• 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
  • Garmin Move IQ

    Garmin’s smart tech is getting more and more intelligent with every new smartwatch release.

    The latest generation of Garmin watches, The Vivofit 3, Vivosmart HR and Vivoactive HR all now come loaded with Move IQ.

    Move IQ continuously monitors for periods of sustained activity and automatically detects common exercises such as walking, running, biking, swimming and elliptical training. These are downloaded to the app where they can be viewed in further detail.

    Time to Move - Garmin Move IQ

    Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales said: “Exciting new developments like Move IQ offer a full package to people wanting to take a step toward a healthier lifestyle."

    The smart wellness insights provided by Garmin Move IQ provide cues to help users reach a personalised daily goal, set based around the previous day's activity, compared to other activity trackers which base this goal around recommended daily activity. This adjustment makes the goals unique and therefore more achievable for the user, encouraging and motivating them to do more.

    When a move goal is reached the user gets a shoutout as a motivational reward for their activity. Insights also show users how they are doing in comparison to others like them for extra motivation to beat their friends.

    As well as automatically recognising the activity the watch calculates active and intensity minutes. Active minutes are counted for all exercise sessions that provide at least 10 consecutive minutes of moderate to vigorous active motion.

    All the metrics collected by Move IQ can be checked on the mobile app Garmin Connect, which is available on both iOS and Android. The Garmin Connect app also enables smart coaching tailored to your needs and feedback for all your activities.
    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Poolmate 2 Review

    Poolmate 2 watch

    Was that lap 31 or 32? Now with the Poolmate Two, you don’t have to worry.

    Introducing the Poolmate 2, the perfect partner for any swimmer. This watch lives up to it’s name and then some,  anywhere there’s water this watch will count your laps.

    Design

    The watch itself is slender and fits snugly around even small wrists, the design is simple and effective allowing a secure and comfortable fit with a classic sports watch look. The blue band reminds me of old school swimming pool locker keys, (you know the ones some people pop around their ankle) I wonder if this was the purpose in its design?

    The four simple buttons are easy to spot and press even when you are tired, slippery and wet. The buttons themselves aren’t waterproof, so it’s recommended you lift your wrist out of the water to use them, but I found I was doing that automatically anyway.

    Boxed swimming watch

    New improvements

    The Poolmate 2 is the new improved version of the original Poolmate with additional features such as speed and open water swim tracking. For those of you who are new to the Swimovate Poolmate watches, they offer tracking of laps, strokes, distance, speed, efficiency, duration, sets, rest time and calories burned.

    Battery

    The battery life of the Poolmate 2 is said to be extended from is predecessor and can now last up to 2 years. So I’ll keep you posted in 2018.

    In the Pool

    Setting up and using the Poolmate. The Poolmate setup is simple, strap up, select your pool size by pressing the up and down key and then push start. Once you're off you can then press up and down to view your stats in real time, push to pause and record drills (up to 99). Once your workouts over the latest stats are viewable with just one press, but also stored in your log for later viewing, making it easy to compare your progress over the last few sessions. Here you can also see your swim efficiency score, which has results that are explained in the watch manual.

    poolmate 2 watch

    Open Water

    To swim open water, you’ll first need to go for a calibration swim. This is a swim where the distance is already known. From this the watch can then make a distance prediction, like an in water pedometer, as to how far you’ve traveled. For more accurate tracking you’ll need a GPS sensor, but for the RRP of £70 this is a very useful feature for those brave enough to conquer a sea swim.

    Out of water training

    Out of water you can use the watch as a 99-lap stopwatch, so it’s great for sprint training and particularly triathletes, who have to switch between the two disciplines.

    swimovate poolmate 2

    Storage

    Up to 50 workouts

    I can see why the call it Poolmate, this will be any swimmers new best friend.

    Read more of our wearable reviews here.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • 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 Vivoactive Activity Tracking Review

    Garmin Vivoactive Activity Tracker Review Sundried

    The Garmin Vivoactive aims to be a winning combination of the Vivofit activity tracker and the Forerunner GPS watches.

