Before I had a heart rate monitor I was totally overestimating my calorie burn and underestimating my calorie intake. My heart rate monitor detects how many cals I burn, what my heart rate is at so I can make sure to stay in my fat burning zone, and I know how many more or less calories I should/shouldn't eat! I highly recommend one!
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Use a heart monitor when exercising. There is a target heart rate that helps to burn fat. A heart monitor will beep if you need to increase your effort or if you need to slow down so that you can keep your heart rate in the fat burning zone. It's the best piece of exercise equipment you can buy.
I bought myself a heart rate monitor and wear it whenever I exercise -- even when I am just walking. In addition to measuring my heart rate, the monitor keeps track of the time spent and calories burned. It even stores the information -- and it doubles as a watch. (It's from Polar.)
Take your pulse (at wrist or neck is best) before you get out of bed. Count the # of beats in a minute. Then, knowing this as your true resting heart rate, you can find out what intensity you need to be working at during cardio in order to reach your goals. If you perform a 3 minute step test, take your pulse immediately after, you can use these 2 pulse #'s to find your Heart Rate Reserve, and you can use this to find a target heart rate range that is subjective to you.
Maximum Heart Rate assumes everyone of a certain age has the same resting heart rate, and this is not fact. By using Heart Rate Reserve, you can find the target heart rate range to meet your specific goals.
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