Photographed by Aaron Richter.
We are constantly talking about fitness trackers and gadgets that monitor your health stats. And, one of the most important stats to keep tabs on during exercise is your heart rate.
Researchers are currently debating the best way to calculate your max heart rate (your all-out, have-nothing-left-to-give effort level), but the most widely used formula is to subtract your age from 220. So, if you're 25, your max heart rate is 195 BPM (beats per minute). But, as researchers pointed out earlier this year, the formula doesn’t take gender differences into account; the more accurate equation for women should be 200 minus 67% of your age. (About 183 BPM for a 25-year-old).
Understanding this stat is your secret weapon when it comes to maximizing the effectiveness of your training session. It takes the guesswork out of understanding how hard you’re working. Once you figure out your max, you can identify what training zone you’re currently in and see if its intensity is aligned with your specific goal. For example, if you’re doing a high-intensity Tabata interval session, but your heart rate only clocks in at 50% of your max, you might want to kick things up a notch.
Or, you can take the lazy-but-fit-girl approach and purchase a gadget that monitors your heart rate for you.