Heart Rate Zone Training

by tinareale on April 3, 2012

So many great fitness tools exist to help maximize the results of your workouts. We have Bosu balls for stabilization training. We have Garmin Forerunners for running. We have various apps and websites (hello, Pinterest!) for workout ideas at our fingertips. We have TRX bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, and more for our weight training. I love them all and use them all. Now, I plan on sharing with you two other great pieces of fitness gear with all of you!



It might seem unnecessary to train with a heart rate monitor. Who wants to wear a strap under their sports bra or check his/her heart rate regularly during a workout? While it is not necessary to do so, heart rate monitors certainly have their benefits.

Heart rate monitors can help you zero in on the particular goals you have for an individual workout. Do you want more endurance? More intensity? Recovery? Steady state? Intervals? A heart rate monitor can help ensure you are working out at the optimal intensity for your goals.

There are 3 different heart rate training zones:

  • Zone 1 = 65-75% of Maximum Heart Rate This zone is a great goal for recovery style workouts, the warm-up and cool-down phase of a workout, and for beginners to exercise.
  • Zone 2 = 80-85% of Maximum Heart Rate This zone gets closer to the anaerobic threshold (when your body no longer produces energy with normal oxygen intake) and, over time, can help increase the threshold.
  • Zone 3 = 86-90% of Maximum Heart Rate This zone cannot be sustained for long periods of time (usually no more than a minute) and is usually coupled with zones 1 or 2.  Zone three training helps to improve the current fitness level.

You can certainly use a 1-10 scale rating your perceived exertion, but going by heart rate will provide more accuracy to the different cardiorespiratory workouts. It will tell you if you need to adjust your intensity to pace yourself better or pick it up a notch.


You may wonder how I can lump these two together. Well…you don’t want sweaty hair flying in your face while rocking some killer intervals between Zones 2 and 3, do you? I didn’t think so!

The Sparkly Soul headbands are designed to not slip, not cause headaches, not cause hair damage…and look fun while exercising. I’m a fan of that! Especially with my uber-fine hair.

Your Turn…

Ever train with a heart rate monitor? Any other fitness fashion gear you love?


A huge THANK YOU to EB Sports and Sparkly Soul Headbands for contributing prizes for this week’s Best Body Bootcamp! This week’s luck winner will receive a Sportline 660 heart rate monitor and two Sparkly Soul headbands.

Best Body Bootcamp Week 4 Winner: Congrats to Michelle C.  for winning the case of Chobani Greek yogurt and bags of Love Grown granola! I will email you shortly so you can claim your prize!


1 Lisa @ RunWiki April 3, 2012 at 6:36 am

After three marathons, all which I failed to reach my goal, I am finally ready to train with a HRM (I’m stubborn) The crazy thing is my GPS has one, I just don’t use it. Have you found it to be useful in obtaining your goals?

2 tinareale April 3, 2012 at 6:58 am

It can certainly help with making sure I’m not going too intensely. Although, honestly, for my running I usually focus more on pace than heart rate. For other interval and cardio workouts, I love heart rate monitors.

3 Heather (Heather's Dish) April 3, 2012 at 7:01 am

I have a great polar monitor and need to get the battery replaced!

4 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey April 3, 2012 at 7:10 am

I LOVE sparkly soul headbands! They seriously are the best of the cute sparkly headbands out there! I love that the sparkles go all the way around and not just halfway.

5 Miz April 3, 2012 at 7:26 am

Ive never ever used a monitor.
I probably should at least try :)

6 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean April 3, 2012 at 7:45 am

i’ve been seriously considering asking for a heart rate monitor for my bday. but i also really wanted a pedometer. so i asked my mom for a fitbit….still deciding about the HRM. i know it would be useful, i’m just afraid it’s one of those things i would use for a few days and then forget about. but they are SO good for #PROOF! ahhh, decisions :)

7 Jessica April 3, 2012 at 8:10 am

OMG!! I loved the workout this morning!! Super fun and challenging!! :)

8 tinareale April 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm


9 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) April 3, 2012 at 8:20 am

I do think heart rate monitors are a great tool! I think they’re especially useful for those that are looking to improve their fitness level. I don’t use one for myself, but I feel pretty comfortable with my workout zones since I’ve been doing it for so long. A beginner would definitely benefit from learning about where their heart rate should be to achieve their fitness goals.

10 tinareale April 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Agreed. I don’t use one all that regularly anymore either bec I can generally gauge in other ways (and a lot of times I go by pacing for runs), but they have helped me SO much in the past and for interval sessions.

11 Jess April 3, 2012 at 8:23 am

HUGE fan of the sparkly soul headbands! Literally the only ones that do NOT slip ever. Love them!!

12 [email protected] a Colorado Gal April 3, 2012 at 8:41 am

Ha, I did a similar “what I love” post today :) I always train with my hr monitor just so I can gauge which of my workouts really annihilate me and which seem hard but in reality, I’m just being a baby. Sometimes I mentally think things are tough but my hr tells me otherwise!

13 Heather April 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

I have a HRM that came with my garmin but I never use it. I don’t know much about it and never really felt the need. (Maybe I am just too lazy to figure it out?)

14 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions April 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

I’ve only ever used a heart rate monitor in my P.E. class freshman year of college, and that was because we had to. Those things were so janky and dysfunctional haha. We had to sign out of class and write down our average heart rate for our workout, but since it would take like 15 minutes of your 30 minutes to even pick up anything (and often, even if I was working hard, it would read like 80 bpm, which was just completely illogical), by halfway through the semester I would make up a heart rate based on what everyone else wrote down haha. Whoops! My Garmin has the ability to have a heart rate monitor attachment, and while I don’t have one right now (I’m just barely serious enough about running to even justify having a Garmin :P ), if I continue to increase my racing distance I think it’s something I’ll invest in, especially if I ever tackle a marathon. The lady that sold me my Garmin at my local speciality store said the same things you said, and if you’re serious about training, those seem like pretty good reasons to get a heart rate monitor.

