• Moov HR Sweat Review

    Moov HR

    Get ready, it’s time to Moov.

    Remember that little voice in your head which tells you to keep going during or workout, or reasons with you to give in? Now Moov HR is here to act like your conscience, with artificial intelligence persuading you to push harder and get the best from every workout.

    Moov HR is your very own artificial intelligence powered PT, which keeps you updated on how hard you're working throughout your workout via a heart rate monitor in a headband.

    Heart rate in a head band? We’ve heard of chest straps, wrist watches and even in-ear heart rate, but in a head band is a new one!

    What is HIIT?

    HIIT has become somewhat of a buzzword in the industry and I’m sure you must have heard of it. High-intensity interval training has taken the fitness world by storm and with good reason. HIIT has been scientifically designed to burn more fat in less time by having you give an all-out blast of effort followed by a short rest interval and then repeating intense bursts of effort to keep you heart rate high.

    According to the Journal of Sport Sciences, this will cause your body to increase the calorie burn by up to 15 percent for as long as 30 hours post workout.

    HIIT Moov Workouts

    How effective is HIIT?

    HIIT is most effective when you listen to your heart rate, and no I don’t mean listening out for that pounding in your chest. I mean using an accurate monitor to ensure you’re getting the best from your workout. For most people, this will involve wearing a strap, which can often be difficult to pick up real-time data from, as either you review the data post workout, or you’re constantly having to look at a screen to see how you’re doing whilst trying to keep up the intensity of your exercise.

    The Moov HR sweat is designed to give real-time coaching as you follow MOOV's very own HIIT workouts, to ensure you get maximum results.

    Moov Heart rate headband

    Moov HR HIIT Workout Review

    Setting up the Moov HR is really easy, you simply charge the sensor itself for around two hours and then insert it into the pouch in the sweatband.

    Wearing the headband was daunting and I did feel self conscious, where the heart rate monitor causes the headband to stick out, I did feel like Mr Bump and having a pea head doesn’t help keep the band discreet- it covered half my face and did get a lot of attention.

    Appearance and fit of the band : 5/10 - As this is a test product it’s likely that the sweat band will come in better sizing for males and females which can be more discreet and a better fit for female users.

    The Moov HR works by tutoring you through a choice of 5 HIIT workouts, pictured below.

    Moov Workout Selection

    Moov workouts

    From the app you can view the exercises in each of these workouts which is worth doing so you’re familiar before your coach starts bossing you around.

    In order to test the heart rate accuracy of the band, I wore my Wahoo TICKR X, which is reviewed here, this strap has the most accurate reading of all the monitors I have used (and there’s been plenty).

    The head-based heart rate is easy to pick up and takes about 20 seconds with minor adjustments of the headband and the reading matched that of the Wahoo Tickr X.

    The workouts are simple and guide you through a warm up before entering into the workout itself.The electronic voice of your coach is a little weird when it first starts shouting at you through your headphones, but you soon get used to it. The coach is great as you move through the exercises, keeping you posted on your heart rate so that you can make sure you're putting in enough effort to get results.

    Whilst at the moment there are only a few different workouts, I’m sure once the app develops there will be more, making this a far more useful tool.

    Moov Lifestyle

    Moov HR Running

    The Moov app is a great tool to use to accompany a run. I found that it was less embarrassing training in the headband, as it’s more of a familiar sight to see a headband being worn on a run, plus you’re never by one person for more than a few moments' glance.

    The run feature can be set up for indoors or outdoors, as I mentioned I wore the band outdoors and I found it great to know whether I needed to up the speed thanks to my in-ear Moov coach.

    The running workout can also be set up and customised for high intensity intervals which is great for burning extra calories and making the most of heart rate training.

    Moov Running

    Moov HR Heart Rate Accuracy

    The heart rate on the Moov is great for those who struggle wearing a chest strap, it’s easy to put on and take off in public and has far superior accuracy to a wrist based watch, you can read our reviews on heart rate watches here.

    To test the heart rate accuracy I compared the headband with the Tickr X and whilst it did remain accurate most of the time, I did experience a few technical difficulties.

    1.As you move throughout the workout naturally the headband slips which can cause you to lose connection.

