Using Timers As Part Of Your Fitness Training

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Using Timers For Fitness Training - would like to remind you that Timers are a beneficial part of any training session or workout.

Timers make pulse reading, interval timing and counting down easy. These gadgets are generally inexpensive, lightweight and are very easy to transport, even without pockets; some new models may be clipped onto a belt loop or elastic pant band. Sport watches are another variety of timing device and usually include a stopwatch feature. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services helpfully points out in their Exercise Guide that before beginning any exercise regime, it is important to contact a doctor first. After beginning a new workout program, they also note that if pain, dizziness or shortness of breath is experienced, the workout session should be halted.

There are two types of training exercises that require the use of timers: continuous and interval training.

Continuous training is completed in one solid time session, while interval training is broken up into short, alternating periods of rest and exercise.

Chris Carmichael

Trainer Chris Carmichael standing next to Lance Armstrong.

In recent years, training using time intervals has become more popular and highly recommended by experts. In an article published by the New York Times in 2006, Lance Armstrong’s long-time trainer Chris Carmichael recommends this type of training, but not for those who have extreme health conditions. This type of training, which relies heavily on the use of a timer, is also applauded by the U.S Department of Justice. On page 21 of their booklet entitled Physical Task Training, interval training is suggested to be applied to any aerobic exercise program. The rest periods allotted in these training sessions help build endurance, strength and even muscle. The booklet also mentions the importance of another aspect related to timers – pulse rate. Recommending that your heart rate reach 85-90% of its maximum, the booklet warns that your pulse rate should not be allowed to drop below 65% of its maximum.

Pulse rates are also related to the importance of timers.

Without a timer, a proper pulse rates would not be feasible to obtain; it may be possible if a wall clock with a second hand is visible, but those training outdoors will not have that option. As reported in a research finding by the University of Michigan, the pulse, or heart rate, is important to know during exercise and resting periods; it provides a great deal of indication as to a person’s overall physical health. It also will give the person exercising a warning sign to slow down if the number is too high.

How to Measure Your Pulse Rate

How to Measure Your Pulse Rate

A pulse may be taken using the tips of the index and middle fingers on the side area of the neck where the carotid artery is; it may also be detected on the wrist. Those who measure a pulse with a stethoscope will notice a “lubb-dubb” dual-part sound that isn’t felt by tangible methods. The “lubb-dubb” sequence counts as one beat, not two, when measuring pulse. Pulses taken using fingers will not detect the second sound, so each thump is counted as one. SUNY Upstate University Hospital in New York clarifies that it is important to take the pulse for an entire minute – this is where the use of a good timer with the capability to count seconds is important. Before beginning a workout regime, a physician will help establish a target heart rate; this should be the goal in exercise. Along with the target heart rate suggestion, the physician will suggest time intervals or continuous sessions, which should then be followed closely.

Athletes who are training for running distances or trying to maintain a certain number of exercise repetitions in one time-frame will require a good exercise timer, as this will allow measurement of progress by time. A timer is equally important to a person choosing interval training; rest and exercise periods are often very short, as reported in “Student Fitness,” by Gearhart and others at Illinois Wesleyan University. Depending on the goal of a specific exercise program, different time lengths will be recommended. In a continuous workout, a timer is an excellent source for time management. Watching a timer makes some people feel as if the time goes slowly, so activities such as T.V or reading are implemented as a distraction. Setting a timer during a continuous workout will signal when the required time-frame has ended.

Some exercise machines come equipped with built-in timers, such as treadmills and pedaling machines. There are several types of timers available, with combinations of different features.

The Lifechek device, for example, is not only a timer, but also a calorie-burning counter. It will count the number of calories currently being burned; it also has a target calorie-burning mode and a mode allowing the user to see how many calories have already been burned. The elite Gymboss timer is common among individuals using interval training, designed specifically for this type of exercise routine. The Gymboss timer can also be used by those who want to measure their progress or try to increase the amount of exercise repetitions in a specific time-frame.

Lifechek & Gymboss Timers

Two commercial fitness timers: the Lifecheck on the left and the Gymboss on the right.

With so many benefits reaped from exercising, it is important to exercise adequately; too little will be ineffective and too much may be harmful or exhausting. Without a timer, it is impossible to measure precision and time-frames in exercise routines that require it – and as noted earlier, the most effective exercise routines require short intervals and keeping track of time. As reported in a survey posted by Washington’s Department of Health, the Surgeon General recommends that people exercise moderately 5 times per week for 30 minutes; an equal substitution is vigorous exercise 3 times per week for 20 minutes. Fitness timers are a great investment for the amount of benefits they offer in contributing to health and wellness through timed exercise.

Now that we’ve established the usefulness of timers for health and fitness programs, let’s review the general ways they can be useful:

Measure Your Progress

A timer can be used to time your speed during training so you can effectively measure the progress of each training session from beginning to end. For example, sit-ups, crunches and push-ups can each be timed to measure the speed and repetition of those above mentioned exercises. Thus, the timer is a convenient way to measure your progress by the conclusion of your training.

Check Your Pulse

Checking your pulse prior to and after a training allows you to monitor your heart rate. Because it is important not to exceed your maximum physical exertion (the most exercise you are able to do) during training. A timed pulse check can also help you to determine whether you have burned fat calories or blood sugar. Thus, it is recommended to train in your idea target heart rate, which your physician or physical fitness trainer can help you to establish, prior to training, to burn fat calories instead of blood sugar.

Manage Your Time

A timer is beneficial to use during your training because it allows you to manage your training time. For example, if you allot 30 minutes three times a week for fitness training and set your timer for 30 minutes prior to exercising the timer can effectively alert you to when your training session has expired, therefore, using timers as a part of your fitness training is important to manage time.

Fitness & Workout Timers from

Finally, when it comes to the subject of using timers for fitness purposes, we’d of course like to suggest that you use one of‘s various free online timers for your workout regime.

We know that not everyone has an internet-capable computer or laptop located in their gym or workout room. But more and more modern gyms are offering wifi hotspots or internet-capable monitors in their facilities.

If you’re one of those lucky enough to have access to the internet while working out, we have several free online timers that can really be helpful when you’re pumping iron or working out. These include:

  • our Online Stopwatch – using for keeping track of time elapsed, down to the one-thousandth of a second accuracy!
  • our Online Timer – a good way to keep track of fitness regime times: it alarms you when a given amount of time has run out
  • our Countdown Timer – counts down the hours, minutes & seconds to a target time (with an alarm)
  • and yes, even our basic Online Alarm Clock
  • finally, try working out with our web-based Clock Radio application…listening to our free internet radio stations will surely make the time go by faster or motivate you with some rocking tunes!

You’ll find links to all of these clocks and timers and more on our sitemap page at

We hope you’ll keep our various online clocks and timers in mind while you’re planning your next sweat session!

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