In the past couple of weeks I conducted a mini experiment. I wanted to see if wearing a heart rate (HR) monitor burns more calories. The HR monitor won’t burn calories on your behalf, but rather help you stay within your target heart rate (easier than doing it manually). I wanted to compare this to the typically suggested rest times between sets during weight training. Ever look at the weight training program, and between each exercise sets noticed suggested rest time of about 1 min (typically the baseline for a weight training program)? What I learned was that 1 minute is too long of a rest between sets if you’re looking to maximize calorie burning efficiency.
Results were expected and obvious. Staying in higher target HR zone burns more calories.
Week A: Took 60-90 second rest between sets. My average HR stayed between 50-60% of my max during workouts. Average length of each workout was about 35 minutes. Results: burned 218 calories on a lower end and 318 on the higher end.
Week B: Didn’t time myself, but instead took breaks until my HR reached a certain point. My average HR for the workouts during this week was in 70-75% range. Average length of each workout was 26 minutes. Results: burned 311calories on a lower end and 346 on the higher end.
As you can see I worked out less and burned more calories. That’s one of the things I’ve been teaching my personal training clients. Your calorie burning efficiency will be better if you stay in a target heart rate zone. And it’s another reason when doing my initial consultation I always ask if a client has an HR monitor, as I base rest times on target HR zone. It makes it easier to stay on track than by manual method (fingers on pulse). If no HR monitor is available, I recommend rest time between 45 secs to 60 seconds as absolute max.
The one thing I should note is that this is most effective for those individuals wanting to lose weight and improve cardio. If you want to bulk up or have completely different fitness goals there are a number of other methods, techniques and strategies to help you achieve those goals.
I don’t have a specific recommendation for a heart rate monitor. Take a look at these heart rate monitors on Amazon and pick one based on reviews, ratings and your budget.
*image courtesy of Lifeonthe inside