Polar Heart Rate Monitor Review: The Gadget This Gadget Girl Won’t Live Without!

We all know that I’m a gadget girl, and I’m going to introduce you to my Polar Heart Rate Monitor. I do love my iphone with runkeeper, I love my motoactiv but one thing I will never ever be without when I’m working out is my Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor. 

Image from Polars Website

Isn’t she pretty? She isn’t just a massive beauty, she’s a massive driver when it comes to me pushing my fitness and getting my healthy on.

How can this little watch do this you ask? Well it’s not just the watch, it comes with a chest strap too which handily reads my heart rate while I exercise. I know that some people do a sharp intake of breath when chest straps are mentioned. It is so comfortable I don’t think about it once it’s on. It pops under my sports bra with no difficulty and is easy to get on and off. It has a loop and hook system which is easy to reach and operate. You click the transmitter in after dampening the contacts and away you go. The most important thing means that unlike other HRMs which rely on your pulse this one is actually measuring your heart rate ACCURATELY. I can’t stress this enough, you can put your faith in this chest strap.

Other wonderful thing the chest strap does? It handily communicates with most gym equipment so gives you an accurate reading of your heart rate on there without you having to hang on to the dangerous, inaccurate and impractical hand rails. Some of the Polar chest strap transmitters have blue tooth too which will communicate with other blue tooth equipment like your iphone and runkeeper for instance.

Now bigger people may panic about sizing, I did, but the fit has plenty of altering space and has fit me at 285 lbs and now fits me at 240 lbs so don’t worry about it. I actually had plenty of room left in the strap as well and I was a good size around. Plus it has easy battery change which some straps don’t have at all so as a market comparison I’m giving it two thumbs up (out of two, it would be odd to have more than two thumbs).

Now on to the watch. The watch is well designed, it’s robust but comfortable and it isn’t too bulky either, as a girl wearing it I don’t feel overly butch or that I need to grow a moustache and a mullet or anything just yet. It even has some great design things like easy access to the battery replacement on both the watch and chest strap. It’s also got a little tab on the strap which slots in to the wrist band and stops the excess strap flapping around. It sounds like a tiny thing but it’s awesome.

Other than those things, it’s also water resistant to 30m, can display in 8 languages, has duel time zone, low battery indicator, you can chose 12 or 24 hour display (the coolest people have 24 hour display), and a key lock which stops you knocking buttons by mistake. Awesome features right?

The biggest thing is though, it may have all the bells and whistles but will it get me fitter/healthier/thinner? 

Yes it will and I will explain how it is helping me.

First of all, the calorie counter. We know that the basics of weight loss are a calorie deficit. The watch tells you how many calories you’ve burned while you’ve been working up a sweat which means you can better plan your calorie intake for the day. That’s the bit we all love right?

The second bit is it shows me how hard I’ve been working. It shows me the split of my heart rate between the “lower intensity” zone and the “cardio” zone. It even beeps when I cross between the zones and hit my chance to torch calories and improve my fitness in a bit way. Obviously the more you are in the Cardio zone the more you are improving your ability at cardiovascular activity. You get better at fit stuff. Coolness. Understanding that a 2 hour workout at medium effort would result in me burning a decent amount of calories in the “fat burning zone” which I thought was great but then I started to realise something. If you’re trying to lose weight, even though a higher percentage of fat is being used, a lower total amount of fat is lost.

Polar say:

The EnergyPointer feature tells the user if the main effect of their training is fitness improvement or burning fat. This feature counts the centre point of these two training effects based on heart rate variability and visually indicates if the heart rate is below or above that point. When the heart rate is below the point, the user is burning fat. Above the point, the user is improving their aerobic fitness.  An excellent feature, unique to Polar.

Which probably explains it much better than me! Also by actually improving your cardiovascular ability you are making yourself fitter, building lean muscle mass which actually BURNS calories even at rest. That’s right. Burning calories while you sleep. It’s so obvious really isn’t it? So your Polar helps you by beeping at you when you are working hard enough, like a kinder, higher pitched Jillian Michaels.

So when I work out I don’t spend 2 hours in the gym. I do 30 minutes, sometimes 60 but I push myself using my Polar as my own little personal-trainer-in-a-watch-who-doesn’t-make-me-cry. I regularly manage to burn 100 calories for every 10 minutes in the gym watching the numbers tick over and my heart beating on the screen is a real driving force for me.

That’s right, there is a little heart on the screen which beats. So deliciously visual. Handily you can choose which screen you have on, your heart rate or your calorie burn or time or day & length of workout. If you want to keep an eye on your split (like I generally do) then you need to know the time,  you just hold the watch close to the chest strap and it’ll flick over to the time automatically then go back to what you were on before when you move your arm away. Nifty.

My most favourite thing? It gives you a cake on your birthday. Seriously it does.

So all in all my polar is my best workout friend. I love it dearly while it loves me back, not like that other friend pizza. Also they come in a range of snazzy colours. Way better than pizza.

You know what’s even better? The good people at Polar loved what we are doing with Energise Easter and all you fab people moving your butt to raise money for Leukaemia patients everywhere  that they have donated a Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitorfor a lucky winner! You even get to pick your colour :)

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Stay tuned to tomorrows post to find out how you can have a chance to win the Polar!

Tell me – what’s your favourite gadget? 

{In the interest of full disclosure, Polar are aware I’ve written this post they did not contribute to Energise Easter on the basis of the review, I didn’t promise to be nice or anything like that. Polar just think you guys are awesome}

2 thoughts on “Polar Heart Rate Monitor Review: The Gadget This Gadget Girl Won’t Live Without!

  1. I had a polar heart rate monitor (I received at a fat camp I went to years ago) and loved it. When I started my diet program last year I donned the chest strap and watch only to find they were no longer on speaking terms! I always meant to check the batteries in the chest strap thinking that was the problem.

    Having said that, although I like the notion of it connecting to my iPhone (the less things I need to tune/set the better), I do worry a bit about how obsessive I get about the numbers of calories burned etc… and it becomes more about that than the exercise.

    Deb

  2. I have one also & absolutely love it!! I got mine after my birthday last year so I missed cake but I’m watching for it this year, that’s just awesome! Anyways, I use mapmyrun on my iPhone and I have a Omiron pedometer that I use but I always wear the monitor on top of those things because I find it to be most accurrate on the cals burned. I too love gadgets and I’m a visual person so all my gadgets help me see the proof as to what is actually taking place when I do a 5K or exercise, clean the house, shop or whatever! I tell people all the time that it’s a great motivational tool:-)

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