Thursday, November 17, 2011

Let the beat drop

When I was in major weight loss mode I was little Miss Cardio. I was thinking back on it and a typical week was four or five days of cardio for 60 minutes, mainly on the elliptical or Cycle class. My goal was always to burn at least 500 calories. If my hour was up and I was less than 50 calories away I'd do longer just to get those last 50. I was hardcore what can I say.

These days I'm more a strength training girl. Staying on the elliptical for 60 minutes would drive me up the wall! But since for the next few weeks my main cardio is walking I'm not getting the calorie burn I want and I need my cross-training to get me ready to run. So I need three things...

1. I want that 500 calorie burn again
2. I don't want it to take an hour
3. I want my VO2max to increase, maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise Wiki Source

Because of those three things I swung by a battery store yesterday to get this thing going again...

I love this thing! I've had my Heart Rate Monitor for a few years now...which I don't think they make this model anymore. The new model is the F7. So the contraption work like this, you wear this thing around your chest...

The strap transmits your heart beat to your watch, telling you Beats Per Minute, calories burned, and workout length. Mine of course is the cheapest model. More expensive and sport specific HRMs break down the info even more, like speed and distance. Garmin's even uses GPS and displays a map...which you can enter a specific route. 

I recommend my clients get a Heart Rate Monitor...even over other calorie counting devices. First of all, those calorie counters on cardio machines are totally inaccurate. When I got my F6 I discovered that the machine was OVER counting by 300 calories! That's a whole mini meal! Which if you are a WW, is three extra points I didn't earn. It doesn't make sense but the more calories you burn the more you need to increase you Daily Caloric Intake. So it's important to know exactingly how many calories you are burning during you workouts. 

Recently, thanks to Be a Better Runner I am understanding HR Zones not just with running but all types of cardio. This is why I prefer HRM over other calories counting devises. Those other devices will tell you how many calories you burned during a workout or throughout the day but not how hard you are working during your workout. However, as a trainer, I want your HR at a certain point so I know you are burning the number of calories needed and to make the proper Cardiovascular gains.

For me personally a HRM is going to tackle all three of my previously mentioned wishes. If I workout in a higher HR zone I am going to burn calories faster. Let's say I am working out in my zone 2 (let's say 130 BPM) and let's say I burn 10 calories per minute. However, if am working in my zone 4 (let's say 150 BPM) I can burn 20 calories per minute. See how I can get to my 500 calories faster? Or if you do workout for a certain duration you are burning more calories during a workout at a zone 4 than a zone 2. BTW, those numbers are all made up and just an example of generally how HR zones work. There is alot more that goes into HR zone training which is why I'm loving Be a Better Runner. Anywhoo, training at higher HR zones will increase my VO2max, which basically is a measure of how quickly oxygen gets into your body and how efficiently your body uses the oxygen. Which as you can imagine is a tad bit helpful when trying to run or anyother sport. 

Tomorrow I plan on finding out my zones for the Elliptical, which BTW your zones are different each cardio machine or sport. So your zones for running won't be the same on a StairMaster. Have I convinced you to run out and get a HRM? I'm definitively not saying you HAVE to have one in order to lose weight or to make gains in your respective sport. But if you have an extra $120, for your basic HRM, and are wanting to make your workouts more efficient they are the way to go!

Till next time

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