Friday, 14 May 2010

Have a Heart (monitor)

I started exercising / training / working out or whatever you want to call it regularly about 11 years ago in order to help me lose weight. You may have seen some of my previous posts on all the sport junk I keep in the cellar.

I have always been overweight and it seems like I have been on almost permanent reducing diets since I was about 11 (true)! I have always been relatively fit despite my weight being between 88 and 110 kilos at various times. I have not participated in conventional sport but I had always loved walking and other outdoor activities.

I used to be into activities like speleology and mountaineering when I was much younger (is speleology an outdoor pursuit?). There are stories about the fat caver stuck in holes all over England and others about the fat rock climber hung up on a rope while abseiling in nylon or perhaps the story of the fat mountaineer falling some 30m down a tree lined cliff covered in wet leaves and twigs and bouncing up with lunch held tightly in paw; that is how much food means to me. But I'll save those stories for another day so I can get back to today's diatribe on the battle against fat.

So whatever I tried, including not eating, drugs (I think that's what they were for), and worse (the Cambridge Diet) it didn't stop me putting on a ton as soon as I stopped (not literally). Of course experts who, because of some abnormal body function are all the very slim, tell us that we need to change our lifestyle. Unfortunately that lifestyle is the lifestyle of a rabbit, and more so, an undersexed rabbit like those in Wartership down perhaps all cabbage and no carnal. As someone who is quite attached a normal human lifestyle as opposed to drug accompanied sludge and lettuce as the only forms of nutrition I eventually turned to MORE exercise.

So as I said at the beginning when I was just over 40 I started regular exercise and I'm still doing it. I workout 4-5 times a week with a combination weights and aerobic (bike, treadmill & rower)
Carol thinks I'm addicted...... she might be right.

Since the beginning I have been using a HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) watch (a Polar Pacer) to make sure I train in the right heart rate limits for a good combination of strength and weight loss limits (if you don't know what I am talking about just try a search on Heart Training Zones).

This post was supposed to be about replacing my old HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) watch, which has been playing up, with a new HRM gizmo but I somehow got distracted, So to cut a long story short, after spending days of in-depth analysis of the options (I have the, sad, spreadsheet to prove it) I have a new HRM watch (a Polar RS300X - GPS) with a GPS pod (for "real" wallking & cycling) that allows me to synch. up to a cool web based training progress tool. You can actually use it without a Polar watch if you want to type everything in. I will probably talk about this thing a bit more later when I have used it for a few weeks.

So, what is the result of 11 years of almost continual training (bar a couple of extended gaps) with or without a HRM.

Just as fat
but much fitter and stronger.

My tumour (rather the treatments) wacked my strength big time but it has been creeping up again since I have been off meds. but I think it is starting to hit some age limitations now so I reckon its about as good as it will ever get for me.

So signing off now to attack the fridge for a midnight snack, er .... glass of water.

GEEK NOTE: Anybody interested in a first or replacement HRM but doesn't already have a bunch of polar compatible gear (like our treadmill, bike & rower) you might like to look at Garmin (built in GPS and tracking) or Suunto's Ant+ compatible watches, There maybe a new multi-device standard appearing here that can handle all sorts of devices (including fat measuring scales) BUT Polar's single device protocol is the old de-facto standard and their newer coded standard is backward compatible and ANT+ is actually owned by Garmin not to mention Polar has a new incompatible multi-device protocol called WIND. Given the watch prices compared to the compatible gym gear you might want to hold of for a bit or, at least, be careful that all your stuff will work together. Polar / ANT / WIND bridge devices anybody?