Wellness Wednesday: Follow Your Heart

Seeing as our heart is our most vital organ, it only makes sense to use it as a guide for our workouts. Today Mommy Chic fitness guru Cortney Taketa tells us exactly how and why to do exactly that. Thanks Cort, for the fitspiration. xx

For Christmas this year, my husband bought me a Fitbit Flex.  At first I was delighted at the thoughtfulness of his gift considering I am a fitness instructor, a self-labeled spin junkie.  Excitedly, I opened the box, set up my Fitbit online and downloaded the free app to my phone.  The only problem was that I had no idea what it actually did.  Once I read about the fitness tracker more I came to realize, much to my disappointment, that the Fitbit was not right for me.  It is more for someone who is beginning to embark on his or her newfound fitness routine.  So I took my cute Fitbit back to Best Buy and I decided to research a new fitness tracker that was better suited for my needs.  I broke down my findings into three easy categories for my mommy friends.

workout Mommies who need to get MOVING or like to go for a walk and talk:

Screen shot 2015-01-14 at 9.36.08 PM For those of you just starting your new lifestyle of fitness, congrats!  I am so proud of you and will be here to cheer you on every step of the way!  For basic accountability and tracking the Fitbit is PERFECT for you.  I like that their website and mobile app is user friendly. It also has a free online help chat line.

It easily tracks steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes and sleep.  Within your personal Dashboard you can also track your calories and food.  It even offers a manual workout log option for those times you hit the streets but forget to wear your wristband.

The one major drawback I found was the accuracy.  The wristband does not use a chest strap to monitor heart rate and instead, use pulse points on your wrist to determine “active minutes.”

A great alternative is the Timex Easy Trainer for around $50.


Serious about calorie burn, accuracy and target heart rates:

Screen shot 2015-01-14 at 10.01.51 PM For those of you that already exercise regularly and want to challenge yourself to push out of your comfort zone, you need a heart rate monitor with a chest strap and wristwatch. There are many popular options in this category: brands you might come across are Garmin and Polar. I have a hard time with complicated technology. I don’t want to be held up to a workout because I couldn’t figure out how to turn on my watch!

I found the Polar FT4 to fit most of my fitness needs and still be a reasonable price. It’s easy to use, read and most importantly, user friendly during a sweaty workout. I like the calorie tracker and “IN ZONE” screen. The only thing I don’t like about this little monitor is that it doesn’t have a GPS or mobile app. When I head out for my runs I still have to take my phone and use Map My Run for the GPS function. Otherwise, I am super happy with it!

The Suunto M4 is another great option.

Long distance runners and big spenders:

Screen shot 2015-01-14 at 10.18.47 PM Last but not least are the heart rate monitors with GPS.  These little beauties do it all – they track distance, time, rate, heart rate and calories.  Garmin is the leader in GPS devices.  The Forerunner 220 does it all:

>>GPS running watch with high-resolution color display
>>Tracks distance, pace and heart rate
>>Identifies personal records
>>Connected features: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking, social media sharing
>>Compatible with free training plans from Garmin Connect

At around $250 it is an investment.  I wasn’t ready to spend this kind of moola just yet.  However, one day I hope to upgrade (another step up is the Garmin Forerunner 610 for $350, yikes!).

After using my heart rate monitor for a week during spin class, I am 100% certain I work harder with it.  Just being able to keep my heart rate in or above my optimal zone pushes my body that much more.

Here’s to an even stronger 2015!


be healthy,


cortney Cortney Taketa is YAS spin instructor, and a fabulous mommy of three. For more fitness tips by Cortney, check out her other posts here.

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