Why Heart Rate Monitors Are Not Accurate For Lifting

Why Heart Rate Monitors Are Not Accurate For Lifting

When it comes to fitness gadgets, one of the most popular items is the heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors can be a great way to track calorie burn, and measure recovery levels during overly-stressed periods — but they are not always the best in every workout situation. In fact, when it comes to lifting, Heart Rate Monitors are not accurate for lifting.


Heart Rate Monitors are not accurate for lifting

If you jump on a cardio machine for a half hour workout, you'll notice a spike in calorie burn. If you spend the same amount of time doing a lifting routine, you'll notice you don't burn as many calories as you did in your cardio session. So cardio is the obvious winner, right?

Not quite. Heart rate monitors not are accurate for lifting

When it comes to lifting weights, the bulk of the calorie burn comes in the EPOC (afterburn).  Afterburn, as the name suggests, is the period of time after your workout concludes in which your body's metabolic rate is much higher than normal. So while you may burn fewer calories during the initial lift, you burn more overall in the hours/days following due to boosted metabolism. On the flip side, when it comes to cardio, what you see is what you get. This means is that when your cardio workout ceases, so does your calorie burn.

This can put heart rate monitors at a disadvantage when it comes to lifting, because they can dissuade “burn addicts” from strength training. Being addicted to the burn often causes people to place more focus on cardio than necessary, because they love to see that number spike during workouts. And I get it. We all want more bang for our buck – but when we let an initially low number on our heart rate monitor dissuade us from lifting, we're heading down the wrong road.  Because muscle is the key to a healthy metabolism and high quality of life, we can't count on the number of calories burned during the workout to tell us how well we're doing.

The type of workout, doesn't immediately correlate to the burn that your HRM will show. This is true not only of weight lifting, but also with different types of cardio, as with HIIT/interval type workouts. Longer cardio sessions may show a higher burn than short, quick, HIIT style workouts. Circuits may show a higher calorie burn that lift/rest/lift style training.  The key is to understand that both weight lifting and interval type workouts (anaerobic) lead to building (and keeping) more muscle than their alternatives.  As you continue to build more muscle, your resting metabolic rate continues to increase (think more calories burned simply by sitting on the couch! Yeaaaahhhhh!).

Heart rate monitors are not accurate for lifting. Why is that?If you're attached to your heart rate monitor, have no fear. The key is to make your heart rate monitor work for you – use it during cardio to gauge effectiveness and adaptability and keep in mind that wearing it during lifting isn't going to give you an accurate result.  If you're bent on trying to get a more accurate number, you can look into adding something like a Fitbit to your arsenal, which will do a slightly better job of helping you understand how to properly fuel your body.  Just be sure to note that when it's all said and done, even these “more accurate” devices typically underestimate the amount of cals burned. So don't use either as an excuse to undereat. ;)

Keeping the limitations of your HRM in mind will help you to continue including the workouts that are giving you the most return on your investment, while sprinkling in moderate doses of activities that you love.  Seek true balance, rather than constantly fighting the uphill battle of too much cardio, and zero weights, to the detriment of your fat loss goals.

Remember: “cardio for fun, weights to transform!”



Opt In Image
Get in-depth info on Strength Training
Exclusive vids, tips, and free workouts

Should you just do cardio to lose weight? How heavy is heavy lifting? Do "strength" DVDs count? What if you don't want to lift? Sign up now for in-depth info on strength training and fat loss.  You'll also receive special vids and free workout plans to help you get the most from your time in the gym.

No worries, we hate spam too!

Newbie Gains: Why Your Workout Isn’t Working Anymore {LIVE Broadcast}

Newbie Gains: Why Your Workout Isn’t Working Anymore {LIVE Broadcast}


Long after the newbie gains had faded, Tracy realized that her low calorie, high cardio lifestyle would never give her the look she wanted. So she took action, moved on, and got the results she was after.

Your go-to “this always works” workout isn't working anymore? uh-oh. Say goodbye to newbie gains…

Newbie gains are what I like to call the “Teenager Phase” of Fat Loss.  This is a period of time, that you can pretty much “rebel” against the basic rules of fat loss, and quite possible still see results.  Put simply, in the beginning of your journey, you can literally do ANYTHING (even if it's the wrong thing) and still get “results.”  Because of this brief period, we can often be led astray and down a longggg path of rebellion.  We tend to shrug off recommendations of not making drastic changes that are unsustainable, or that certain styles of workouts are not the best choice for our goals.  We think “Hey, I'm getting results…I don't know what they're talking about!”

I recount my own embarrassing rebellious phase here. 

During the newbie phase, even the impossible…is possible. Muscles grow super fast, fat melts off, everyone notices all your hard work and praises you for it. You're pretty much floating on cloud nine, feeling invincible, and telling everyone that you know that you've found “the secret” to weight loss (pretty much associating that secret to whatever the random thing is that you're doing.)

