review: Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor

 “What gets measured, gets managed.”
–  Lord Kelvin,  misquoted*

I bought a Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor a couple months ago for counting calories and keeping track of my workouts, and so far, it has been great.  It’s a game I can play.  It’s a game I can win.

Calories in vs. calories out.  The conventional advice on weight loss is eat less, exercise more.  Calories in.  Calories out.  While this statement is technically true, it is not informative.  People who support this view reference the first law of thermal dynamics and the conservation of energy.  But this fact is merely descriptive.  It does not point to the cause, and certainly does not offer a solution.  It only sets up the equation.  It does not give the answer.

Imagine a crowded room, and we want to know, “Why is the room crowded?”  Well, the room is crowded because more people enter the room than people who leave.  While this is technically true, it only describes how the room is crowded.  This doesn’t answer the question of why is the room crowded, and it doesn’t answer question of how to make the room not crowded.  Maybe the exits are blocked so people can’t leave.  Maybe there is a sign that says, “Free food inside,” and people really want to go in.  Who knows?  Similarly, we can ask, “Why are calories going into my fat cells instead of leaving my body?”

Obviously energy cannot be created or destroy.  We have to measure where it is going.

Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor

Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor

The Watch

I bought the white version because I thought it looked sleek and clean, but the FT60 also comes in a variety of colors including dark gray, purple, red, and pink.  It has a light button witch makes the face glow blue.  The watch is waterproof.  Sweat away.

Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor

The Heart Monitor

The heart monitor comes with the H1 Heart Rate Sensor, which is a chest strap with a detachable transmitter.  For best results, wet the skin underneath the strap.  It needs to be pretty wet.  Your heart monitor will transmit passively when ever you have it on.  Some gym equipment can pick up on this signal, so if you are on a treadmill, you can just look at the screen instead of checking your watch all the time.  You can detach the transmitter and put the strap in the washing machine.  The transmitter is waterproof, but I don’t know if you can swim with it.

Features

Calorie Counter

The FT60 calculates calories burned using a formula that takes into account age, gender, weight, and heart rate.  This is supposed to be more accurate than using a pedometer alone.  It will also tell you what percentage of those calories is fat based on your heart rate at the time.

3 Heart Rate Zones

The FT7 has two zones.  The FT60 has three zones.  The FT80 has five zones.  Subdividing the zones helps if you want to train for a specific thing like weight loss or athleticism.

Training Program

If you choose a training program, the watch will tell you to train for a certain mount of time in each zone.

Weight Diary

The FT60 will also keep track when you manually input your weight and display it on a graph.

Sold Separately

Besides the heart rate monitor, the watch can also record data from other devices and peripherals.

  • pedometer  –  counts number of steps, activity levels, and estimates distance.
  • gps  –  measures speed and distance more accurately.
  • flow link  –   data transfer device for loading data from the watch to the computer.  Online apps for generating charts and graphs are available.

Tech

The Polar FT60 heart rate monitor, uses the tradition chest strap.  It cannot monitor continuously 24/7.

Price

$179.95 on their official website.  I got mine for less on amazon.  Link:  Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor

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