Oh, heavenly heart rate monitor, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love the way you, you sexy thing, you… I love the way you cling to my wrist and tell me the time all day, also inadvertently reminding me that I need to make sure I get in my workout for the day. You’re a regular watch, and you tell me the time, sure… but you’re a heart rate monitor. I look at you and expect to see a count of how many calories I’ve burned! Looking at you for just the time isn’t nearly as rewarding, satisfying, or enlightening. You force me to remember, like a string around the finger, that I need to get my workout in.
I love the way you help me monitor the effectiveness of my workout routines. I love checking you throughout my workout to see my heart rate nice and high, and it feels like validation. I’m really challenging myself! And, while I could just learn my body and fatigue levels, having that quantifiable figure on my watch makes a huge difference. Besides, I like being able to look down at my watch and see that, though I may feel like I’m dying, I can keep going.
I love the way the telemetry strap – the strap that you wear around your chest – syncs with the equipment at my gym and helps give me a more accurate heart rate reading as well as a more accurate depiction of my caloric burn. Grabbing onto heart rate sensors during my workout is hard – I feel like I have to slow down, stop, or move in unnatural patterns to get a feel for my heart rate, and quite frankly my arms are too darn long for all that… you’re not about to have me elbowing myself repeatedly just to take my heart rate! – having my heart rate transmitted to the machine lets it know that I may be working harder than it thought (or not as hard as it expected) and give me a more accurate caloric reading.
I love the way you keep track of how much time I’d spent working out each week, and I love that you try to set goals for me. You helped me set up fitness zones for my heart rate – Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3 – and tell me which zone you think I should be working in if my goal is weight loss. You also try to set weekly goals for me – a minimum of how much time to shoot for within each zone, and how many hours I should spend working out to help me get closer to my overall goal.
I love knowing how many calories I’m burning throughout my workout. I like being able to account for that in my food diary – since I also journal about the things I turned down as well as the things I did eat, being able to include my caloric burn and the details of my workout for the day helps me make more of a “wellness journal” instead of just a “weight loss, tedious food intake journal.”
I even love your little attachments. I bought an out-of-date model of you, and though you didn’t come with the ability to monitor my speed and distance, I was able to get my hands on an additional attachment that could tell me both.
I especially love you for the full 24 hour periods I’ve spent with you, testing my metabolic rate to get an estimate of how many calories I burn each day. You helped me figure out just how much I need to be eating in order to power through my workouts… and you helped me understand why I felt so ravenous after certain days. Remember that day I ran eight miles, training for the Army Ten Miler, then went to the Under Armour event and forgot about the Core Fusion workout they were hosting, then still had to walk home? That was a 5400 calorie day…. and I was glad I knew that, so that I could understand why I inhaled that chicken.
Don’t ask me whether or not it was the whole chicken. Just… don’t ask.
I love you for the way you make me feel accomplished – you give me visible, viable metrics with which to understand my successes and failures, and you even show me a little trophy whenever I’ve managed to achieve all the goals you set up for me! You’re so supportive. It’s no wonder that my partner finds it suspect that I sleep with you every night.
He’ll just have to deal, though… because I’m not letting you go. Ever.
For those of you who are looking for your own heart rate monitor, I couldn’t recommend mine enough: the Polar FT60, available on Amazon. The Polar telemetry strap comes with your purchase, but also is available for sale individually for those who may have other monitors/fitness tech devices who want to be able to read their heart rate continuously on their machines. While I’m sure that more current models of the Polar monitors manage speed and distance information, if yours doesn’t, check for the Polar G1 and see if its compatible with your watch and your needs. I love my monitor, and I strongly recommend it!
*This post originally featured my Polar FT60, but a weird glitch in my site made the images disappear, so I replaced them with photos of my more current HRM, the Polar RC3 with GPS.