- Smartwatches and wearable technology are the most convenient way to measure your heart rate. These watches don’t take up a lot of space, they provide visual information, and can be worn for long periods of time to get an accurate measure of your heart rate.
- The “old school” method of manually checking your wrist for your pulse will always work.
- Take a moment and stop exercising.
- Place the tips of your middle finger and index finger over your wrist artery, and press lightly.
- Count your heartbeats for 60 seconds.
If you listen closely, your heart will speak to you. When you train, you should take the time to hear and understand what your heart is saying, and react accordingly.
Fit Body Boot Camp
Whether you are a novice or a superior athlete, having access to a certified fitness coach will help you optimize your time in each workout session and understand how to reach your training objectives.
Every FBBC workout session is professionally designed and led by our nationally certified coaches. Fit Body Boot Camp coaches will help you safely increase your heart rate to help you reach your desired results.
We offer small group sessions that feature our signature “Afterburn Effect.” These motivating sessions will keep your body burning extra calories for up to 36 hours after each workout.
The FBBC experience delivers:
- A positive and inspirational community
- All fitness levels welcome
- No intimidating equipment
- Motivating coaches and workouts
- Nutritional guidance
- No figuring it out alone
The Bottom Line
It’s common for people to measure their level of fitness by how their body looks and how they perform during their workouts. However, the path to optimal well-being is actually knowing your heart rate before, during, and after your workouts.
Let us support you in getting the most from every workout. Your local FBBC will help you understand how best to exercise at the proper intensity to accomplish your health and fitness goals.
Come join us today at Fit Body Boot Camp!