Wireless Wednesday…Wireless Weight Loss

21 Oct

I realized that my Wireless Wednesday blogs tend to be about iPhone apps. Since not everyone has an iPhone (although I don’t know why), I though I would combine Wireless and Weight Loss Wednesday to give you some info about heart rate monitors. When I started using one my efforts for better physical fitness and weight loss were much easier to measure.

Heart Rate Monitors can run anywhere from $35 to well in to the hundreds of dollars. The kind of features you’re looking for will, in most cases, dictate the price range you will be in. Different features would be, calories burned, backlight, high/low settings and alarms, coded transmitter (so you will not get interference from other people or machines in the gym), memory, or even GPS.

I have the Polar FT40, a kind of middle of the road HRM that set me back about $170. In my opinion, it was well worth the price since it has all the features I need. My favorite feature is that it shows me when I go from just exercising to actually improving my fitness level. Another wonderful feature to the FT40 is the chest strap, it’s a cloth like strap where the transmitter snaps on and off. It is super comfortable and I really don’t even feel it while it’s on. A lot of the less expensive HRMs have a big rubber strap that I can only imagine wouldn’t be as comfortable as mine.

How has this pricey little toy helped me? Well, it’s helped me in many different ways. I’m more of a visual person and with a HRM I can visually see how hard my body is working. I am able to tell if I feel like I’m going to fall right off the treadmill because I’m about to go into cardiac arrest or maybe I just didn’t get enough sleep last night. There is an alarm so when I get too close to my max heart rate it will let me know to simmer down a little. I can honestly say that I haven’t been to a Zumba class where that alarm didn’t go off. The FT 40 also has a memory so it remembers my last 50 exercise sessions with summaries of my time, calories burned, high and low HR and percent of time spent in weight loss mode verses fitness improvement mode. The only drawback to my HRM is the fact that I use a Mac computer and the program to download workouts to the computer is only compatible with PC.

Now that I’ve giving you a few reasons why I love my HRM, let me give you a small run down of a couple of the best rated HRMs in different price points.

In the budget category, the Omron HR100-c gets top reviews. This is a barebones, basic model with only countdown timer, alarms, backlight, stop watch and low battery warning. It comes with a chest strap transmitter; however, the transmitter is not coded so I wouldn’t recommend this HRM if you like to go to the gym. You will get interference with other HRMs and equipment making your HR reading inaccurate. The HR 100-c will set you back about $35.

Also in the budget category is the Timex Personal Trainer Heart Rate Monitor T5G971. Coming in at about $60, it gives you more features than the Omron, like a workout review, calories burned, activity timer and target HR zones. I couldn’t find anything that said the transmitter was coded, which could leave you with the same interference problems as the Omron.

In both the midrange and high end categories Polar watches where pretty hard to beat in user reviews. Almost all Polar HRMs have coded transmitters for all the gym goers out there. Garmin has the Forerunner Series of GPS enabled HRMs starting at around $100. While they also get very good reviews, the watches themselves are HUGE. I have skinny little wrists and the Forerunner 305 looked ridiculous on my arm. I do recommend that you stay away from finger HRMs or ones without a chest strap transmitter, they tend to be VERY inaccurate and a waste of money.

Happy Exercising!

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