How can heart rate training help me?

Heart rate training can be helpful for two main reasons. First, a heart monitor is really a biofeedback device. As such, it can inform us about how the body is working (intensity) and we can adjust to it (by changing speeds). While we like to think that humans are natural creatures who know just how to live (and train), social input often interferes with our intuition. As such, the HR monitor can help us develop maximum aerobic function, which will improve fat burning, along with other aspects of building health and fitness.

For example, the no pain no gain trend tells us more is better—a notion that is usually wrong. The heart monitor can tame us so our workouts are more effective, almost like having a coach with us during each workout. In the early 1980s I developed the 180-Formula, which allows users to individualize an optimal aerobic training heart rate for workouts.

Second, a heart monitor can help us assess progress, or inform us that we’re not progressing. Basically, it takes the guesswork out of working out. The best example is the ability to run faster at the same sub-max heart rate as the weeks and months pass. But this only happens if the aerobic system is developing well.

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