So I have used activity tackers and HR monitors for several years now and I have come to the conclusion that basically they all suck. Not because of the tech behind them or the amazing apps or wide range of use but rather because they are not built to last. I started out with a very simple Polar F11 HR monitor with the strap which was my first gripe, knowing that if the hospital can take my heart rate with a clamp on my finger why the hell do I have to wear a chest strap? It was very basic and worked OK until the chest strap battery went, and shortly after stopped working altogether. The HR reading were not consistent, you have to have the right amount of moisture to make it work and it was, for someone who was very fat at the time, very uncomfortable and kept rolling down my barrel of a body. I traded up some time later to a Suunto T6D which was my first foray into high level HR mapping with the RMR intervals (I am sure that’s wrong btw) and lots of other bells and whistles including a foot pod a GPS pod and a cadence monitor none of which I used. I think the Suunto was the one that didn’t have a stopwatch which seemed insane to me. Again, within about a year the chest strap gave up and I was left with a very ugly watch. I did like the Suunto software though and the online tracking. I then was lucky enough to score a Polar RS800CX HR monitor for about $200 from a store that was closing down and I was really happy with it until the band broke and once again the chest strap came apart even though I was far less fat at that point.
It was at that time that the new wrist worn HR readers were coming out, I had added a Garmin Vivofit to my arsenal and was wearing it to gauge what my all day activity profile was which was really excellent until after about 8 months the strap broke. I could probably have got a new strap since it’s a modular and quite clever system but by that time the HR monitors were out and I switched to a Fitbit. The strap broke on the fitbit after a few months and I graduated up to the Fitbit Charge HR which is what I used up until yesterday when I discovered it’s not charging any more. Not only that, the clip around the charging slot at the back has broken off so the clip wont clip. The band has held up OK but the watch itself is screwed.
So I am once again without an HR monitor or step counter.
Is this a problem?
I know that I have enjoyed the Fitbit systems, I used the food tracker last year to get to my best BF% ever and love to have all my stats in the dashboard. For $180 at Costco it’s not a huge amount but if you only get a year of use it’s a bit much. I do have to say that it’s a couple of dollars cheaper at Bestbuy. I could go all out and get the Surge or the Blaze but since I use the device not as a watch but as an activity tracker and I already wear a watch maybe the Charge HR is enough for me right now. One downside I have found is that the band does irritate my wrist at times. The Garmin never did but every Fitbit I have owned has irritated my skin to a degree.
I think at this point I will just suck it up and get another Charge HR but I will be sure to keep the receipt since the warranty apparently is a year. I am doing this because I believe that the more you know about what you are doing the better equipped you are to do something about it. Just knowing that I am getting 4000 steps a day on average lets me know that I should probably be adding a 20 minute walk to my program somewhere or a short set of sprints to get my numbers up. Seeing my sleep numbers is also a big part of why I like the Fitbit. I know I don’t sleep enough but knowing how much is enough should be a step towards fixing that.
It’s been hot, I know, I keep saying that but last night was so hot they cancelled training at gymnastics. Probably wise, it was a real scorcher! So I was left to ponder what to do, luckily though I have a plan so I pulled up the schedule and got to work. I was scheduled to do 5×4 clean and press but since I have tended to kind of free form my RKC workouts I ended up doing the following:
10 min warmup pumps and halos and KB Squat
3 rungs C&P with pullups
20 2 hand swings
3 rungs C&P with pullups
20 1 hand swings
3 rungs C&P with pullups
20 snatches with rack pulldown (after snatch, bring KB to rack position then down)
20 snatches with arc pulldown (snatch up and straight arm arc back between legs)
Thanks to Suunto I know this was a decent workout, it rated a 3.5 TE and a whopping 44% of time in my VO2 max training zone. Not only that, it was over 40 with the humidity and I was out on the deck since the last RKC workout I did I dented the basement ceiling a little! It was a good workout, and a refreshing change not to be in the gym with the kids making them suffer the heat. I have got hold of the Firstbeat Athlete software and it is some serious data manipulation. Probably far more than I need, but I am loving the complexity of calculations it can do regarding your workout, intensity, energy burn type and duration of different training zones. When I plugged my watch in this morning, it also automatically logged my workout into Movescount.com for me. Sometimes, and I really mean only sometimes, technology surprises me in a good way!
I just realized that through the evolution of my workouts from my first days with Tony to my divorcing ShaunT, albeit temporarily, I have stuck to one notion when it comes to the Pure Cardio workout. After typing the entry heading I thought it looked familiar so I went back and checked. I already have 2 entries entitled Pure Cardio, Pure Hell. I guess that speaks volumes about how I feel about this particular workout. You want to know what the problem is? It’s the fact that you get so used to doing 30 second stints that when you are confronted with the notion of doing 15 full minutes it is a touch overwhelming. Possibly also because you forget (at least I do) that it’s 60 second intervals until the workout is already started and there is no getting out of it. I hate the bait and switch!
Getting through the workout however is a great feeling of accomplishment and leaves you knowing for sure that your choice to get to work that day was the right one!
To end the week, I managed to finish back and biceps for the first time, yet again confirming that once you take some time away from P90X it can be just as good as it was the first time around! I thoroughly enjoyed the workout even though I voluntarily cut it short, realizing that there really isn’t enough you can do to your biceps in an hour that you can’t get done in about half that time. I do still enjoy the workout, regardless of whether I choose to modify it a little or not. The weekend was not good to me, I was supposed to do something, anything, but didn’t quite make it. I am thrown off my game by not having a heart rate monitor at the moment and I used that as possibly the worst excuse in the world not to work out.
Speaking of which, I am hoping to get my hands on a Suunto T6D for the price of a T3D tomorrow. If not, I will have to order the T3D online and pay the ridiculous shipping. Too bad my local MEC store doesn’t have stock, as I found on the weekend after driving to Barrie. If anyone has experience with the Suunto T6D please let me know your feelings. My plan is to use it in conjunction with the Firstbeat software to give me a much better idea of my fitness and if I am working hard enough to meet my fitness goals.