Happy Friday!!

On Tuesday, I told you about my 2013 goal of BEING PRESENT and on that day, I talked about my kids and how much I wanted to cherish these moments with them.  They are my MAIN goal, but being present also applies to so many other areas of my life – Travis, time with God, my friendships, my clients, my family.  And last but not least, MY WORKOUTS.  So that’s what I wanted to talk about today (and I’ll get to some other areas over the coming weeks.)

I have a passion for fitness and movement that I’m not sure a lot of people have.  Even in my eating disorder days, I never got to the point where I counted the calories I burned during my workouts.  I don’t care about that now even.  I suppose that’s a blessing and a definite contributing factor in why I love working out so much.  When you’re working out to burn off the donut you just ate, you’re not really doing it for the right reasons. 

Movement is a privilege and it’s fun.  Not punishment.

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So when I was selected to receive a complimentary Polar Heart Rate Monitor**, I was actually a little hesitant to accept.  I didn’t want my workouts to be defined by “calories burned” and I didn’t want to change my mindset that fitness is fun by introducing a piece of technology.

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Luckily, after a couple of weeks of trying it out, I now know that this heart rate monitor has not changed my views and is, in fact, a WONDERFUL tool in helping me push myself.

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Isn’t it pretty – I’d wear this outside the gym.  Sleek and sexy!

I think what I noticed first about the monitor was it’s EASE OF USE!  Seriously, you just slap on the chest strap right beneath your sports bra line, wear the watch on your wrist, press the start button and GO.  That’s it!  When you’re finished with your workout, you press stop and your total time, calories burned and calories from fat burned is displayed (so you can take a picture and post it on Instagram…naturally.)

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Another thing that I geeked out on was watching my AFTERBURN (or EPOC).  If you don’t know what Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (or EPOC) is, YOU SHOULD!  It’s essentially a measurement of how many calories you burn AFTER you’re done working out.  Lifting weights provides you with a phenomenal EPOC, while steady state cardio does not, meaning that for the most part, when you step off the machine, you’re done burning the majority of what you’ll burn.  THAT’S why lifting is great for fat loss – you might not burn as many calories DURING the lifting session, but the AFTERBURN effect drives your metabolism through the roof.

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The hour and 27 minutes AFTER my lifting session last week!  Knowing this number also helps you customize your post-workout meal so you’re fueling properly.

I tested the monitor out while doing several different activities:  Crossfit-type workouts, Bootcamps, and intervals on the treadmill and Arc Trainer.

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I think I was the most surprised while wearing it last week during ZUMBA!  I have so much (clumsy) fun in that class and had no idea that I was burning so many calories.

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Like I said earlier, I was hesitant to delve into the numbers.  It’s SO easy for me to become consumed with tracking statistics/weight/calories and I honestly thought that wearing this heart rate monitor might bring back that obsessive side in some capacity.

It didn’t.

The Polar FT40 has actually HELPED in a couple of ways.  1) I’m maximizing my workouts and cutting back on the time I spend in the gym.  Wearing the monitor makes me work harder, in a shorter amount of time.  And 2) It’s helped me reassess my post-workout nutrition.  I don’t think I was getting enough calories before, so I’m fixing that.

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Moving forward, the two things that I really want to test out are 1) SWIMMING and 2) taking the Polar Fit Test.

1)  Swimming:

I teach a water aerobics class once a week and I’d love to know what my ranges are during that class.  I make a point to push myself (since it’s low impact) and I think it’d be cool to know just how hard I’m working.  Luckily Polar products are waterproof and MAY be worn while swimming, so as long as I take the time to clean off the monitor after I use it in the pool, I should be good to go!

2) Polar Fit Test:

The Polar Fit Test sounds hard, but it’s quite the opposite.  All you do is wear the monitor while laying down in a peaceful place and the monitor assesses your fitness level and OWNIndex (or VO2 max).  Pretty cool, no?  Now I just need to find 5 minutes of peaceful time.

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All in all, I love this heart rate monitor.  It’s pretty, it’s functional, it pushes me.

But above all that, the Polar FT40 helps me to remain PRESENT during my workouts.  No zoning out.  No wasted time. 

Because I’ve got better things to do than stay at the gym all day.

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QUESTION:  Ever used a HRM for training?  Or any other piece of technology? 

splendid…lindsay

**Disclosure:  I received this product for review purposes from FitFluential LLC and Polar USA.  All opinions are my own.**

  1. elisha says:

    I wanted the monitor so I wouldn’t cheat my body!! Looking at it allows me to get the calories I am actually burning and not cheating my body!! Great review! I am obsessed with numbers but I just started back working out and I want to burn a certain amount of calories and not guess!! Love this thing!

