I have really taken to going to the gym of late, alongside the whole fitness aspect, I find working out and getting lost in the workout incredibly therapeutic and it helps clear my mind. I decided I wanted to maximise my workouts by monitoring my heart rate and thus focusing on staying within the optimal fat burning and aerobic zone (I will go into detail over what these are later), and also, more importantly, count all the calories I was burning during the workout!
The Polar FT4 has been hyped as one of the most accurate heart rate monitors around at an incredibly affordable price (about £50 from Amazon), so I decided to take the plunge and invest in one. This particular model, for women, comes in three colours and let me tell you, I spent a good day deliberating over which colour to get! In the end I settled on the pink, but I’ll admit I do wish I got the green now – but not to the point of it really bothering me or anything. The pink is still cute!
After inputting your specific details such as weight, height, age, etc., the monitor will calculate an average heart rate for you and from that determine your zones. There are five heart zones when working out but you really need to only stay within two, potentially three, for maximum effectiveness and health. Going over these zones means you’re straining your heart too much and burning yourself out quicker, whilst going below optimal zones simply means your workout is ineffective and won’t result to much. To summarise, you need to be within 60-80% of full capacity the majority of the time, peaking at 90% for parts of the time. That is your optimal zone for fat burning and aerobic exercise.
I found my Polar FT4 very intuitive to set up and use, and have really, really enjoyed using it the last few weeks. For me, what I benefit most from it is using it as a tool to push myself further. Before I might have popped into the gym and quickly worked out for 40 minutes, probably burning around 300 calories, whereas now I won’t stop until I’ve burnt at least 800 calories, which often leads to a minimum hour and a half workout. This alone is really improving my fitness. My first workout I burnt a staggering 1040 calories and pushed myself for two hours.
My one complaint is that I have had incredibly high heart readings that I fear are inaccurate. This is probably caused by the strap being a teeny bit too loose for my petite frame and every time it wriggles or jolts, the sensor reads it as a heartbeat. However, knowing this I just take that into account and have noticed it seems to especially happen when I’m on the treadmill, etc., so try not to panic!
Overall, I’m exceptionally happy with the Polar FT4, I’m so pleased I bought it. It really is like having a personal fitness trainer inside your watch! Even if you’re not one for fancy gym equipment and gadgets I’d still recommend this, as it really motivates you to work harder and longer and safer, to get better results. Without it I was just kinda doing stuff but half heartedly. Now I feel really in control over the effectiveness of my workout.
Are you interested in upping your fitness game with a heart rate monitor?