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Heart Rate Monitors, Know Your Body!

 

As a personal trainer and a group fitness instructor for over 30 years, I embrace the theory behind interval training, as the best cardio training for our bodies!  In the long run, you will save your body from lot’s of damage as you train for your heart rate goals based on your age, otherwise known as the Karvonen Formula. Once you understand these goals and you work towards these goals in a proper manner, you will achieve so much more success without injury!

15 to 20 mins a day only, and you will see results in 2-3 weeks. Learn more about your results…

No more long-term use of  boring cardio equipment!

Save your joints, safe your back and more!

Long term repetitive movement is so damaging to your body! Joint damage, tendon damage to mention a few… Repetitive movement with pressure, especially for the knees is not good for us long-term.  The cardio machine industry has spent over 30 years convincing people they need to be on these machines daily and long-term.  While it made them rich, most of us are suffering from overuse and painful arthritis! 

I have personally witnessed for years, people using cardio equipment, staying in the same position for over an hour!  Yikes!  The first problem here is their posture when using the equipment. Reading the dashboard becomes an addition, focusing on all the wrong information. This is when proper forms goes away, and this is what causes our bodies damage!

Wait! We are beating the clock!  Whoopee! 

If the truth was told, when using proper form with any equipment it is much more difficult to maintain and to continue for long periods of time. Once proper form is gone, all we are doing is chasing the clock, and this is when we begin to injure ourselves over time. When people are instructed on the proper usage, and form when using cardio equipment,  their workout time is usually cut in half, and that is correct!  Somehow, this has been lost in translation to the masses. People  start to believe they are not fit, and this is when they start chasing the clock and other areas of measurement which  really  are not important,nor accurate. Lasting longer is the complete opposite of the truth, while training on equipment.   

When using proper form, the machine is more difficult and you can’t last as long, as well as, you can’t take up the intensity, which is all good. When people are using the equipment properly, this means proper form, and the proper levels of intensity,they should complete the workout in less than 20 minutes, preferably in 15 minutes.  This is especially true for someone who is new to fitness.  For those who understand how to properly train through correct intervals sets, they will complete their entire set in 10-15 minutes at most.  This measurement includes the recovery time in between the interval, which is most important part. 

Personally, I believe in interval training and how successful it can be for your body. You will rarely hear this, however, when people are not healthy, one thing they have most in common, is small lungs.  The industry isn’t talking about this enough. Our lungs need to be inflated daily! They need to go to work, to keep from having too much build up, while they increase in capacity to respond to things like, taking the steps.  When your lungs go to work, they will increase in capacity and become strong along with your heart. This is the beginning of your healthy plans for life! 

Become breathless during your workouts, and you will become stronger! As you are able to recover quickly, this is the sign that your cardio health is improving. 

I am asked all the time what types of heart rate monitors I endorse.  I thought I would add this information to make it easier for those who want to purchase this very important piece of equipment for your health and wellness goals. 

Heart Rate Monitors, Learn More

Heart Rate Monitors

There are 2 styles of heart rate monitors that I am most familiar with. 

  • Wrist Band Only, monitors heart rate, & some will track footsteps, time and other details of a workout. 
  • Strap and Wrist Band, worn together when working out, the strap will send the information to the wrist strap for you to read while working out. 

I have used both, and now I can say without a doubt the strap and wrist band types of heart rate monitors are the best for accuracy! I know many of you don’t want to hear that, as you own a very cool looking Apple Watch, or a Fitbit.  I get it, as I (regrettably) own the Samsung version which interfaces with my Android phone.

Who wants to look at a bulky sports watch?

Who wants to wear the chest strap?

My thoughts anyway! 

For years I wore Polar Heart Rate monitors.  You wear the strap around the chest  just above the diaphragm. The strap sends a signal to the wristband, where you can visually  monitor your heart rate, and other bits of information you might care about. E.G. footsteps, calories, time, distance…

Mine worked for several years. However, as I have aged, the screen became more difficult to read, especially while running a 5K. Ugh… I live by my numbers! If I can’t see them, I lose all focus for finishing the run. (Ok, that is messed up, I know…)

After that one broke, (lasted at least 5 years, I think) I went shopping for a new one.  All the rage is the Fitbit, and other  wrist only heart rate monitors. They look great, I get it!  I knew, however, they were not accurate, so I continued to look for the perfect Polar wrist and strap system. This is when I discovered the new models by Polar.(In 2016) Let’s call them the coach level, since they have so many bells and whistles, along with the strap and the watch!  The watch is big, actually seemed like a man’s size watch to be honest. The good thing, I could see the screen!  I was so excited to spend a whopping $250  bucks on this equipment. EEk! I just knew I could run faster and further if I owned this thing. (Don’t we love marketing:

Lessons learned, if a company gets into something which is not their strength, buyer beware! Don’t be their tester! Thank goodness I always knew where I was running! The GPS  never worked properly! I found myself stopping all the time to let the watch find the signal! Really?  I could out run the GPS Signal??  OMG!  nothing like screwing up your timing if you are trying to improve. I quickly become discouraged with this model, finding it easier to leave at home then to deal with its complicated setup and monitoring. O! and the worst of it, you have to charge it and update it online.  Ha Ha, joke is on me! 

