In college when I became serious about my fitness journey for the first time, I invested in a cute, bright pink Polar Heart Rate Monitor to help keep track not only of my heart rate but of how many calories I was burning during my workouts. It soon became my best friend, if not part of my body- I rarely took off my new accessory. It was a great feeling to be working hard in the gym and SEEING how hard I was working on my watch. I remember feeling so proud of myself the first time I saw the numbers reach over 1,000. That feeling of accomplishment was what I proceeded to strive for every time I stepped foot in the gym. In fact, my workouts started to revolve around my watch. If I wasn’t burning enough calories, I would work out until I reached the goal I had set for myself in my head. I was constantly looking down at my watch during the two hours I would spend training.
Years went by and I started to lift heavy (watch stayed on), I started to train for half-marathons (watch stayed on), and trained for a bikini competition (watch definitely stayed on). This past summer when I moved to San Diego, I bought a bike and having that as my main form of transportation, I realized how obsessed I had become with tracking my calories. I couldn’t swing one foot over my bike without starting that watch up. One day while getting ready for a long internship day, I decided to leave my watch home. I biked to work freely, jumped in a class at Fitness Quest 10, and even did my own training later on that day- all free of the watch. So what happened?? Did I die without it? Did my workout suck? Actually….it was the opposite. I had one of the best workouts I have had in a very long time, I was happier, and most importantly, I felt free. I was no longer depending on technology. I was focused on my workout instead of a silly number and honestly, I think I was able to get a better workout without it.
Since that very day, my watch has been sitting in my drawer of my nightstand. I am in the best shape of my life, the strongest I have ever been, and most importantly the happiest. Why should we depend on caloric burn to make us feel better about ourselves? If you’re smart about your training, your workouts will be beneficial to your goals. Technology is an amazing thing especially for the fitness industry as it continues to grow, however too much of a good thing can certainly turn into a bad thing. If you find yourself frequently depending on your heart rate monitor and can’t remember a workout without it- I challenge you to a “naked” workout. Ditch the watch on your next run, lift or whatever your choice of exercise may be. Just allow your body to move, embrace your strength & who knows, you may not ever turn back!
“Be stubborn about your goals, yet flexible about your methods.”