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I like to keep myself fit through doing regular exercise, but on occasions, my time in gym may be limited due to other commitments. Hence, when I do use the gym, I like to get the maximum benefit from any exercise that I do, and one way to do this is to monitor my heart rate, which is a good way to measure how hard your body is working. Hence I recently bought this Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor for £32 from Amazon to assist me with that measurement.
Initially it is best to understand why it is useful to measure your heart rate during exercise. There is a wealth of information on the internet about it, but the idea is simply to calculate your maximum heart rate, which is the result of 220 minus your age. You then calculate percentages of that figure to create 'zones', and the idea then is that when you exercise, you keep your heart rate in these zones to gain maximum benefit from the exercise. So the 50-60% zone of your maximum heart rate is Moderate Activity, 60-70% is Fat Burning, and 70-80% is the Aerobic Cardio zone for endurance training etc. So keeping the rate during training in say the 70-80% zone will ensure that you get the maximum benefit from the exercise for endurance training, the 60-70% zone for fat burning etc.
So now that we understand a little of the heart rate training zones ideology, let's look at this Polar FT1. This heart rate monitor consists of 2 parts - a watch (called a Training Computer) and a transmitter (to measure your heart rate). The watch has a rubberised strap and is water resistant to 30m, and also has a large easy to read display. The transmitter is effectively a belt/sensor in the form of a stiff bit of rubber with embedded sensors that sits across the front of your chest, which is then held in place by an elasticated strap that hooks on either end and passes around your back.
The watch bit also has a number of functions available. Initially, it will give you the time and date so that it can be used as an ordinary watch. You then have a large button on the front which, when pressed, allows you to step through the functions. Pressing once gives you the EXE (or exercise) function, press again gives you the FILE function to detail and record your training progress thus far, and pressing again gives you the ZONE function which is where you set up the training zones that you want to work within that I described before. The idea is that you go to the ZONE function and set your zonal heart rate boundaries. So if you want to train in the Aerobic Cardio zone of 70-80%, work out what your 70 and 80% heart rate figures are from that maximum heart rate figure calculated earlier, and set these in the ZONE function and you are ready to go. Once you go through this set-up process, it remembers everything you set and hence, you don't need to set it all up again unless you want to change your heart rate zone.
With the transmitter fitted in position around your chest, select the watch to the EXE (or exercise) function and start your exercise. The watch will then start to display your heart rate. To assist you there are 2 assist functions with this watch. Firstly, it displays a heart beat symbol to indicate when your heart rate is below your set zone, in it or above it. Additionally, you also have an audible beep, which again indicates when you are outside of your set heart rate zone. So if you are running along, the beeps will allow you to keep a track of if your heart is working in the training zone selected without having to look at the watch.
In use, it is comfortable to wear and easy to use. Set-up can be a bit tricky with the calculations, but once done and set, everything is automatic as it picks up your heart rate and records your training session. So top marks for ease of use. In addition, you'll also find that many of the exercise machines in a gym that have the facility to monitor your heart rate will pick up the signals from the transmitter of this system. So at times, you can get away with just using the transmitter when you are training in a gym.
Negative points? The only minor grumble I have is to do with the instructions. The Polar FT1 comes in a nice box, together with a manual of around 70 pages in multiple languages, where only the first 11 pages are English, and only 4 are actual set-up and use instructions. The problem is that the instructions are sometimes a little vague, and they advise you to go to the Polar website to download the full user manual, which is a lot more comprehensive and useful. Ideally, it would have been nice if the full user manual was supplied with the system, but that is only a minor point.
In summary, this Polar FT1 has been designed well and is easy to use. It can be a little tricky to set up with all the calculations of zone ranges etc, but once done, it starts to work straight away. Whilst the lack of full user manual may be an issue to some, to me it is only a very minor issue, and doesn't taint what is a very effective and well designed heart rate monitor to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from your training session. Hence, a 5 star recommendation.
The Polar FT1 Heart rate monitor is great bit of kit for anyone wanting to get fit and lose a bit of weight , it's useful to know your heart rate when working out so you know when your burning the most calories and also if you are getting fitter from work out to work out.
