Feel Your Heaaaarrrt Beat…

6 Feb

Last Monday I got one of the best additions to my fitness arsenal ..no not another kettlebell…I got a heart rate monitor.  Me and Pinky Tuscadero (yes my heart rate monitor has a name and yes it is the coolest moniker since Jason Lee named his kid Pilot Inspektor)  are joined at the hip er breast bone?  Anyway, this little beaut has really ramped up my workout motivation.  All of my calorie burn calculating prior was simply going by what the typical burn was for an activity for a set period of time…not at all accurate…not at all motivating.

Since I can see what I have burned based on my actual heart rate  I am driven to push hard and maximize my burn.  I am a fan of HIIT workouts.  For those that don’t know, that stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  Basically you go balls to the wall for set time intervals with rest periods in between the intervals.  This is a great way to get the most out of a short workout.  During the week, I just don’t have the time, or the want to spend more than about 30 minutes working out.  I come home from work, deal with dinner, bathe and play with/wrangle Tink until around 7:30.  Then starts the bed time routine   Once she is in bed I have to fit in my workout, snack, and blogging before bed.  All so I can get up and do it again the next day.  I am motivated to workout and lose weight, but I want the most bang for my buck when it comes to weeknight workouts.

I was curious how to use Pinky besides just telling me how many calories I burned.  I really had no idea what I should be looking for on my heart rate.  I know there is a target zone, and that I operate outside the zone a lot…part of that is my need to keep building my endurance, but the biggest part of it is the type of work out I do.  I go hard during whatever time I have set for my workout.

So here is a nice tip for determining which zone you are hovering in with your workouts.  The formula below will help you figure out your heart rate ranges for different levels of exercise.  Here is a chart I made for my workouts with Pinky.

Heart Rate Guide

Just to clarify how to calculate your ranges:

Subtract 226 from your age to determine your maximum heart rate.  Then you can multiply your maximum heart rate by 60% to 70% for Warm up, 70% to 80% for Aerobic, 80% to 90% for HIIT, and 90% to 100% for maximum.  Fat burning begins in the warm up zone, and increases through the HIIT Zone.  Once your in the max zone, you are going to cap out on the burn of the workout.  Try to keep it Zone 3 or lower to be able to sustain the workout.

Disclaimer:  I found this information from various sources on the internet.  I am not saying this is the gospel.  It just makes sense to me, and I wanted to share with all of you a new way to look at your heart rate stats.

Besides Pinky giving me nerdy spreadsheet addicted geek a new and fun way to look at my workouts, it gave me an amazing non scale victory.  For as long as I can remember, I have never been able to wear the “standard” sized anything.  I always have to ask for a bigger smock at the spa, a bigger gown in the hospital, a bigger life jacket when rafting…you get the picture.  I would get major anxiety about anything “standard” sized, just knowing that I would have to embarrassingly ask if there was a bigger size available.  I was super nervous waiting for my heart rate monitor to come in.  I just knew that freaking chest strap was not going to fit, and that I would have to make a trip to the sporting goods store for the big Bertha sized strap.

When Pinky came in, I tried the strap on the longest/largest setting…and that sucker was too loose.  I had to tighten the strap so it would stay in places.  1 week and 5 workouts later, I still smile like a complete bafoon every time I put it on.  It is the small er “standard” things.

What all cool things do you do with your heart rate monitor?  Shoot me any questions that you have about mine.

Stay Strong and Keep Moving,


17 Responses to “Feel Your Heaaaarrrt Beat…”

  1. sjvella February 6, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    Great Idea to have a heart rate monitor, might actually buy one for myself 🙂

  2. Carly February 6, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    I’m not sure if I go anything really cool with my heart rate monitor, but I just love mine. I feel naked without it! The best feeling after you have been wearing for awhile is noticing how much harder it is to get your heart rate up and how much quicker it goes down! Which did you buy? I am actually in the market for a new one.

    • fatchicktofitchick February 6, 2013 at 8:38 am #

      I bought the Polar FT4. Basic, but just what I needed. I have noticed how quickly mine starts to drop on my rest intervals. That keeps me eager to keep the rest short, so it does not slow down too much!

  3. Jan in SoDak February 6, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Thanks for the info! I ordered a heart rate monitor yesterday so I could get a better idea of how many calories I was really burning. I’m not losing weight as quickly as I think I should be based upon my calorie and exercise tracking in My Fitness Pal. I’m curious to see how much the calculators are off on MFP and the gym machines compared to a heart rate monitor.

  4. angieandfrankswedding February 6, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    That’s great – it’s amazing how much harder we can work when we are feeling motivated (by whatever)! It’s funny, I actually just added this exact HR monitor to my Amazon wish list. Question – does it calculate calories based on HR alone, or do you enter your weight?

    • fatchicktofitchick February 6, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      You enter your height, your weight and i think your age too during the set up. I am a huge fan of it for sure!

      • angieandfrankswedding February 8, 2013 at 11:03 am #

        Cool – I think I might suggest to my hub that I might need one for my bday. haha 🙂

  5. kepotts February 6, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Yes for getting a HR Monitor! I forgot the transmitter this morning & didn’t realize it until I got to the gym & almost had a meltdown. Then I was all “Calm your $hit down, you lived without it for years!”. I once work mine for 3 hours just sitting around the house to figure out what I burn doing absolutely nothing, it was interesting. Hi to Pinky!

    • fatchicktofitchick February 6, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      HAHA I would have reacted the exam same way! I know I think about just busting mine out for various things just for curiosity sake!

  6. savynaturalista February 6, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I should buy one but I am stalling that’s a nice calorie burn for 44 mins…

  7. Denise February 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Is it bad that I don’t even think about my heart rate when i workout? I always figured, I’m moving, that’s gotta be better than not moving. But after reading your blog, now I’m thinking, maybe that’s not such a good idea. Maybe I should look into this more. How stressed out does worrying about the heart rate make you?

    • fatchicktofitchick February 6, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      I honestly don’t focus on my heart rate during the workout. I use it more to access the productivity of my workout when it is complete. I do think moving in general is better than not, but this is way to progress your fitness levels and work on improving.

  8. spoony203 February 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of weeks now and I love it, it makes me feel better about trying to get healthy when I can read someone who is going through similar things. I got a HRM for my birthday back in November, its a Polar model as well. I love it! Not only can I keep track of my HR to make sure i’m in the right zone, but mentally it puts me more at ease when I see the calorie burn. Before I got mine, I would worry that I wasn’t working out as hard as I should, but now I know i’m doing what needs to be done and it puts my mind at ease. Also, I TOTALLY understand what you mean about the chest strap fit, I am the same way worrying about sizes like that, I always had to ask for bigger, but when the strap fit i’m pretty sure I did a happy dance, not even going to lie about it. 🙂 Hope you enjoy your HRM! GO YOU!

  9. Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer February 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    I love my heart rate monitor! It gives me a good benchmark for how I’ve improved as far as fitness level. I like seeing where my HR is on a certain workout and then going back and seeing how it is again on the same workout after a certain amount of time

  10. Angela @ Honey, I Shrunk the Mom February 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    “Pinky Tuscadero” … Love.♥
    I have the same HRM and I will never be able to look at it again with thinking about Pinky making out with Fonzi. Maybe I should buy my husband a black HRM and they can sit together on my desk and make out, too. Hmmm.

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