Getting And Staying In The Zone (Heart Rate Monitor)

I’ve been having a really hard time dropping weight. I have been eating a lot better. And working out about 5 hours a week. But yet the weight’s dropping VERY slowly, if at all. A co-worker suggested I get a heart rate monitor to see where my workouts are getting me, heart rate wise, and whether I could use some improvment there. Plus the heart rate monitors track specific calories burned, so it’ll also help me do a little more math to determine how much I should be losing.

I quickly saw what my issue was. With some workouts (specifically the Firm Express workouts), it was taking me more than half the workout to get my heart rate into the “fat burning zone” (over 135 beats per minute for me). And it was a struggle to stay there. I found something like pushups will get my heart rate up and keep it there. But the other parts of the workout just didn’t get my heart rate up. Even the blasts. And if the rate got up near 130 it would quickly fall back after recovering.

Workouts that DID get my heart rate going much more quickly and keep it up? Cathe workouts! I have only done three workouts. The first one was a Firm Express workout. It took me almost 13 minutes (of a 20 minute workout, and this was with me going harder to try to get it up) to get above 140. With Cathe’s Kick Punch and Crunch workout it took almost 9 minutes. But it’s an hour-long workout. And once my heart rate got above 140 I didn’t have to do too much beyond the workout to keep it there. Finally, I did Cathe’s IMAX workout. This one was the big winner, most bang for my buck! Got above 140 BPM in TWO MINUTES! And I don’t think I left the zone the entire workout. In fact I set my “target zone” as 135-170. And peaked in this workout at 185, which correlates with me being almost totally maxed out (220 BPM minus my age of 31 sets me at 189 as a maximum heart rate, 90% of that is where I got the 170).

Anyway, my Firm Express workout burned about 300 calories. 25 minutes of Cathe’s Kick Punch and Crunch burned closer to 350. And 30 minutes (the premix of the first five sets) of IMAX2? Over 600 calories! So now instead of keeping track of number of days worked out or number of minutes, I’m focusing on calories burned. Goal is to burn 3500 calories a week (one pound). And then try to make up another pound with diet. Which means I need to stick to about 1500 calories a day. A challenge, but definitely doable.

All in all, I recommend getting a heart rate monitor. I got a woman’s Timex Ironman Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch. It keeps track of workouts, you can do laps, you can figure in a recovery period, etc.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jen
    May 16, 2011 @ 17:04:57

    Good job getting the HRM! I LOVE mine. It’s nothing fancy but it does track my minutes, my heart rate and calories burned. I don’t work out without it! For example today I was on the elliptical and I haven’t worked out for about 5 days b/c my daughter and I had a cold, so no gym for us. Anyway, I said I’m not getting off this thing until I burn 800 calories. It took me 50 minutes, but I LOVE being able to track how much I’m burning during a workout. It’s the ONLY accurate way to go!

    Have you ever checked out Spark People?
    I’ve done weight watchers on and off for years. I never stick to it. I’ve alos never tracked calories. So my sister told me about sparkpeople and I’m addicted to it! I have an ipod, so I got the app for the site for quick tracking, but you can log all your food intake and all your exercise. (and since you have a hrm you can manually enter calories burned and know it’s accurate!). I’ve been on the site every day for 40 days. in that 40 days, there have probably been about 6 that I haven’t logged what I ate. But it’s so neat. you can set goals for how many calories per week you want to burn through exercise. How many minutes per weeks/month/year through exercise. It will give you a calorie range of how much to eat to lose 2 lbs. per week. (that’s the only bad thing, it won’t let you set it up to lose more per week) BUT if you put in there to lose 2 lbs per week it will do it through diet,then in the exercise section, just burn 3500 per week and then you should lose 3 lbs a week. I’ve lost 10 lbs since using sparkpeople!

    If you do sign up for it, let me know and we can “friend” each other on there for support! They have blogs on there too.

    Good luck! you will love you heart rate monitor!!


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