jawbone up24 vs. the polar heart rate monitor.

By far and away the question I get asked most is which I prefer, the Jawbone up24 or my Polar F4.  The real answer?  I love both and highly recommend them.

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Jawbone Up24

The Jawbone Up24 (so proudly displayed in black on my beautiful wrist.) was a gift I received over Christmas.  My boyfriend had gotten one a couple months before and was always bragging about the multitude of features it had, “look at this, it tracked my sleep”, “I’ve taken 1 trillion steps today”, “my Up told me to drink 8 glasses of water today, i’m chugging”, and I had been staring back at him with extreme jealousy.  It seemed like something I needed.  I am a metrics freak.  I love tracking everything.  That coupled with my consistently insatiable need to compete made the Jawbone Up24 my dream fitness tracker.  I wear it every single day.  I use it to:

  • Track daily number of steps (this is especially useful on days when I can’t get to the gym and want to make sure I’m still being active)
  • Track sleep (the graphics are amazing and I love seeing when I was in heavy sleep vs. light sleep and seeing how long it took me to fall asleep each night)
  • Wake me up gently (the alarm can be set so it will wake you up by vibrating your wrist when you are in your lightest sleep)
  • Tracking my food (calories aren’t important to me, but it gives you a food rating for how well you’ve done meeting nutrition goals)
  • Compete with my family from a far (everyone in my family has an Up, so I can see how many steps each one of them has taken and use that to motivate me to walk even more!)

The Jawbone Up24 was my gateway drug into fitness trackers and I love it, but there was one thing I really wanted to see that I knew I wouldn’t be able to with my sleek little band, my heart rate.

Polar F4

Now, there are fitness trackers that say they track your heart rate along with steps on your wrist, but those are no where near as accurate as heart rate monitors with the strap.  I had seen Polar watches popping up everywhere in the fitness world, so I knew I had to check it out.  They were pretty pricey on the website, but I got a very good deal on Amazon.

Using my heart rate monitor has changed my workouts exponentially.  It keeps me honest.  Ensures that I work as hard as I want to be working.  It was amazing how hard I thought I was working before compared to seeing the data right there.  I have learned to tailor my workouts in a more productive way, starting with Low Intensity Steady State cardio and moving to HIIT to round it all up.  Plus, there is no greater motivation than seeing that heart rate just climb and climb before your eyes.  Full disclosure though, recently, my heart rate monitor has been quite finicky.  My heart rate has registered as 00 multiple times, and as far as I know, I haven’t actually died so I’m just going to go with it’s a fluke for this one.  It may be a battery issue, but my watch is only 4 or so months old, so that’s a bummer.  Other than that, it’s a fantastic tool especially if you are a frequent gym goer and really want to make sure you’re challenging yourself.

Which should I choose?

I, personally, like having both trackers, but it’s not for everyone.  My advice is if you’re interested in looking at your fitness from a high level, go with the Jawbone Up24.  If you’re looking to dive in  to each workout individually, go with the Polar F4.  They’re both great tools and work well independently or together.  They can be a little pricey, but for me it has been worth every penny, every step, and every bead of sweat.

-sj

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