In order to continue to make progress and improvements, it is important to track your workouts. There are many great training assistants on the market to track your biking, walking, hiking, running, etc. I use a Garmin Forerunner 301. It is an old model, but still records the information I want to capture. The device records date, time, location (it is GPS enabled), speed, distance, elevation, and heart rate (using a chest strap). You can even view your workout on Google Earth and see exactly where you have been. You customize the information to include your height, age, and weight. It creates a permanent record of your workouts. Although my model doesn’t have one, you can purchase one that supports a foot pod so that you can use it to track workout data while on the treadmill.
Here is a link to view the current Garmin models:
Knowing your target heart rate is key to accelerating the weight loss process. There are multiple ways to calculate this, but the most accurate is the Karvonen formula. This calculation takes into account your resting heart rate in addition to your age, instead of just 220 minus your age. I provided a couple of links below. One link discuses the importance of exercising within your target heart rate and the other is a calculator that makes it very easy to figure this information out.
Just an FYI for those relying on the “calories burned ” display on the treadmill, stationary bike and elliptical. Although the machine is reading your actual heart rate, provided it is calibrated correctly, the “calories burned” calculation is based upon an “average person”, typically weighing 150 lbs. This is a good reason to use your own heart rate monitor which takes into account your actual weight and your individual information and will use that in the calculation for greater accuracy.
***Update: Since writing this article, there have been major technological advances in terms of exercise and heart rate monitors. I now use Apple Watch and love it!!