Monitor Fitness Progress without Trainer Services

24 01 2015
Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

How to monitor and sustain healthy body weight, appearance, physical performance and fitness levels like a pro, and without spending any money.

Believe it or not, if you use a weight scale and monitor two bodily vitals; blood pressure and heart rate, these measurements provide a good indicator of oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, metabolic efficiencies and overall health condition.  There is a direct correlation between these particular vitals, fitness levels, health and physical results thereof.

For example when you fall within a healthy heart rate and blood pressure range it is much easier to achieve your fitness goals.  For example, when oxygen enriched blood circulates unobstructed throughout the body, it is easier to achieve a desired body weight, improve muscle tone, increase strength and cardio-muscular endurance and flexibility [Range of Motion].

The basics of vitals monitoring as related to healthy blood circulation and heart-lung circulatory capacity is pretty easy to understand.  If your heart rate and blood pressure fall within a normal range for your age, it is easier to begin, improve and advance a fitness goal, or improve health condition.  Likewise, if these vitals are outside normal ranges, it makes exercise and will power to start and continue more difficult, while health risk increases.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

If you’re interested in determining how your blood pressure and heart rate stack up against a comparable populace, or want to date and record vitals baseline at no cost to compare future results, visit a local pharmacy.

Almost every retail store pharmacy has a free blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitoring station.  I can’t resist using the cuff to see if my vitals are within a normal range, or if I need to work on diet, exercise, or visit my doctor.  Pay attention to the blood pressure and heart rate charts, then document your results.  If your blood pressure and heart rate are significantly below or above age standards seek medical consultation.  Regardless of the results, write them down and use them as a historical vitals comparison and/or share them with a medical professional.  Then check at a later point in time to see if diet and exercise activity improves past results.

If you’re too far outside a normal range health risk increases.  Or the test equipment is out of calibration.  I’ve experienced faulty cuff monitoring stations a couple of times. Then visited another pharmacy and vitals were fine.  If you get the same readings at 2 separate locations, seek medical advisement and testing.

Blood pressure and heart rate indicators tell us a lot about metabolism and circulatory-heart health.  When blood pressure and heart rate are too low or high relative to sedentary and daily exercise activity; the metabolism, hormone and circulatory systems are experiencing cellular and functional stress.  For example, body fat may continue to store and add load to weight bearing joints causing pain and further health risk, while effecting the fat burning furnace.

The weight scale is probably one of the most convenient measuring devices I use. Body weight is either up or down.  If you’re up, concentrate on balanced diet and meal proportions and aerobic exercise activity to burn more body fat.  You’ll also note in many cases, when body weight is up, so is blood pressure and heart rate.  But not always.


Walking requires a break with trail mix fuel to re-energize and endure the long haul hike back onto the trail.

It is aerobic walking, jogging and moderate running exercise, to include biking and swimming that injects oxygen enriched blood into the circulatory and metabolic systems when optimum aerobic exercise activity occurs…  And no health condition exists at specific efforts of physical intensity.

This physiological fat burning fact is measureable and known as THR (Target Heart Rate) zone, or the fat burning zone.  Which simply means, if you’re in the appropriate aerobic heart rate zone during exercise and performing at specific aerobic effort of intensity, you’ll burn more body fat.

Use the simple THR formula below to monitor HR and stay within the Fat Burning zone.  Then follow the 40 year old client example to apply formula on self to burn more fat fuel.

   Simple formula: ((220 – age) x Intensity of Effort%/6) = Beats per Minute (BPM)

Plug in your intensity % to determine heart rate range and stay within the fat burning zone and lose more body fat weight.

Intensity of Aerobic Effort Percentages:  50 – 60% – Efficient fat burning zone, 60 – 70% – Optimize fat burning furnace.  71 – 100% – Increasing physical effort beyond 70% begins to step up a greater anaerobic lactic acid environment.

First determine your maximum heart rate by taking 220 – age.  For example, if your 40 years old, your heart beats per minute would be 180 (220 – 40 = 180 bpm).

Then multiply 180 by 50% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the lower aerobic intensity range (180 x .50 = 90 BPM).

Or multiply 180 by 60-70% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the higher aerobic intensity range (180 x .70 = 126 BPM).

“These calculations provide only estimates of your heart rate maximum and cardiovascular work zone. To precisely determine your individual heart rate maximum, you would need to undergo physical testing, like in an exercise science lab (Richey 2013).” [ref:

To learn more about THR click on the following link “How Cardio-Muscular Endurance Melts off Pounds.”

I use both vitals tracking and body weight weekly and TRH zone monitoring as quarterly practise to determine my level of fitness and overall health condition for my age group.

I make adjustments to daily diet and exercise activity if my numbers begin to fall outside an unfit range.  I also have blood draws taken every 6 months.  Blood lab results are great indicators of internal bodily functions and health condition.   if your dietary glucose (sugars), Cholesterol and Triglycerides (blood fats) are too high…  do journal these results for later comparisons against adjusted diet and exercise programed changes.

Continue to read all MirrorAthlete Fitness Secret articles.  Learn more about how to further improve fitness levels, reduce health risk, look and feel better and live longer in good health.

Save money learning how to customize your own fitness and nutrition  programs.  But in no way do I advocate avoidance of medical advisement, examination and/or treatment.  It is wise to see your doctor on a regular basis.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET 2015 MirrorAthlete® Copyright.  All rights.




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