    2.The headband makes you really hot, but if you mop your brow, you risk interfering with your heart rate. At one point I even became to sweaty to get a reading.

    This aside, it is a great monitor, simple to set up with accurate readings.

    Moov Heart rate Screens

    Moov HR: Overall verdict

    Overall I love the idea of a heart rate headband, and the personal coach, though odd at first, you will grow to love.

    I struggled with the material of the band and size and do feel it needs to be made in varying sizes and a better sweat wicking material - this may well come in future developments of the band.

    I would recommend this to those who are running outdoors or training alone and need extra motivation to stay on track.
    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Caffeine and Sleep: Garmin Fenix 3 Sleep Tracking

    Man Taking A Caffeine Nap At His Desk With Coffee In Hand

    After listening to a Stuff You Should Know podcast, I thought I would try a change in my caffeine habits. 

    For sleep tracking, I currently use a Garmin Fenix 3. The Garmin Fenix 3 is a sports watch and activity tracker that does everything you need and more. From dedicated triathlon training to running, step counting, and of course for this test sleep tracking. A recent update from Garmin means you do not need to tell the watch when you go to sleep. It knows! 

    What's required for this test?

    Garmin Fenix 3

    Garmin Fenix 3

    Less Coffee

    And a lot less coffee

    Caffeine Before Sleep

    It takes a regular coffee or tea drinker to know just how tough it is to cut back on the caffeine intake. I thought it would be hard but it was surprisingly easy for me. So why the test? On the podcast, they reminded me that caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours, which means that after 6 hours you still have 50% of the effect in your system. So if you have a caffeinated drink at 3pm and one at 5pm then this is essentially the same as having a full coffee at around 10pm. You may fall asleep with no problems, but your deep sleep will be affected. 

    From Garmin you get a breakdown of deep and light sleep. Plus awake time, so in theory seeing if a 2 week test will make any difference will be fairly easy to measure. 

    Is Caffeine Affecting Your Sleep?

    From my reading on the NHS and various other reputable sites, caffeine may affect your sleep, but not for everyone as everyone's body treats caffeine differently. My results from Garmin in the two weeks leading up to the test were as follows:

    Date Deep Sleep Light Sleep % of Deep Sleep
    1/5/2016 2:40:00 5:08:00 34.19%
    1/6/2016 3:03:00 4:17:00 41.59%
    1/7/2016 2:33:00 4:43:00 35.09%
    1/8/2016 3:28:00 4:16:00 44.83%
    1/9/2016 3:19:00 3:32:00 48.42%
    1/10/2016 4:22:00 6:12:00 41.32%
    1/11/2016 2:33:00 5:21:00 32.28%
    1/12/2016 2:44:00 5:32:00 33.06%
    1/13/2016 2:39:00 5:36:00 32.12%
    1/14/2016 2:26:00 5:20:00 31.33%
    1/15/2016 2:05:00 5:57:00 25.93%
    1/16/2016 3:34:00 5:14:00 40.53%
    1/17/2016 2:38:00 5:26:00 32.64%
    1/18/2016 2:59:00 4:31:00 39.78%
    1/19/2016 2:37:00 4:39:00 36.01%
          36.61%

    The test kicked off with the following rules. Going from 10+ cups of tea and coffee per day up until about 5pm to just one in the morning first thing. No other caffeine. Without other people to compare my stats to, I am just looking for a blame why my deep sleep is just a little over half (but very broken up through the night). 

    So bring on two weeks of sleep tracking with just one cup in the morning.

    Date Deep Sleep Light Sleep % of Deep Sleep
    1/20/2016 2:30:00 4:51:00 34.01%
    1/21/2016 3:35:00 4:42:00 43.26%
    1/22/2016 2:41:00 5:46:00 31.76%
    1/23/2016 3:02:00 4:45:00 38.97%
    1/24/2016 2:31:00 5:10:00 32.75%
    1/25/2016 2:10:00 3:39:00 37.25%
    1/26/2016 2:47:00 5:14:00 34.72%
    1/27/2016 2:26:00 4:50:00 33.49%
    1/28/2016 4:12:00 3:47:00 52.61%
    1/29/2016 2:10:00 5:01:00 30.16%
    1/30/2016 3:14:00 3:50:00 45.75%
    1/31/2016 2:51:00 6:19:00 31.09%
    2/1/2016 2:05:00 5:28:00 27.59%
    2/2/2016 2:11:00 4:01:00 35.22%
          36.33%

    Conclusion.... No change at all! Well at least for me there is no change. 36% of my sleep is deep sleep (according to my trusted Garmin Fenix 3)

    Sleep Data from the Garmin Fenix 3

    From the Garmin Fenix 3 via your phone or their Garmin Connect online account you let the watch know your typical sleep times (most of us have some sort of routine) and the watch will record your sleep.

