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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Next Level

After talking about it for months, I finally went and bought a Polar FT7 heartrate monitor (HRM) today!  I am so excited because I love gadgets, and I had high expectations.  I am happy to say that the HRM met all my expectations and then some!

Set-up was a breeze, and I tried out the chest strap at home to make sure I knew how to use it.  The strap is for sizes M to XXL, and it looks like it can be adjusted to fit a variety of chest sizes.  And it was easy to position.  I pushed the start button on the watch, and after a moment, it indicated that my heartrate was being measured!  I turned it off then because I didn't need to measure my calorie burn for lunch eating and internet surfing, but I headed to the gym soon after lunch to test it out during a workout.

The first surprise I got was when I climbed on the Cybex ArcTrainer at the gym.  The HRM was able to sync with the machine so that my heartrate was displayed up on the monitor.  I loved that!  I didn't have to keep looking down at my wrist to see what my heartrate was, and this made it so easy to stay in a target zone.  I was trying to stay at the top of the cardio zone, and I was able to achieve that without much problem.  I was dripping sweat from the intensity of the workout!

After I had done 30 minutes on the ArcTrainer, I climbed on a Precor elliptical.  And once again, my heartrate came right up on the display on the elliptical!  I was so excited about this because it meant that I could keep track of where my heartrate was on the elliptical and work to the level that I needed to stay again at the top of the cardio range.  I definitely worked harder on the elliptical than I usually do, and I felt it!  After a total of 1 hour and 10 minutes (including cooldowns and transition time), I had burned 739 calories!  I am so excited to have a concrete number for my calorie burn because it will help me figure out how many calories to eat back on the days I work out.

I was interested to see how the HRM measured my calories vs. how the cardio machines at the gym do.  On the ArcTrainer, I put my weight in before working out, and on the elliptical, I put my weight and age in.  Neither asks for gender.  It turns out that the ArcTrainer was overestimating by quite a bit how many calories I was burning, while the elliptical was underestimating by a small to moderate amount my calorie burn.  The science nerd in me is super excited to have the HRM to tell me exactly what I am burning at the gym and at my yoga/pilates class as I work toward my fitness and weight loss goals.

My plan for the upcoming week is to wear the HRM one day when I am at home for the entire day, one day when I am home for the day and then have yoga/pilates, one day when I am home for the day and go to the gym for my usual workout, and one day that I am working my 12-hour shift at the hospital, all for all my waking hours (I will estimate 100 calories per hour burned while I am sleeping, based on some information I have found online), in order to get an idea of how many calories I burn during the day in all of these instances. This will give me concrete calorie goals for 1.5 pounds of weight loss a week...and here's hoping it will get me off this plateau I have been on!

Make it a great day, everyone!

1 comment:

Rene' said...

I have a polar too, its fun to track the calories during workouts and your heart rate percentages. I also have a Garmin for running, it can use GPS to track speed, distance, pace, HR, hill incline, calories too. Lots of fun to have these things to help us in our workouts.