Now I am no fitness expert I am just someone who has lost a lot of baby weight and is enjoying getting fitter.
At around £32 this is a very reasonably priced product, now if what you want is an all singing all dancing Heart rate monitor this is not the product for you, however if you are a bit of a novice like myself then maybe it is.
It is very basic and easy to use, it is basically like wearing a watch however there is also a chest strap with it, I find the chest strap comfortable enough not to interfere with my workouts and stays in place well even when I am running.
The Heart monitor itself has a large clear screen making it very easy to read your results.
Although it does only allow you to record one set of results at a time so I have to write all the information down to compare from work out to work out.
You can set your max or min heart rate for your workout and even have an alarm go off to warn you that your heart rate is to fast or slow from what you have set on the monitor, the only slight problem with this is that you only have one button to set this so it can take quite some time.
Anyone who is serious about getting fit and losing weight has to keep on top of a couple of things, their calories and their heart rate during workouts. Keeping an eye on your heart rate allows you to train at the correct intensity and hopefully burn the most calories and the most fat! Back when I was training for BJJ competitions my coach would have me wear a heart rate monitor during workouts so he could see how well my fitness was improving and whether or not the training was working.
While he used a more expensive model that can connect to a computer I decided to buy myself one so that I could hopefully improve my own sessions. Looking around online and talking to a few personal trainers the name "Polar" kept cropping up so I logged onto Amazon and ordered a Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor for £32 delivered. Out of the box it's quite an attractive piece, it has a black plastic strap with a translucent silver face. It looks quite futuristic and fits in well with most gym equipment! As well as the wrist-watch you also get a chest strap which you can attach to increase the accuracy of the heart reading.
Using the monitor is very simple. After resetting the display you just need to pop on the chest band and wrist-watch and away you go. Measuring my own radial pulse against the meter showed it was accurate to around +/- 5 beats per minute. A quick button press at the beginning of your workout starts the recording and another quick press stops it. Unfortunately this watch can only record one workout at a time and any new recording will erase the last. It will give you your peak HR and your average HR over the course of the workout, useful information to jot down and compare over time to see if you're getting any fitter! It'd be nice if you could connect this model to a computer to download the information properly but that tends to be a feature of premium-level products and for £32 I can't really complain!
Overall I'm quite happy I purchased this model, it works very well and should last me a long long time. It's not very feature heavy and the capacity to only store one set of data can be infuriating at the best of times! I think 4 stars is a solid grading for this product, it's good and works well but a couple of niggles pull it back.
I am a triathlete, rower and general fitness freak. I eat, sleep and dream about sports. But I have not always been this way. At one point in my life I just ached to sit in front of the TV with a packet of crisps.
I started out getting into rowing at university and found myself hooked. I wanted to train all the time, but found that even with extra training sessions I couldn't get ahead of any of my colleagues who just seemed to work less hard and had a better base for the sport. After buying a couple of magazines I found out that most professional athletes kept writing about the importance of HR training and the connotations behind threshold workouts.
So I went out and bought the FT1 being on a student budget and not wanting to get a more expensive kit I may or may not like. I just wish I had bought it sooner. The monitor literally does not leave my wrist now.
It is extremely simple to set up and it is a very basic model, but I do not see why anyone except the highest performance athlete would need a better HR monitor. Just take it out of its box, put the HR strap on your chest and press the middle button once and immediately you can see your HR. In order to see the time just bring the monitor to your chest; in order to see the length of your workout just bring the monitor to your chest. Simple as.
The HR monitor acts like a normal watch during the day and then as soon as you hit your run or the gym it is transformed into an excellent training tool. I found that I was getting fitter by working at the same HR each and every week than I was doing extra sessions where I was drilling myself to exhaustion.
The Polar FT1 even records a workout letting you know your max HR, average HR and length of your workout. You can even adjust the HR zone you wish to be trainign at by setting a max and a minimum HR and it will start to beep as soon as you leave the zone.
If you want to lose weight or get fitter, this HR monitor is a must as a training tool. The only negative thought I have on the product is that it only stores one workout at any one time.