The use of a heart rate monitor can be a great tool to motivate you to exercise. By tracking your effort level, you can effectively burn fat, make progress, and maintain motivation to continue towards both your diet and weight loss goals.
I am one of those people who really don't look forward to exercise. I recently purchased a heart rate monitor and have found that it has been incredibly effective for motivation to exercise at a higher level of intensity, and an increased duration. And increased metabolism means maximize fat burn.
Although I had been exercising, most of the exercise was at a lower level of intensity. My standard was to do a 10 or 20 minute low impact aerobics video. For someone that didn't want to exercise at all, at least I could feel some satisfaction that I had a least done "something" that day. Yet, even though I was always "on a diet", I was not able to lose weight and was constantly frustrated with the challenge.
Recently, I heard a comment made by a very prominent weight loss author. He said that one needs to maintain a cardio level heart rate for a minimum of 20 minutes, in order to burn fat. I realized that I wasn't tracking my heart rate and, then and there, made the decision to purchase a heart rate monitor. I ordered one from Amazon, an Omron model that only cost about $35.00.
Once I began using this tool, I could then tell exactly when my heartbeat reached the optimum level. Then, I activate the stopwatch feature to track my minutes. The watch you wear on your wrist not only tracks your time via the stopwatch, it also alerts you with a beep, if your heart rate falls below or above the target training zone. You set the target training zone based upon an age based calculation. For cardio training, the calculation is: 220 - (your age), times 70% (lower level), times 80% (upper level). For me, this works out to:
220 - 55 = 165 X 70 = 115 (lower heart rate level - cardio training)
220 - 55 = 165 x 80 = 132 (upper heart rate level - cardio training)
I set the monitor for the cardio level of 115 to 132 beats per minute.
What I have discovered is this: after setting my goal to maintain the cardio level for 20 minutes, that it was easy enough to continue moving for another 10 minutes, or 20 minutes to maintain this level. Even if my aerobics video ended, I would switch to TV, and just keep moving on my own. My competitive nature actually drove me to want to just "do a little more".
And, funny thing, the scales actually started moving. And, I also found a stronger desire to eat less.
Being a person who has tried lots of ideas to motivate myself to exercise and lost weight, I find that the use of the heart rate monitor is self reinforcing and a very positive motivator. In addition, it provides a great workout for your heart muscle, as a preventative measure against heart disease.
As always, exercise at a rate that is comfortable for you and never do too much, too soon. The "talk test" is to make sure you are able to speak comfortably, while exercising, so you know that you are not over exerting yourself.