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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Moving forward, the two things that I really want to test out are 1) SWIMMING and 2) taking the Polar Fit Test.
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.
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.
QUESTION: Ever used a HRM for training? Or any other piece of technology?