If you are counting calories, I STRONGLY urge you to get a heart rate monitor. It has been INVALUABLE in terms of showing me how vigorously I work out and tracking burned calories. When my heart rate dips below my fat burning zone, it beeps at me, and I know to step my game up! Sometimes I challenge myself to stay within a higher heart rate for a certain amount of time (see: HIIT). It also beeps when your heart rate gets too high.
In order to burn fat, you need to get your heart rate to a certain level (fat burning zone) and keep it there from 30 min. to an hour depending on your fitness goals. This means that 5 minute warm up and cooldown does not always count. After my workout, my HRM shows my average heart rate, highest heart rate, and the amount of time I've stayed in my fat burning zone (you input your height, weight, age, and the watch determines your zone for you). If that is not enough, most gym cardio machines will pick up your HRM signal and display your heart rate on the machine. It's amazing to see how off those machines are in terms of your heart rate and calories burned.
Here are some pics of the results from a spin class I took the other day:
539 calories Time in fat burning zone Average and max heart rate Chest strap and transmitter
(I've burned as much
as 650 before)
How does it work? Well, the watch comes with a strap and an attached transmitter. On the strap are two strips that work like an EKG machine. After you place the strap around your chest, hit start on your watch, it activates the strips, and Voila!
P.S. Whatchu think Ray Charles would say about my wrist???