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Fat Loss Monitors

Weight Loss Made Simple

How To Choose A Fitness Monitor

Want more efficient workouts? Fitness monitors are engineered to accomplish that goal. Far from being mere toys for the tech-obsessed, fitness monitors can help anyone get more out of exercise. Basic models simply track your distance or speed; advanced models can link detailed information to your computer for tracking and analysis.

Which monitor is right for you? Here's a general overview, but be aware that some of the technologies and category names may overlap or get used interchangeably.

Chronograph Watch

You may already own one. Chronograph watches can be as simple as a digital watch with a chronograph timer (a stopwatch). They are ruggedly built and offer some degree of water resistance. You may find them online described as "training watches" or "multifunction watches."

Best for: Running, walking, swimming and everyday use.

Pedometer

A pedometer counts your steps or motion and calculates it to miles (i.e., number of steps x step length = miles). It can be used to track a workout or tally the distance you walk during a day.

Best for: Walking and running.

Heart Rate Monitor

A heart rate monitor (HRM) measures a person's heart rate in real time. This information can be used to maintain your optimum training level during exercise. Most models include training-watch features as well.

There are 2 types of HRMs:

* A wireless chest-strap version that transmits signals to a wristwatch receiver. This is the most instantaneous and data-rich choice. It's also the most popular.
* A fingertip sensor has no straps to wear and looks like a wristwatch. You just press 1 or 2 buttons to view your heart rate. This is a more comfortable option, but offers less data, less convenience (you must press and hold to get a readout) and is a little less accurate than a sensor that touches your chest.

Best for: Running, cycling, gym workouts and walking.

Speed And Distance Monitor

These units measure how far and how fast you've trained during your workout, and they often (but not always) include a heart-rate monitor. They also provide training-watch features and most allow data to be downloaded to your computer. Specific models are aimed at runners or cyclists.

There are 2 types of speed and distance monitors (SDMs):

* A GPS-driven version (typified by Garmin's Forerunner series) provides accurate speed and distance information in a highly convenient, one-piece wristwatch unit.
* An accelerometer version uses a sensor, foot pod or bike hub to send the data to your wrist monitor. This is nearly as accurate as GPS-based models and usually less expensive. Some advanced accelerometer models include heart rate monitors and other features.

Best for: Running, cycling and walking.

Body Fat Monitor

As part of your exercise regimen, you may want to track your weight, body fat, blood pressure and/or oxygen saturation levels. These specialized monitors help you easily obtain that information.

Fat Loss Monitor with Scale: It's a scale with extras. In addition to measuring your weight, it measures your body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI).

Body Composition Monitor with Scale: This monitor has a handgrip and foot electrodes to provide information on both your upper and lower body. Using your height and age, it measures body fat percentage, BMI, skeletal muscle, visceral fat, resting metabolism and, of course, your weight.

Fat Loss Monitor: A hand-held monitor measures your body fat percentage and BMI.

Blood Pressure Monitor: This measures your blood pressure, takes your pulse and checks for irregular heartbeats. You can download the info to your PC computer for tracking.

Oximeter: This is most often a tool of high-altitude mountaineers but can also be used by hikers, skiers, bikers or anyone interested in measuring their oxygen saturation and pulse rate. Why? Oxygen saturation (levels) decrease at higher altitudes. Less oxygen in the air means less oxygen reaches your body tissues. This makes physical activity more difficult and increases your susceptibility to altitude sickness. An oximeter measures your blood's oxygen saturation level and helps alert you to the onset of altitude sickness. It fits on your finger, and it shows the percentage of oxygen saturation, pulse and pulse quality. Anyone who needs an oximeter for a medical condition should first consult his or her physician.

Altimeter Watches

While not truly fitness monitors, these "wrist altimeters" offer electronic functions popular with hikers and climbers headed to the high country. They include the functions of a basic chronographic watch—time, stopwatch, water resistance and alarm—plus an altimeter, barometer and, sometimes, a compass and ascent/descent data.

Best for: Hiking, climbing and skiing.

Please consult a physician before starting any diet program.

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