Why I Continue to Love Heart Rate Monitors
I've been doing fitness pretty much my entire life.
Sports in high school. Lifting weights in college. All the endurance activities in the SEALS. And finally to owning a gym for the last seven years.
I use heart rate monitors on and off. When I don't use them, its mostly because the battery in the chest strap has died and I have not replaced it yet.
This past month was one of those times. The battery died, and I stopped using the heart rate chest strap during my workouts for a bit. Once I got the battery back in though, I immediately remembered why I loved it.
It gives you no-nonsense data. It doesn't lie. It shows you "whats under the hood". It tells you exactly just how hard you worked.
I've got a nice four mile loop I run around my house. I'm a creature of habit so I do the same loop all the time. So when I got my heart rate strap back in action, I did the loop. During the run I glance at my watch to view the heart rate and would see it around 130-135. When I got back I downloaded the data to my phone and looked more in-depth. Sure enough, my average heart rate was around 130.
What does that mean, and why do I love heart rate monitors?
For an experienced runner like myself, 130 is lazy for a short distance run. It's the "I'm kind of working, but also being kind of lazy, and I don't really want to push it too hard". It's the mediocrity of running. I moved, I sweat, I got my steps. But did I get any gains? Did I improve in anything? Unlikely.
[Now for the runners out there reading this, yes, there is a time and place for 130BPM running, but it should be long distance, say, 10 miles plus, with a focus on gaining endurance and distance]
This same principle applies to functional fitness workouts.
If it is a 15 minute AMRAP, averaging a 130 heart rate for me would again, be mediocrity. It's the lazy version of working out.
Heart rate monitors take emotion, feelings, and subjective thoughts and throw them to the side. Heart rate monitors don't lie. You either worked hard, or you didn't.
For me, heart rate monitors push me to go faster.
For you, heart rate monitors may get you to slow down (if you go too fast out of the gate)
For many, they help with controlling pace and speed.
They also will give you health related data like resting heart rate and show you how fast your recover from a workout. (Another way to measure health and fitness gains)
There are tons of options out there.
If you primarily will use it in the gym, we recommend MyZone. It connects with the TV above the coaches station and you can view your effort in real time. We have a few straps in inventory.
If you are interested in 24/7 data, we recommend Whoop. There are several blogs on Whoop, each one detailing why we love it so much. Give a search in our blog to read them, from both Coach Rob and Coach Nick. We even have a ResoluteFIT Whoop Team on the Whoop App.
If you do a lot of running and want to see the data while you run, we recommend Garmin and Suunto. Note - Chest strap heart rate monitors are more accurate than wrist based monitors. If you wear a watch that has built in heart rate monitoring, make sure its snug on the wrist and does not move around.
Every level of athlete has something to gain from monitoring their heart rate. From a first timer to the experienced athlete, we highly recommend them!
If you have any questions, feel free to email me!