    Sleep Movement Garmin Fenix 3

    The graph above is the movement during sleep. Garmin will interpret this data into deep and light sleep and that looks like the following.

    Garmin Fenix 3 Light and Deep Sleep Comparison

    Typically activity trackers that monitor your sleep will flag up just how little sleep you have. Read up on sleep and how much you should get. Then you will realise it is important and the deep sleep is what counts. In the chart above deep sleep is represented by the dark navy bars and the light sleep the light blue. Pink is awake time.

    Posted by Daniel Puddick
  • Wahoo Tickr X Review

    Wahoo Tickr X Review

    Take almost any workout and any metric and this heart rate strap will find it. Wahoo!

    As a Personal trainer with a good few years of training under my belt, it’s safe to say I’ve used many a heart rate monitor, from chest straps to arm bands, wrist watches to pulse checks via your finger and your mobile phone. I’ve tried the lot.

    This is the best heart rate monitor, I have ever used.

    Is it perfect?

    Let me tell you, it comes pretty darn close.

    Wahoo Tickr X Features

    At a glance the Wahoo Tickr X features:

    Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor

    Dual band Technology - Thanks to its Bluetooth heart rate monitor, the heart rate strap can signal to two devices at once, ie. your watch and your mobile phone.

    Heart Rate Monitor App

    Real time heart rate and calorie tracking - I prop my phone up and have the Wahoo app on display throughout my training, where you can clearly see all your top metrics including speed, calories and heart beat meter. Plus, an added bonus for fellow four eyes...it’s clear enough that you can see your scores whilst training without glasses!

    Device Free Heart Rate Tracking

    Internal Memory - As soon as you snap the strap to the monitor and it finds a heart rate, the tracker will start recording, meaning you can leave you phone at home, head out for a run and then download your data to your phone later.

    Heart Rate Strap with Running Analytics

    This is so unique for a heart rate strap, usually you would need a foot pod but this strap does it all. Monitor your cadence, smoothness, left-right, up-down, forward-backward, ground contact and oscillation, along with classic speed, distance and pace.

    Cycling Data 

    Indoor cycling Wahoo cadence - With separate workout screens for indoor cycle and even spinning; RPM, speed and heart rate on one screen.

    Third Party App Compatibility

    Wahoo itself has multiple fitness apps (more details later) plus the strap is compatible with all the main fitness apps, from Strava to MyFitnessPal.

    Visible Heart Rate Connection and Alerts

    The moment you strap the Tickr X strap together, it flashes to show it has made a heart rate connection. The computer can then be set to alert you with small vibrations for milestones such as distance travelled or laps completed. The main computer can also be used as a remote to control your other devices with its tap feature, allowing you to skip tracks or other features such as begin a lap or pause a workout (the action this command creates is set up in the app and can be different for each workout setting). Alerts play via headphones or speaker as you hit milestones and will tell you your average heart rate, pace and distance.

    Heart Rate Tracking in Treadmill Mode

    The Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor has a designated workout setting for training indoors on the treadmill - so your hard work still counts. You can track your speed and distance just as accurately as if you were outdoors.

    Running Smoothness

    This heart rate monitor takes in far more than just your heartbeat, using a combined measure of body motion and impact shock in 3 directions.

    GPS

    Take the heart rate monitor out for a run or ride and review your route on the app with GPS for precise location and distance feedback.

    Wahoo Tickr Heart rate Strap

    Wahoo Tickr X Setup

    Setting up the device is simple either partner the strap with your regular fitness watch for heart rate readings direct to your watch or for the full user experience download the Wahoo Fitness App. The Tickr X is also compatible with Wahoo apps Runfit and 7 minute workout, but the Fitness app is the Wahoo hub. Here after entering details such as age, weight and height your user is set up and you’re ready to go.

