Good Monday morning to you all! I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend :)
We did the standard over here – relaxed, caught up with friends, visited with my family, meal prepped, and of course the RV show ;)
Well, I guess the RV show isn't typically on the wekeend schedule ;)
My parents are on the edge of retirement and have decided to make their way around North America for a few years in a fifth wheel! Pretty cool if you ask me. They’ve purchased all the big things that are vital to this type of lifestyle – a fifth wheel and a big diesel truck – so my dad took my sister, Mike, and I to the local RV show so we could see what model of trailer they bought.
You guys, their trailer is nicer than my condo. I’m talking big spacious kitchen/living room area, (fake) wood flooring, lots of cabinets and counter space, a super cool closet in the bedroom…I wouldn’t mind selling our place and taking off around the world in their trailer! As long as there’s a big enough bed and room for me to lay out a yoga mat, I’m down ;)
On Sunday, Mike and I headed to the university to partake in our usual 1pm run class, only to find out that the class had been rescheduled to 8am that morning…and we were never told! Instead of turning around and going home, we decided to conduct a little run class of our own – 1 mile warm up, 30 minutes of HIIT followed by a leg strength circuit (10 lunges each leg, 20 squats, 15 leg abductions each side, 50 second wall sit X 3).
I brought my trusty Polar M400 with me, as I usually do for run class
Which brings us to the meat of today’s post! Right around Christmas time, Polar sent me the M400 watch and heart rate monitor to try out in exchange for a review. I was pretty pumped to get this handy little thing because I’d never used a HR monitor in my workouts before. It’s probably not a bad idea since I tend to be on the high end of the HR scale and should keep an eye on it.
This particular model boasts awesome tracking functionalities:
- GPS (pace, distance, altitude)
- Personalized targets and HR zones
- 24/7 activity tracking (activity, calories, steps)
Plus, it all syncs up to the Polar Flow website so you can pour over your data like a crazy person (aka me).
Other goodies in the box besides the M400: the Polar H7 HR monitor and strap to pair with the M400 watch, a USB cable (to charge and sync the watch), and a quick start guide.
Set Up and Usability
Set-up was a BREEZE. The quick guide really helped me navigate through the set-up and how to change some of the settings once I got through to the main menu (ie: I’m a bad Canadian and like imperial vs metric). Pairing the two devices together was also super simple. There are some how-to videos available on the Polar website, but I didn’t feel like I needed any additional help! Everything was really well laid out and intuitive.
Since I’m a HR monitor newbie, I appreciated the instructions in the quick guide about getting the sensors a little bit wet and where on your chest to place the strap. I never once had an issue with locating my HR!
The watch’s menu is pretty easy to navigate once you’ve had about 5 minutes to play around with it:
- set all the standard watch settings (time, date, and turn button sounds on/off etc)
- set your physical settings (height, weight, age, sex, training type, etc)
- start recording a workout without having to go deep into the menu
- see your daily activity progress bar displayed in a percentage format and then drill down deeper (activity time, calories, and steps)
- see a history of your recorded workouts by date
- conduct a HR fitness test
- access timers (interval and finish time estimator)
Once you’ve started recording a workout, you can flip through a bunch of screens that give you the different types of data I mentioned above – GPS and HR tracking stats. You can pause the recording and then press and hold a button to save the workout.
Synching your workout to the Polar Flow website to go over all the data requires you to plug the watch into a computer with the USB cord or download the Polar Flow app to synch it through Bluetooth. I personally didn’t use the app – my phone is already overrun with apps! I need my storage space y’all!
I absolutely LOVED using this watch and HR monitor combo for workouts. I’m never been able to find my pulse so being able to track it through these devices was heaven sent for me. For my run class, I loved having the timer and lap functionalities to keep track of my workout progress. Plus, it gave you virtual trophies - all about that bling yo!
The GPS functionalities were pretty standard to other devices I’ve used, although I’m not sure how much more creative you can get with those type of stats! I liked having a screen that displayed all the important stats at once – HR, pace, distance, and time.
I also tried this HR + watch combo out during a Zumba class to what kind of stats I would have. My biggest pet peeve is people complaining that Zumba isn’t a workout, so I LOVED having the data to oppose that statement! Plus, the HR monitor never bothered me once during my class…even with all that twisting and popping!
Check out the Zumba burn!
The Polar Flow website allows you to dive deeper into the data.
This was my run class workout from yesterday. I love that you can see the breaks from the warm up to the HIIT to the leg strength portion!
Here’s a chart from the day I wore the monitor and watch to teach Zumba. You can clearly see the warm up, when I break to take water, and the cool down portion of the class.
The portion of the watch’s features that I didn’t take full advantage of? 24/7 activity tracking :(
I TRIED. I honestly did. I just couldn’t get on board with the big bulky watch on my wrist all day! I wore it for about half a day before I gave up and took it off my wrist. I LOVED having the big display for my workouts, but for my daily life? Not so much. It was annoying to have on with long sleeves and looked terrible with my non-workout outfits. I just couldn’t deal.
-loved the data available on the Polar Flow website
-super easy to use
-fantastic stat tracking for workouts and runs
-affordable in comparison to other sport watches of the same caliber ($259.99 for watch + HR monitor; $209.99 for the watch alone)
-big screen for displaying stats during a run or workout! Easy to read and see without having to stop your run
-way too bulky to be an activity tracker. I would LOVE to have an activity tracker since I’m an office worker. Getting reminders to move more and having the ability to track my steps would be awesome! I would also love a device to track stats for my runs and workouts. However, I don’t know if you can have the best of both worlds in one product. You need that big watch display for runs/workouts but it’s such a downside when used as an activity tracker device.
I had no cons for using the M400 for a running/workout watch – I loved it! I would 100% use this watch with the HR monitor for my workouts and run if I didn’t have to send it back :( This device definitely made me a HR monitor convert and a HR monitor has moved the top of my fitness tech wish list :)
Do you use any devices to track your workouts and/or activities?
What features are most important to you in an athletic device?