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The FT80 sports a feature called the STAR Training Program, which is dynamically created based on you. Before you start training you need to input some basic information such as age, weight, gender etc. You then need to run the FT80's fitness test - this only takes a few minutes and results in an estimate of your overall fitness level. From this information the STAR Training Program will be activated to suit you and the level of exercise you're planning to undertake.
The STAR Training Program will set you three training zones with 1 being the least intensive and 3 being the most intensive. Being aware of those training zones and what benefits each one offers is the key to positive training. When it comes to physical exercise, my problem has always been that I want to push myself to the limit at all times, and although this type of training will no doubt increase both my aerobic, and potentially my anaerobic fitness, I'm not getting the most from my exercise sessions.
For instance, if I wanted to primarily burn body fat when exercising (which I really need to do right now), I need to train at a far lower intensity, and that's where a heart rate monitor is simply invaluable. With the FT80 giving me a constant heart rate reading, and telling me what zone I'm currently training in, it's easy to make sure I'm not overdoing it. You'll also find that pretty much all cardio machines in gyms work flawlessly with Polar transmitters, so you can get an accurate reading of your beats per minute, rather than using the palm sensors on the machine that are pretty useless.
Talking of the transmitter, this is another area that has seen quite a few advancements over the years. My first Polar heart rate monitor came with a transmitter that wasn't particularly comfortable for extended periods, and also needed to be sent back to Polar whenever the battery died. The WearLink transmitter that came with my S720i was a far more comfortable affair with electrodes built into the strap meaning that you didn't need to have a solid contact between your skin and the transmitter. The latest version of the WearLink transmitter has moved the game on again - there are the same two electrode sections in the strap, but now the transmitter doesn't need to touch your skin at all. Also, the simple hook mechanism makes it easier than ever to put the transmitter on and take it off at the end of your workout.
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