    Selecting and creating a workout

    Once you’re ready to go the Wahoo Fitness app already has pre-programmed workout modes:

    • Running
    • Treadmill
    • Cycling
    • Indoor Bike
    • Spin Class
    • Gym

    You can then add your own workouts - for example, I’ve added Metafit and Workout DVD.

    Starting a Workout with The Tickr X Heart Rate Strap

    Once you’re ready to start a workout with the accompanying app, you simply strap together the monitor across your chest and press go, a woman with a bizarre accent - let's call her Miss Wahoo, will count you in 3,2,1 (always embarrassing when you’re at the gym and this comes out on speaker making it look like you count yourself in) and then you’re away.

    Whilst training with the app you can scroll through numerous pages of statistics, I like to have the heart rate screen up throughout training (if I’m not running) to ensure I stay in the right zones throughout my workout. You can’t lie to your heart rate. You can also scroll through the app to skip through music, meaning you don't have to multitask through multiple apps. Simple.

    Heart Rate Monitoring during Running

    9 times out of 10, this heart rate strap was spot on, however setting up the strap correctly is essential. I’ve had two blips with the watch thus far: 1) Taking too deep a breath and pinging the strap off (which I clearly hadn’t fitted correctly anyway) and then flashing half the local neighbourhood mid run as I tried to lift my top up to do it back up - not wanting to miss tracking any valuable data of course! 2) Leaving the tap setting as skip track, meaning when I’m running and there’s a bit of bounce with the old bust, I’m skipping tracks every other footstep and my playlist sounds more like a stuck old record than my motivational playlist that gets me bouncing off the walls.

    When the watch does work, it’s great, super effective and every mile or kilometre depending on your preference your overall time, pace and average heart rate are stated by Miss Wahoo, like your very own robotic PT. This is really useful as it means when running with a phone, you don’t need to keep unlocking the device to view your stats, just wait for Miss Wahoo to keep you updated.

    Wahoo Tickr X Heart Rate

    Stand Alone Heart Rate Monitoring

    Forgot your phone? Hate running with a device? No problem. This monitor works all by itself. Once the heart rate strap is clipped together, flashing lights signal it is recording and that’s all you need to do. When your workout is finished you can unclip the device and download the workout to the app the next time you have your phone and heart rate monitor strap together to view detailed feedback.

    Wahoo Tickr X Heart Rate Accuracy

    I’ve now worn this strap for multiple types of workout, from HIIT to kettlebells, battle ropes to running, spinning to boxing. Throughout all these workouts the strap has kept up well 95% of the time. When compared with the Mio Fuse, the heart rate picks up and drops far more in line with real-time, allowing more accurate data. It is also paired with my Wahoo Balance scales meaning that I can get the most precise data feedback, as my profile updates every time I weigh myself. The only difficulties I have with this strap and in fact, all heart rate straps, is when it comes to chest exercises, as the strap often inevitably loses connectivity, this is the nature of where you wear the device, so I don’t feel it’s a deal breaker.

    Wahoo Heart Rate App

    Wahoo Tickr X Speed

    The Wahoo X also has the ability to monitor your speed during indoor workouts such as spin, indoor cycle and on a treadmill. Whilst during spin, I found the strap and bike corresponded exactly on my speed, the treadmill would often think I wasn’t even moving - even i’m not that slow! It was an odd anomaly for the heart rate monitor, as with all other speed monitoring and outdoor running, it has been spot on.

    Additional Wahoo Tickr X Features:

    Double Tap Feature

    The double tap feature allows you to control multiple aspects of your workout, from starting a new lap, to adding a bolt into your workout, or my personal favourite - skipping a track. A simple double tap to the chest and the strap skips you to the next track on your playlist, meaning you can have all your best tunes, without having to stop training to skip through them.

    Resting Heart Rate

    For those who want the most accurate readings, the watch can do a test on your resting heart rate. From this it can then deliver your specific workout intensity targets for each heart rate zone - rather than using your age as a guideline. I found this feature useful - although the app does not explain that the best time of day to do this is when you wake up - prior to any caffeine, so you get the most fair and accurate reading.

