Tips on Monitoring Your Workout Intensity

Tips on Monitoring Your Workout Intensity

Monitoring exercise intensity and making sure you are working out in your target heart rate zone is important when it comes to getting the best possible results in burning calories or building muscles. Here are some ways to do this efficiently.

You may not know but if you are really concerned with the exercise efficiency, monitoring your heart rate is essential. The workout intensity makes a big difference in the amount of calories you burn, the muscle growth, and improving stamina and endurance. To achieve the best possible results you should keep track of your heart rate to make sure you are in your target heart rate zone. Also, monitoring your heart rate during activities, you may find out what parts of a workout make your heart beat faster than others and adjust the order of your exercises accordingly.

Define Your Target Heart Rate Zone

The first step to making your workouts more efficient via monitoring heart rate is, of course, defining what rate is right for you.

The target heart rate or THR is the number of heart beats per minute that allows you not to overextend yourself during the workout and to get the most of your exercise time safely.

This zone is usually 50-85% of your maximum heart rate. It depends on such factors as age, gender, and fitness level and it may be calculated using special formulas. Of course, you do not have to calculate your THR yourself on paper — there is plenty of online calculators to help you with that.

You should remember that the THR results you get using any formula are not the ultimate truth — they are just the guidelines to keep in mind. If they are not quite accurate, you will feel it during your workout. If you are exercising following your presumptive THR and you feel that you are working way too hard or, otherwise, that everything is too easy for you, be sure to adjust your target rate according to your feelings.

Monitoring THR by Taking Pulse

Taking your pulse in the course of your exercise is the sure way to find out how intense your workout is. This approach doesn’t require using any additional special equipment.

Everything is easy as pie: when you take your usual break between sets or between different types of exercises, check your pulse on your neck or on your wrist. Use the timer on your smartphone or watch to keep track of time. Place your index finger on the carotid artery (the easiest way to find it is to slide the finger from under the ear to under the jaw) or radial artery (it is located on the wrist). When you find the pulsation, count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply that number by six to get the approximate heart rate value.

For example, if you count 15 beats in 10sec, your heart rate is approximately 90. Check your heart rate whenever possible — as you can see, this process doesn’t take long — and make sure you work out within your HTR.

Consider Buying a Heart Rate Monitor

If you don’t mind spending some money on extra equipment to make the process even easier, consider buying a heart rate monitor. This device continuously monitors your heart rate during workout. The prices for heart rate monitors differ — they may cost from approximately 50 to 300 dollars. Of course, the more expensive options are more advanced and you should consider buying them if you need some extra functions for even more efficient workouts. And if you are a beginner, the cheapest monitor might be just right for you unless you want to have some perks like the ability to see the amount of calories burnt.

Good Old Talk Test

One more way to make sure you work out at the right heart rate is something that is called a talk test. As its name suggests, the only thing you need to do for that test is to talk with someone.

The suggestion is the following: if you are exercising at a moderate intensity, you are able to talk easily. And, on the other hand, if the intensity is high, you won’t be able to talk.