We all know the importance of cardio-respiratory health and how it helps keep our body in healthy working condition. However, many people do not know their target heart rate zone, their max heart rate, their resting heart rate, or how to calculate any of these.
Resting heart rate is pretty self explanatory and it’s just your normal heart rate at rest. Ideally, although everyone is different so there is no SET resting heart rate for everyone, your pulse should be around 60-100 bpm (beats per minute). Athletes generally have a lower heart rate than that since they train a lot & the opposite would be much higher for a person with a poor diet and lack of exercise.
Your max heart rate is the maximum about of beats per minute your heart can achieve. When doing HIIT, this is where your heart rate should be for a short period of time since this is not sustainable because it is an all out effort – but I’ll get into HIIT training later. So, to calculate your max heart rate you do your age minus 220. So for example, I am 22, so I would do 220-22=198. 198 is my max heart rate and where I shoot to keep my HR during my on period of HIIT.
Now, target heart rate zone is important because this is where your heart rate should be to improve your cardiovascular health and where you’ll see improvements in your cardio abilities. Your target heart rate should be around 70% of your max heart rate. So, I take my max heart rate of 198 and multiply that by .7 (198x.7=139). 139 is where I shoot to keep my heart rate when I’m out on runs when I’m training for races, but I also incorporate HIIT as well to improve my pace & cardio.
Now, HIIT training. This is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck in terms of weight loss and cardiovascular improvements. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which consists of an ON period of all out effort, and an OFF period to bring your heart rate back down. When I do HIIT, this means I bring my heart rate up to around my max of 198 for a short interval of time, then back down for my recovery period around my target heart rate of 139.
With all this information, how the heck do you track all this during your exercise, how do you know where your heart rate is?! Some people track their pulse by counting the number of beats on their wrist for 15 seconds and multiplying it by 4, but I find that inaccurate and hard to do when I’m focusing on my workout. This is where heart rate monitors come into play. These handy tools track your heart rate for you so you don’t have to.
The specific heart rate monitor I’m reviewing is from a company called Beets Blu. Just to give you some background, Beets Blu started in 2012 by specialists in the fields of fitness technologies, mobile apps, and electronics. They have paper tags (which are a life saver if you lose your phone a lot), scales, and heart rate monitors.
So, the wireless heart rate monitor is first of all wireless and connects with your iPhone (4s & later), iPad (3 and later), and Android (4.3 and later). There is a list of compatible apps on their website, but I already had RunKeeper from my half training so I didn’t have to download anything extra. All you do is connect the monitor with the adjustable strap, and put it around your chest near your diaphragm making sure the electrodes are properly attached to the case and the skin. I had absolutely no problem with this connecting to my RunKeeper app and it never disconnected which is a HUGE plus in my book because if you’ve ever tried HR monitors before you know the biggest problem is making sure it stays connected with your skin. I didn’t have to use any gel to connect it with my skin, it didn’t slip & slide around, and I never had any issues with its battery dying. Good practice tip with heart rate monitors, ALWAYS disconnect the monitor pod from the straps because this will save your battery life and you will avoid any potential issues with your monitor! The strap is also washable so you don’t have to worry about it getting all gross and stinky.
I tried 4 different environments multiple times: outside, inside, resting, and at the gym.
Outside: I ran 2-3 miles a few times and used this monitor every time I went. It’s very cold where I live right now so I had some concerns that it would affect the monitors ability to track my heart rate, but to my surprise – it worked perfectly fine! I’ve used monitors in the past that I go out to run, and it drops my heart rate after 2 minutes and I finish an entire run to find out I had my heart rate tracked for 2 whole minutes… I never once had my heart rate dropped with this monitor and it stayed connected to my RunKeeper app the entire run with no problem! It didn’t slip out of place and was comfortable to run in.
Inside: I do HIIT training on the treadmill at my home and this is where I really noticed a huge improvements in my workouts. It’s really hard, like I said earlier, to know where your heart rate is while exercising. I learned I was keeping my heart rate WAY too high for my rest periods and not high enough for my on periods, which was why I wasn’t seeing any improvements or weight loss. With my Beets Blu monitor, I was able to get my heart rate up to around 198 and let it come back down during my rest periods at a good place. I have seen so much improvement in my cardio since I started using it and I’m actually able to catch my breath so much faster now which is a great indicator that my cardio health is really improving.
Gym: I used this while lifting in the gym and just let my RunKeeper app go while I worked out and I didn’t have any problems with the monitor staying connected with the app even when I walked away from my phone to get a drink.
Resting: I wore the monitor for almost an hour one day just to see if it would stay connected for that long while I cleaned and to my surprise 1. it stayed connected the entire time, and 2. my heart rate was much higher than I thought it would be for cleaning (aka, cleaning is a workout lol).
Overall, I would recommend investing in a heart rate monitor and if you want one that stays connected, won’t give you problems, and is great quality – I highly recommend the Beets Blu wireless monitor which can be found at www.beetsblu.com! As always, thank you so much for reading and I hope this post was informative and let me know if you try out this monitor for yourself and what you think of it! I know you’ll love it! (:
FTC Disclaimer: This heart rate monitor was sent to me by Beets Blu for consideration of a review. All opinions are 100% my own because I value my credibility & am an honest person. Thanks for all your support!