Going to the gym is a good thing. Maybe you lift some weights and do some cardio while you're watching the latest episode of The Bachelor, or something like that. We're not here to judge. You do you.
The thing is, when you go to the gym, you might feel like you're actually working hard. You might break a sweat, even. But the truth is that unless you have an accurate way to determine exactly how hard you are working, you will never know.
And that's why heart rate training is so important. It is something that can completely revitalize the way you train and kick the changes your body goes through into overdrive. Heart rate monitors are available in variety of shapes and sizes, from bracelets to headphones to chest straps.
Our personal favorite, however, is the MyZone heart rate monitoring system. It'll cost you $149, but in return you get a state of the art heart rate strap that pairs with MyZone's special app - and the app only works with MyZone monitors.
The app is where it's at, though. After you enter in your details (age, weight, etc) and pair the strap with your phone, you get an easy-to-use readout that tells you exactly how hard you are working. A large display gives you the actual percentage of effort you are putting out (as determined by your stats and current heart rate), and the percentage ranges are color coded for easy visual cues.
If you're giving between 70-80% effort - which, by the way, is the perfect fat-burning zone - it shows green. 80-89% and it turns yellow, indicating you are putting forth enough effort for an aerobic workout. And 90% and above turns red, perhaps to indicate that you are about to pass out (not really; it just means you've reached your anaerobic threshold).
In our experience, the MyZone has been a revelation and has changed the way we work out. Before, we thought we were putting out enough effort during cardio workouts. As it turns out, we were wrong, and the MyZone let us know.
The other cool thing about the MyZone? There are gyms around the world that have MyZone servers installed in their buildings, along with television screens, which means your personal HRM will be picked up by their system when you walk in the door, and then it will display just how hard you are not working in front of everyone else working out.
If that's not motivation, I don't know what is.
After your workout, you'll be able to look back over your entire workout and see, minute by minute, how much effort you put out. MyZone also has a proprietary system called MEPS (maximum effort points) that will track how much you put forth in any given workout as a whole. And it also tracks how many kcals you burned, if that's more your thing.