Tech Your Workout
Techies and non gear-heads alike can appreciate the multitude of devices that will keep you monitored, motivated, guided and entertained while working out. While completely unnecessary to a successful workout, they can alleviate some boredom, challenge you to do more and even offer some scientific evidence that your workouts are achieving desired results.
Here are a few worth mentioning:
Heart Rate Monitor – You may have seen heart rate monitors for sale at the gym but still haven’t quite figured out why exactly you should be monitoring your heart rate. Here’s the skinny: Back in lesson 7 we talked about the different levels of heart rates during training. Your body burns different fuels at different exercise intensity levels. If your goal is to lose some body fat, you will want to stay in the fat burn zone instead of the carbohydrate burn zone. This is done at a lower intensity workout. So, you may actually be exercising too hard to burn fat. Hmm, interesting. You may actually want to slow down a bit and reap the benefits of the fat burn zone.
These devices can also do a lot more for you than simply counting beats per minute. Most monitors willtally the number of calories burned per session which is helpful if you are keeping a daily count. Those with a competitive nature may also like to push themselves a little bit further than they did last time making a heart rate monitor a great motivational tool.
Higher end models will also allow you sync your workouts up with your computer to see a total for the number of workouts you have done daily/weekly/monthly.
Metabolic Testing – This is a service that is typically offered through a gym and needs to be administered by a technician with some know how. Essentially what will happen is you will be hooked up to a device that will measure your heart rate and oxygen consumption at various levels of exertion. Once completed, the test will give you data showing you what heart rate zones you should be working in for maximum results as well as how many calories you are burning daily. This is a great piece of information for you to best manage your calorie balance. While somewhat pricey, these tests take the guesswork out of how many calories you consume daily making it worth the money if you want to get your precise numbers instead of using generalized charts.
Apps, apps and more apps – If there is something you want help with, chances are good that there is an app than can help you. There are apps to help you find calorie counts, new workout moves, gym locations, music to workout with and much, much more. While there are countless frivolous apps that don’t offer any real value, there are some that can be quite helpful like GPS and other navigational tools to track your runs. Not only will they let you know how far you ran, they can also prevent you from getting lost if you are unfamiliar with the area.
Pedometers can be a great motivational tool by keeping you working toward a goal each day. These are great for any one at any fitness level because you can start at what ever fitness level yo are at and continually measure progress by simply adding on to the amount of steps daily, weekly or monthly.
Ipods and MP3’s – Music is a great way to keep your mind off how hard you are working and can help you power through a tough workout.
The bottom line: Use whatever gets you going. If you like the solitude a walk in the woods gives you, keep the electronics at home. If you need bass pounding beats to power you through a workout – plug in.