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Heart Rate Monitors Don’t Work?


I read this article in the New York Times about the appropriateness of heart rate monitors. The article discusses the pros and cons of using heart rate monitors. Mainly focusing on the reasons why you do not need and should not use them.

This got me thinking because I advise my clients, who can afford one, to use a heart rate monitor. I also use one myself when I’m doing my high-intense uphill treadmill walking. Can you feel the burn?

My initial fear was that I had misled my clients and myself. But I quickly reassured myself of the benefits of using a heart rate monitor.

If you are trying to lose weight, a heart rate monitor is the best portable way to gauge how many calories you are burning. Knowing this is important when trying to figure out how much cardio you should be doing.

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Most people overestimate how many calories they are burning with exercise, and a heart rate monitor brings you back to reality. Overestimating your calorie expenditure leads to overeating because you feel you “deserve” the food for all of your “hard” work.

If you are trying to lose weight, and you can afford it, I would recommend you get and use a heart rate monitor. It may or may not be accurate in gauging your cardiovascular fitness, but it is definitely the best portable device for gauging calories burned.

Dr. Kal is a weight-loss expert and ex-fat man. He is also the creator of the Don’t Go Broke Weight Loss Plan and the main contributor at Dr. Kal’s Blog.

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About the Author

Dr. Kalvin Chinyere is a physician, weight-loss expert and ex-fat man. He is also the creator of the Don’t Go Broke Weight Loss Plan and the main contributor at Dr. Kal’s Blog.

Community Thoughts (5)

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  1. I definitely agree with you on the benefit of using a heart monitor. Sure – for hardcore trainees like an olympic athlete it can be a distraction (I would imagine), but for someone like me, it really went a long way toward keeping me from injuring myself because it kept my enthusiasm (and tendency to overdo it) in check.

    When I began training for long distance running, combining heart rate with the old, “can you talk while you’re running” method meant I was able to train effectively over long distances. The heart rate monitor helped me to keep my enthusiasm in check – when I was feeling good, I naturally wanted to run a lot faster, which would have worked against my long-distance goals.

    Bottom line is do what works for you. Sure the formula for heart rate is not universal, but for me, it really helped me to keep my training within safe (and ultimately successful) limits.

  2. treadmillNo Gravatar says:

    Well, I use a heart rate monitor so I guess nothing really changes for me :)

  3. Overestimating your calorie expenditure leads to overeating because you feel you “deserve” the food for all of your “hard” work.

    Are you sure about this? I definitely suffer from food issues, but I can tell you definitively that after I workout I eat less because I don’t want to ruin the workout I just did. My mind seems to be clearer after a workout and I feel empowered to make better food decisions. Many people I talk to on this topic feel the same way.

  4. heart rate monitors are great, obviously though if it is a cheap monitor then you really aren’t going to get much accuracy from it.

  5. michaelNo Gravatar says:

    I also use one myself too so it’s a nice product

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