    Wahoo Running Smoothness

    The Wahoo running smoothness feature is a revolution in heart rate straps, as normally you would need to wear a foot pod or additional device to monitor stride and technique. After a running session the smoothness graph details your minimum, maximum and average smoothness, your left-right, right-left and up-down smoothness, ground contact and oscillation. This wide array of feedback is great for those training towards running goals such as a marathon or even triathlon and Ironman. Whilst this detail and level of feedback is fantastic, I do feel Wahoo has missed a trick in not detailing how you can fix area’s of issue to improve your score, rather than adjust your technique and see how you go, I’d like to be told what a poor left-right score means and how this can be developed.

    Wahoo History

    When you open the app you are presented with a four week summary of your training history, but the app also stores all your workouts in it’s history, so it is easy to review your progress as the weeks go by.

    Wahoo 7 minute Workout

    This little app sets you 7 minute challenges and tracks your reps as well. It’s a great tool for upping your daily burn without having to take a chunk out of your day, or even worry about counting reps!

    Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor Review

    Overall, this is so much more than a heart rate monitor, it’s a fitness monitor and delivers so much feedback which can be used to adjust and improve your workouts, whatever they may be. It’s simple, easy to get along with and provides accurate feedback.

    This brand is aptly named, because you’ll be shouting WAHOO I’m so happy I found this heart rate monitor …

    Brilliant.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Garmin Vivosmart HR Heart Rate Review

    It’s no secret that I love heart rate training. In fact, I'm pretty sure my heart rate rocketed when I read Garmin’s press release revealing their two new activity trackers with wrist based heart rate. I’ve been itching to get my hands on one since.

    The Vivosmart HR is the latest upgrade to the Garmin fitness tracker family, taking all the features of previous models and adding heart rate, floors climbed and minutes of intensity. Of the three, heart rate takes first place in the race to review, so let’s see how it held up.

    Garmin Vivosmart testing the Heart Rate

    How accurate is the Heart rate on Vivosmart HR?

    At Rest (Heart Rate Accuracy)

    The heart rate on the Vivosmart HR is 24/7, meaning you can scroll through your notifications to view your heartbeat live, at any time of day, or night…If you’re crazy enough to be awake. The heart rate screen displays your current heart rate, followed by your average resting heart rate. When it comes to accuracy here, I’ve found this to be fairly spot on, when I'm sat typing away at my desk (like now) my heart rates reading at 67 BPM, higher than resting but it’s pretty obvious I'm sat down. At rest, the vivosmart does well at tracking my heart rate and updates regularly, however whilst this is intriguing, it’s my active heart rate that I'm really interested in.

    Garmin Vivosmart Heart Rate Monitoring

    During Exercise (Heart Rate Accuracy)

    The first workout I decided to test the Vivosmart HR with was legs. This is one tough routine, combining heavy lifts with plyometrics, keeping the heart rate high throughout with short rest intervals. The workout was set to be a challenge for both me and the watch, to see if it could respond quickly to the varying intensity and challenge my legs not to buckle beneath me! Before we look at the results, I compared with the Mio Fuse (see review here), I’ve been wearing this watch for some time now and have found it has the most accurate wrist-based heart rate of any of the watches I’ve reviewed.

    Garmin Vivosmart Watch Lights for Heart Rate

    Below is the feedback from the Vivosmart HR:

    Feedback from the Vivosmart HR

    Heart rate view Vivosmart HR

    Firstly, I started my warm up with a heart rate of 119 according to the Vivoactive, this was high. Worryingly high when I'm only walking. Fortunately the Fuse was there to keep me sane and show a more accurate 90bpm. As I continued to dive into my warm up, rather oddly the Vivosmart seemed to jump back down, quite the opposite as to what was happening.

    Looking through the rest of the routine, the heart rate seems to remain, as a whole, fairly accurate. You can clearly see the peak where I’ve finished with a Tabata before coming into my cool down, and my heart rate remains fairly high throughout the bulk of the session. The Vivosmart and I shared a few odd moments throughout the workout, with me giving it the “WHAT?!” look after feeling like my heart's in my throat only for the Vivosmart to be telling my it’s around 130bpm, but then it would rocket up to 160 bpm again and our friendship would be restored.

