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Is a heart rate monitor needed to help my weight lose

DanieljephcottDanieljephcott Posts: 334
edited October 2016 in Health, fitness & training
Hello all,

for the last few weeks ive changed quite a lot, im now eating better and less and also exercising on my MTB.

I currently use myfitnesspal for the diet side of things but i also have this linked to my strava so it records my activity. Weight lose is going well so far in losing just over a stone.

I have a friend that keeps telling me that i need a fitbit type item in my life as it will really aid my weight lose and also using the HR monitoring for when im cycling.

So before spending any money I wanted to see if you can help me understand the HR thing and also if i really need it. I dont want to spend the money if its not going to be used but at the same time i wouldnt want to buy something useless so id be looking at the garmin vivosmart hr+ as it has gps which is £170.

The other issue im having, bit of a silly one is that i was recently 30 and treated myself to a dream watch. I dont want to ditch my lovely watch and wear a plastic thing all day so i would only wear this while exercising. Again will i benefit from this if im not using it all the time. My wife has a fit bit which reminds her to move around when shes been static, sounds great but id have to ditch my watch for evening outs only :(.

some advice would be great,

dan

Posts

  • I fear you're talking about two different things really.

    Firstly there's HR when you're cycling, which is useful from the perspective of pacing, knowing when you're going too hard vs too easy and riding accordingly - although there are many variables which make this a tricky proposition. This is typically done with a HR strap. e.g. Garmin HR strap, Wahoo Tickr.

    Then there's the likes of the fitbit which you wear all day and it measures your HR constantly during that time, for what purpose I don't know.

    Will it aid your weight loss? It seems you're doing fine as it is so probably not. HR is useful for cycling for many reasons but weight loss isn't really chief among them.
  • I fear you're talking about two different things really.

    Firstly there's HR when you're cycling, which is useful from the perspective of pacing, knowing when you're going too hard vs too easy and riding accordingly - although there are many variables which make this a tricky proposition. This is typically done with a HR strap. e.g. Garmin HR strap, Wahoo Tickr.

    Then there's the likes of the fitbit which you wear all day and it measures your HR constantly during that time, for what purpose I don't know.

    Will it aid your weight loss? It seems you're doing fine as it is so probably not. HR is useful for cycling for many reasons but weight loss isn't really chief among them.

    I think the part that im confused with is the zones. Making sure that im exercising at a point which maximises my fat burning which in turn aids my weight loss.

    I suppose thats my question, do i need to monitor my HR while riding and making sure i stick to a certain rate.

    If its not needed then im happy to continue as i go, i currently ride as hard as i feel is sustainable for the distance im doing. i dont push to hard as i know it will bite me near the end of the ride but again i dont take it to easy as i try to beat my previous time i set.
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,252
    Continue as you are. Forget the fat burning zones and all that guff, just keep track of what you're eating and riding regularly and, as you've already discovered, the weight will come off.

    Congrats on the stone gone already!
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,021
    Fitbit is a lifestyle tracker IME. I've got a surge from them. Worst mistake I made. Great for telling you that you had 2 hours deep sleep out of the 6 hours you were what you thought was being asleep.

    Then it'll measure your resting heart rate by what is actually a very good algorithm for that. It's not a bad tracker of well-being in that you've got a cold the rhr is higher than normal. Of course you know you've got a cold so not much advantage there.

    That leaves the heart rate monitor function. Supposedly it's more suitable for active use than many others in this lifestyle activity tracker with HRM. It's not though. It'll give you fat burning, cardio and peak training zones, these I think are based on percentage of a theoretical HRmax. You can change it I think.

    I've not used it for months now. Got it because it suddenly dropped from £200 to £150 something.