    Design

    The Vivoactive watch features a small digital touch screen, with a 3.5cm square face and digital interactive display. It’s small enough to look stylish but big enough that the display can be read clearly, even under direct sunlight. It’s also lightweight weighing in at just 38g, which is light for a GPS watch. The silicone strap is interchangeable and can be swapped if you'd like to change up the look of your watch. As the watch isn’t a heart rate monitor, there’s no need to worry that a customised strap will affect your readings.

    Garmin Vivoactive Smart Watch Lifestyle Tracker

    Garmin Vivoactive Activity Tracking

    The watch is a touch screen with two small buttons either side, one for switching on and off and the other to begin sports activity tracking. One select of the right button will lead to your activity menu, for which there is plenty of choice. Previously Garmin has created good running watches or good activity trackers, the Vivoactive combines them both.

    Steps and Inactivity

    The activity screen displays your daily steps goal, which is calculated automatically. The goal is progressive, so the aim is to gently increase your steps each day, however if you fall short, the watch also regresses your steps to build you back up again and keep your goal achievable. 

    Along the bottom of the step counting screen there is a 'move bar'. This starts clear and then gradually turns red until the watch thinks you need to get up and move. Your first alert comes after just under an hour of inactivity and by the time you’ve reached the fifth bar, you really have been seated for too long. Simply getting up and walking around will clear your bar. Each inactivity alert strikes with a gentle vibration which is a useful tool to help prevent inactivity.

    Automatic sleep detection

    The Vivoactive automatically detects sleep, but this feature can also be triggered manually at any time by tapping your activity screen and selecting start sleep. There are a few things I’ve noticed with the Vivoactive's sleep detection feature. Firstly, when I go to bed without the watch, it thinks that being sat on my dressing table is a perfect night's sleep, and secondly, there is no sleep feedback on the watch itself so it’s hard to know whether it recognised the right time or not. Once opened in the Connect IQ application, users can discover the total duration of their sleep, differentiate between light and deep sleep, and also scroll through a breakdown of their movement.

    Running

    As a running partner, the Vivoactive has two training modes, one for indoor and one for outdoor running. Whilst the trainer lacks a heart rate sensor of its own, it can be linked easily with an external device to enhance the quantity of data feedback from your training. Unless you link with a heart rate monitor you don't get full credit for all the activity you've done. When you enter running mode, a small vibration will alert you when your GPS is ready to track your route. During the run, the screen displays distance, time, pace, lap distance, lap time, heart rate, heart rate zone and average heart rate. The info is easy to tap and scroll through on the move, although I found the screen too small to view my stats at arm's length.

    The indoor running mode brings about the same screen, without the GPS feedback. Users can set up alerts to monitor their heart rate zone or act as reminders throughout their run.

    Cycling

    The watch also has two cycling modes, indoors and outdoors. But again, the difference is only really the GPS settings. The watch itself doesn’t have a cadence measure, however you can connect external devices for a more rounded view of your performance. If you don’t pair any sensors when you're cycling indoors, the watch is basically just a stopwatch, although with sensors it can become so much more, reading speed, cadence, temperature and heart rate.

    Swimming

    The watch is 5 AMT waterproof, meaning you can take it to the pool concern free. Before you start swimming you can customise the length of your pool for accurate tracking and then you’re good to go. A tap of the right button starts your swim by sending a vibration through the watch, which lasts about 3 seconds. The watch reads your laps, distance, strokes and interval count in swim mode.

      Verdict

      Overall I found this was an activity tracker with potential. As a stand alone product, I feel the feedback though good, is quite basic and for more detailed feedback on your workout, you’d need multiple add-on products, such as a heart rate strap, foot pod, bike speed sensor and bike cadence sensor. If you have all of these already, the watch is the perfect tool to consolidate all your data on one easy-to-use device.

      Posted by Alexandra Parren