Side note…Buyers Beware: I can't even begin to tell you how many weight loss books would remain on the shelves if we removed all those that were written strictly on the basis of one person's newbie gains results.  It's really not the author's fault though…the results are so addicting that they truly believe they've found the cure.

Back to the newbie gains process.  The first six months can be ridiculously blissful, the results are insane and you think that you will FINALLY have the body you've always wanted with just a bit more work.  Right around the six month mark, muscle gains/fat loss progress begins to slow down (though most of us are in the early stages of denial, and push harder).  By month 12, many find that they are actually regaining the fat that they lost in the first six months and any semblance of muscle begins to fade.  What do you do when you realize that your “free pass” has expired? What are the next steps?

If you've been getting phenomenal results for months, then suddenly notice your go-to workout isn't working like it used to…it may be time to follow the “rules” now.

Main points covered in today's broadcast:

~Newbie Gains: The Teenager Phase of Fat Loss

~How to identify when your newbie gains phase is over

~What works now will not work forever. Accept this, don't ignore it.

~Plateaus WILL come, don't get too comfortable/cocky and think that because you're seeing amazing results quickly, that the rules don't apply to you.

~Have a plan (even if tentative/flexible) for what to do at each plateau (again…they WILL come).

~There is no perfect plan.  Once newbie gains fade, your plan must include a variety of phases (discussed in the broadcast)

~True newbie gains may last 1-2 years for some, with the best progress happening after the first few months of acclimation/neural adaptation. When “results” seem to come for this long, many can become easily deceived/convinced that a certain style of working out is the only thing that “works” for them.  Avoid this extreme thinking, and move on when the time calls for it.


BOTTOM LINE: Newbie gains will stop.  Enjoy it while it lasts, but be prepared to execute plan B. 



Hope you enjoy the replay, Fam!



PS. Got questions? I'm on Periscope and Facebook M-F, to answer your FAQs. So make sure you're following @EM2WL and click “live subscribe” to get notifications the second I start the next broadcast!

Opt In Image
Get in-depth info on Strength Training
Exclusive vids, tips, and free workouts

Should you just do cardio to lose weight? How heavy is heavy lifting? Do "strength" DVDs count? What if you don't want to lift? Sign up now for in-depth info on strength training and fat loss.  You'll also receive special vids and free workout plans to help you get the most from your time in the gym.

No worries, we hate spam too!

How to look like a fitness model? Deciphering “fitspo” {LIVE BROADCAST}

How to look like a fitness model? Deciphering “fitspo” {LIVE BROADCAST}

Fitspo – Fitness Inspiration. Typically found in motivational quips, pics, or tips on how to look like a fitness model that are often found on the internet, magazines, books, DVD covers, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. 

Dani Shugart

“Fighting against yourself…makes it much harder to reach your goals…” EM2WL interview with fitness model and author Dani Shugart

Many of us are holding ourselves, and our physiques, to completely unrealistic expectations.  The obvious “self-love” response is that we honestly shouldn't be comparing in the first place, because everyone's situation is unique to them, and we should be happy with what WE have.  However, for reasons beyond simply coveting, we often feel the need to visualize what is actually possible for us before striving for it.  It's only human nature to want to have a vision of the “end product.”  While it's often really hard to even know what our body is capable of (and it's typically so much more than we could ever imagine), it's also important to keep ourselves grounded in the search of our “goal body.”

In yesterday's live broadcast we discussed 6 tips for deciphering fitspo, and finding a physique “goal” that is actually attainable for you.  These tips will help you to wade through the various well-meaning motivational quips, and workout plans and actually get REAL results that you can maintain.


Obvious, but let's keep it real.  When looking at an image, or person that you “want to look like” consider their genetics.  When looking at your own physique and comparing it, consistently ask yourself: what are your genetics capable (or not) of? What can/can't be changed about your physique? Although some things can be changed through lifting and proper eating, some things are non negotiable (bone structure, height, torso length, etc).  While I don't subscribe to using genetics as a cop out, I do believe in keeping it real and moving on vs pining for what you can't have, while disregarding all else.

Background/Dieting History

How many times did they diet before achieving the results that you see? Are they in an over dieted/overtrained state (common in fitness DVDs/photo shoots)? How long did the current results take? How long have they maintained their results? How do they look on NON photoshoot days? Could it possibly be newbie gains? Are you comparing your 12th diet to their first diet (it's like crack…never as good as the first time)? Have they ever been big?

