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April 7, 2022

Do I Need a Heart Rate Monitor to Effectively Do Cardio?

Heart rate monitors are a great training tool for many reasons. But do you need one in order to do cardio “well” or “efficiently”?

Per usual, I am going to be honest with you. I actually lean towards yes. I am also very biased because I have used and love Polar watches and chest straps for over 10 years as a coach and trainee. But as always, IT DEPENDS.

Don’t roll your eyeballs too far in the back of your head. Hear me out.

We have to ask: WHY ARE YOU DOING CARDIO?

This is the key to whether or not you might want to invest in a heart rate monitor – and it is absolutely an investment.

Are you conditioning to:

  • Increase caloric expenditure?
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness?
  • Train for something specific?

If you’re wanting to build a more efficient heart, function at higher intensities for longer durations, and recover quicker…a heart rate monitor and proper programming is going to be VERY helpful.

It simply comes down to data. Having a heart rate monitor allows to you KNOW MORE. Less guessing if and when your heart rate has recovered or if you’re working at a given intensity. The watch can let you know for sure. This of course only applies if you’re working on the above (bold).

Can you get some of the above results without using a heart rate monitor? Sure, but it will be harder to track, and manage. That’s all. If you have the means to get a heart rate monitor, I suggest Polar with a chest strap (see my IGTV video). And check out Joel Jamieson’s ultimate MMA conditioning book.

Make sense? Makes sense.

P.S. It is always important to point out that ideally these training tools help us understand our bodies more, rather than distance our ability to “tune in.” Your run/conditioning/cardio session counts if you’re not wearing your monitor 😉

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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