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What heart monitor would you recommend?

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  • What heart monitor would you recommend?

    I'm just reading through the exercise chapter in the Primal Blueprint and have been persuaded to buy a heart monitor so I can ensure my cardio is at the right intensity. Slightly overwhelmed by what's out there. Any recommendations? I want something that's accurate, reliable, unobtrusive and tells me my heart rate even when the exercise is quite light. Are there any other features I should have?

  • #2
    IMHO, Polar is kind of the standard of the industry. Any HRM you buy will be "unobtrusive." The only part visible to anyone else will be the watch/receiver, which looks like, well, a watch. You want to make sure you get one w/a chest strap as opposed to the type where you need to touch your fingers to the watch to get a reading. The reason for this is that the chest strap monitors your heart rate 100% of the time, sending the info wirelessly to the watch. The other type only gets a reading when you touch your fingers to the watch. This would clearly affect the accuracy of the reading. The chest strap is about an inch and a half wide w/a plastic piece in front housing the electronics. No wires, no antennas, no reason for anyone to see this--if you're female, it sits right under the lower edge of your bra and you really don't notice it after a minute or two. Can't speak for the male point of view but imagine that you also tend to forget about it as you start exercising.

    If you go to the Polar website, you can compare all the features--you can get these so simple that all they do is monitor your heart rate or so complex that they will monitor 5000 laps of 10 different sports at one time and will also wash your car and pack your lunch. Prices vary accordingly, but decent ones are available for well under $100 that will give you heart rate and calories burned. They are also pretty much indestructible (at least in my experience) so it's a long-term investment, not something you will need to replace yearly.

    Think that's about all I have to offer--hope it's helpful.

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    • #3
      Thanks! That was indeed very helpful and thorough! Off to the Polar website I go.

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      • #4
        I am in love with my Garmin FR60. I debated between this and Polar for DAYS but ended up with Garmin, and I'm very glad I did.

        https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=142&pID=27483

        Garmin has a built in transmitter... which means all you have to do is be in the same room as your computer, and it will autoload your workout data right into your charts.

        My friends all have GPS watches, but I love the footpad. Once I set it, it is very accurate, where as rain and trees have an affect on my friends' GPS reads.

        It is also super easy to use and set. And the biggest plus was that it is easy to READ. IN BIG NUMBERS! You don't have to strain your eyes while working out to know exactly where you stand.

        It retails for $199 on their website but I found it brand new on Amazon for $140.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by katiedid View Post
          I am in love with my Garmin FR60. I debated between this and Polar for DAYS but ended up with Garmin, and I'm very glad I did.

          https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=142&pID=27483

          Garmin has a built in transmitter... which means all you have to do is be in the same room as your computer, and it will autoload your workout data right into your charts.

          My friends all have GPS watches, but I love the footpad. Once I set it, it is very accurate, where as rain and trees have an affect on my friends' GPS reads.

          It is also super easy to use and set. And the biggest plus was that it is easy to READ. IN BIG NUMBERS! You don't have to strain your eyes while working out to know exactly where you stand.

          It retails for $199 on their website but I found it brand new on Amazon for $140.
          One thing to keep in mind about this type of Garmin is that the "ANT+" type sensors won't broadcast to most standard gym equipment the way a run of the mill polar monitor will. I have the Garmin 410 with ANT+ and a foot pad. And it's great in many ways. But I can't just jump on a treadmill and have it pick up my heart rate monitor signal the way I could with a Polar. For many people, it might be more convenient to be able to not have to check your watch for a heart rate. You can also just buy a Polar strap without a watch or other display and save a few bucks.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by scooby View Post
            One thing to keep in mind about this type of Garmin is that the "ANT+" type sensors won't broadcast to most standard gym equipment the way a run of the mill polar monitor will. I have the Garmin 410 with ANT+ and a foot pad. And it's great in many ways. But I can't just jump on a treadmill and have it pick up my heart rate monitor signal the way I could with a Polar. For many people, it might be more convenient to be able to not have to check your watch for a heart rate. You can also just buy a Polar strap without a watch or other display and save a few bucks.
            Thanks for mentioning this--I left it out when I posted. Yes, if you're someone who does a lot of your exercise on gym machines, it's definitely nice to be able to see your heart rate displayed on the machine's readout when you're wearing your HRM. If you tend to run or bike or whatever outside mostly, then not such a big deal. The idea about just buying the chest strap would certainly work if absolutely all you wanted was to see your heart rate while working out; if you decide you do care about knowing calories burned and other info, you'll want to purchase watch and strap both.

            If the Polar site is too $$ for you, just use it to identify which model you want and then check Amazon--with the holidays coming up, probably everything on earth will be on sale soon....

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            • #7
              ahh... good point. i never run on treadmills, just outside, so i didn't even know about that feature.

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              • #8
                I'm not a gym and don't think I will end up becoming one, so the Garmin's lack of communication with gym machines shouldn't be a problem. On the other hand the possibility of feeding my data into some software never even occurred to me. Not sure I have a use for that. Do you do that so you can keep a record of how much exercise you've been doing so you can track your progress and set targets and suchlike?

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                • #9
                  I've had my Polar for a couple of years now and love it!
                  Tempted by bodybugg though and fitbit
                  --Trish (Bork)
                  TROPICAL TRADITIONS REFERRAL # 7625207
                  http://pregnantdiabetic.blogspot.com
                  FOOD PORN BLOG! http://theprimaljunkfoodie.blogspot.com

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                  • #10
                    I did my research and decided on the Polar FT4. Ordered yesterday from Performance Bike 15% off with free shipping to local store.
                    Grass Fed Beef Restaurants

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                    • #11
                      You should be breathing more heavily than usual but still be able to carry on a conversation. The technology is purely discretionary
                      Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

                      Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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                      • #12
                        I bought one of these, and it was cheap and worked great. Still works great, as a matter of fact, though I use it a lot less. To be honest, now that I'm convinced my heart recovers in a reasonable period of time, I don't really use it. HIIT training with sprinting doesn't really require a monitor. You KNOW when your heart is maxed out...

                        --Me

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by cojadate View Post
                          I'm not a gym and don't think I will end up becoming one, so the Garmin's lack of communication with gym machines shouldn't be a problem. On the other hand the possibility of feeding my data into some software never even occurred to me. Not sure I have a use for that. Do you do that so you can keep a record of how much exercise you've been doing so you can track your progress and set targets and suchlike?
                          Yes, it's pretty amazing--I was not a big Garmin fan, but it actually is pretty cool to plug your Garmin into your computer and have it display your route, the hill profile, your pace per mile and pace at any given point on the run, etc. If you're just running for the heck of it, you surely don't need all this, but if you're training for a specific purpose, it makes it a lot faster and easier to enter your info into your online running log. Also, if a person is working w/a coach, either online or otherwise, it's a very simple and extremely clear way for the coach to see exactly what the runner did in any given workout. It is also, as you mentioned, a good and accurate way to go back and look at where you were a month or 6 months or a year ago.
                          Last edited by honeypig; 10-04-2011, 08:14 AM.

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