Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS & Heart Rate MonitorPosted: January 17, 2013
When I bought the Nike FuelBand a while back, I was pretty excited about it. I thought it was really cool looking, and I was excited to track some of my daily activity. However, I quickly realized that despite the snazzy look of it, it really wasn’t worth the money to me. It didn’t give me some of the key information about my activity that I wanted, and I was not convinced of the accuracy of it’s tracking abilities. It might be great for someone just looking to log their daily steps, but I wanted more.
Somewhat reluctantly, I decided to make the smart decision and send it back so that I could put the money toward something more useful for my particular needs. I’ve wanted a watch to not only track my activity in the gym (calories, heart rate, etc.), but also to track my runs, and I scoured the internet in search of something that would work a little better for me.
I found it online at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and it had all the features I wanted in a watch. I struggled trying to find a heart rate monitor and GPS in one at a reasonable price, but this “bundle” was a serious steal.
The package included the watch, the heart rate monitor chest strap, and the USB cord and charger, so I couldn’t pass it up.
I was nervous about having to wear the chest strap, as I thought it would get really annoying, but I barely even notice it at all anymore. The battery stays charged, the data is easy to upload to my computer, and the watch is super easy to navigate. It has a stop watch, a timer, a light, a GPS tracking function, and the heart rate monitor, and all the screens are easy to get to and read.
When you plug it into your computer, you get all kinds of stats about each workout you’ve tracked, and you can name each workout so they are easily recognizable. Yesterday, I did this chest + biceps workout, plus 10 one-minute sprints (with some walking in between), and ended with some core exercises, and here’s what my workout summary looked like:
Had I been running outside and activated the GPS feature, that distance portion would’ve told me exactly how far I’d gone. Inside, you can turn the GPS feature off.
Another really cool feature of the watch is its ability to track my heart rate. I’ve been learning about using heart rates to monitor exercise training through my NASM studying, and it’s been really neat to be able to watch my HR go up and down while I work out. Without getting into too much of the technical details, there are zones involved in heart rate training, and I have really been focusing on keeping mine up and moving from one zone to the other to maximize the benefit of my workouts.
The zones are defined based on your max heart rate, which can be calculated most simply using the following formula: HRmax = (220-age) * Zone % You use the percentage numbers of the zone you want to be in to figure out what your heart rate should be. (Consult a fitness professional for more information specific to your particular needs.)
Since I’ve been training for a while now, I try to stay mostly within zones 2 and 3, dipping to zone 1 every now and then. The watch tracks the activity of my heart throughout my entire workout, giving me details after I upload to my computer. Here’s the activity from yesterday’s workout:
The watch also provides a graph of your heart rate as part of the output, which I’ve had a lot of fun analyzing after each of my workouts. I added labels to this one to show you which part of my workout is represented by each part of the graph.
As you can see, I really let my HR dip and rise while I completed the sprint intervals. Interval training is not only great for burning fat and increasing overall fitness, but it’s also great for strengthening your heart. And with your heart being arguably one of the most important parts of your body, it’s vital that it gets its exercise too!
Even though I haven’t been running outside as much lately, the watch can also do all kinds of cool things to track runs. This graph is from our snowshoeing adventure a couple weeks back, and shows changes in speed and elevation over the course of our hike.
There’s also a feature that tracks the actual map of your run/hike, which is really pretty cool.
There are so many options for watches out there, but I have really been impressed with this one so far. It does everything I want it to all in one little package, it was a reasonable price, and it’s small enough that it’s not annoying to wear. I have had a lot of fun learning more about heart rate training, and I really like being able to analyze all of my activity on the computer after my workouts. It was hard to return the FuelBand, but I know I definitely made the right decision!
Do you wear a watch while exercising?
Does it have heart rate monitoring or GPS capabilities?
Do you use your heart rate to monitor your activity levels?