“We are the crazy ones”- Mio Global.
If you haven’t heard of them before, let me introduce you to Mio. Mio Global create simple wrist-based heart rate watches so you can track your fitness and recovery, their priority is making heart rate accessible to all athletes. Now, that’s my kind of crazy.
Meet my new fitness partner, the Mio Fuse.
The Fuse is Mio’s answer to an all-day activity tracker. It records steps, calories, distance, pace, heart rate and now with its latest update, I can even take my new partner to bed to monitor my sleep quality and duration.
Aesthetics: Does the Mio Fuse look good?
The Fuse watch comes in Small/Medium and Large, with Cobalt, Aqua or Crimson internal lining. As this is the part of the watch which sits against the wrist, its colour is barely noticeable, nevertheless, I opted for the Aqua which flashes for the occasional bit of attention when my wrist bends. 2016 has seen an influx of activity bands designed to blend in with your regular wrist wear and be unnoticed as any different to a normal watch. Who wants to be unnoticeable? This watch doesn’t blend in like a regular watch, it sits proudly on your wrist quite clearly as a fitness band, with its silicone strap. If your training with the Mio Fuse then you care about your performance, you want to monitor your heart rate with precision and accuracy to enhance your training; I don't think the fact the watch looks like a fitness band distracts from that, or even matters. In fact, I think it adds to its charm, it looks like what it's designed to do and people will be able to recognise you’re training with purpose.
The flat band design is easy to wear under long sleeves and hugs even a small wrist like mine comfortably. It features small circular holes to allow the skin to breathe, as well as adjust the size of the strap. This I found a particularly useful feature, as with 24/7 activity monitoring the bands set to be on your wrist for long intervals of time and reasonably tight for optimal heart-rate. The breathing holes mean you don't need to worry about removing your watch to unveil an angry heat rash, always a plus.
The screen is simple and easy to read, with a large red LED display which shoots the text left to right across the clock face and interactive touch points to the left, right and centre. The text is a little lairy and it will flash throughout your workout, which whilst great for catching your eye to check your heart rate at as little as a glance; does mean your eyes might not be the only pair able to clock your reading. Better up your game then, don't want anyone catching you slacking, do you?
As with most technological accessory purchases these days, the Fuse comes in minimal packaging with no instructions, instead, we’re saving trees and popping it all online instead. Inside the box is your watch and its charger, which attaches easily with a little magnetic USB clip. Once charged you are ready to start tracking with your phone. The battery charge lasts for about 6-7 days including an hours daily workout tracking. The Fuse connects your data using the Mio GO app, once downloaded you set up a profile, entering basic details such as age, gender, weight etc. to ensure the monitor is producing accurate feedback. After completing this easy setup, you need to connect your strap as a known device via Bluetooth. This is where I experienced some difficulties. I tried once, ‘no known devices’ were recognised. I tried again, still nothing. When I tried for the third time the watch teased me with ‘nearby’ (It was sat directly next to my phone), but still nothing. After a little research, it turns out the problem wasn’t the watch but the Bluetooth connection. It was my fault for being a gadget freak. At the time I was trying to set up the Fuse, my poor Bluetooth was working overtime, already connected to my wireless headphones, Fitbit, my sister’s car speakers and a Basis Peak I’d trialled months ago! After disconnecting some of these devices, I finally saw the awaited ‘connected’ message next to my know device. The moral of this tale and top tip for any activity tracker: Make sure you switch off any unnecessary Bluetooth connections to enable the band to be easily recognised.
Testing the Heart Rate
Now for the fun bit, playtime. When beginning training, the Mio Fuse asks you to enter its separate workout mode, to enhance the heart rates accuracy. Whilst this may seem a simple request, this has taken me a bit of getting used to. Pressing and holding the Fuse’s centre button will cause the watch to flash ‘FIND’ whilst it searches for your heart rate, give it a little wiggle up your wrist if it seems to be struggling. Once it's found your reading, another touch of the centre button will set ‘GO’ and you’re on your way. The difficulty I had was that the buttons are very sensitive and so I had to be careful not to start workouts by mistake. That being said, the buttons are designed so that they only activate when the watch is in a horizontal position to avoid accidental tracking, it just so happens when you're sat at a computer your wrist is also in a horizontal position; but my random minute workouts are getting less and less frequent, so I think that comes with practice.
Insert Mio Fuse Back Workout
Above is the first workout the Fuse and I completed together, it was a weights session, ‘Back and Biceps’ to be precise. My rep ranges are reasonably high between 8-12 repetitions, bouncing between hypertrophy and muscular endurance, meaning my heart rate should be reasonably steady and within Zone 3 for moderate activity. As you can see my average heart rate was 123 bpm, I’d usually get a reading of about 130bmp for the same routine from my Polar chest strap. The app then shows your entire performance breakdown:
Insert Mio Fuse Back Workout
The more detailed analysis is very interesting, there are clear rises in my heart rate as I run for my warm up and on that killer last set, where I give everything I have left before going into my cool down. The fact you can see the difference in the multiple components of my workout shows how quickly the heart rate monitoring is to adjust and keep up with changes in intensity. This feature offers good detail for athletes and gym-goers alike to analyse their performance and enhance their future training, enabling users to be consistently evolving and improving.
