The Right Stuff – Heart Rate Monitor

This is the first post of many discussing the gear you should/could or want to have when embarking on particular types of exercise. Now please be aware all opinions expressed here are my own and, are just that, experiences. Either that or I find “Stuff” on the internet and link it here too.

For the last 6 years I have almost always used a Heart Rate (HR) monitor when exercising on dry land.

My first was an Oregon (model not important now as it is obsolete) but I found this really good and it was compatible with Polar straps which came with my Concept 2 Rowing machine and therefore it detected my HR and displayed it on the screen. This lasted for about 3 good years before it failed, to be honest it probably just needed a battery replaced but I never bothered.

The next 1 I bought whilst contemplating getting the other 1 fixed was a $20 Crane brand from Aldi, I found that it was good for a while but eventually it seemed to show my heart rate skyrocketing and therefore burning an excessive amount of calories.

About a year ago I mentioned to hubby to have a look whilst in Singapore at the price of a new HR Monitor and surprise surprise he came home with an adorable white Polar FT40. Some of the basic features that I love about this watch are; this model is water resistant to 30m, simple to set up and operate, 24 hour time and it is also compatible with Concept 2 Rowing machine.

Now my adorable looking Polar watch has not been without its problems. A few months ago it started to do weird things, increased heart rate ie over 200 just standing still. It would also drop in and out and beep and carry on, it was driving me mad. I made some enquiries to send it away and after a few emails back and forth I was sending it off the Authorised Polar repair centre for Australia. I was amazed at the speed it got returned within a week, they replaced the battery (at my cost) but I was disappointed that it still did not seem to be working properly. I trialled it a few more times before I sent it back again, this time they replaced the soft strap that holds the transmitter, however I had already purchased a new 1 off Ebay (from the Polar shop) a few weeks before I sent it back the first time (trouble shooting) and it appeared this was not a fix to the problem.

Some of the crazy stuff my HR monitor was doing before it was finally fixed.

Some of the crazy stuff my HR monitor was doing before it was finally fixed.

I was getting really frustrated and pissed off I just wanted a device to work and was about to start the process of researching other brands of HR monitors. As a semi-last resort I became “one of those people” to post a negative comment on the Polar Australia Facebook page. Well the power of social media has yet again astounded me, within half an hour of putting the comment up I had a phone call from the Polar service company and they offered to send me a new Transmitter (last option from their end I think). It arrived within 2 days and hurray we have action, all my numbers seem to be within normal ranges for the workouts I am doing and I am now confident I am getting an accurate calorie count. So even though I have had problems with my Polar I feel confident that the service that was provided (after a little extra nudge) was good and they were excellent at communicating via email and phone so I would consider a Polar again.

Finally fixed and we have a calorie count for a workout.

Finally fixed and we have a calorie count for a workout.

For a more technical review of Heart Rate monitors check out the Results of Choice test of 18 HR Monitors.

Have a happy week of workouts.