Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Toys!

After almost a year of debating, I finally gave in and bought a Garmin Forerunner. My coworker says it looks like a wrist laptop. It practically is, and it's totally nerdy but at the end of the day I love gadgets and what else would you expect from an athletic web designer?! I haven't had the opportunity to run with it yet, but I can't wait. I did try to wear it to a spin class, but I hadn't read the manual and didn't know how to shut off the GPS function. The next day after figuring out how to shut off the GPS for "indoor mode" I ran on the treadmill with it. The heart rate monitor seems accurate, I compared it to the treadmill's sensor a few times, each time it matched very closely. Unfortunately the display doesn't change much if you turn the GPS off, so the heart rate gets lost on the display and is so small I could barely read it. Another annoyance I had was that I couldn't find the calories burned function. After reading up online, it seems the calories burned is way off anyway. It uses speed as part of its formula, so if you're on a bike and coasting down a hill at 17mph it shoots the calories burned up as if you're exerting enough effort to move a bike that fast. I mentioned this to a coworker (I had the Garmin box on my desk so people were asking all about it) and she told me she had a heart rate monitor she wanted to get rid of.

Enter gadget #2, a Timex Ironman Triathlon Heart Rate Monitor 50 lap watch. Another reason this is an awesome addition, besides the more accurate calories burned function, is that I can wear this underwater. For indoor workouts it's perfect, and the display shows my heart rate very clearly. I tried it out during two workouts this week, and I'm kinda in love with it. I had no idea before how many calories I was burning during my kettlebell workouts. Answer, A LOT. Like 200 in 15 minutes! Having the watch also helps me time my workouts, so I can accurately do 15 minutes of kettlebell work, 10 minutes of ab work and so on. This is great for pushing me to do more, or stopping me from going overboard. It keeps me focused as well as telling me which heart rate zone I'm in.

Since my heart rate with the Timex Ironman was just as accurate as the Forerunner when compared to the treadmill sensor and it factors in weight, I'd like to think the calories burned feature is pretty accurate. It says I burn more calories than the treadmill estimates, but then again, the treadmill doesn't factor in my heart rate a majority of the time. I did a bit of research and found this calculator. It factors in sex, weight, average heart rate and duration. This calculator was very close, within 15 calories of my watch. Obviously calorie counting isn't an exact science, but it's definitely interesting and helpful to know how much you are burning. I still can't get over how many calories doing kettlebells after running burned! I found yet another reason why I love kettlebells!