Have you ever made a purchase on and immediately thought, “You know, I didn’t really need this”?
I felt that way after purchasing the Polar FT7 heart rate monitor. Buyer’s remorse can be a big de-motivator.
BUT!, upon setting up the heart rate monitor (took less than 5 minutes) and getting prepped for a quick HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session, I strapped on the heart rate monitor and was off.
The benefits of purchasing the heart rate monitor were immediate. Here are just three.
Doing HIITs are a quick way to increase VO2 Max and strength, since you are basically sprinting for seven to twelve minutes while doing strength training exercises. I have been doing these for a few months and had not seen the results I wanted (granted, I have not been consistent and had not adjusted my diet, so there are other variables!:-)).
However, I was immeditely able to get feedback using my heart rate monitor. During the HIIT session, I’d look to see where my heart rate was at any given moment. If it was lower than the “fat-burning” zone, I would go a little harder.
Needless to say, I felt like I was finally pushing myself. I train at home and by myself, so I don’t have someone else pushing me. Having the heart rate monitor giving me instant feedback during my workout was so helpful and motivating.
When you are finished with a session, you stop the heart rate monitor from recording and you can immediately see a summary of your workout. In your exercise data, you receive the following information:
– Duration (of the session)
– Calories burned
– Average heart rate
– Maximum heart rate
– Fat burn (i.e., how much time you spent in the Fat Burning Zone)
– Fitness (i.e., time you spent improving your fitness NOT including the fat burning zone)
I love data. Seriously, I LOVE data. And spreadsheets.
Immediately after the first session, I set up a spreadsheet for tracking. This allows me to compare how I am progressing over time. I also have included the type of workout I’m doing (HIIT, jog, etc.) so that I know I am not comparing apples to oranges, so to speak.
This kind of tracking is something I’ve never done before, and it excites me to no end. I know I can feel like I’m working hard, but tracking my heart rate will let me know if I actually am working hard, and for how long, and over the long haul.
The Polar FT7 (and other heart rate monitors) stores your data as well, so you can sit down at the end of the week and batch all your tracking (see “Immediate Community” for more info on tracking).
Buying this heart rate monitor was a great decision because I am a competitive person by nature, particularly against myself. I try to run a little faster, lift a little heavier, and push my self farther each time I am exercising.
Because of this, as well as the built in tracking function mentioned above, I have consciously made a commitment to not only use this heart rate monitor consistently, but to work out consistently. Tracking the data needs to be a regular activity, and since it’s something that I really like, I’m more than happy to make the commitment to working out.
A lot of folks my say, “I’m not sure I want to commit to working out and the time it takes.” However, one of the best motivators I know is to put your money into it. Invest financially in the tools you will use to get fit and you will see your commitment level quickly rise to meet the challenge of getting in shape.
As a bonus, I’d tip my hat to the community of Polar heart rate monitor users. Being an introvert, this does not necessarily appeal to me too much, but I know that for some, connecting with other runners, cyclists, etc. is really important.
Polar has put together and entire site dedicated to helping you track you progress and connecting you with others who have similar goals. Polar Personal Trainer is a website that allows you to track your data, participate in workout plans and goals, and also offers a social platform.
I will say that there is a bit of a learning curve on this site, but it seems to be pretty helpful for many folks.
One thing I would recommend is picking up a Polar Flowlink. This will allow you to automatically sync your training data with the Polar Personal Trainer website, instead of having to manually enter all of your training data, session by session. I have tried to enter in the information manually, and it’s not that intuitive.
So, these are the immediate benefits.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know.
Photo Credit: “Mike” Michael L. Baird, flickr.bairdphotos.com