On to the next impulse purchase, the Samsung Fitness Watch,  integrate with your Android! You will love all the access it gives  to your phone!  Really? Yes, I fell hard! 🙁

Ok it looks good! So much so,  I gave up on my beliefs, and accepted there was not a chest strap! I had myself convinced that I hated dealing with the strap. All I needed was a push to let it go! Really how crazy is that? It takes all of 20 seconds to put the strap on.  Hook line and sinker! I bit, and I purchased.  

EEK! I did it again!

Another impulse purchase with complete regrets! I will leave this story for another time.  

Learn from my mistakes! Don’t be blinded by the cool look or all the hype!

The Facts! 

Honestly, the best most important features which will make you most happy are; accurate heart rate monitoring, and possibly monitoring your footsteps.  I am a bit obsessed with footsteps. I can get to Trader Joe’s in 1,200 footsteps. When a guest (Cambam’s Airbnb) ask me how far it is to Trader Joe’s, I love telling them it is only 1,200 steps.  This causes a short delay with their reactions, as they are trying to figure out if I am a rainman….)

Heart Rate Monitors, Pro's and Con's

Heart Rate Wristbands Only

Pro’s

  • They look good
  • You can change the watch face & band, for a whole new look & total look
  • Great for footstep counting, (however, they are off a few feet) 
  • You can receive a text message on them
  • Some you can listen to your music from them
  • They will tell you to get up and walk, you have been sitting to long
  • Costly

Con’s

  • Heart Rate not accurate, I have seen them be off as much as 10 to 15 beats
  • GPS usually isn’t working properly
  • Difficult to set up 
  • To many bells and whistles
  • Many need to set in a charging station, bummer if you didn’t remember to put in charger the night before

Heart Rate Strap with Wrist Band 

Pro’s

  • Accurate Heart Rates, (within 1-2 beats)
  • The strap allows cardio equipment to measure your rates directly, by-pass wrist monitor
  • The strap is washable
  • Strap has a battery, no need to recharge daily (watch battery)
  • Wrist Band has a battery, no need to charge daily
  • Wristband connects easily with the strap
  • Affordable

Con’s

  • I am not sure why I think it is a bother to put the strap on, but it is to me. 
  • If you miss place the strap, you have no heart rate to monitor
  • If it isn’t working properly you need to change the battery, not hard, it just seems to happen when you are in the Tour De France, it’s an untimely thing…
  • They are not necessarily waterproof
  • Unless the watch screens have been improved, they can be difficult to see

In summary, the strap with the wristband are the best options today. Below are my choices, both inexpensive and expensive. The most important ingredient is Heart Rate Monitoring.

Around 4 years ago, I  purchased the strap only.  It is designed to connect to your Android, or Iphone. At that time I did not like keeping my phone in my hand, so it didn’t work for me. If you are wearing an armband that holds your phone, this might suit your needs.  This means you would not need the wristband portion and that is good too.  You get the accuracy of the strap, connecting with the phone. I will most likely try this again, as there is also new software on our phones to make it work better. 

The strap only will cost around $40 

 The Heart Rate Monitor below, comes with both, the strap and the wristband.  This will cost around $100

This one below, is very cool! It’s the first time for me to see. You are however, back to recharging. If that doesn’t bother you, this may be a real contender!  It’s priced between $60 & $70 

In the past Polar sold their  heart monitor watch and strap as a set. Now they  are offering them separately, which let’s them promote in a lower priced market, however, you will still need to purchase the strap, which ends up costing more than just purchasing the set together. (Love that Marketing Stuff) You total is going to be around $100 either way, or maybe more. Start with set only, or just the strap and interface it with the phone. 

You might find  Polar sets at Target in the price range of  $50 to $75 dollars. I have seen them in the past. They will only have the watch portion and the heart rate ability. 

If you have great luck or bad luck with your heart rate monitors, please share so you we can learn.  

If you have any questions, or comments please let me know.  

I am an affiliate marketer with Amazon. If you click on an ad, I make a small commission from Amazon for advertising. Thank you!

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