The Importance of Heart Rate Monitors!

Heart Rate Monitors

How they are used and why they are important to have!

Kyle Duarte BS Nutrition and Wellness

Picture this: it’s your first day again and you walk into this scary, seemingly endless gym, with tons of sweaty people and loud music. Looking through the gym, you see people training, warming up, and putting this weird strap on their chest that somehow links to their Rolex. You hear coaches yelling and you dread that they will hate your guts and try to make you puke because…well… it’s your first day.

That is a pretty funny description of a first day, and I’m sure not all are like that, but I would venture to say some weren’t too far off. What did that have anything to do with heart rate monitors?

Well in my defense I really just wanted to make up a short little story to say that its 2014 and I bet Rolex makes heart rate monitors now… no I really want to stress the importance of having a heart rate monitor, what it can do for your training, and maybe point out some of the other perks behind these not so fashionable items (That’s a lie I’d wear it on a date just to see how nervous I am).

Heart rate monitors can do many things:

  • Tell you the time! Wow!
  • Tell you your resting heart rate….. if you are at rest
  • Depending on your age the monitor can set up high and low ranges for training
  • If its 20/10 conditioning week you can program it to go off so you don’t show up…jk SHOW UP!
  • *Some may also have fancy perks like GPS tracking, and the ability to connect with google.

**Heart rate monitors can also keep you safe during metabolic training, if your coach tells you the parameters of your heart rate/per energy system training.

Metabolic and Energy System Training:

       Well we all know what metabolic means (the part of training where you feel super sick and sit outside before it starts), but do you know that here at FTA there is more than just doing a burpee for 20/40 or 60/20?

       What I am trying to get at is every week is planned according to each energy system that the body uses to create and maintain movement in the body (not electricity or food or gas…..farty pants). The energy systems are clearly posted in the gym of a wonderful banner that depicts the time frame for each energy system and in what order it is used.

       The Energy systems on the poster are quick and to the point: anaerobic (without oxygen) are mainly the ATP, Phosphocreatine (PCr), Glycolytic, and oxidative energy systems. ATP is used for up to 5 seconds and is usually requiring a great deal of stress, needing 2-4 minutes of rest between reps. If the ATP energy system is paired with the PCr, the longest this energy system would last is 20 seconds. Next is the anaerobic lactic acid phase, where most of the available muscle ATP is used, the PCr system is becoming depleted and now we see the muscles kick on to a source everyone is familiar with, GLYCOGEN! Yay, so you’re saying that my post workout recovery drink is refilling these glycogen stores?? You can see this phase lasting anywhere from 20 seconds to 120 seconds. Anything over that two minute mark is considered aerobic, meaning the body needs oxygen to consistently move the muscles during this exercise (Fatty Acids are also targeted during this phase….Boooya).

       The moral of the energy systems side of a heart rate monitor is great for the coach to say, "hey everyone we will be doing cardiac output this week where we are focusing on the aerobic energy system". Knowing this system can be up to 6000 seconds, the coach will say, "I would like your heart rate to fall in between 145 and 155 BPM for the entire duration of today’s metabolic training".

If you do not have a heart rate monitor, you may be missing out on a major part of your training. With the American “Whey” of life(….get it? Milk…..) people think that 'more is better'. If I go balls to the wall during 20/10 or 60/20 I’ll be getting the best workout because I feel sicker than a dog. This is actually the opposite of what we want you to do during some of our metabolic training sessions. In your next metabolic session, ask your coach what your heart rate should be, and follow their guidelines.

If you do not have a heart rate monitor and you are now interested in buying one, please visit, The Polar Rs300 is what we recommend for our clients to buy. We also have experience with polar and all of the other cool things these can hook up to (HRV).