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Need HRM

Old 09-08-16, 10:42 AM
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Need HRM

I am a retired cancer survivor. I want to do some aerobic training over the winter in the hope of getting back on the bike. I'll be using a trainer.

I want a HRM, but I also want a watch that monitors your response to training. I am very susceptible to overtraining.

Some watches (like Suunto) use Firstbeat software that measures your response to training and tells you how much of a break you need. It also tells you what intensity you should train at next time. Some Polar watches have something that looks similar, but I am just going from what Polar says about the watch. All the other things, intervals, GPS, I don't care about any of them.

The watch I am currently looking at is the Polar M400, it got good reviews for being easy to use.

My upper limit to spend is about $250, but being retired, I'd prefer something cheaper. I am only interested in watches that have chest straps.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-08-16, 11:01 AM
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If you're not concerned about emulating speed and distance and don't care about cadence, your cheapest route would be a Wahoo TICKR ($49.99), or any other Bluetooth heart rate sensor, and their free Wahoo Fitness app for you cell phone. The app should give you the data that you are looking for. If not, there are many other cycling apps that will do what you are asking and most of them have a free, but limited function, edition. Since you are going to do this on a trainer, it really shouldn't matter that much as to whether the data collector is on your wrist, a table next to you or on the handlebars of the bike. If at a later date, you decide to go with the Polar M400, you don't need to buy their HRM sensor as the TICKR will work with it.
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Old 09-08-16, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post

Bluetooth
I don't have anything that is bluetooth. Thanks, but that's a direction I don't want to go.
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Old 09-08-16, 11:30 AM
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If you want a watch, just get a watch that either has ant+ or bluetooth, then get an HRM that is either ant+ or bluetooth.

For the most part, the watch can do a pretty good job at detecting your heart rate without the strap. If you like the Polar watch, I'd go for it. You can get it from Amazon for $130 and have it this afternoon if you're a prime member:
https://www.amazon.com/Polar-M400-Sm.../dp/B00NPZ7WNU
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Old 09-08-16, 11:33 AM
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If you have a smartphone that is newer than 3 years old, you have Bluetooth. You may want to look more closely to the Polar M400 because it uses Bluetooth to connect the watch to the heart rate monitor and also to a smartphone to pull the data from the watch so it can be displayed and analyzed on a phone, tablet or computer. Most other watch based smart training devices all use Bluetooth to connect to the HR sensor and smartphones. If you're adamant about not having Bluetooth, then look at some of the Garmin Fenix devices but I'm not sure if any of the Fenix watches are going to be within your price range.

Another route would be to look at the Sigma line of HRM watches. They don't use Bluetooth or Ant+ to connect to their HR straps, rather a proprietary radio signal. I used to have one and it worked great for several years. The drawback is that unless you get one of the very expensive ones, you can't pull the data off the watch for analysis.
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Old 09-08-16, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
I don't have anything that is bluetooth. Thanks, but that's a direction I don't want to go.
I would reconsider I have this setup and just about every cell phone made in the last 5 years has bluetooth built in. I can see my HR quickly and easily from my cell phone without having to take my hands off the bars or twist to look at a watch. Plus because I already have a cell phone I didn't have to spend any extra money on anything else.
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Old 09-08-16, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post

You may want to look more closely to the Polar M400 because it uses Bluetooth to connect the watch to the heart rate monitor and also to a smartphone to pull the data from the watch so it can be displayed and analyzed on a phone, tablet or computer.

Another route would be to look at the Sigma line of HRM watches.
That's too bad, except for the bluetooth, the M400 seemed like a good choice.

I'll look into Sigma, I've had a couple of their bike speedos over the years, I liked them.
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Old 09-08-16, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
Some watches (like Suunto) use Firstbeat software that measures your response to training and tells you how much of a break you need. It also tells you what intensity you should train at next time.
I have advanced Firstbeat software in my watch (Garmin Fenix 3 HR) and other software of theirs in my phone (Samsung Galaxy). The advice it gives you on how to train (in my phone, not in my watch) is worthless.

The "recovery advisor" which tells you how long to rest based on how stressful your training is to you is pretty good. It's not terribly precise, but always within the right ballpark.

But you mentioned these two features and then went off into left field. Are these important to you or not? If you're asking for recommendations, you should be more clear because that will get you better advice.

If you require those features, you can see what consumer devices they're in on Firstbeat's site, and you can also use Firstbeat's desktop software with data from any device, as long as you record R-R intervals.

https://www.firstbeat.com/en/consumer-products/
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Old 09-08-16, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post

you should be more clear..
I should, I definitely should, however I have no clarity to spare.

I find this confusing.
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Old 09-08-16, 03:09 PM
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If I understand, you want to things:
  1. A gadget that will measure your heart rate
  2. Something to interpret the data for you and give you some pointers
Mainly to avoid over-training, which you're prone to.

Is there anything important I'm missing?

What is it about the M400 that appeals to you? And why is Bluetooth a deal breaker?

