My inexpensive, $40 on sale, heart rate (HR) and calorie monitor gave up the ghost after three years. I’ve spent several hours reading dozens of reviews on dozens of units and I am totally impressed with the amazing new technology. Monitor choices and functions are almost ridiculous as are prices $30 to $300? I like the calorie function, because it helps me honestly track what I burn on a ride. I may think I burned 2,000 calories when in fact I burned only 600, so no, I do not need to consume a 1,000 calorie gooey bar half way through a ride or an extra helping of lasagna at dinner… I hate that calorie counter 🙂 It is also useful on extended events, centuries, in helping decide when to consume at least part of the gooey bar. As expected marketing is geared to young technology savvy folk, “… will turn the heads of everyone in the gym.” Oh yeah, that’s on the top of my list, macho gazpacho, as I recently read elsewhere, but that is another story. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Two deal breakers on my list. One, I will compromise, but I do not need to record four heart zones, altimeter readings, ten different lap counters, iPhone connectivity, three computer apps, V02 consumption, nor the ability to send workout results to everyone in the gym. Two, I really want to get rid of the chest strap and purchase a wrist-only monitor. One very clever HR unit has a pad receiver placed inside the bike helmet or running hat contacting the forehead. The Israeli army uses this technology.

Darn it, there is always a catch, necessity to contact skin. In the winter I wear the wrist monitor over my glove or sleeve, in summer ditto, long sleeves to limit sunscreen chemicals. Wrist only monitors need to skin contact to register arterial dilation, HR blood flow changes. Pulling up my sleeve to view the monitor is acceptable during my riding with one exception. A couple or three times a week when my body allows me to push intensity level for a maximum HR I very much prefer to keep both hands on the handlebars with only an expeditious glance to the wrist.

During my latest learning curve I come across a health professional that may be of interest to some of our group. Dr. Mercola is board-certified in family medicine, osteopathic physician a.k.a. DO. Osteopathic physicians practice a “whole person” approach, treating entire person focusing on preventive health care, developing attitudes and lifestyles. An American College of Nutrition (ACN) Fellow, his stated motivation is healthy as one can be, providing up-to-date natural health information and resources, and exposing corporate, government, and mass media hype that diverts away from what is best for health. Two example articles.

Women May Burn More Fat by Eating Before Exercise; Men by Eating After by Adam Collins, Ph.D. nutrition consultant and senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of Surrey… participants took part in three fitness classes a week (high-intensity training, Zumba and spin class). Women burned more fat overall than men, but women who consumed a carbohydrate drink prior to exercise burned up to 22 percent more. Men who consumed the carbohydrate drink after exercise burned up to 8 percent more fat. The discrepancy has to do with body’s preferred fuel source. Men have more muscle, where carbohydrates are stored, their preferred fuel. Women burn fat more readily to conserve carbohydrates.

Journal of Applied Physiology study, those who cycled for 40 minutes, alternating four-minute bursts at 90 percent effort with two minutes of rest, improved their cardiovascular fitness by 13 percent, and were able to burn 36 more fat during a later hour-long moderate cycling session.

As to my new HR purchase decision, currently I am stymied. Did you know stymie was originally a golf term where a player’s ball blocks the shot of another? I distract easily.

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