17 April 2015

Fitness Friday: Polar FT7 and Fitness Fashion

About six weeks ago, I finally got a heart rate monitor. The Sailor has owned one for years, but I never really wanted/needed one.  I thought it would be a good investment now though since it's important to me to maintain an active fitness routine while pregnant yet at the same time not overexert myself.

Although the guidelines stating that a woman's heart rate shouldn't exceed 140 bpm while exercising during pregnancy are outdated, as confirmed here, here, here and by my doctor, I wanted to have some idea of the range I'm in when running, using the arc trainer at the gym and doing circuits.

I decided on the Polar FT7, which comes with the watch above (also available in four other colors) and a super comfortable soft banded heart sensor/transmitter. Some reviews of the FT7 have been critical that the chest strap for the transmitter/sensor is too small, but I have no problem with it. The only thing to know about the chest strap is that it hooks on one side whereas I've read others hook on both to make it easier to get on and off.

As far as usage, this does everything I need and more! Despite the fact that it doesn't come with instructions, I'd give it an "A" on being user-friendly when it comes to set up and display. There are scroll buttons to show the user a target zone, average and max beats per minute, calories burned, total workout time, and it tells users how much time was spent burning fat vs. improving fitness (i.e. in the target zone).

Some "cons" could be that the scroll buttons are too small or too stiff. Sometimes I've had to stop my workout or run so that I can manage the buttons. Similarly, the size of the display is a little small to be easily visible, but I guess that that's a sacrifice if you want a watch that doesn't feel heavy or bulky.

I'm obviously not using it for training these days, but it also will track up to 99 workouts and provide the user with both daily and weekly summaries. The data can also be linked with training software online that will analyze the users training data and provide workout programs. This feature requires a Polar FlowLink, which is available for an extra $55. If you purchase the FT7 from the Polar site, it's a little bit pricey-- $120 compared to $80-$100 if you get it online.

The biggest eye opener for me in getting the heart rate monitor is the calories burned. I always knew that figure on the machines at the gym are really inaccurate. But getting the monitor made me realize
just how off they can be-- for example, the monitor tells me I burn about 70-75% of the number of calories that the machines suggest. When I compare calories burned on the monitor to calories burned on Runkeeper, it's not quite so different but the monitor still registers 50-100 calories fewer than the app pretty consistently.

And now onto Fitness Fashion!

This weekend marks a milestone- I'll hit the 20 week mark and be halfway through my pregnancy. Although the second trimester hasn't been as easy as the blogs, books and friends suggested, at about 18 weeks, I finally got a surge in energy and returned to normal mileage. I'm a lot slower (like a minute per mile slower...) and skip any speed intervals these days, but I'm physically feeling well and loving the endorphin rush. Now that there's no mistaking the baby bump for too many Girl Scout cookies, I can finally bust out my new running gear!

1 comment:

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