We might be able to give you better advice with more info.
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Old 09-08-16, 03:27 PM
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Being able to analyze data in depth without a smart phone and bluetooth will probably be a challenge.
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Old 09-08-16, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post

Is there anything important I'm missing?

What is it about the M400 that appeals to you? And why is Bluetooth a deal breaker?

We might be able to give you better advice with more info.
That about covers it.

It got good ratings, I esp. liked the high rating for ease of use. I don't have bluetooth.

You know, maybe connectivity isn't that big a deal. I was hoping to store my sessions, but I could chart it using ancient technologies like cuneiform.

So that narrows it down to midprice watches that do 'recovery adviser' or something like it.

Something like the M5, perhaps.

Last edited by late; 09-08-16 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 09-08-16, 04:18 PM
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Why do you think "not having" Bluetooth is a problem?

A few years ago at work, they had a walking contest, winner gets money. So they gave everybody a device called a Fitbit to measure how far we walked. Its data is only available over Bluetooth. This was before everybody had a smartphone, so it came with a little "dongle" that you plug into the USB port in your computer - a Bluetooth receiver. If this was in your computer, the Fitbit would sync your data through your computer to a server on the internet. I know you have a computer. I don't know if you have a phone. I don't know how widely available those dongles are or if they're specific to the Fitbit or what. But there are cheap solutions that make BT a viable option. (Hell, I have a few of those dongles collecting dust on a shelf and I'll mail you one for free if you want it.)

Why do you want a watch? For this I mean. Supposing you could get a tablet (like an Amazon Kindle) and a Bluetooth chest strap, for much less than your budget, would that be acceptable? A lot of people set up a stand or handlebar mount with a phone or tablet and find it more convenient than looking at their wrist. Also unless your vision is stellar you'll probably appreciate the bigger screen. You're asking about a trainer, so everything will be stationary.

I'm not trying to talk you out of a watch, in fact I love having one. I'm trying to get you to share your reasoning. It's an exercise to help narrow it down to what you want.
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Old 09-08-16, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
I am a retired cancer survivor. I want to do some aerobic training over the winter in the hope of getting back on the bike. I'll be using a trainer.
Also, are you on any medications that affect your heart? (I ask because if you are, that fancy Firstbeat software won't be very useful.)
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Old 09-08-16, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post

Why do you think "not having" Bluetooth is a problem?

A few years ago at work, they had a walking contest, winner gets money. So they gave everybody a device called a Fitbit to measure how far we walked. Its data is only available over Bluetooth. This was before everybody had a smartphone, so it came with a little "dongle" that you plug into the USB port in your computer - a Bluetooth receiver. If this was in your computer, the Fitbit would sync your data through your computer to a server on the internet. I know you have a computer. I don't know if you have a phone. I don't know how widely available those dongles are or if they're specific to the Fitbit or what. But there are cheap solutions that make BT a viable option. (Hell, I have a few of those dongles collecting dust on a shelf and I'll mail you one for free if you want it.)

Why do you want a watch? For this I mean. Supposing you could get a tablet (like an Amazon Kindle) and a Bluetooth chest strap, for much less than your budget, would that be acceptable? A lot of people set up a stand or handlebar mount with a phone or tablet and find it more convenient than looking at their wrist. Also unless your vision is stellar you'll probably appreciate the bigger screen. You're asking about a trainer, so everything will be stationary.

I'm not trying to talk you out of a watch, in fact I love having one. I'm trying to get you to share your reasoning. It's an exercise to help narrow it down to what you want.
I suppose I could get a dongle. I like the idea of a usb connection, I think Suunto used to sell a docking thingy to use to connect to a computer.

I am going to do aerobic exercise, need a HRM. You'd be amazed how easy it is, and how many ways there are, to blow me out of an exercise routine.

Sorry, but I just want a watch.

Ever see a Suunto M5?
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Old 09-08-16, 05:27 PM
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All GPS watches will have a USB connection, because that's how their batteries are charged. I'm pretty sure they can all be used for data transfer and not just for juice.

Are you going to wear the watch on your wrist or mount it on the handlebars?

I don't know anything about the M5. The only Suunto I've ever used was the Core, their altimeter watch. It did nothing you wanted, but it was very good at everything it did, and very useful on the trail. I know their Ambit series is pretty well respected. It's also too complicated for my taste - do you want the sport model, the peak, or what? Their new Spartan Ultra looks interesting but at this point it's a very expensive beta product with few real features.
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Old 09-08-16, 05:29 PM
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Another thought, late.

You should buy whatever you get from LL Bean or REI or Backcountry.com or some other store with a generous return policy.
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Old 09-08-16, 06:26 PM
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I bought one of these a couple of years ago when I tried running (ick) - it comes with an ant+ usb dongle and anytime you come within 10' of the laptop it pretty much updates Garmin Connect automatically. It doesn't have the fancy heartbeat alert though.

https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Foreru.../dp/B0025VKUPM
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