    Beware of Fitbit, their straps can cause a reaction that makes your skin look like it's been scalded by hot water. You're supposed to wear it for 24/7 activity tracking but if you do you'll get skin irritation like described above. It even comes with instructive not to wear all day, give your wrist a rest regularly. Indeed it warned of skin irritation. The instructions said to clean it regularly with a special cleaning product, wipe sweat off it and keep it dry. They withdrew a product due to irritation once before so now they warn you about it.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,021
    Get yourself a cheap hr strap to use with phone app. Or a cheaper hr sports watch that comes with strap and allows you to set your zones.

    These zones are basically standard bands based on percentage of your max heart rate, theoretical or measured. The higher the zone the more effort you're putting in. You want a low zone which is possibly a lot lower level of effort than you are actually doing now. A hrm may help you train better for your aims but not necessarily. Google rate of perceived effort or RPE and you'll get descriptions of effort levels with their signifiers. This will probably suit your needs.

    One more thing, I have read that going slower than you think you should on a ride may help you more. You will see good improvements in fitness and possibly weight by always trying to beat your last time on a route. However it may be that you are not in the right zone for getting the best level of fat burning effort. You don't need a hrm to rectify this RPE can help. A hrm is still useful as it can make it a little easier to stay in the right level of effort. Just get a sports centred one not a tracker.

    Good luck in achieving your goals. Success may well be more down to the goals you set than the tools used to get there (HRM, tracker, etc). You've made s very good start it seems.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,441
    Personally I wouldn't bother unless you intend racing or need to keep heart rate below a certain level. Your fitness app is plenty good enough for now, just use strava to track your improvements on trails you ride regularly.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    If your main objective is weight loss then that's 1000 times easier to achieve by controlling what you eat than by exercise alone. But doing both is even better. Congratulations on achieving the loss you've managed so far!

    I don't think you need gadgets to help you; if you only have an hour to exercise, you'll burn more calories by going as hard as you can for that hour than you will by trying to spend it in some mythical fat burning zone.

    Same applies if you have 3 hours to exercise, but obviously you'd be cycling at a lower intensity in order to pace yourself for the duration of the ride.

    I have nice watches with leather straps but don't wear them on the bike. If I need to know the time I have a phone in my jersey pocket. And the Garmin displays the time too. I'm not suggesting you need a Garmin BTW...
  • thank you for all the info, it does seem like its something im not needing.

    most of my exercise is an hour of cycling 3 days a week and then if i can some off road at cannock at the weekend which is normally around 2 hours.

    im certainly watching what im eating.

    i will stick to my strava and myfitnesspal, seems like its all i need for now.

    again thank you all for the confirmation of what i think i knew anyway :).

    keef66, my watch is certainly off when riding i would be devastated if i had fallen off and damaged it :)
  • Continue as you are. Forget the fat burning zones and all that guff, just keep track of what you're eating and riding regularly and, as you've already discovered, the weight will come off.

    Congrats on the stone gone already!


    Cant agree more !
  • doomanicdoomanic Posts: 238
    I've got a FitBit Charge HR and I do think it has been useful in my recent weight loss (26lbs since August) and increase in fitness. IMO, its main function has been to encourage me to get up off my fat censored and go for a walk. I left it at home this week and I feel a bit lost without it TBH.
  • doomanic wrote:
    I've got a FitBit Charge HR and I do think it has been useful in my recent weight loss (26lbs since August) and increase in fitness. IMO, its main function has been to encourage me to get up off my fat ars* and go for a walk. I left it at home this week and I feel a bit lost without it TBH.

    Same here, went from 86 to 75 kg between New Year and start of May from just avoiding alcohol and bread (my kryptonite) keeping a calorie deficit and walking at night (averaging 15000 steps or so). Then I started cycling and didn't really drop any weight, probably just added muscle.

    One thing I noticed was that the Fitbit HR charge really underestimated HR while cycling. A ride that registered 120 bpm on the Fitbit was closer to 165 bpm on a chest strap monitor (Wahoo Tikr). The Wahoo was much closer to my experience of the ride.
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