Compound Effect

Understand that the physique that you see before you was not the result of just one 4, 8, or 12 week cycle.  How long have they actually been working out? How long have their results been compounding compared to yours? How long should you expect to work before achieving similar results? This is especially crucial to understand when looking at the current workout that a person is doing, and assuming that it gave them the current results.  Bodybuilders and other elite athletes tend to move into “maintenance” style workouts after decades of working out a certain way.  You may suddenly see this person doing more circuit style workouts, or CrossFit, or bodyweight stuff.  If you've done your “background” homework on the person, you should be able to easily understand that they did NOT get the body they have from doing the program that they are promoting.  If a person looked a certain way before creating the program, do not be disappointed with yourself that you don't look like them after just 90 days. Keep putting in your time, and allow your own results to compound.



Balancing Work, Family, and a Figure Competition Diet? – FitNix Interview

Are they married? Divorced? Did they get the body they have after the divorce? Do they have kids? Are their kids young, older? Have they ever been pregnant? Had a c-section? Do they eat foods that you actually relate to and could see eating for.like.ever? If you're going to find a “physique mentor” they'd have better have something in common with you, or else you'r setting yourself up for failure by trying to literally be someone that neither you nor your family will recognize. If you have a family, husband, job, etc., don't get caught up trying to live the life of someone who is single, with no kids…or gets PAID to deprive themselves of life as we know it. #fail


Have they had any lifts/nip/tucks? Liposuction? Implants? Skin removal surgery? When it comes to the fitness industry, and especially the fitness model industry, there's is a certain level of understanding. Often in order to have the lowered level of body fat that is required, yet still maintain “symmetry” of the physique some type of enhancement is needed.  If a person in the spotlight loses a drastic amount of weight, it's quite possible that they also had to get some skin removal surgery to stay within industry standards/expectations. There is also a whole host of other fixes that obviously go into prepping the model for the shoot, or the star of the DVD, but keep those thoughts at the forefront of your mind when getting “inspired” by them.


This goes without saying that a 55 year old woman who compares her body to that of a 25 year old is bound to feel depressed at the reality of gravity ;). But as we mature, we must also take time to remember that certain styles of eating and workouts are MUCH more forgiving in our youth.  We could ignore the basics guidelines of lifting, eating enough protein and fiber, and despite the odds look pretty dang (deceivingly) good. But not so once we creep into our late 20s, 30s and beyond. So getting uber inspired by the 23 year old who eats whatever the heck she wants, doing tons of circuits, and seemingly loving life…is a huge mistake for mature, over-dieted population.

We simply do not know what really went into getting (or at least portraying) the images that you see strewn before you on every magazine, billboard, Pinterest, or Instagram post.  One commenter mentioned regarding finding the ideal fitspo, “Sooo don't compare yourself to others. Too hard to find one.”

Exactly… ;)

Hope you enjoy this replay, fam!


PS. I'd love to chat with you!! Wanna catch me LIVE next time to ask your questions? Make sure you’re following @EM2WL on Periscope and Facebook to get notifications the second I start the next broadcast!

Opt In Image
Get in-depth info on Strength Training
Exclusive vids, tips, and free workouts

Should you just do cardio to lose weight? How heavy is heavy lifting? Do "strength" DVDs count? What if you don't want to lift? Sign up now for in-depth info on strength training and fat loss.  You'll also receive special vids and free workout plans to help you get the most from your time in the gym.

No worries, we hate spam too!

Eat junk and lose weight?

Eat junk and lose weight?

IMG_1753.JPGDo you alternate between “perfect” eating and stuffing your face?  Not sure how you can ever accomplish your goals, when you don't wanna give up your fave foods? Always feeling like it's all or nothing (chicken breast and broccoli OR chicken fingers and cheesecake?)

With the explosion of social media, and being able to (supposedly) see what everyone else is doing, thinking, and eating and drinking – it can sometimes cause conflicting thoughts.  The virtual celebrity or fitness model you follow/admire seems to subsist on tilapia and asparagus, but those IRL (in-real-life) peeps at home are hollering for nachos and wings.  You live in the real world, and sometimes life takes over and you find yourself falling headfirst into a box of Krispy Kreme.  Part of you wishes you had the willpower of that fitness model, but the other half secretly screams “why can't I just eat junk and lose weight?!”

We don't feel that you should be forced to waste your tastebuds on (what you perceive as) mediocre-tasting foods, just for the sake of fat loss.  But, be sure to call it both ways.  There are just as many bad tasting junk foods as there are bland-tasting health foods.  There are also total yum versions of both.  If you really want to eat what you love, then DO it.  An eating style that doesn't includes foods you love is doomed to fail.  BUT…make sure that you aren't including your “default” foods (easiest, habitual, most convenient) in the list of things you don't wanna give up.  Especially if they aren't even good TO you.  Get back into the habit of actually tasting your food, and use your tastebuds as the measuring stick for what you “can't do without.”  There are plenty of more, nutrient dense, foods that can make better use of the cals your “so-so” foods are taking up.  It's perfectly legit to stop ordering the fries at your fave burger joint if the fries just don't knock your socks off like the burger does.  Eating fast food isn't the end of the world,  but step away from the combo meal mentality to see if you even WANT everything that you typically default to eating together.

