Best Heart Rate Monitor: Review of Garmin Fitness Trackers

garmin heart ratye monitorA lot of my running buddies who run for fun, health or just getting in a good shape, use GPS devices to measure the distance and pace of their runs. Oftentimes, they get them with the heart rate monitors.

For the first few weeks to a month or so, they keep checking their stats every chance they get. The distance and pace, and mapping these results, remain essential for training. One of the biggest advantages to me was being an effective gauge to build up my lactate threshold gradually to a higher hr. I think that’s too hard to do and to monitor without a heart rate monitor.

Should You Get A Heart Rate Monitor?

I have a Heart Rate Monitor, and I’m really happy with it. My main concern is that when I’m running and day dreaming I have a tendency to slow down. I also wanted to make sure I would push myself to the basic limit, but not overdo it.

So the basic Heart Rate Monitor has a watch part, which is a pretty good sports watch but it also displays your heart rate. The basic idea is that we can determine our Maximum Heart Rate, and that we can benefit by running in certain zones. For instance, it is generally understood that running at 65% of the max is really good for weight loss. That pace of running is at 85%, is anaerobic.

Most Heart Rate Monitor watches have a way of inputting your max Heart Rate and then can display what % you are at.

Good Heart Rate Monitor will tell you at the end of your workout what your:

Really Good Heart Rate Monitor will have interval timers, and alarm, so you could set it to beep after 5 minutes to let you know when your warm up is over. Or you could set it to beep if your heart rate goes too high or too low.

Advantages of GPS Heart Rate Monitor Watch

The best Heart Rate Monitors will have some kind of computer interface and will automatically log your runs and graph them. Also computer interfaces are the best way to program complicated interval training programs.

When you start looking at the best HRMs you will find they have GPS built in. It turns out that having a GPS Heart Rate Monitor Watch gives you the most flexibility in programming runs and looking at computer graphs and displays. So I’ve reviewed two popular, mid-priced Heart Rate Monitors: Garmin Forerunner and Garmin Vivo. Let’s see how they compare.

Garmin Forerunner 220 – Heart Rate Monitor

Provides the motivating feedback you need to guide your training. You can even get post-run encouragement from friends and fans, thanks to the 220’s connected features like real-time live tracking.

Forerunner 220 measures essential running data including distance, pace and heart rate. It’s like having a coach on hand, providing constant feedback and recording all your stats so you can focus on your run. In addition to using GPS to calculate distance and pace, the 220 has a built-in accelerometer.

So you know distance and pace data when you’re running on an indoor track or treadmill, with no need for a separate foot pod. The accelerometer can also track distance when GPS is unavailable, such as when you run through a tunnel.

I strongly like in Garmin Forerunner

Garmin Forerunner picks up satellites very fast. Love the live tracking feature on smart phone. So I can see where I am along my route. Also it automatically uploads tracking data to Garmin software. The main features are:

  1. GPS signal works well, even in densely populated areas, loaded with skyscrapers (average satellite lock time: 5-6 seconds)
  2. GPS is accurate and reliable. I have yet to experience problems.
  3. Heart rate monitor (bought as a package) and Bluetooth to iPhone work well.
  4. Waterproof so I don’t have problems with sweat or wearing it when I shower.
  5. Can transfer data via Bluetooth to my iPhone app.
  6. Functions and buttons are very intuitive; I spent less than 3 minutes looking at the manual before mastering the watch.
  7. Very low profile and works as an everyday watch. Love that I can just always be wearing this and can just press the RUN button a few times and go.
  8. GPS preloading is great, ready to run within seconds of going outside.
  9. Indoor treadmill tracking has been pretty accurate. Just turn off the GPS and the watch will use the integrated accelerometer to calculate your distance.
  10. When you’re running with GPS, the watch will use the GPS data in combination with your arm movements to make calculations when there is no GPS.
  11. The screen is extremely readable and the button inputs help to easily navigate. It doesn’t require rocket science to change settings or go for a jog.
  12. While running you can view your current pace, lap pace, distance traveled, current time, running cadence, etc.
  13. If you want to keep running at a 7:00 mile pace you can even get an alarm that alerts you when you aren’t going at the proper speed.

garmin heart rate monitorGetting started with this watch is a breeze. Press the run button twice and off you go. Satellites are picked up quickly after the first time you take it out of the box .

