I recently tried Garmin’s Vivofit as a way to track my general daily activity levels and see if the information would be beneficial for someone who was not as active as myself. I could never use ‘just a pedometer’ but a fitness activity tracker sounded more interesting. Unfortunately, I returned the device and am on the hunt for something more….
First off, I already have a fitness monitor and use it regularly to track my runs and ‘other activities’ but the bulky frames usually deter me from wearing them whenever I am climbing or training for climbing. This is a bummer, but what would the information tell me, anyway? Like the Vivofit, there is a place and a purpose for the use of the device. Running, cycling, hiking data is straight forward, but measure a push-up or a pull-up. What can you determine about energy output or difficulty of the exercise by a step?
Not to dig into that matter deeply in this post, but I believe there are some data points that an athlete (pro, amateur or casual) should have at their fingertips, ok, on their wrist. The Vivofit was attractive to me, not just by the look, but by the variable goal algorithm that determines your current goal based on past accomplishments –an adaptive way to train, that was alluring.
I’m an overachiever, therefore I could see how this could be motivating. However, I found myself discounting the goal and not paying attention to it simply because I couldn’t understand how this device determined steps or activity. If I’ve done some circuit training, the device might see my steps as lower than if I went for a run. Further, when I went for a run, the total number of steps didn’t equate to the 2000 steps per mile rule.
This coupled with my difficulties getting sync to work with my desktop and the unavailability (for days on end) of the desktop app–to the point I stopped bothering to try and set it up (further complicated with the initial trouble getting the phone app to work)– affirmed my notion that this device is not one for the person for which I intended. If I was frustrated and having this much trouble, what would it be like for them?
The one question that keeps cropping up in my mind is how to get a sleek looking watch like this that means something. That I can wear and get basic data all the time, and maybe it is suitable for climbing or my training for climbing. If I want to go out and do something hard core, I’ll put the beast monitor on. What I want to track most regularly is my heart rate (HR), but I don’t want to wear a heart rate monitor all day every day. It’s that simple.
For instance, I don’t need a super accurate HR reading for sleeping, just consistency in determining the number so I can track it over time. The number one way to identify overtraining and track recovery is by HR. Give me this in a sleek looking wrist device without reliance on a HR monitor strap with your other features, a useful web app, easy syncing to device and desktop and I’m in!
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