Buying a heart rate monitor was one of the best things I did to motivate myself to exercise. There is nothing more rewarding than reading the number of calories burned after each workout! As you get more experienced with it, it can also help you choose the correct intensity for your workout.
You don't have to splurge into some fancy device. If you are a beginner you might as well just purchase one with the basic features from a respectable manufacturer. I have a Polar F6, it cost me about 60 euros (80 USD) and it's worth every cent of it.
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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!
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.
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