Not only does it look nice but I just love the data outputs that I can review online. I love the fact there are vibrating km/mile markers and that it is comfortable to wear. The best thing about this is the fact that satellites pick up in next to no time.

I am a runner and always used my phone to measure distance. Recently I was deployed and needed a watch to measure my distance through GPS, as well as my steps when I have to run on treadmill.

This watch is perfect! I can run in formation, on my own, or do sprint work. I do not need to carry my phone, but still have all the perks of accurate GPS tracking. Any runner should look into this watch.

Garmin vívoactive Black

The Garmin vívoactive  intelligent training computer also helps you work toward achieving your exercise goals in other ways. For example, the watch offers a Garmin Star personalized training program that adapts to your workout habits.

By giving you weekly training targets and providing constant feedback, the watch guides you without being too strict, helping you reach your goals more efficiently. The watch also displays heart rate info in several ways, including as a percentage of your maximum heart rate, as beats per minute, and within a graphical target zone indicator.

How Many Calories You Are Burning?

Heart rate monitors only have your pulse, sometimes blood pressure, to calculate calories burned. This is not enough information to make an accurate assessment. So calories expenditure is estimation based on algorithm.  I would worry less about calories burned and more about caloric intake and the quality of your exercise.

Overall I think the Garmin vívoactive Black is worth the price, and is a fantastic tool that has completely transformed my life and motivated me to workout more.

Garmin vívoactive Black: Things I Love :

  1. The star training program and fitness test have worked as my complete motivator and those two features combined have helped me get back in shape after a longish layoff. The star program helped me not over train and burn myself out in the beginning which was very important and the improvements shown in own index kept me motivated along with the trophies.
  2. The design is great and I get complimented on it all the time. I have never had an issue with the display, yes it is reverse black/white but once I got use to it I actually prefer this now.
  3. It was dimmer, but now the contrast is even brighter.
  4. The strength training was more versatile. And I could save my own workouts instead of using the preset ones.
  5. You can set it to chime, vibrate, or both to let you know to look at your wrist and see how you’re doing. This helps to understand if you are slowing down or speeding up in a workout.
  6.  Garmin helps you optimize your strength training by reading your heart rate and informing you when your body is ready for the next set–an ideal way to optimize your weight training.
  7. The Garmin vívoactive Black  shows your energy expenditure during one exercise session, as well as your accumulated calories during several exercise sessions.

You can also set daily and weekly exercise goals in terms of calorie expenditure, helping you achieve both short-term and long-term goals.

Monitor Your Health

For instance, you might find your heart rate going up rapidly even though you are just doing light exercises. This is a clear sign that something could be wrong with your health.A heart rate monitor watch not only helps you keep track of your heart rate but also of your general health. A heart rate monitor allows you to detect health problems that you would not notice otherwise.

Maintain Your Discipline

If you do not have a trainer or coach to keep you disciplined during your workout, a heart rate monitor can be a great substitute. It can tell you when your exercise is falling below your ideal intensity so you can instantly improve your performance.

So I think you understand heart rate monitor really works.

Your interest in using a heart rate monitor is a great way to start. It will give you feedback on the intensity of your training and can be kind of like your coach or personal trainer whether you’re walking or doing intervals.

My clients use heart rate training to stay engaged in their cardiovascular training, get feedback on the intensity of their workouts, and to keep track of their progress.

Garmin are very well known heart rate monitors. There are plenty of styles for beginners who don’t need anything but heart rate only to advanced triathletes where the watch will practically show every fact about your exercise you can imagine!