Do I Really Need a Heart Rate Monitor?

You see the heart rates displayed on the big screen in spin class. You see someone checking their heart rate while running next to you on the treadmill. You see the commercials for the newest smartwatch with HR tracking, and you ask yourself: do I really need a heart rate monitor?

The short answer, of course, is no – you don’t. But the truth is, you’d probably benefit from one if you’re working out regularly and you’re serious about reaching some goals. Here’s why.

We talk about data, often in terms of privacy. How private is your data? What data is your smartphone or computer learning about you and reporting to 3rd parties? How is that data used, etc? There’s a reason data is big news – because data is valuable. Having good data allows companies (or you, in the case of heart rate monitors) to make informed decisions that eliminate guesswork and all but guarantee desirable results.

So while you don’t need a heart rate monitor, there’s a really good chance you’d benefit from using one. Let’s explore the top three reasons you should consider using a heart rate monitor while you workout.

One. Gamification.

Chances are you’ve heard of gamification, but you probably haven’t really explored what it really means. Simply put, gamification is the use of common elements of game playing (like scores, levels, and in some cases, prizes or rewards) to other activities. This is why heart rate displays have become popular in spin classes and boot camp workouts. You’re able to see how hard everyone is working and push yourself to match (or exceed) their level of effort. Several systems (including that in-club at Elevate Fitness) award points for how hard you work and how long you work.

Gamification works. In fact, you probably have several “rewards cards” in your wallet right now – that’s gamification! Whether it’s for rewards, status, or just the satisfaction of seeing your results in black-and-white, gamification is a strong motivator for many people and makes using a heart rate monitor both fun and rewarding!

Two. Make decisions with data.

There are some rules that apply to everyone when it comes to weight loss and fitness. If the number of calories you burn exceeds the number of calories consumed, you have the recipe for weight loss, for example. So using the data from your heart rate monitor telling you how many calories you burned (plus taking into consideration your basal metabolic rate) you can determine how many calories you can eat in a given day and still expect to lose weight.

Or maybe you’re working on our cardiovascular endurance. When we say endurance, we’re really talking about your aerobic capacity, right? So to increase your aerobic capacity you need to work in an aerobic zone for an extended period of time consistently. By doing this and tracking your heart rate, you’ll soon see that as your heart becomes stronger in response to the training, you can actually spend longer periods of time in the aerobic zone. Thus you’ve increased your cardiovascular endurance!

Whatever your goal, solid data allows you to make informed decisions and choices that will allow you to predictably and effectively reach your goals taking out the guesswork and trial-and-error that causes so many people to lose hope and give up on their goals.

Three. Get feedback.

Maybe you’re not someone who’s made the decision to work with a personal trainer yet, but you’ve plateaued and you’re ready to explore the reasons why. So you schedule a single session with a trainer, and you explain that you’ve been working really hard but not seeing the results you want. So the trainer asks you to describe a typical workout and you talk about what exercises you’re doing and how often. You get some feedback based on your program design and off you go hoping that you’re ready to break through your plateau.

Now take the same scenario but add some data to the meeting. You share what exercises you’re doing and how often but you also are able to show data supporting how hard you’re working during those workouts. Now the trainer can see how long you’re spending in different zones, and how you’re heart is reacting to different types of exercise and make INFORMED recommendations based on not only program design, but intensity and duration – two of the most important variables that can be affecting your results.

Learn more about heart rate monitors at Elevate Fitness by clicking HERE.

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