Heart Rate Monitors

Many people have asked me how I track calories burned during exercise.  I use my Polar FT7 heart rate monitor (HRM). It’s one of my must have fitness tools and I use it for every workout to track:

  • calories burned, so I’ll know how many calories I need to eat each day;
  • # of workouts each week and duration
  • my average and maximum heart rate for each workout, and
  • how much time I spent in the fat burn zone vs. the fitness (endurance) zone.
bowflex_hrm_thm Determining the number of calories you need each day is the key to maintaining, losing or even gaining weight.

To lose weight, create a daily calorie deficit of 500-1,000 calories either through your workouts, calorie intake or a combination of both. For a lean, sleek physique, add 2-3 days of strength training to your workout regimen and fuel your body with healthy foods to look great and feel younger.

I’ve used both an HRM with a strap and without.  I got wildly inaccurate readings from the one without a strap, so I recommend using one with a strap for continuous and accurate readings.  You can find a very reasonably priced Bowflex HRM w/ Strap on my website for $59.85.

For tips on how to choose an HRM, read the article below.

– Coach MaShelle

Before You Buy a Heart Rate Monitor
Article from About.com
A heart rate monitor senses and displays your heart rate. Walkers can use heart rate to adjust the intensity of their walk — speeding up or slowing down to stay in their chosen heart rate zone. Two walkers going the same speed may be in different zones — one barely working at all, the other near maximum and straining. As your fitness improves, you can walk faster at the same heart rate.
ECG-Accurate Monitors with Chest Strap
The most accurate heart rate monitors use a chest strap which fits snugly around your chest just below the breast. The transmitter detects the electrical activity of your heart just like an ECG. It relays this to a display, usually worn like a wristwatch, although some use earphones instead. It is important for the strap to maintain contact or you get wild readings.
Heart Monitor Features
Basic models display only your heart rate, and perhaps elapsed exercise time. With increasing price you get a variety of useful features such as: Heart rate zone alarm: Set the zone and it alerts you when you are high or low. Timers: Countdown timer, stopwatch, interval timers, clock, alarm. Calories burned. Time in zone, splits. Fitness test. Computer link. Pre-programmed workouts.
Display and Ease of Use
Besides features, shop for how easy it is to use. Can you read the numbers easily? Does it have a backlight for use in low light? Are there so many features that you will have to carry the manual to figure out how to use it each time? Are the buttons well labeled and easy to find and push?
Once you have chosen which features you want, it comes down to price. Sales are common and you can find a wide variation in the price of the same model. Shop around and you may be pleased to find your dream monitor for much less than suggested retail price.

Top Heart Monitors for Under $100
Top Heart Monitors Over $100

Pulse Monitors Without a Chest Strap
These monitors work by detecting your pulse — usually by placing one or two fingers on sensor buttons. They cannot give you a constant reading of your heart rate, you have to take it on demand instead. They are also trickier to use than the chest strap monitors — cold fingers, etc. can give you no reading or wild readings.

Top Picks for Pulse Monitors