Saturday, February 12, 2011

About this new heart rate monitor

If you recall, I was having a hard time deciding what to get. Should I get a Polar, a Suunto, A Garmin, a Timex, a Nike? Ack, so many choices and they come with so many features.

The ones that stuck out the most were Garmin and Suunto. Unfortunately, Suunto's service isn't stellar I read and they seem to be falling behind in the industry. I wanted more than a heart rate monitor and so Polar didn't seem to fit my needs either. So, I went with Garmin.

From that decision, it got harder - WHICH Garmin? Of course, I was drawn to the newest and greatest one, the 410, but for $350? without accessories? Just too steep. Well, then I looked at the 405/405CX. They are the first generation of this style of watch, just before the 410 and I could get that for $225 before accessories, but as most first generation things, it had me a bit concerned with some of its bugs. There was the new FR60 which is a more basic watch but very well received, but it is also expensive as it's new, for $299 without accessories. Then there was the older 305 that has a pretty big face on it, but it can be found on Amazon for $128 before accessories and it still gets great reviews and even after 5 years, Garmin is still making this model. It's only faults seem to be that it's GPS takes a bit to pick up satellites and it's bulky size. On the up side, it has four things you can watch at the same time, you can make courses, you can have a virtual partner, and so on. Check out what this blogger has to say about the 305: DC Rainmaker, Garmin Forerunner 305 review . He does amazing complete reviews and the industry listens to him as so do many consumers. You can check out his other reviews of Garmin and other related fitness products here: .

I was all set to get the Garmin Forerunner 305 with the footpod (to be used to track everything when I'm inside as obviously GPS would be useless inside when I'm standing still on a treadmill or balance board). I would need that with whatever Garmin watch I decided on (how this is used and what it does is mentioned in the Garmin 305 review). I wanted to see it in person before I ordered it though. REI carries it, so I went to see it. It was too tight for my wrist. Well, not too tight, but it fit my wrist poorly because: a: I'm overweight. and b: I have really big wrists. Even when I was just 20 pounds overweight in high school, I needed to buy mostly men's watches to fit my wrists.  Man, what a bummer! So for about a week I went back and forth on which to get instead and while I was debating on getting the Garmin 405/405CX (which comes with  a set of longer straps) someone on the Garmin forums responded to a message I had about the straps, informing me that the Forerunner was sent with the smaller strap and was provided with a LONGER strap. DCRainmaker's watch, which he bought several years before me, had it reversed, it was sent with the longer strap in place and had a smaller strap if you needed it. I confirmed that it was the shorter strap in use at REI and based on this new information, I decided to get the 305. I ordered it on January 31st.

The foot pod was coming from one retailer, the watch from another. The foot pod was supposed to take a couple extra days, but I didn't really need that yet (still don't have the treadmill). The watch should be sent out immediately. The foot pod arrived on February 3rd. The watch didn't arrive until the afternoon of February 9th. It was agony waiting for it!

After charging it up, the first time I used it was on the evening of February 10th. It took me about 30 minutes to figure it out enough to use it. I set my heart rate range to alert me if it fell below 106 bpm (60% of my heart's capacity) and to ring if it got above 159 (or 80% of my heart's capacity). I did the usual Walk it Out game with the Wii Fit balance board. After the work out, I sent the data from the watch to the provided software program adn I saw I spent 12 minutes in heart rate zone 2 and 55 minutes in heart rate zone 3 which was perfect! It is so cool to see all the information the watch gathers!

Next day, the 11th, I changed my alerts to let me know if it was below Zone 3 (124 bpm). I did this so it would push me to work harder if I slipped into Zone 2. It's part of the reason to get a heart rate monitor - I wanted something to motivate me to work at the optimal level. So, I went down to exercise at about the same time as the day before, playing the same game, with the same songs, in the same order, and for the same duration. And the result? this time I had 33 minutes in Zone 2 and 40 minutes in Zone 3 even though I was trying everything I could short of running on the balance board to try to boost my heart rate above 124. I felt I was working so much harder last night than the night before, yet my average heart rate was 10 beats per minute less than the day before! Go figure!

I think what it does mean though, is that I need to up the difficulty again very soon! Despite all this blubber, my heart is getting healthier and my muscles are getting stronger.

In other news, I checked my blood pressure for the first time in over a week and it was bordering on low - 105/65. I'll check it again this morning, but if it stays low, I think it means I need to get my dosage lowered. I don't know if it is getting lower because my thyroid is now getting close to normal or if it's because I've dropped 12 pounds so far, or it's my better diet, or the fitness I've added in every day or a combination of all of the above. Whatever it is, it's good and part of the reason I started this journey - to get healthier!

Stats for 2/12/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 242.8
Walked it out totals: 138 miles
Number of total exercise hours:minutes: 39:00

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