Understand Your Target Heart Rate

Recording your workouts is a proven method for success. With all the fitness tools, gadgets and apps that are available today, it's easier than ever to track your progress and monitor your fitness numbers.

The problem is, having so many options leave many confused and frustrated.

MoreHeart Rate Readings, What Do They Mean?

I'm not here to narrow it down and provide you with the top three devices out there. What I do want to share with you are a few practical tips to use during your workouts to help monitor your intensity. Bonus: they will also help you stay motivated and accountable. 

Perform A Simple Talk Test

This is the easiest and most affordable option on the market today. Yes, it's subjective, but it allows you to "check in" with your body throughout your fitness routines and provides valuable feedback. It's a way to gauge your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to ensure you are getting a quality workout.

The basics:

  • If you're able to talk comfortably and without interruption, you're at the lower end of your exercise intensity.
  • When you can still talk, however, it's more difficult and labored. You're at the higher end of your exercise intensity.

According to IDEA Fit, the talk test is an effective tool to monitor your exercise intensity.

MoreCalculate Your Training Heart Rate Zones

Monitor Your Heart Rate

Here are two options for checking your heart rate to gauge your exercise intensity:

1. Manually: Locate your pulse on your neck or wrist. Count the number of beats for 10 seconds and then multiply that number by six. This will give you your beats per minute (BPM).

2. Heart Rate Monitor: Whether you want something fancy with Bluetooth and GPS or something basic that just monitors your heart rate, there are hundreds of monitors to choose from. Defining your goals and needs will help determine which option is best for you.

MoreUsing a Heart Rate Monitor to Improve Fitness

About the Author

Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is a fitness professional and the founder of DB Strength in San Diego. He is also the head strength and conditioning coach for Alliance Training Center where he works with many top professional MMA athletes. Visit www.dbstrength.com for more information.

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