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Looking for a Heart Rate Monitor - Any Suggestions?

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Old 06-12-2014, 11:27 PM   #1
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Default Looking for a Heart Rate Monitor - Any Suggestions?

I want (I think) a heart rate monitor to give me a more accurate idea of how many calories I'm burning. A knowledgable friend took me out today to find something, but he couldn't find anything that offered what I needed and the salesgirl knew nothing. I've even enlisted my medic husband to find me a device, but he's as confused as I am about what's available.

I know the FitBit is super popular (and I see almost-new ones for cheap on Craigslist ALL OF THE TIME) but both the aforementioned friend and my husband think FitBits are essentially glorified pedometers with no HRM - if you have one, is this true? Or are they worth the investment? Or do you know of something else entirely that might fit my needs? He did find the Withings Pulse online and that seems to be what I want... does anyone use one? Do they work with the Withings scale?

I want something that predominantly monitors heart rate levels during cardio activity. I'm currently using the Wii Fit U Fit Meter as a pedometer, but my typical routine includes an elliptical, Zumba and yoga, so a straight up pedometer won't cut it, as I've learned. I don't need anything that tracks food/calories, I'm not really interested in my sleep habits and I'm aiming to spend around $100-$150. I want to avoid anything with a chest strap if I can, although if that's the best option, I'll definitely go for it.

So... suggestions? Thoughts? Anything that could help me? Thanks
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:33 AM   #2
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Basis or the Mio Alpha (about $199 each) are the only reputable wrist/watch wearables I know of that have a reasonably accurate HRM.

LG Lifeband should pair with earbuds that can track your heartbeat (no actually, they're pretty nifty), or a typical chest band, and the Garmin Vivofit is also supposed to play nicely with a chest band.

Otherwise, just get a standard HRM watch (Polar RS100 is pretty popular as an entry level model). But just a gentle disclaimer, that keeping track of your heartbeat might be a good tool for training, but I'm personally pretty skeptical on it's efficacy for calorie estimations.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:53 AM   #3
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Basis or the Mio Alpha (about $199 each) are the only reputable wrist/watch wearables I know of that have a reasonably accurate HRM.

LG Lifeband should pair with earbuds that can track your heartbeat (no actually, they're pretty nifty), or a typical chest band, and the Garmin Vivofit is also supposed to play nicely with a chest band.

Otherwise, just get a standard HRM watch (Polar RS100 is pretty popular as an entry level model). But just a gentle disclaimer, that keeping track of your heartbeat might be a good tool for training, but I'm personally pretty skeptical on it's efficacy for calorie estimations.
Thank you for all of the suggestions! I've used the iOS app that (surprisingly accurately) tracks your heart rate using the camera, but headphones is definitely a new one, haha.

I've heard both extremes - that the only way to know how many calories you're burning for sure is to use a HRM, and that HRMs are a crock of **** and the only way to know for sure is by using specific calculations. I figure if it might give me a more accurate idea, it's worth a shot
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:14 PM   #4
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For sure! Even in clinical settings, energy requirements are just really good guesses; hence my trepidation with using HRM's to create estimates. It's just a lack of trust in the numbers all together.

'Hope you find a device that works well for you.
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Old 06-15-2014, 08:29 PM   #5
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I bought the Polar HRM and I really like it. While it might not be completely accurate, it at least gives me some idea of how many calories I'm burning based on my heart rate and weight. I bought the fitbit too, but it doesn't really do what I wanted it for and I hardly wear it anymore. By the end of the day it said I had burned 2000 something calories, which I know might be accurate, but it doesn't actually track your heart rate... more that it tracks your movements. It is good for a pedometer, but you can get one of those pretty cheaply. Hope you find something you like... good luck!
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Old 06-15-2014, 09:45 PM   #6
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No, a Fitbit isn't a glorified pedometer. That said, you get more information on calorie burn with step based activities. It will measure calories burned based upon movement. So some non-step based activities do show up on there. You can also name activities that aren't step based and it will give calorie burn for those. Basically, the Fitbit will based calories on movement but won't show calories burned in exertion that is non-movement based.

I use a Heart Rate monitor with my Fitbit. I have a Wahoo Blue which is a bluetooth HRM. It records my activity to Digifit. Digifit then tells Fitness my calorie burn for those activities. So when doing formal exercise I do wear a HRM and if it comes up with something different than Fitbit would for the activity then I know that the data is automatically transmitted to Fitbit. Works great.

I also like my Fitbit because MFP talks to it and tells it what I ate so Fitbit always tells me what my calorie deficit is at any point of the day.

The problem with most of the activity monitors that measure heart rate directly is that they don't do a good job of measure heart rate during activity. They do better measuring heart rate when you aren't really doing anything. Well, that isn't what I want.

I have a Withings scale so the Pulse would have been great if it could measure a continuous heart rate. But it doesn't. You put your finger on it to get a pulse reading at a particular time. It isn't the same as wearing a HRM during exercise.

https://withings.zendesk.com/hc/en-u...my-heart-rate-

Before buying an activity monitor because it measures heart rate be sure to look at how it measures heart rate and find out if it will really measure heart rate continuously during activity.
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Old 06-16-2014, 04:18 AM   #7
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I bought the Polar HRM and I really like it. While it might not be completely accurate, it at least gives me some idea of how many calories I'm burning based on my heart rate and weight.
I noticed that a lot of girls use the Polar HRM and I did a little research on it and it's gotten good reviews. Do you what the margin of error is? Unless there's one in a similar price range and better, I think I'm going to get Polar.
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