I’ve been too busy enjoying my fabulous Polar HRM to think about writing a review! Remember when I wrote this post ? I was trying to decide which fitness gadget would improve my workouts. Since that post, I’ve been eyeing the polar heart rate monitors. I practically fell off my chair when I found out that Fitfluential had paired with Polar! Just a few weeks ago, I received this beautiful white FT40 heart rate monitor in the mail and it hasn’t left my wrist since!
When you first turn on the watch, you can personalize it just to you. I entered my weight, height and age. I also set the time and date and then my watch was good to go!
When you wear the heart rate monitor at the gym, you use the chest strap that comes with the watch. At first I thought I would hate the chest strap but it is surprisingly comfortable. It’s not hard plastic like I had envisioned. It’s fabric and once the strap is in place, you can’t even tell it’s there.
Once the chest strap is secure, you press start on the watch and your heart rate will appear. Press start again and you’re ready to workout! The watch keeps track of the time you workout, your min and max heart rate, calories burned, and what percentage of those calories are fat. Depending on your body and level of fitness, the watch sets a heart rate for which above that number you are in the ‘fitness improvement zone’ and below that number you are in the ‘fat burning zone’.
Polar has a short video explaining more:
What I Love About The FT40
I knew I would love having a heart rate monitor at the gym- and I was right! Watching my calorie count go up is super motivating. I also love that I can see just how hard I’m working whenever I want.
Did I mention it’s cute? This watch is stylish and sleek. I’m not embarrassed AT ALL to wear it outside of the gym. I actually think it looks great with scrubs The white design is perfect for me but there are lots of other colors you could choose from.
The watch stores your workout data so you can look back at previous workouts. You can actually get an entire week’s worth of training to compare with other weeks. I love this because you can see your efforts at the gym over an extended period of time.
Workouts for the week
I was SHOCKED when I went to Ovid (an online scientific database) and found TONS of articles about polar HRMs being used in legitimate scientific experiments. I found tons of articles saying similar things: that people who wear heart rate monitors and are held accountable for monitoring their fitness make more progress than people who just do whatever they want. Duh.
International Journal of Medical Informatics. 80(12):e203-13, 2011 Dec.
[Journal Article. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
These participants wore the Polar FT60 and used the online fitness logging system through polar for 21 days. The paper talks about benefits and limitations in personal exercise monitoring and how we can progress from here.
The researchers found that the Polar and ECG system were in agreement during exercise tests.
I found lots more studies about the accuracy of polar HRMs in calculating energy expenditure (calories burned). These studies all confirmed that the polar overestimated energy expenditure. But here’s the thing- if you only use one monitor when you exercise, it doesn’t matter what the number says exactly because you’re comparing your workouts to the same number each time. What I mean is this:
Say the watch tells you you burned 300 calories and in reality you only burned 200. If the next day it says you burned 400 calories but in reality you only burned 300, it doesn’t matter because you still know you burned more than yesterday.
If you use the numbers from polar as a scale, you will have a good idea of how your workouts are improving or how many calories you’re burning.
Does that make sense?
All I’m saying is, don’t go eat exactly 437 calories because the watch told you you burned 437 calories. Use it as a guide to help motivate you, keep you accountable, and encourage you to cycle faster/run harder/lift heavier.
At the end of the day, I think it’s a fabulous tool. I LOVE my Polar HRM and won’t be giving it up!
Disclaimer** I received a polar HRM as part of a Fitfluential campaign. All opinions are my own