My motto: “If I'm gonna eat, it's gonna taste good. If I'm gonna ‘waste' cals on ‘so-so,' best believe it's gonna be a macro powerhouse ‘so-so' “

This way of thinking takes some being honest with ourselves, though. It's so much easier to just claim not changing on “oh I just can't…I like food too much…” or “I don't wanna eat food that doesn't taste good” – not realizing that often the stuff we are eating out of convenience isn't all that great-tasting either.  If it's TRULY yum, eat it.  If it's not, why waste your taste buds on mediocre AND nutrition-less? Keep things you LOVE in your diet, and slowly work to swap out “meh” items for just-as-convenient, equal-or-better-tasting foods with higher protein and fiber.  Even better, keep these items on hand for mindless munching moments, or to hold you over until you get to the meals/foods that make your heart melt.  Matters of taste can't always be changed, but matters of convenience…can.  Sometimes we are just fighting the wrong battle.

While you may not be able to only eat junk and lose weight, you should be able to find a happy medium that includes a hefty amount of whatever floats your boat.  Though it seems new-agey to say “be present” when you eat, it's the first and biggest step to having more yum in your life.  This video talks more about default eating and learning how to dissect your meals so that you can hit your goals while still eating the YUM foods you love.  

SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel for weekly info and motivation. 

Which Rep Range is Best? Rep Ranges Explained – VIDEO

Which Rep Range is Best? Rep Ranges Explained – VIDEO

Which rep range is best for fat loss? Muscle building? General strength?

Weight lifting isn't just about simply picking any workout on the internet, any DVD off the shelf, or any random dumbbell and doing any amount of reps you prefer.  Every rep range performs a purpose, and it's beneficial to hit them all at some point. The 3-part video series below breaks down the basics of the main three rep ranges of lifting: Strength, Hypertrophy, and Endurance.

Understanding the differences between them all can help you when putting together your own lifting program.

Video 1 discusses the Strength phase. 

Strength is typically categorized as lifting as heavy as possible, for anywhere from 1-7 repetitions. Rest periods can be as short as 60 seconds if working opposing muscle groups (chest/back), or as long as 3-5 minutes.  The lower the amount of reps, the longer the rest is required to replenish the muscles with the energy needed to hit it hard again at the same intensity level. Rest periods and all out effort are essential during this phase.  Shortening the rest periods during true “strength” training phases typically is a sign of not pushing hard enough during the set, which essentially turns the workout into either a hypertrophic or endurance based one (phases discussed in next video).

Video 2 discusses the Hypertrophy and Endurance phases.

Hypertrophy is the phase used for adding size to the muscle.  During this phase you are lifting as heavy as possible (meaning you can't eek out any extra reps), for around 8-12 repetitions. Rest periods are usually 30-60 seconds, depending on if you are supersetting with opposing muscle groups (chest/back). Lower rest times are needed during supersets because one muscle is resting while the other is working.

Endurance is the phase that increases endurance of the smaller muscles, allowing the larger muscles to work at full capacity (without the smaller muscles failing) in the other phases. This phase is very cardiovascular in nature, with rest periods of 30 seconds or less. The higher the amount of reps, the less rest is required, so most circuit and DVD type workouts will fit into this phase category.

Video 3 discusses how the rep ranges come together for each individuals needs (periodization).  When focusing on a particular goal, you will likely spend the majority of your time in the rep range that most directly corresponds to the end goal.  However, you can still dip into other rep ranges as necessary in order to enhance the benefits of the other phases when you return to them.  Try not to view any rep range as completely useless.  When it comes to goals like fat loss and muscle building, periodization can be a key attribute in preventing plateaus by essentially sending your body through a faux “newbie gain” phase every time you return to your main rep range.  Win, win!

I hope you enjoy this series, fam!  Of course, all this info and more is included in our Beginner Strength Training Manual. Beginner-Strength-3dcover2

Let me know if this helps you…or if I just made it more confusing. LOL.   If you have any other questions, or need more clarification  (from this or any other vid/blog), drop me a line below!


~Kiki :)


SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel for weekly info and motivation. 

STOP Spinning your wheels and Get OFF the Rollercoaster!



Download the FREE EM2WL Quick Start Guide and get...

> An overview of the Eat More 2 Weigh Less basics


> Access to our Crushing the Diet Mentality Facebook Community


> BONUS!! FREE fat loss/muscle gain workout plan.


You have Successfully Subscribed!