As I was still a little unsure of the heart rates accuracy here I decided to try partnering my Fuse with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
Metafit Mio Fuse Data
Above is a Metafit workout. This class is designed to push your body to the max, using lots of plyometrics and compound bodyweight exercises with swift changes and very little rest between intervals, lasting just 25 minutes. Usually, my Polar chest strap reads my heart rate about 175 bpm. As you can see my average heart rate is 143 bpm with a maximum of 179 bpm. The average heart-rate seems a little low, but when you look in detail at the time frame, it appears to be my warm-up which is dragging the average down.
Metafit Assasin Workout Data from Mio Fuse
As you can see, my heart rate sits firmly in Zone 4. Exactly where it should be in the ‘Hard Activity’ category. The Mio Fuse has done well here and met my expectations for performance feedback on this workout. As you can also see from these snapshots the app allows you to name your exercise. Mio GO suggests a list of activities you can scroll down and if your exercise isn’t listed, you can enter your own name under ‘other’. This is particularly useful for those who do a lot of training to quickly find workouts, it also enables easy comparisons of various workouts performances, by naming a particular routine you can easily jump back to previous weeks performances and see how you are improving.
Ever had a phone call interrupt your workout? Or needed a toilet trip mid-training? It happens and the Fuse is fully prepared with its pause button. You can pause your workouts at any time during your training with a light tap and hold of the centre button and then press and hold again when you're ready to continue. This is a great and very handy feature!
Overall, I have found with most wrist-based heart rate readings, that the readings drop slightly when compared to a chest strap, simply due to the nature of the monitor standing more of a chance at being effective when it's strapped right on top of the heart rather than down on a wrist. However with the Mio Fuse, all my heart rate zones are very accurate, the watch monitors the highs and lows of my training effectively and it is the most accurate heart rate readings I have seen from a wrist-based monitor thus far.
The Fuse also has another secret weapon to keep you pushing through your workout, it vibrates. The Fuse keeps you constantly aware of how hard you're working by vibrating as you travel through different training zones. These vibrations are accompanied by a coloured- coded flashing light. The colours of the lights match the colours of each of your training zones on the app, so you are constantly being reminded of how you’re doing. My reaction to this was admittedly, completely bipolar. During my first training session I found the vibrations off-putting, particularly as I was going for my big lifts, my heart rate would go up and so my wrist would buzz, leaving dumbbells precariously close to being dropped on my head or toes, far too risky for my liking. However during my HIIT workout, my reaction was completely the opposite. I loved being prompted by the band to push that little bit harder if my heart rate dropped and where the workout was bodyweight only, the bands encouragement was welcomed. The vibrations can be controlled from within the app, so I recommend switching them off during weight based exercise to avoid distractions, but use them as an encouraging tool during cardio or bodyweight workouts.
Is It Waterproof?
The Mio Fuse is water resistant to 30m. Whilst I am yet to take the watch for a swim, it was unphased by my shower and sweaty workouts. To see how the Fuse performed in the pool, read this review:
New Feature: Sleep Monitoring
Now there is another reason to look forward to my much needed beauty sleep. The latest Mio Go update allows you to analysis your sleep, vital for adequate recovery after training.The app lets you see the amount of time you spent in bed, the efficiency of your sleep, the percentage of which was light or deep sleep and your resting heart rate. The watch doesn’t automatically track your sleep, so you do have to put it to bed. Holding the side buttons prompts the watch to ask ‘Sleep?’, tap and the watch confirms ‘ZZZ’. That was easy, didn’t even need a bedtime story. When it’s time to wake up, press and hold once more and the Fuse asks ‘Wake?’, tap to agree and your day begins with a polite ‘Good morning’, how charming. This is what the sleep feedback looks like.
Mio Fuse Sleep Monitoring
As you can see I had an almost perfect night’s rest. The feedback on your resting heart rate can then be used to monitor your level of fitness, there are plenty of online charts to calculate how you're doing for you age and gender. Typically the lower the resting heart rate, the better, as it suggests the heart is getting bigger and stronger due to exercise and, therefore, it takes fewer beats to pump your blood around the body.
Mio Fuse Sleep Monitoring
It is recommended that adults achieve 7-9 hours sleep for optimal recovery and brain functioning. Although we can survive on less we give our muscles time to recover, repair and grow during our sleep, so being able to monitor how efficiently you’ve slept is a great training tool for any athlete, who can then adjust their training accordingly.
The Mio GO app itself is simple and easy to navigate around. The main page greets you with a dashboard highlighting all your daily activities from steps to workouts and sleep. With a simple touch of any of these activities you can unlock the full details of your performance. To sync new activities simply drag the screen down and the feed will update. The app was straightforward, uncomplicated and precise, with detailed and poignant feedback for both training and recovery, every measurement is given to help the user constantly and consistently improve.The app also connects with a list of other fitness apps, for those who prefer a less exclusive relationship with the watch than mine.
What did I think of my new partner overall? We Make a good team.
As an activity tracker the Mio Fuse has all the basics we’d expect and would be a good watch with these alone, but the addition of accurate heart rate tracking is a game changer. The Mio Fuse sets you up with the best training plan ever, listening to your body. If you do that, you really can’t go wrong. In addition, Mio are constantly updating their app and the watches features, so it’s sure to continue improving just as your training does.
The Mio Fuse will do just that, fuse with your life so that you won’t feel the need to take it off.