Well I can't believe it is Thursday already. I have been trying to decide all week what to review today (I have a few things I want to tell you about) so here is what I picked for today.

This review is MY opinion only, the company did not ask for my opinion but I am giving it anyway:)

This fall I was in the market for a Heart Rate Monitor to use while exercising.

This is what I was looking for when I was buying a Heart Rate Monitor:

  • A watch that fits my wrist. I borrowed my brother's Garmin last summer and thought the watch was too bulky. Especially because I have a smaller wrist so it wasn't entirely comfortable.
  • A Heart Rate Monitor that I could use for both indoor and outdoor workouts. Again, when I borrowed the Garmin it was GPS enabled and it would not work for me indoors if I just wanted to use the Heart Rate Monitor feature and I couldn't figure out easily how to get it to work even after looking online.
  • An affordable watch. You can easily pay over $300 for a Heart Rate Monitor which is not in my budget as much as I exercise and love fitness, it is just not.
  • A watch that would track my heart rate throughout the workout, tell me calories burned, and percentage of calories from fat burned.
  • On my wish list was a GPS option to be able to track my distance on my runs and a connection to the computer in order to track my workouts online.

I purchased:

FT60_F_red_topleft

Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor

Made by Polar

Here is what the company says:


For committed exercisers – the STAR Training Program tells you how much and how intensively to train.

  • Creates a training program based on your personal goals and sets new weekly training targets
  • Gives feedback on the effect of your training
  • The Polar Fitness test measures your aerobic fitness at rest and tells you your progress

The Watch has these features:

  • Fitness Test-Tells you exactly how your fitness is developing.
  • OwnZone-Guides you to train at the right intensity.
  • Smart Calories-Lets you know exactly how many calories you’ve burned.
  • STAR Training Program-A personal training program on your wrist.
  • Training Load-Helps you find the perfect balance between rest and training.

Here is what I say: (I am reviewing this heart rate monitor as a runner)


What comes in the box

  • the watch,
  • the heart rate sensor and strap (the strap goes around your chest and the sensor is what reads your heart beats during the workout and sends the information to the watch)

What I like:

The watch


I like the watch because it feels like a watch when I wear it. It fits my wrist and the face is not so large that it feels uncomfortable.

The watch features


I like the smart coaching it offers. When the watch first arrived I was able to enter in my age, weight and height. The watch then told me to put the heart rate strap on my chest and watch on and lay down. It then measured my VO2 max.

I was then able to choose what my training program. It allowed me to choose between

- Improve fitness if your target is to improve your current cardiovascular fitness level and you are able to train regularly.
- Maximize fitness if your target is to maximize your current cardiovascular fitness level, you have been training regularly for at least 10 -12 weeks and training nearly every day is not a problem to you.
- Lose weight if you want to lose some weight and you are able to train several hours per week. This option is only in the FT60 training computer.

I chose maximize fitness. The watch then gives me my weekly targets, weekly calorie burn target and weekly workout time target as well as how much time I should spend in each heart rate zone. Each week it gives me a report of what I actually did compared to what my targets were, all on the watch.

The watch is very easy to use and is very user friendly, which I like.

The price


I did a lot of research on heart rate monitors and read many different reviews. I found the FT60 on Amazon for $146 which was a decent deal. My budget was around $150 and from what I read the FT60 sounded like it had most of what I was looking for.

There customer service is great. As you will see below I did have to send the watch into the company and they communicated well through email to answer my questions and let me know what was going on.

What I don't like:

The heart rate strap


The heart rate strap which has the heart rate sensor attached is one size fits all, well it doesn't fit me. I was having trouble after I first received the FT60 in the mail because the heart rate sensor would not always read my heartbeat. I could run for 30 minutes on the treadmill and it would say my heart never beat (not likely) I emailed the company and sent it in for repair. They had the watch, sensor and strap for a few weeks and sent it back saying nothing was wrong but they replaced the sensor and the strap anyway (which I thought was very nice). But as I wore it the same issue arose. I did some research online and it said when that happens the strap isn't tight enough. The strap felt tight but it did slide as I ran sometimes. So I used a safety pin and tightened the strap and now it works fine. Polar should give size options on the strap, because to be honest a strap that can fit a man's chest will not be tight on my chest, I'm a 32 in that area.

The extras


The Polar FT60 offers a few add on pieces to enhance the watch

Footpod

  • The footpod attaches to your shoe and measures your speed/pace and distance. It essentially tracks your every step. However, it is very big and covers almost all of my laces. I like using it because it tracks my distance indoors and out. I do wish it were smaller. It also costs $100, I was fortunate to find a used one on ebay for $40 putting me over my budgeted $150 but I really wanted to track my distance indoors and outdoors.


GPS Sensor

  • This attaches to your wrist (along with the watch) and can track your speed, pace and distance for outdoor workouts and runs at $129. I chose the footpod over this because I wanted to track indoors and outdoors.


Flowlink

  • Flowlink allows you to transfer data from your watch to your computer to utilize the Polar Training program on their site which I would love to use but this is an extra cost of $49.

Overall opinion:


Overall the watch does what it says it will do, it tracks my heart rate and my calories. Which is one of the things I was looking for and the price was where I needed it to be. The watch and strap are comfortable which is nice because I do forget I am wearing it when I am working out, however the footpod is way too big.

I thought I would like the smart training program but as a runner I am typically in Zone 3 which is the highest heart rate zone and so weekly I am not meeting my targets and it tells me to work more in the lower heart rate zones. So that is not a feature I am truly utilizing. I am not looking to lose weight and I thought the maximize fitness option would force me to push myself into the higher heart rate zones. I understand that the lower zones help you burn more calories from fat but I am a runner and in order to get in those lower zones and stay there I would need to walk. My strength training get's me into those zones but not for a substantial amount of time.

Overall Review

I like the Polar brand, I think the product is good quality and will last.

The Polar FT60 is a good heart rate monitor. It is good for someone who is looking to truly utilize the smart coaching features for weight loss, improve fitness or maximize fitness. It does a great job monitoring your heart rate and calories. It is very user friendly and is like a little computer on your wrist. I just don't feel it is the best heart rate monitor for a runner.

The Polar FT60 has taught me a lot of what to look for in a heart rate monitor for a runner. I think next time I would look for a watch that was specific to runners and that could be used indoors and outdoors. It may mean spending a little bit more money but now I see that it may be worth it in order to get all that I want.

Here's my wish list:

Polar RCX3 with GPS

Polar RS300X with GPS

My top choices:

Polar RC3 GPS

Garmin Forerunner 210

Garmin Forerunner 610

Question of the day

I am always...


I am always open to trying something new (as long as it isn't too dangerous). I will try a new workout class, a new restaurant, a book I wouldn't normally read, etc. As much as I am OCD and like to control my environment I have learned over the years that trying new things is fun and exciting. I have found some of my favorite passions by doing just that. Take running for example, I never thought I would like to run. Then my brother and sister-in-law talked me into trying an bootcamp run 5 years ago and now I am running half marathons.

How would you answer I am always....

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