15 tinareale April 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I’m laughing at your old school heart rate monitor issues. I would have done the same thing by copying other peoples’!

16 Becky Przy April 3, 2012 at 9:05 am

I have never trained w/a heart rate monitor before, but I probably should, I think it would force me to push myself a little more;-)

Love the sparkly bands–how fun! I love colorful compression socks–they are functional and fashionable.

17 tinareale April 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I LOVE my pink Zensah compression sleeves! I want to get another colorful pair!

18 Katie April 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

I love my HRM – I use the function on my Garmin. It really helps me determine if I am pushing too hard (or not hard enough). Also, checking it frequently during workouts keeps me distracted from the actual task at hand :-p

I NEED those sparkly headbands! For fine-haired folks, it is hard to find a good headband that doesn’t slip. The company I work for makes nonslip headbands for working out don’t even work on me. I am going to have to buy some of these guys.. Besides, they are sparkly!

19 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life April 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

I have a Garmin Forerunner, but I have actually never used the heart rate monitor that accompanies it. I think this us more because it is a pain to put on before every exercise and I really didn’t understand how the numbers correlate to my work outs. Thanks for the info!

20 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries April 3, 2012 at 9:35 am

i love using my heartrate monitor during my workouts. it helps me to push myself if i want a challenging workout, and it also helps me not to push my body TOO hard if i’m going for a more easy going workout. i think it’s one of the best fitness tools out there!

21 Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona April 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

Congrats Michelle!

22 Ali @ Around the VeggieTable April 3, 2012 at 9:52 am

I have been wondering about those headbands. I can NOT keep a headband in my super thin super fine hair. I am always looking to try new ones :) I can definitely say from experience that working in some zone 3 intervals has made a huge improvement in my fitness level!

23 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 3, 2012 at 10:01 am

Ahhh those headbands are so cute!!!

24 Jennifer Dobbs April 3, 2012 at 10:26 am

I would love to try those headbands, it is so irritating to be into a good run and your headband starts to slip. I’ve never tried a heart rate monitor, but I could see how it would be helpful to have. :)

25 Cat @ Breakfast to Bed April 3, 2012 at 10:42 am

I do! I think it’s an invaluable tool when you are losing weight/breastfeeding/training.

26 Meredith @ DareYouTo April 3, 2012 at 10:47 am

Yessss love training with a heartrate monitor. I bought my Garmin to track my distance running outdoors, but I ended up using the heart rate strap to monitor my intensity during other types of workouts. It’s so great to know when you’re soaring, when you’re recovering, when you’re done recovering and should pick it up again… So great for interval training! (See a description here: http://dareyouto.blogspot.com/2011/01/use-your-sportswatch-for-all-workouts.html) And the zones you list are super helpful guides

27 tinareale April 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm

That’s a great post about it! And yes – they’re the best for intervals. :)

28 Misszippy April 3, 2012 at 11:15 am

I think training with a HRM is really smart. I even subscribe to the Maff method, which is super low–and super hard to do. That said, I have been bad about actually doing it!

29 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness April 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

I either have my Garmin or my HRM on. I never thought I would love my fitness gadgets so much! I love the sparkly headbands. I wear Bic Bands.

30 Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves April 3, 2012 at 11:24 am

I use a HRM. I can tell without even looking at it when I’m above 85%, because I am gasping for air. I also use a Garmin for running, which is the best thing that ever happened to my running life. I want the Easter bunny to bring me a bic band!

31 jobo April 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I have used a HR monitor before but never quite totally understood how to use it effectively. this was really helpful! If I do use it again for heart rate zone training! And I WANT those headbands!!

32 Christy April 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Love my HRM because it helps me stay focused on my intensity during my workout. But sadly it has finally dies after many years.

33 STUFT Mama April 3, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I have a great heart rate monitor, but am usually too rushed and lazy to put it on. :) Oops. Yay for the boot camp winners and the great sponsors! :)

34 [email protected] April 4, 2012 at 9:41 am

Let me start off by saying I’m OBSESSED with those headbands, i want! They are so adorable. Also, I’ve never even thought of working out with a heart rate monitor, now I’m very curious now to track my heart rate.

35 Vanessa April 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I don’t have any “cool” running gear. I don’t even have an iPod cause mine tore up. Its just me, my shoes, and singing/talking to God. I am really considering buying a Garmin this Sumner. I’m a pretty serious runner and like to know all the details when I run. :)

36 Amanda @ Simply Southern April 5, 2012 at 6:51 am

I need to try those headbands! The ones I use always give me headaches! I have a Polar HRM but I REALLY want a new one, in pink! They came out with the pink one right after I got my ugly brown one last year! And nothing beats a good pair of compression pants or shorts for running!

37 Clara April 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I’ve never trained with a heart rate monitor. I’ve always wanted to try but there are so many around I don’t know which one to choose! I can’t wait to try those headbands, they are so fun and pretty! At the moment, I’m using bobby pins to pin my hair back but they are so annoying. All the headbands I’ve tried always slip… And I love my Nike running tee. I sweat so much everytime I work out, it dries so quickly it doesn’t make me feel like a drowning fish after each workout.

Previous post:

Next post: