In order to gain the most from a work out it is essential to try to maintain your target heart rate. The target heart rate is the number of heart beats per minute you should achieve while exercising. Each person’s target heart rate helps to determine their fitness level and by keeping their target heart rate in check a person is able to avoid under or over training, both of which severely effects the quality of the work out. Under-training happens when a person’s heart rate is too low which results in a low intensity work out. If a person is not working to their body’s potential, there is no way they can burn enough calories to result in weight loss nor can they get up the endurance to build strength. Individuals who under-train will take significantly longer to see the results they desire.

Over-training can be just as dangerous. People who exceed their target heart rate are pushing themselves past their body’s fitness level, which can lead to dehydration putting you at risk for dizziness and possible fainting. If a person consistently over-trains they are at risk for infection or chronic pain.

The best way to avoid either of these scenarios is to continuously monitor your heart rate throughout a work out. Start each work out with some form of cardio and work your way up to your target heart rate. The treadmill, elliptical and the bike are all great examples of how to do this and they often have a sensor that will determine your heart rate for you making it that much easier to track. Constant motion during a workout will keep your heart rate at the optimal level. One small adjustment to your workout that will help keep you moving and your heart rate up is to do a 3 set rotation of a few different exercises doing only one rep at a time. This way you break up reps by walking from one exercise to the next which keeps you active rather than pausing in place and allowing your heart rate to drop. No matter what method you use, make sure to monitor your heart rate to gain the most out of your work out!