Polar FT4 Women's Heart Rate Monitor

Polar FT4 Women's Heart Rate Monitor review
Polar FT4 Women's Heart Rate Monitor review

I'm currently in the process of turning my lifestyle around and the biggest change in that is how much exercise I do. I've gone from going to the gym very sporadically (maybe a few times in a few months...whoops) to working out nearly everyday. Big change. (Thanks Kayla Itsines! :P)

Sometimes I am my own worst enemy and I can convince myself that I don't need to do a workout tonight or come up with silly excuses and reasons not to (oh I need to wash my hair, oh I've not shaved, I'm tired...the list goes on). Motivation was something I usually lacked, but not anymore. My biggest help has been from the Polar FT4 heart rate monitor, I bought it on a whim and thought I'd have to workout because I'd spent money on it. I was half right, I actually find this makes me work out because I like to see the output from my exercises; the calories I burn. It's surprisingly satisfying and addictive once you start tracking workouts. I know it's not all about calories, and I don't count calories in my food, but seeing that a 20 minute power walk can actually equate to 300 calories gone is so fulfilling and makes me feel like I'm achieving something, even when the physical results don't happen instantly. Previously I'd always thought heart rate monitors were for those crazy fitness people, okay I may be turning into one of those but...shushh, but as a fat loss/weight loss/fitness tool I think they're amazing. It reinforces that every little bit of exercise you do helps, it makes my goals feel more achievable.

After 5 months of road testing the FT4 I can honestly say I love it and it was £50 well spent! I never workout without it!

What you get in the box

Polar FT4 heart rate monitor (watch)
Polar WearLink®+ transmitter (band and transmitter that clips on)
Quick guide

How to use

Using the watch is really simple, I'd recommend reading the instructions booklet so you know how to input all your data correctly. As this is the most important step, on set up you'll be asked to input your age, height, weight and gender. These will allow the watch to calculate accurately what your calorie burn is and your target heart rate zones as well as your maximum heart rate. Remember to keep these updated if your weight changes to give you an accurate calorie burn.

The watch can sit on either wrist and doesn't need to be worn at any set distance from your wrist, it's just there to pick up the signal from the transmitter and must be worn to show your heart rate and calories. (Polar even do a transmitter that has bluetooth so it connects to your phone and you don't have to wear the watch)

To allow the FT4 monitor to pick up your heart beat you have to wear a chest strap (Polar WearLink) with the transmitter attached via poppers to the front. On the inside of the strap is a long rubber pad that you'll need to wet each time before use - this helps your heart rate signal to be picked up by the transmitter. The strap then goes just below your chest and sits comfortably under your bra band for girls. It needs to be snug so it doesn't fall down but not too tight that you can't breathe though.

To start a workout you press the middle button on the right hand side, which will then show a screen showing your current heart rate - this checks that the FT4 is picking up the transmitter signal properly. You then press the middle button again and you're ready to go! Once in a workout you have four screen display options for:

Target zone indicator

This screen shows a scale with an arrow to where your heart rate currently is in relation to your target zone. Target zone age based so mine is 126-165, the heart rate monitor determines your heart rate target zone limits automatically according to your age-based maximum heart rate (220 minus age). The target zone is your ideal heart rate zone for fat burn which is 60-70% of your max heart rate. The limits are determined either in beats per minute or as a percentage (%) of your maximum heart rate. I use beats per minutes, you can also set an alarm that bleeps when your heart is out of your zone and going to fast (but I turned this off as it's very annoying and inevitable when doing HIIT like Kayla's workouts!) 

Calories burnt

Shows how many calories you've burnt so far, Polar use OwnCal to accurately display how many calories you've burnt.

Heart rate

Shows current heart rate in large on the screen.

Time and heart rate

Shows how long you've been training for and also you're current heart rate.

At the end of your workout you can view a summary which displays the following information; how many calories you burnt, how long you were in "the zone", your average and highest heart rate and also how long your workout was. The FT4 has the capability to save 10 workout files on the watch, but if you upgrade to the bluetooth computer you can sync all workouts with your phone.

After your workout remove the transmitter from the band, this is important and will save the battery life as the whole time it's connects it's being powered. Rinse the band to get any sweat off, this will prolong the band life. Every so often it's recommended that you wash the band in the washing machine (check manual for instructions)

Polar FT4 Women's Heart Rate Monitor review

Other features

HeartTouch is a pretty cool feature. It allows you to see what the time is without pressing any buttons. Simply hold the watch to your chest where the strap is and the screen will display time. Will come in handy if you're running in the cold with gloves.

Backlight
Date and weekday indicator
Display text in English, German, Finnish, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian
Dual time zone
KeyLock
Low battery indicator
Time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze
User replaceable battery
Water resistant - 30m - Don't press any buttons whilst submerged though.

Polar FT4 Women's Heart Rate Monitor review


At the end of your workout you can view a summary which displays the following information; how many calories you burnt, how long you were in "the zone", your average and highest heart rate and also how long your workout was. The FT4 has the capability to save 10 workout files on the watch, but if you upgrade to the bluetooth computer you can sync all workouts with your phone.

After your workout remove the transmitter from the band, this is important and will save the battery life as the whole time it's connects it's being powered. Rinse the band to get any sweat off, this will prolong the band life. Every so often it's recommended that you wash the band in the washing machine (check manual for instructions)

Why use a heart rate monitor?

The main reason I use the Polar FT4 monitor every time I work out is for motivation. When you've got a goal no matter how big or small it may be, along the way you will get periods where you feel disheartened or unmotivated. This is where the heart rate monitor comes in, it makes you realise how even the easiest of exercises is burning calories. In a 30 min walk I burn anything from 200-500 calories depending on if it's a stroll or a full on power walk, without the heart rate monitor I'd feel good for working out but wouldn't realise how much good it was actually doing. It makes me feel that everything I do is helping.

Secondly it helps you to push yourself, working out becomes a competition with yourself to both try harder and push yourself hard. You'll want to burn more calories and stay in "the zone" longer, you can also keep track of your heart health by seeing how quickly it will begin to slow down after exercising. This way you can keep your training at the correct levels and not over train or under train and you can keep track of your progress - this watch only stores 10 workouts so I take a photo of the screen after every work out that way I'll be able to track long term progress. Plus I upload them to instagram (link here) which has so many fitness photos now!

Polar FT4 Women's Heart Rate Monitor

Verdict

I'd recommend the Polar FT4 to anyone starting or on a fitness journey, if you use it every time you exercise you'll love following your progress and seeing just how much you're burning. I bought mine from Amazon for £51.80 (but its now £40.86!) Which considering I use it a lot and it helps me I think it's well worth it! Plus its RRP is £74.50, so you're saving money anyway.

How do you monitor your fitness? I'm thinking of buying the transmitter with bluetooth so it syncs with the app - its pricey though.




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2 comments:

  1. do you have to wear the heart rate band to get an accurate calorie burn or does the watch do that on its own?

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    Replies
    1. Hiya, you have to wear the heart rate band to get a reading. Without it the watch will just tell you the time

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