Sep 17, 2015

Fitness: Heart Rate Monitors

Let's talk workout realness today.  As in, sometimes I wonder what the point of a workout is if I don't know exactly how many calories I burned or how hard I worked?  I know, OCD to the max and pretty obnoxious, but there is no shame here.  I know it.  So, from that - who here is as addicted to wearing a heart rate monitor when they work out as I am?  

Yes, I hope you all raised your hands just like my emoji homegirl.  Why am I so addicted to the heart rate monitor?  Because I can see my heart rate and either step it up, keep it going, or take it down a little.  It's an amazing gauge during a workout to help you work harder and smarter.  

It took me a lot of practice to figure out what was the best "zone" for me.  My gym offered a monitoring session to determine what is optimal and I tried to use this for a while.  It was a great jumping off point.  I definitely used a lot of trial and error, poor math skills and playing around to see when I burn the most for the longest.  For me, it is usually around 125.  I can do intervals and get up to 150-160, but after those kind of workout I generally feel like a ravenous monster, so it isn't always worth it for me to work to that level.  

I have literally spent three years playing around with different heart rate monitors, and finding my optimal work out zones and who better to share all of my random findings with than you guys?!

When it comes to heart rate monitors, in my unprofessional opinion, I always say go for the Polar FT Watch.  You can get it for about $60 online now.  When I got mine a few years ago they were almost $200! I still use this almost daily and find it gives the most accurate reading.  The band is a pain to put on, but I don't mind for the accuracy.  It's a give and take here people!

I have also tried really, really hard to love the FitBit Charge HR, but it just isn't work out.  Don't get me wrong, it is an excellent step counter (that doesn't require your wrist to be moving!) but as a heart rate monitor, it doesn't quite do it.  The band as to be just the right tightness and it can't move at all.  When I am getting really sweaty in hot yoga or spin, it slips around and stops monitoring my heart rate altogether.  There is nothing like an hour of spin that reads as 120 calories burned! You also have to do the calorie math in your head, and that just really doesn't work out for me.  But, again, for counting steps, this is awesome!

I also gave Garmin VivoFit the good old college try, but I must have purchased a jenky one because the band that goes around your chest was literally cutting my skin open.  #fail 

So if you are like me, and love a great, accurate calorie reading for your workout, these are my experiences!  Are there any other great HR monitors out there that I am missing? Let me know!

Have a fabulous day! -xx

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  1. I've never used a heart rate monitor and never really saw the need, because well I feel like I know when I'm working hard, but you've changed my mind lol! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. I've had the Polar watch for a few years but it died and I never replaced whatever died on it so I've been without one for awhile now. I was going to get the Fitbit HR but I've heard lots of negative things about the heart rate monitor so I didn't even bother. Let me know if you find a great HR monitor!
    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  3. I've heard great things about the Polar watch, the only negative thing is the fact it sometimes doesn't read the heart rate as well on the wrist. I have my eye on a garmin but haven't pulled the trigger yet because of the price tag.

  4. I need to check out the Polar watch, I'd love to have a HR monitor. I do a lot of strength training and never really know how effective it is.

    xo, Carly | carly blogs

  5. I think I need that Polar watch! I've been wanting a tracker for a while but didn't want to spend a lot, $60 is very reasonable!

  6. I got the FitbitHR for my birthday and mostly love it. The steps and sleep tracking are my favorite. But I find that when I run on a treadmill the mileage is completely off (there's NO way I only ran 2.5 miles in 32 min!) and it really frustrates me that you can't go back and manually change it.

  7. This is super helpful! With so many options out there, it is hard to figure out which one is best! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I've been back and forth on wanting a FitBit because I don't like that it wouldn't track a lot of my workouts like yoga or barre3 classes. Awesome post girl, I'm right there with you on the heart monitor :)

    Green Fashionista

  9. I do not really monitor my heart rate! Gasp! You are right, I do know that when I workout really hard, I eat WAY TOO MUCH! I discovered this when I trained for a marathon and actually gained a few pounds. I wish my gym offered something similar to what yours does.

  10. I don't think I've ever used a heart rate monitor! It sounds like such a great fitness tool though!

  11. This is great! I have been dying to buy one and have it on my Christmas wish list but I was hemming and hawing over which to ask for. Thanks!

    Annie- All Things Big and Small


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