Heart Rate Monitor

I recently acquired a HR monitor in order to track my HR whenever I exercise.

Duh. What else would I use it for?

Okay, so maybe I walked around my apt that first night marveling at how the numbers fluctuate when I do different things, but really I’m going to use it when I exercise.

Timex Ironman Target Trainer Heart Rate Monitor – Men’s – $129.95 at REI online. My husband had a member refund saved up for some time or else I never would have been able to afford it. A men’s watch for a woman you say? It was the best we could afford and the women’s HR monitors sucked. Besides, when the package came it said it was actually a unisex watch so that made me feel better.

It’s black with a thin yellow band around the face. That’s not why I think it’s a bit on the ugly side though – it’s because it’s big. I mean, REALLY big. I don’t think I have small wrists, though they are smaller than they were before I lost weight, but this thing dwarfs them! It’s not complimentary to go from big hands to a big watch and on to big arms. Initially I thought I looked silly with it. I found out, however, that it has TAP technology and that’s probably why it’s so big.

If I want to keep track of my miles while I’m running, all I have to do is whack my wrist. I hear a loud beep and know that I’ve switched laps (meaning miles in this case). No fumbling around for small buttons, no faltering in my stride to look at my watch. The numbers, too, are really big so I don’t have to peer at them while my arm bounces along and while I wait for my eyes to adjust.

It’s awesome.

But this isn’t just a watch. This has a chest strap that the watch connects with digitally to get an accurate reading of my HR. I heard that monitors that were only watches weren’t accurate enough so I looked at the chest strap/watch models. With my HR tracked and the workout saved afterwards, it figured out my calorie burn too!


No more guessing at how many calories I must’ve lost during an exercise class. And you know when I say “guessing” I mean, “way over, completely wrong guesstimating.” I have yet to see how many calories I burn in one of my normal Circuit Fusion classes – and I’ll never know how many I burned when Kelly kicked our butts when she was teaching – but I now know all about my HR during the 30-Day Shred DVD I’m currently doing and how many calories I burn during those 20 minutes. It’s fun to see the numbers fluctuate with the exercises I’m doing and how hard/easy I push myself.

For example: I tested it out Thursday during 30DS while working at my normal pace. My HR peaked at 166bpm during the first round of ST and CARDIO but was always verging on recovery (around 100-110bpm) whenever I had to move into ABS. Then my HR never got above 140bpm for the rest of the DVD. My calorie-burn was around 285. BOO! I tried it again on Saturday and pushed myself harder throughout the entire DVD. My HR peaked at 177bpm and again dipped toward recovery whenever I went into ABS. My calorie-burn this time was 349!

Double WOO!

I also found out when I ran with it on a treadmill at the gym that the treadmill didn’t give an accurate calorie-burn. I don’t remember how far off it was but it was way off. Not surprising as it can’t take my HR while I’m in the midst of sprinting my little heart out and these new ones don’t take my weight into account…which is just weird. No weight? No HR? How can they tell me how many calories I might be burning? Well, they can’t really which is why they’re way off.

There are lots more features on this HR monitor and I highly recommend it for people who want one but can’t afford the $400 HR monitors. Just be prepared to sit back the first 20 minutes or so to read the manual and to adjust your watch to your specifications. Then, if you’re a geek like me, get ready to have fun!


About Katie St. John-Shin

I believe in living life and not letting it pass you by. I mean, come on, if you really want to do something but don't have the courage to do it so you let the opportunity disappear, you may regret it for the rest of your life. How can you know what you're capable of unless you go for it? Like every writer, I naturally plan on becoming world-famous (not really). I love reading, writing, fitness, coffee, watching my favorite movies/shows, listening to music, and trying new things even if they're sometimes terrifying. I'm a writer, a group fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and a nutter for doing all of the above.

Posted on January 12, 2014, in Personal and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Oooooh! I need one of those. I have a sneaking suspicion that when I push myself, my HR gets too high. Muscle memory says, “Hey, I remember this! We totally need to be working at THIS pace. Woohoo!” Then my cardiovascular system says, “What? What are you doing? Holy hell, Legs, what do you think you’re playing at?!?” I worked at a movie theatre after packing on some pounds in Albuquerque. Except there, the problem wasn’t my HR, it was my coordination. I don’t know how many times I fell flat on my face DOWN THE STAIRS. I felt so dumb afterward, every time, until I realized the problem. I was still in shape enough then to do what I wanted, but my body didn’t move the same way, or with as much dexterity. FLOP! Hehehe.

    Have fun playing with your new gadget! New gadgets are so much fun. B)

    • You could always treat it as interval training. Your body insists on this higher speed so you go for it for, like, 10 seconds or something and then lower the intensity for about 20 seconds to get a breather before you amp it up for another 10 seconds. Intervals are awesome for quick results. Tabata is like that actually. I’ve done it in classes and read about it but I don’t believe I’d be qualified to teach it yet because my memory currently as holes. But you pick a cardio (it doesn’t work well with treadmills because the treadmill takes too long to adjust speeds) and sprint it out for 10 seconds, walk it out for 10 seconds (either that or it’s 20 seconds – there’s my swiss cheese memory coming into play), sprint for 10, walk for 10, etc until you’ve gone about 8 rounds or something at which point you walk it out for a full minute before starting again. It’s something like that. I could get you some concrete info if you want to try it on the elliptical or stairmaster or something? It’s really hard though.

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