How to monitor your heart rate, and how that information can be used as a key indicator towards reaching training goals, can be misunderstood by the average trainer.

As I have discussed in previous columns, being specific in goal-setting is vital to the success of obtaining the desired outcome. Monitoring heart rate can be of enormous benefit, as it allows the trainer to understand how their body is reacting to a particular exercise intensity, and whether or not that activity corresponds to their training goals.

Let me explain: typically a trainer’s goal/s will range from weight loss to a gain in fitness or endurance, or an improvement in performance. But how do you know what intensity to exercise at in order to reach that goal?

Using a heart rate monitor as a training tool enables the trainer to use a percentage of their maximum heart rate as a guide so that the intensity chosen is best suited for that goal. If the intensity is low (50-60% of maximum heart rate), and the duration is long, then fat will be your body’s preferred energy source and weight loss the ultimate outcome. If the intensity is high (80-90% of maximum heart rate), and the duration short, then carbohydrates will be the preferred fuel and performance will be the end outcome – and there is a whole spectrum in between.

Heart rate monitors are a relatively inexpensive way to ensure that a trainer is not choosing activities in a random fashion, and that all energies can be put toward their chosen goals.

Sportsmart Kilsyth Footwear Manager, Adam Musovic

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