Athletic man on open road with monitor around chest on a sunny dayIf you want to reach your goals—fitness or otherwise—you need to know the tools that will get you there.  For example, if you want to transform your eating habits, record everything you eat in a food journal. Or, if you want to get pregnant, know your ovulation cycle. But when it comes to losing weight, cardio is the way—and reaching your heart rate is the tool to get you there. Here’s why and how to do it properly so that your dream body is just a matter of a few weeks (or a few short months!) away.

Heart Monitors Help

Do you know your maximum heart rate? Your maximum heart rate is a way for you to measure your excursion rate. The best formula for calculating yours? Take your age, and subtract it from 220. You may want to purchase a heart rate monitor. While some can be pricy, it’s a great tool for always having a reliable and accurate measurement of how hard you’re working. That way you can know at any given moment on the treadmill, in spin class or out on the trail if you need to push yourself harder.

Reaching the Fat Burning Zone

If you want to lose those love handles, tighten your thighs or eliminate the jiggle in your underarms, your goal should be to reach and maintain movement in the ‘fat burning zone.’ The fat burning zone is 60-70 percent of your maximum heart rate. It’s easy to find out what yours is—simply take your maximum heart rate and multiple it by .6 or .7—as that will tell you precisely what to aim for. Take a brisk walk or bike ride to get to 60 percent, and make sure to maintain this pace for thirty minutes.

The Calorie Burner

close up of woman setting heart-rate watch at gymOnce you have practiced walking or doing light cardio for thirty minutes in the 60-70 percent range (in which your calories are taken from the fat in your body), it’s time to up the intensity! The goal here is to increase your endurance, boost your heart health and raise your metabolism at a higher rate than ever before. Jog or run at a brisk pace for thirty minutes while maintaining 80-85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Then, watch those pounds melt away and reclaim the body from your youth!

Let’s face it—good health makes you happy. So, when you focus on monitoring your heart rate to increase endurance, boost your metabolism and de-stress from a hard, long day at the office, you become the best you, you’ve ever been. Focus on your heart rate, and achieve your fitness goals in no time at all.