Something my trainer Marc said a while back stuck with me: I need to stay “within my target heart range” while doing cardio. I always thought my body would just intuitively know where that was and choose to chill there, and that the more tired and sweaty I felt during a run, the better. But that is not the case. In fact, one needs to stay between 60 percent and 80 percent of the maximum your heart can beat (aka your maximum heart range)—no more, no less. In fact, people who work out like maniacs at above 80 percent get tired too quickly and have nothing to show for it except maybe strain and injuries. Likewise, people who just coast below 60 percent aren’t going to fit into that hot little summer dress.
In order to see the best results, I need to stay within 96 and 115 beats per minute, and I need to do that three to five times a week for 20 to 60 minutes (excluding warmups). So I got me a little friend to help me make sure I do that: the Polar FS1. It’s the most basic fitness watch in the Polar family, but since I’m just starting out here, there’s no need for me to drop more than $100 on one. Now, if you’re a serious gym addict, there are some cuter, more high-tech ones that come in cuter colors like baby pink. Who knows, maybe someday soon I’ll upgrade, but for now, I gotta run—literally!