Garmin 405 didn't come with a heart rate monitor strap, so besides the fact that I barely scratch the surface when it comes to the watch's abilities, I've also never tapped into heart-rate monitoring.
However, when "The Ukrainian" bought his Garmin 305, it was not only a bargain (Best Buy sale!), but it also came with the HRM attachment.
Fortunately the ANT+Sport technology it uses means it's also compatible with my relatively newer Garmin, but the battery had long run out, so we kind of just ignored it.... until now.
Not knowing how intense my Insanity workouts really were, I tracked them as "vigorous calisthenics" on MyFitnessPal (I should really get to doing a review on this app/site). However, by using a heart rate monitor, I discovered that this was robbing me some of the true burn for each workout. No wonder I've been hungry a lot... but then again, I was hungry a lot before Insanity and before tracking my intake and activity. =P
Before getting this set up, I had only used a heart rate monitor on two other occasions -- most recently when I tried personal training and also when I did a VO2MAX test. Otherwise, I'm kind of freaked out to know what my heart rate is... because then if I feel that my heart is about to leap out of my chest, I can see quantifiable proof of that. Plus, it's already enough for me to track miles (you can see I stopped counting from the counter at the bottom of this blog) and pace, so adding another set of numbers = overburdening an activity that's supposed to clear your mind.
On my first spin with the HRM, I did one of the Insanity workouts for 38 minutes and had an average heart rate of 157. Because I am still a stranger to this HRM on a Garmin, I had to plug in this information online because ol' Garmin was saying a big fat "0" for Calories Burned (perhaps I still need to figure this out). Thankfully, there are quite a few websites that calculate burn based on factors like gender, weight, etc., but I am using THIS one. Even more fortunately, I have my (few years old) VO2-Max number to plug in, but if not, there is a generic number you can plug in.
A workout that I previously thought burned 285 calories is now burning 387. What... the... eff. Not a lot, but it can add up over longer workout periods and over days and weeks. It's not my intention to underfuel myself, but it looks like this is what has been happening. At least I can adjust now... and if this means a little more food, I'm doing it willingly!
I'm still not sure how accurate this all is, but it's better information than what I had before, which was practically none. I still think burning 387 calories in 38 minutes is a little high -- higher than running -- but perhaps I should wear it out to my runs to verify this. I've seen the whole "135 lb woman burns 100 calories per mile" business, and I usually just estimate down from that. In the end, I know I don't need to be exact, but I don't want to be horribly off, either.
The downside is that the darned chest strap isn't really comfortable, and I'm finding that I have to adjust it once in a while. I can't imagine running with it for a long time. Not to mention all the hygiene issues -- I've been washing the fabric part of the strap and drying it and wiping down the plastic part each time. Also, the battery is always "ON," so I can imagine how long it might be until I need to buy another one.
Does anyone else use HRMs regularly? Any tips?