The HRM Always Wins

One of the benefits of working for a big corporation, is that sometimes they offer some pretty awesome benefits like a health & wellness reimbursement.  In the past, I’ve used the alloted money for race entry fees, Bar Method classes, gym memberships & fitness DVDs. 
When I returned to work last week I realized that I still had about $130 left to use.  NICE!  So I set out and bought myself a Polar FT4 heart rate monitor.  I’ve been interested in purchasing one that I could use for non-running activities (I have my Garmin for that) so that I can monitor how hard I really work vs. how I hard I feel I’m working.  Let me just say, I love this little gadget.  It lets me know when I’m in the zone & when I need to work harder or slow down.

I decided to try it on the elliptical machine we have in our cardio room.  The machine that I usually workout on also keeps track of your heart rate and the calories burned, so I thought it would be fun to do some comparing between the HRM and the elliptical machine.

I was surprised at how on point the elliptical machine was when it came to monitoring your heart rate.  To get the most accurate reading, you have to keep your hands on the sensors the whole time which is something that I never do.  I like to get my arms moving and sometimes I’ll add weights and do upper body tonig at the same time.  Enter in the heart rate monitor.
While the heart rates were pretty much on target, the calories? Not so much.  A HUGE deficit of 114.8 calories.  I was on the elliptical for 31 minutes and did intervals of high resistance sprints & low resistance recovery.  2 minutes each.  There was a point when I felt like heart was going to pound out of my chest where I thought, maybe I could’ve burned 438 calories but, overall, the heart rate monitor calories burned makes much more sense to me.  So why the trickery elliptical machine?  Is it to make us feel better about ourselves?  I tried to do a google search to find a legitmate article about this, but I came up empty handed and found myself on message boards that said to pretty much ignore the machine & go with the HRM.  I honestly, had no idea that the elliptical would be so off.  Before I start my workouts, I always enter in my weight & age into the system so I thought the information would be accurate.  Turns out I was wrong and I’ve been fooled for over 10 years! 
All in all, I really like my HRM.  It’s nothing super fancy and it’s relatively easy to use which is what I was looking for.  It’s also small & sleek, not like my Garmin 305 (which I love for running outdoors).  Now I finally know about how many calories I’m burning during a Bar Method session!            
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