Don't skip a beat: A heart monitor can help with fitness goals

Health • Monitors help you train efficiently and know when to rest.
This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Looking for a way to be fit and healthy in the new year? A heart-rate monitor, in my opinion, is one of the most essential pieces of training equipment for anyone who works out.

Serious athletes will track their heart rates when they work out and note how more efficient they become in certain zones over the course of a training period.

However, heart-rate monitors are good for virtually everyone because they are great indicators of how tired or how fresh you are.

If you can't get your heart rate up near your high zones one day, your body is telling you it's tired and needs to rest.

If you wake up in the morning and it's higher than normal, you could still be tired from a previous workout and might want to consider a rest day. Or perhaps you'll discover you're getting sick and might want to resort to your favorite illness-fighting remedy.

As valuable as they are to a training protocol, heart-rate monitors can be intimidating when they include so many buttons, options and alarms.

That's why I recommend starting out with a good, basic monitor without a lot of bells and whistles. Still, even basic ones can be troublesome as batteries die or chest straps become uncomfortable.

One monitor that solves the problem is the ePulse2, a strapless heart rate monitor that comes with a rechargeable battery.

I've tried strapless monitors before and didn't care for them much because they were inaccurate. However, this one is as accurate as the ones I use with chest straps.

Pull it snug on your forearm and you are ready to go. Other elements I like about it: the nice bright numbers that are easy to see and the rechargeable battery option. According to the manual, the battery will last for six hours.

Just recharge it before you exercise and you should be good to go. The screen features a battery indicator so you'll know if you need to charge it or not.

The ePulse2, which retails for about $100, also tracks calories burned, can be set to your own heart-rate zones, and has a stopwatch with a split function.

Can't afford a heart rate monitor? Training logs are great ways to track fitness gains and health patterns, while healthy eating cookbooks or those geared toward seasonal eating can turn mundane meals into fat burning, health-producing sessions.

Travel books also can serve as inspiration, too. Getting to the gym will become much more appealing if you're training for surfing or beach volleyball on a favorite island.

Lya Wodraska is a certified CHEK practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. Email her at