  2. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal says:

    This is a great review. I JUST received my very own Polar ft40 as well and it will be my first time using an HRM. While I am like you, I can get a little obsessive when it comes to numbers and I was worried about that, I am also excited to see how this little gadget can improve and maximize efficiency. I had no idea it was also waterproof, that is awesome! I don’t really swim but I’ve been wanting to start for a while.. I’d love to see what your experience will be during the swim class. Keep me updated. and yay to polar twinzies lol :P

  3. Christine says:

    Hi!

    How did you measure the after burn of your weight lifting? Is there a certain setting you set or is it just the normal one you would use?

    Thanks!

  4. Brittany @ Barr & Table says:

    I’ve been going back and forth about getting one or not because I do get a little calorie crazy sometimes, but your post totally convinced me. I just ordered the FT40 and I can’t wait for it to come in! Thanks so much for this awesome review!

  5. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning says:

    I have owned a few Polars over the years. I had to actually break up with mine because I got way too obsessed with needing to “reach a certain calorie burn” before I would let myself stop working out. And it was really silly- because I’ve had metabolic testing and know that the reading that I got from the HRM was actually about 2x what I was actually burning. Yeah… I had a big numbers obsession for a while and quit cold turkey.
    I’ve worn it a few times in the last couple of months, but just to track my Heart Rate and use it while teaching Spinning class.

  6. She Rocks Fitness says:

    I have used one before, but I don’t use it to monitor my heart rate or calorie burn, because it became a little obsessive for me. Right now, I just use it for mileage and time and I enjoy it for that. I sometimes like running without one and that’s just heavenly. PS: I LOVE that burpee t-shirt!

  7. Pua says:

    I have a fitbit, which is great as a pedometer, but I don’t know how accurate it is when it comes to burned calories. This looks like a great workout tool!

  8. Jess @ Blonde Ponytail says:

    I still love my Polar FT HRM–and now its nice to have to gauge my work capacity while pregnant. Sometimes adrenaline takes over for me when teaching and I push too hard, this lil guy helps me out!! Love your present goal!!

  9. Meghan @ After the Ivy League says:

    I desperately wanted a heart rate monitor back in the day when I was obsessed with calories burned and tracking every number etc etc…but since I’ve recovered from that obsession I haven’t wanted one at all. Something I do want is a Garmin so I can go for a run without planning out the mileage ahead of time, it’d be fun to just run where I want to run and stop whenever I hit my goal!

  10. Bonnie says:

    Great post and review, Lindsay! I would be like you initially as far as tracking the burn – I don’t really care, you know? Just happy to be moving! But I see what a great tool it can be. I’ve used one before and over the holidays my gym just installed a heart rate monitor system for the classes that projects your hr onto a screen so you can track how hard you’re working. We’ll see how people like it! Test drove the system during a class I teach a few weeks ago and most people seemed keen on it…we’ll see!

  11. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats says:

    I have a polar heartrate monitor (the FT4 – it doesn’t show % fat but it’s about the same) and I’m thinking about wearing it for 24 hours to see what I actually burn in a day! However I hate wearing the band (uncomfortable)so we’ll see if that ever happens…

  12. Cathy says:

    Love to hear this…i just ordered one yesterday. so excited to get it, I paid for express shipping…it will be here today. Can’t wait to try it out!

  13. Kacie @ Savvy Sassy Me says:

    YES YES YES!!! Nothing but LOVE for the Polar!!! ;-) I agree that FITNESS IS FUN! I love to MOVE. I think that is why I find it necessary to post it online on a daily basis! Great review.. and amazing message. Being “present” is one of my 2013 goals as well. With all the distractions in the world, I want to focus in truly DOING whatever it is I am doing at any given time. Have a happy, fit, and FAB day lady! xoxox

  14. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance says:

    Looks like an awesome heart rate monitor. I’ve seen a few bloggers review it over the past few days, and everyone seems pleased. I’m actually in the market for a new HRM–mine hasn’t been working properly lately and I’d like to replace it. There’s so many out there, that it was a bit overwhelming, but now I’m leaning toward this one. Thanks!

  15. julie says:

    i haven’t used a Polar HRM in SO long but I would love to see it help out my post workout nutrition – although I would love your insight on how this would be effective? Zumba is a beast for girls (like me) who have no coordination!

  16. Sharla says:

    My husband got me an AMAZING Garmin watch & monitor for Christmas, but it seems so complicated and I haven’t yet had time to educate myself on all the settings! I’m making that a priority this weekend after reading this post!

  17. Natalie @ Free Range Human says:

    This is really interesting. I’ve been looking for a good monitor that’s easy and cute! Most of them are so bulky!

  18. Danielle says:

    I love working out too! It’s just fun to me. I actually like the idea of a heart rate monitor too because it can be proof of how hard your body is working. Sometimes I doubt whether I pushed myself enough so this would be a great sign of that too!

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