There's no February lull here: when it comes to healthy living, we've been going strong with the help of a few motivating products. From a pair of trail-runners that make the outdoors fun to a GPS heart rate monitor that's become our new fitness coach, January's fitness resolutions are still fresh in our minds. We've even been snacking on some appropriately named healthy popcorn. Check out what will keep us motivated to burn calories all month long!
I love the idea of using heart rate monitors during workouts, but in my recreational running I've only used them occasionally. So I was happy to test out the new Polar RCX3 ($220), sent to me with a compatible GPS device (the G5 GPS Sensor, $140). Here's what I thought about the model.
The heart rate monitor itself is comfortable; I've used some models that feel unnaturally rigid, but the thin silicone band of the heart rate monitor never felt uncomfortable during my runs. And like most heart rate monitors, the buttons are simple to use and relatively intuitive. When you first turn it on, you enter your data — age, sex, weight, etc. — and then are ready to go.
The strap was also simple to use; after clipping in the monitor, just hook on and adjust so the monitor fits squarely on your chest. The hook design means it's easy to get on and off while still being secure. Before each workout you need to wet the strap so the sensors register your heart rate and connect with the watch, but the process is easy and quick. Synching up with the GPS device is similarly simple, and once connected, all you need to do is clip on the GPS device (which looks like a small pager) to the same side of your body as you are wearing the watch.
Keep reading to find out more about the Polar with GPS.
We've all had plenty of experience running on dry days, but what about cloudy, rainy ones? I actually love running in the Summer rain because the light raindrops keep me cool. And if you're training for a race, running in all types of weather is a must since you never know what nature will serve up on race day.
When exercising in the wet weather, you definitely don't want to get soaked though since running in wet gear can cause chafing and blisters. Prevent the pain with these must haves to help you stay dry and enjoy your rainy-day run. And if running in the rain seems crazy to you, these pieces of gear just might inspire you to change your tune.
Using the Nike+ system to chart my walks and runs has been quite motivational. I love to compare my workouts, see how I'm progressing, and monitor my weekly mileage. Nike teamed up with Polar to offer the Polar WearLink+ Transmitter ($65), a heart rate monitor that's compatible with your Nike+ system. If you have a fifth generation iPod Nano or a Nike+ Sportband (sorry, it doesn't work with an iPod Touch or iPhone yet), you can not only keep track of your time, distance, pace, and calories burned, but now you can also chart your heart rate for each workout.
Curious to know how it works? Then keep reading.
I love training with a heart rate monitor, and Polar is my favorite brand. These days I have been working out with the RS300X ($170). Designed with running in mind, this HRM is great for other sports as well.
For me, the feature that distinguishes this heart rate monitor from others I have used in the past is the big red lap button at the bottom of the watch face. Press it, and the watch saves your stats for that lap, but keeps on recording the rest of your workout. When you're done with your workout, the RS300X breaks down your workout data by lap as well as giving your info on your overall workout. It is great for working out at the track when running repeat distances or when training with negative splits. When combined with the S1 Foot Pod ($130), the heart rate monitor tracks your speed and distance as well — perfect for all the type A runners out there.
For more of my opinion, keep reading.
Twitter is not just a frivolous social networking site, it is a place where you can have important questions answered. Recently, I twittered Chris@PolarUSA this question:
"How can I get my FT60 HRM to work in the pool? Shows HR before getting in water, but not while I swim. Please help."
He replied promptly and here is what he had to say:
Next time I swam laps, I tightened my chest strap and once again my HRM monitor worked in the pool. For those of you unfamiliar with Buh Bump it is a heart rate monitor electrode cream, which helps the electrodes in the chest strap read your heart rate.
Speaking of Polar heart rate monitors, we gave a few away a while back, and I would like to announce the lucky winners. They are:
I hope these winners know they can contact Chris with any questions about their new Polar fitness gear.
If you heart this month's Polar heart rate monitor giveaways, then you won't want to miss this week's, because we've saved the best for last!
This wristwatch monitor tracks your heart rate and calories burned, while the GPS device records your speed and distance. You can also use it to set fitness goals and keep tabs on all your workouts. Check out my review for more details, then enter the giveaway by logging in and taking the quiz by 1 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, March 24. Your eligibility is not based on answering the questions correctly, just on completing the quiz once you are logged in. Read up on the official rules here.Take the Quiz
Since I'm loving Polar's heart rate monitors, I'm pleased to announce that for the next couple of weeks, we're giving away two of the company's snazziest heart rate monitors with accessories. Today, you can enter to win a women's FT40 Heart Rate Monitor ($180) in green as shown here, plus a FlowLink ($55) to connect the gadget to your PC.
Check out my review for more details, then enter the giveaway by logging in and taking the quiz by 1 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, March 17. Your eligibility is not based on getting the answers correct, just on completing the quiz once you are logged in. Read up on the official rules here. Stay tuned for next week's giveaway of the FT60 HRM!Take the Quiz
Since I've been loving Polar's fitness gadgets so much, I'm pleased to announce that for the next three weeks, we're giving away some of the company's snazziest heart rate monitors and other gear. Today, you can enter to win a women's FA20 Activity Computer ($120) in white, plus a FlowLink ($55) to connect the gadget to your PC.
This wrist accessory monitors your daily activity and tracks how active you are, how many steps you take, and how many calories you burn. Check out my review for more details, then enter the giveaway by logging in and taking the quiz by 1 p.m. PDT on Tuesday, March 10. Your eligibility is not based on getting the answers correct, just on completing the quiz once you are logged in. Read up on the official rules here. And stay tuned over the next two weeks for even better Polar products!Take the Quiz
My friends at Polar sent me a couple of heart rate monitors to test, and the FT40 and FT60 models did not disappoint. In fact, I've become pretty attached to the FT60. It was kind to include another fitness gadget, the FA20 activity computer ($120) that doesn't monitor your heart rate, but does some other cool stuff that motivates me to move.
The idea behind this gadget is to show how everyday activities, like walking your dog or choosing the stairs, can improve your overall health. The FA20 records your daily activity and gives you feedback about what kind of day you're having, letting you know if you've been lazy, active, or somewhere in between. It reminds me of a super-fancy pedometer, since it measures your calories burned, too. While the computer will do its job and monitor your total active time during the day without pushing extra buttons, you can set up targets during training (like how many calories you want to burn) and during training you can see the distance you've covered, steps taken, and calories burned.
I loved how the device kept track of my every move and it motivated me to fit in more steps when possible, like walking up six flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator. My only source of frustration with the FA20 is that it only records steps. This makes it ideal for walking or running, but I didn't appreciate being told I was having a lazy day when I took a strenuous strength training class and the gadget told me I hadn't burned any calories.
I would recommend this product to anyone looking for everyday motivation to improve their health and fitness. When you've made the choice to walk instead of drive, it's encouraging to look at the little screen on your wrist and see that you're benefiting your health. You can buy the FA20 here.