Monday, October 08, 2012

Fitness fun with heart rate monitors.


Okay, so admittedly there are days when my Polar FT7 heart rate monitor should read, "stop talking and get back to your workout!" But what if you vigorously chat? Surely extra calories are burned....

I have to admit to having fun with my HRM. I wore it for 24 hours of a low-key, no exercise day to see what my basic activity calorie burn was. (About 64 per hour.) So of course I had to do another similarly semi-scientific experiment and wear it into the Infrared Sauna at the gym.

"It's supposed to burn 300 to 600 hundred calories in the half hour you're in there!" my gym's owner told me. So what do you think I'm going to do? Of course I'm going to wear my heart rate monitor into the sauna, I mean, who wouldn't? (Okay okay, I see your hands--)

So I sat and read and sweated profusely for my 30 minutes.....to the tune of 135 calories burned, which is roughly 4 times the burn of simply sitting and reading without the sauna. It's higher than the basic rate of about 32 calories per half hour, but no place close to 300. The sauna did raise my heart rate, but only to 122. So maybe if I do the workout in the sauna I can burn the 300 to 600?? And get my first ambulance ride to the hospital?

The most revealing thing in my HRM experience thus far is that, like Dr. Gregory House says, "Everybody lies." The sauna people lie. The elliptical lies. Even the treadmill lies. For all the months I've been using MyFitnessPal.com, I had been relying on their database of calories burned for my weight for exercise, or using the numbers from the gym equipment. Come to find out, they all lie. I burn far fewer than their numbers. And the more weight you lose, the fewer calories I can eat to continue to lose, so those extra couple of hundred calories the database or the fitness equipment gave me were welcome, yes welcome indeed, but meant I was eating more calories than would work for losing weight.

So, since I have been using my heart rate monitor, have I now lost many many more pounds, you ask excitedly? And I am forced to answer "no" for I am proof that calories are not created equally. Apparently you cannot celebrate your birthday for the whole month with cake etc. even if it's within your calorie count, and still lose weight. Big fat bummer.

I'm trying to do better--more salads, more lean meats, less lovely cake.....  *sigh*...... So between the heart rate monitor and my conscience, maybe the numbers will begin to move again....once I've lost the numbers from the lovely cake..... *sigh*....

But I'm still not going to be able to resist when my son-in-law the Chef makes creamy, chocolately ice cream goodness. (It was sooo good! Thanks, Luis!)

Skimmer's recap: Maybe "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" but if you can, get a heart rate monitor. Eventually you'll quit mourning the death of those extra calories the equipment said you'd shed. Plus, you can semi-scientifically amuse yourself and wear it into a sauna.

4 comments:

Neil Dalby said...

I also turn to the sauna on days when I do not feel like moving my muscles for a workout. Hey, I guess we’re entitled to some procrastination once in a while! XD Just don’t make it a constant excuse ‘cos, seriously, your fitness regimen will still work best with physical effort enhanced by a sauna therapy. -->Neil Dalby

julia said...

Hi Neil! i read this ages ago and giggled a bit, but i see i never responded. What a drag, you and my trainer both tell me i actually have to do the physical work! Stinking reality! ;-D

Tracy said...

lol funny post. I'll be trying my HRM out at the sauna today!

julia said...

Tracy--it does help pass the time. ;-)