You see them in the gym. You see them running up and down your street. Everywhere you look these days, it seems that you see people using heart rate monitors while they work out. In fact, it sometimes seems that you’re just plain out of style if you don’t wear one yourself. And while it is true that some of today’s best heart rate monitors are actually quite attractive – looks should actually be the last reason that you would strap one of these things on your wrist…
So the real question is – do you need a heart rate monitor? And if so, why?
To start off, we’re absolutely not going to suggest that everyone should use a heart rate monitor. In fact, we’re going to be so bold as to say that not even everyone who exercises should use one. Here are a few types of people who probably don’t need to use a heart rate monitor:
- People trying to get bigger and stronger. If the sole purpose of your workout program is to get as big and strong as possible, you’re probably not going to get much benefit from using a heart rate monitor. Now, strength training may be a part of your workout, and you may very well benefit from using a heart rate monitor. But if you’re simply a power athlete or trying to impress the world with the size of your biceps, then you can probably skip on using one.
- People with no real goals in the gym. If you just like to go to the gym to hang out, watch people, and perhaps experiment with the latest muscle-building contraptions, you can probably skip out on buying a heart rate monitor. There’s no shame in being someone who goes to the gym for purely social reasons, but if you are one of those folks, you certainly don’t need to waste your money on a heart rate monitor that you’ll never use.
Okay, now that we know a few types of folks who don’t need heart rate monitors, let’s talk about people who should use them.
- People trying to lose weight. In order to burn as much fat as possible, you have to work out with an elevated heart rate for at least 20 minutes at a time. To ensure that you heart rate stays sufficiently elevated, there’s no better device to own than a heart rate monitor.
- People trying to get ripped. Yes, this is another form of losing weight, but taken to a more extreme level. If you’re dying to get off those last few pounds of body fat, and to obtain the perfect six-pack, you’ll want to make every minute of cardio count, and you just can’t do that without a heart rate monitor.
- People concerned with general fitness and staying healthy. Cardiovascular fitness is the foundation of living a long, healthy life. So if you’re not a hardcore gym rat, but still want to get – and stay – as healthy and fit as possible, you can definitely benefit from using a heart rate monitor. In fact, your doctor may even tell you a specific heart rate range that you should work out in, and you can use your heart rate monitor to help you follow doctor’s orders.
All you need to do now is find out which type of person you are, from the lists above. Then you’ll know – without a doubt – if you should start using a heart rate monitor during your workouts.