should I get a heart rate monitor?  yes, no, maybe—–depends—–

tools are excellent source of help and motivation but which ones are right for you; if any?  there are hundreds and it would take more time and money to purchase, research and test various tools to voice an educated opinion worthy of respect. professional organizations along with schools are both known for doing such and yet to find a comprehensive guide that effectively helps is almost impossible because by the time you get to the store in person or even online to purchase a “tool” technology has improved and it’s back to the lab again.  so, what do I do?  over the  years I’ve purchased, personally used and recommended various heart rate monitors, pedometers, body fat calipers, body fat scales, weight scales, phone apps, calorie counters; i’ve made my own and other’s charts, maps and exercise calendars.  i have had success with tools and i have observed clients have success with tools.  but, we have also experienced failure and frustration.  tools are great and they are frustrating.  just when you need them to really, really work will be the time there is a snag.  but that’s life.  overall, tools are highly effective. they can be just the catalyst you need to achieve your goals, or to move to the next level, or to just get in a workout on a crummy day.  tools provide much helpful education which for some is highly motivational. tools keep us on track. tools are just plain fun for some. tools help work our minds much like exercise helps work the body. tools have so many advantages that basically the only disadvantage is that they sometimes frustrate us(or often times do!).  my advice: if you want (we don’t really, really need—basically that is) a tool then do your homework or find someone who thinks like you and inquire about their tools of exercise success. then purchase your tool, enjoy it, get frustrated at times but allow it to help you not lead you or overpower you—-its only a tool!

some technology exercise tools you might find helpful: 

loseit.com(tracks food intake and exercise)

myfitnesspal.com( meal and exercise log)

withings wifi body scale(measures and tracks weight, body fat, lean muscle and body mass index)

polar rcx5 heart rate monitor(check with your gym to see if their equipment is compatible with heart rate monitors)

finger sensor heart rate monitors(not as accurate as strap monitors but good considering price, comfort and performance)

ipod pedometer(counts steps, see my april 27, 2011 blog in exercise archive)

an educated trainer—great tool that can help show you how to accomplish each of the above tasks with or even without a tool.  For example, monitoring heart rate by a talk test(cheaper and easier but maybe not as much fun as a heart rate monitor)

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