    When you compare the overall results with the Fuse, the average and the max aren't that far off, however throughout the workout, the Fuse kept up where the Vivosmart lagged behind. Sometimes, the Vivosmart had a mind of its own.

    Heart rate view Mio Fuse
    Heart rate view Mio Fuse

    Last 4 Hours:

    Along with the live feedback on the watch and graphs on the app, at any point throughout the day you can scroll to a graph of your heart rates last four hours of activity, which details a graph and your lowest and highest heart rate score in that timeframe. This is a cool tool, however it’s not very specific as there are no numerical details to the graph, just it’s shape.

    Garmin Vivosmart HR Pro’s +

    • The continuous and resting heart rate is accurate (for the most part).
    • The 4 hour window is an easy to view feature to see if you’ve been varying your heart rate enough (and something I’ve only found on Garmin watches).
    • Having heart rate at your wrist makes it easy to press go at any given opportunity without needing to wear any extra equipment.
    • The Vivosmart HR broadcast heart rate via ANT+ but will NOT connect to other ANT+ sensors to read data.

    Garmin Vivosmart HR Con’s -

    • During training, the heart rate on the Vivosmart can be sporadic.
    • The HR it sends via ANT+ seems to be fairly accurate for light sports’ usage. (Which really means it's inaccurate for anything more).
    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Garmin Forerunner 235 Running Watch Review

    Garmin Forerunner 235 Running Watch Heart Rate Monitor Review Sundried

    The Garmin Forerunner 235 is a very smart watch which can calculate your VO2 Max from its wrist-based heart rate monitor and can predict race times based on your training progress.

    Sleep Tracking with the Garmin Forerunner 235

    Historically, fitness trackers have some trouble telling when you're actually asleep. Naturally, there is a period of time between arming your watch and actually falling asleep, and for some, this may be quite a long time. However, the Garmin Forerunner 235 is smart enough to know when you fall asleep so you don't need to tell it! In the software when syncing the app with your watch, you will let it know your standard sleep and wake times. For most of us we have some sort of routine. But that is it. From here, we let the device take control.

    Heart Rate Monitor Without Chest Strap

    Having a wrist-based heart rate monitor on your watch is a fantastic feature. It's true that wearing a chest strap is more accurate, however, it can be uncomfortable to wear and can be annoying to pair it sometimes. Having the technology there on your wrist to track your heart rate all day long is great. Unfortunately, this does have an impact on the watch's battery life. But if you are sitting and there is less change in your heart rate data, it will start to take a reading less frequently. You can look at your screen and get a snapshot of the last 4 hours of data. 

    Why do we want heart rate monitoring?

    Training with heart rate data has so many benefits. There are many benefits ranging from how hard you are training through to your rest and recovery. Many purists do not want or see a need to know this info, but if you are looking to take your training to the next level, it can give you some important data. 

    Heart Rate Data Accuracy

    My first run for comparing the heart rate accuracy data was a 6.5k run. I compared the heart rate data from the Forerunner 235 with my trusted Fenix 3. The Fenix reported an average heart rate of 170 bpm while the Forerunner 235 reported 169 bpm.

    The chart below shows the data as a graph with the Fenix in green and the Forerunner in red. As you can see, the data does not totally align. 

    Heart Rate Data compared with Garmin Fenix 3 and Forerunner 235

    Overall, however, the data matches pretty closely apart from a few places where something obviously goes wrong. 

    Fenix 3 and Garmin Forerunner 235 Heart Rate Data Compared

    Garmin Connect Via the App 

    With Garmin products, you can only have one device set-up as an activity tracker, so I created a new account on an old phone. No problems with this process but when I wanted to log in to Garmin's website online to view the data you can only log in with email. No idea what I used here. I only have my connect name. Quick(ish) call to Garmin and they could help me out here. I thought I would share this in case someone else is stupid enough to do the same!

    Conclusion

    As a watch that does everything, this really is an excellent device. Activity tracking, heart rate, and running all to the highest of quality. If you are after a fitness tracker read up on the other wearables we have reviewed. Or you may already be sold on the Garmin Forerunner 235. 

    Posted by Daniel Puddick