Listening to Your Heart

Remember a couple of months ago when I blasted equipment at the gym for not providing accurate calorie counts?  Well, it’s time for a follow-up.  Here’s what my non-scientific study found this time around.

Calorie counts on stationary and spin bikes are still way off.  This holds true even if you’re wearing a heart monitor, which, one would think, would help the computer to calculate correctly how many calories you’re burning.  It doesn’t, so continue to ignore it.

Treadmills are a different story.  They are by far more accurate than bikes, coming within only 50 calories or so of the count registered by my heart rate monitor while running.  So you can pay attention to those numbers if you’re looking for a guide.

I still maintain you should concentrate on your heart rate range during the exercise for the most accurate reading of how hard you’re working. 

If you’re working for endurance (i.e. exercising over a long period of time) aim for a number that’s somewhere around 65 percent of your maximum.  If you’re doing intervals…get that heartrate up to between 80-85 percent of your maximum during those intervals and although the heartrate to fall to around 60 percent inbetween.

Not sure what your maximum heart rate is?  It’s really simple to calculate.  All you have to do is subtract your age from 220.

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