Ode To My Heart Rate Monitor

Oh my heart rate monitor (HRM). How I love thee. Let me count the ways…

I know when I started Weight Watchers I had no idea where to even start with HRMs. Many WW members talked about their HRMs on the discussion boards but there are so many brands and models out there to choose from. What’s a beginning runner girl to buy?

You basically have to ask yourself what do you want your HRM to do.

I didn’t need ALL the bells and whistles b/c let’s face it… The more bells, the more Benjamins. Don’t get me wrong. Be prepared to spend $$$$ on a good product but I just wanted something that would accurately tell me calories burned, duration of time, maximum heart rate range, target heart rate zones, record the last few workouts for me to compare, easy to change battery, easy to wear, not bulky or ugly at a decent price. Is that so much to ask?

Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor in bronze

After I figured out what I wanted, I went to the source and asked on the WW discussion board. Everyone recommended the Polar brand as a very reliable company. The most popular suggestion was Polar F6, F7 or FT4. It’s highly recommended b/c you put your own information (age, weight, height) into the watch, it comes with a chest strap+transmitter and coded heart rate transmission to avoid cross-talk from gym machines that display HRM. Personally I wouldn’t trust the HRM on any gym machine especially since I’m eating my Activity Points. But that’s just me.

Since I’m a computer nerd, I researched all of them before I decided on the FT4. The lower price sealed the deal for me. I found it on Amazon for $75. At the time, they were going for $100+. Now you can find it cheaper and in a wider variety of colors.

http://www.heartratemonitorsusa.com/polar-ft4.html –> My model was $67 last time I looked on this website.

If I had to buy it again I’d totally get the purple and pink one. They’d match my shoes. LOL. Vain or not. If you like how you look, your work out will be that much better in my not-so-humble opinion.

Duration and calories burned during my Zumba class

The chest strap is really comfortable. I barely realize I’m wearing it under my sports bra but I would recommend getting fitted for a sports bra that accommodates your chest strap. You might find that you have to go up to a bigger size. It fits right under your boobs (for lack of a better technical term). I was gonna post a picture of mine but my Husband wasn’t comfortable with it. He said “I’m sure your readers can use their imagination.” LOL

I use my HRM to primarily help me calculate Activity Points consistently and accurately. Although it’s not officially endorsed by WW, I use 80 cals burned = 1AP. How did I come up with that equation? Well some uber smart people looked at WW’s patented Points Plus formula and determined that 80 cals would create a 2:1 deficit. That’s good enough for me! I know some WW members use 100 cals burned = 1AP to be more conservative but 80 is working for me. And if I can eat more and lose, I will! But I don’t eat junk. (Ok! Sometimes I do!) I use those extra points to add more protein to my diet. Usually it’s in the form of chocolate milk. Did you know that chocolate milk helps refuel the muscles after a workout? And it’s delicious! Bi-winning! (Are the Charlie Sheen jokes getting old yet?)

Since every body (literally) is different you’ll have to play around with what works for you.

And my HRM even wished me Happy Birthday! Isn’t that sweet?

Hope my post was helpful for any readers that have thought about investing in a heart rate monitor. Please feel free to ask me any follow up questions via comments.


This post is dedicated to one of my readers, Natalie, who asked me to talk about my heart rate monitor (HRM) in more detail. Thanks for the great question!


4 responses

    • Thanks Toni! I really think it’s great to have something non-biased help me calculate calories burned esp for Zumba since that’s not in the activity tracker anyways!

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