Friday, January 6, 2012

Put Your Heart(rate) Into It! {Omron Fitness HRM Review}

It's a New Year and with the New Year many make resolutions to eat better, start a regular exercise regime and to lose weight. Not too long ago I made this same promise to myself-only it was in September- but I digress.

I was alone in my journey to lose weight and get healthy. I did not have a trainer or anyone to guide me with nutrition. I turned to many, many books and websites to educate myself about exercise and eating the right foods. A couple months into my fitness journey, I learned about one of the most important tools I would discover on my road to fitness. Something that that motivated me to work a little harder every workout.
That tool was a HEART RATE MONITOR.

Since I did not have anyone to help me, let me help you:
If you are new to working out, just starting your own journey to a healthier life or even getting back into a workout regime--If you are current NOT using a heart rate monitor, let me save you some time and tell you that the investment in a heart rate monitor can help you reach your goals faster than you could without one. 

That sporty looking watch would become one of my best friends. The angel sitting on my shoulder wrist telling me I could go a little longer and work a little harder.

How did this bit of technology hidden inside a sports watch help me?

Heart Rate:
By wearing the HRM (heart rate monitor) I knew exactly what my heart rate was at any given moment and I could adjust my workout accordingly. Did I need to kick it up a notch? Did I need to dial it down?
The HRM kicked me in the butt when I was not working to my potential. Seeing my HR drop below my target was a great way to get me moving more and sweating harder!!

Motivation in Numbers:
Seeing how many calories I did burn (or didn't on some days) certainly motivated me in many ways. I found that more often than not pushed me to go a little bit longer to bring that burn up a little bit higher.
It also played an important role in helping me keep my nutrition in check. I could now see just how hard it was to burn off a measly 300 calories so there was NO WAY I was going to blow that on empty calories.

Three years and more than 100 lbs later, I still train with a heart rate monitor only these days I use the data a little bit different. I am a huge advocate of heart rate training so when I was asked to participate in a review of Omron Fitness heart rate monitors, I could not raise my hand high enough!!

Omron Fitness sent me the their new strapless Heart Rate Monitor HR-210.

So what did I think of the Omron Fitness HR-210?

This sporty and reasonably sized heart rate monitor is strapless so there is no need for a chest strap to get your heart rate. The advantage of being strapless is you are ready to go anytime and anywhere. To find out what your heart rate is at any given time, you just tap two fingers onto the 1:00 and 7:00 position sensors on the watch/HRM face and within seconds, your heart rate is shown.

The HR-210 is water resistant to 164 feet so it is perfect for swimming, water aerobics or any kind of water based activity. You can also program the unit to certain heart rate zones to target your training.

The price is very reasonable at $49.99

Every HRM I have used has had a chest strap to wear. I was a bit skeptical on how accurate this unit could be with only the touch of my fingers. But I went in with an open mind and an idea. I plugged in my personal data and then I used the Omron in conjunction with my Polar FT7 and Garmin 310 on several training sessions: long, hard trainer rides, running and teaching 

I was happily surprised to see that the HR that Omron indicated was always within a beat or two of the "control" HRM's. With my initial concerns alleviated by it's obvious accurate read outs, I ditched the straps from the Polar and the Garmin and proceed onto several more workouts with just the Omron-more time on the trainer, running, swimming and more bootcamp.

The start of one workout-getting on the TM

After - total burn 968 calories!

My findings were that the HR readings from the fingertip was spot on, the caloric burn seemed to be accurate as based on my body size and the effort used for each workout. To obtain more accurate readings, the manual suggests checking your HR often so I would do this every several minutes.

I think the the Omron HR-210 is a great addition to anyone looking to get a little more information and motivation out of their workout-for any fitness level. With a $49.99 price tag, it is one of the more affordable options I have seen on the market. 

The only thing that would enhance the use of this HRM is being able to obtain your overall average heart rate per workout as well as your maximum heart rate.
One sweaty trainer session test. Yes, it is water resistant!

I then was curious to see how someone totally new to fitness AND heart rate monitors would like the Omron HR-210. I remembered my early days with a heart rate monitor so I wanted to see if someone else would have the same reaction and experience. I asked a woman I am training-we will call her Mary- if should would be willing to test it out for me and she was excited to try it.

We updated her stats into the unit (so simple to do) and she was instructed to continue with her workouts as scheduled, checking her heart rate often and tell me her thoughts. Here's what Mary had to say about the Omron Fitness HR-210.

Mary, how do you like the Omron HR-210 so far?
I feel more motivated with the watch on, I get to see my heart rate and see how many calories I am burning. When I see my calorie burn go up, it makes me want to go faster and push myself even more.

Do you find the Omron HR-210 easy to use and understand?
Yes, it's really easy to use and understand.

What is your overall impression of the Omron HR-210?
I love the watch !! I really like knowing what my heart rate is while I am exercising and I can keep track of how many calories I am burning. And when I see the rate of my calorie burn,  I now I can push my self even more. It does make more more aware of what I am eating too. 

So there you have it. My thoughts and those of a fitness newbie on the first part of her journey to health and happiness!

You can find Omron Fitness heart rate monitors online at the Omron Webstore 
Or you can check this list of partner stores to purchase.

FTC Disclosure: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Tangy said...

I love my HRM. I am almost always way above my target range, though. Is that good or bad?

Anne-Marie said...

WOW! That's cool. I wouldn't have thought that a monitor that's so inexpensive and strapless would work so well. Good to know for the next one. Thanks for the info Jen! : )

Keith said...

Strapless would be great. I never run without my HRM but sometimes the strap slides down and drives me crazy.

Laima said...

Nice - I like that it is strapless.