heart rate monitor (Works for Me Wednesday)

Let me tell you about my heart rate monitor – it’s basically the bomb diggity and I love it.

Background: When I first starting exercising back in college I bought a MIO brand watch that had a heart rate monitor.  I liked it and it was ok except that you had to push and hold 2 buttons in order for it to read and display your heart rate which was not very convenient and a bit awkward while running.  Sometimes it was hard to get a readout if you weren’t still or if you were sweaty, also not very convenient.  But for my purposes it was fine and I mostly just used it as a digital watch to time my runs until it bit the dust.

This spring I started feeling like I might be in a bit of an exercise funk and that I really wasn’t pushing myself hard enough in my spin and aerobics classes.  I figured the best way to measure that since I couldn’t really measure distance or speed in those classes was by my heart rate.  I (and when I say “I” I mean Michael) did some research online and talked to a few people, decided that a watch with a chest strap that monitored my heart rate was the best choice, and chose this Polar RS100 watch.

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I. Love. It.  It was a bit pricey but so worth it to me.  I wear a chest strap that has a transmitter which sends my heart rate to my watch at all times (when I have that function turned on).  All I have to do is look down at my watch and see what my heart rate is.  It also shows what percentage my heart rate it at and – get this – it shows how many calories I burn.  Awesome!  Of course it does other normal watch-type things like timers, alarms, lap time, etc.  But for me the two biggies are the constant heart rate readout and the calories burned.

I can tell that I have started pushing myself harder since I started using this watch.  Now when I look down and see that my heart rate is low I know I need to increase my intensity.  Also seeing those calories burned is highly motivating and when I have a certain goal in mind I push harder so I can reach that.  I think I am getting much more out of my workouts then I was a few months ago.

Lots of people ask if it is accurate and I really think it is.  It’s definitely consistent.  I enter my age, height, weight, and gender and the watch uses that to calculate my target heart rate zones and how many calories I burn.  For me personally I aim to keep my heart rate in the 150-170 range the majority of my workout, with it getting up into the 170s during particularly intense times.  A 45-minute spin class for me burns about 500 calories and a 50-60 minute aerobics class usually runs at 400-500 calories.

Using a heart rate monitor to help me have better workouts works for me!  (Linking up with Works for Me Wednesday)



  1. I use a New Balance heart rate/calorie watch. I have to use two fingers to measure my heart rate. I’ve nearly tripped over myself running, trying to take my heart rate! I’ve seen the one above but was hesitant to spend the money. Thanks for the review and recommendation!

  2. I was reluctant to spend that much at first but I’m so glad I did – so worth it!

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