How Fitness Experts Use Monitoring Devices (Part II)

Armour39. Photo by Laird Harrison. All rights reserved.
Armour39. Photo by Laird Harrison. All rights reserved.

An avalanche of fitness monitoring devices has poured onto the market in recent years.

I wondered how people in the fitness business are using them, so I polled a bunch of people I know. I was particularly interested in how heart rate monitors are figuring in the mix. Heart rate monitoring figures prominently in recommendations about prescribing exercise routines, but I found my own results pretty confusing.

I wasn’t too surprised to find out that none of my fitness friends said much about their heart rates.

Most people cast votes for devices that measure how far and fast they run, and that estimate their calorie burn. (Heart rate monitors can do that, but so can devices that just clock your activity or distance.)

The Garmin Forerunner 190xt got votes from Jennifer at and Christie Miller of EatTrainWin.

Says Jennifer:

love this stuff (I’m pretty stats-driven when it comes to motivating myself):
– Garmin 910xt (watch) for tracking mileage on swims, bikes and runs
– Runtastic Orbit (wearable) for tracking steps, sleep patterns & activity
Strava (app) as another way to track mileage for bike rides & runs via my phone
MapMyRun (website) for plotting routes
– SweatGuru (have to give them a shout-out :)) for finding new fitness classes in the area, connecting with people over fitness, etc.
Jamie Walker of SweatGuru feels the same way about RuntasticOrbit.

 I like the display, fit and tracking capabilities

Christiana Greene of gives this mini-review of FitBit.
I love my Fitbit force(I haven’t had problems with it- it’s the one that recalled). I used to have the Fitbit one and it didn’t stay clipped on that well, so when I lost it and found it and it wouldn’t turn on the great customer service team sent me a new one(2013 before the wristband came out). I love the wristband- it’s like a healthy crack!:) I don’t really wear my regular watches anymore. I like the app ok but it’s hard to search and add friends. I love how my Fitbit syncs to my withings scale and my fitness pal…
I did try the mio hr monitor watch briefly before the Fitbit force came out and I didn’t like it that had to hold it down for so long and it kinda hurt my finger!:) I actually gave it to my friend and she couldn’t figure it out either.
I LOVE the new underarmour 39 heart rate monitor! I can’t even tell I’m wearing it. I love the app and their customer Srvc.
I have tried really super cheap pedometers in the past and they broke. I have tried cheap sports watches that usually break too. 😉

Nicole Crane likes MyFitnessPal,  Fitbit and Polar, offering her reviews of the latter:

Scott Rawcliffe uses Polar and also likes to monitor his sleep with Zeo

And here’s what trainer and blogger Larissa Brown says about Polar:

– Custom fit the polar to my wrist size
– I can check the time, my steps, activity, and calories at a quick touch of the wrist
– sleek and simple design works well for my active lifestyle
– The 1st 30 days the bluetooth technology was not syncing with my phone app even with manual attempts, I later saw this was a common issue for users; it has only synced on its own occasionally. I wish it was more consistent.
– 2 apps for 1 device seems unnecessary; Polar Beat and Flow- Not sure if I adjusted the strap correctly
Overall I love it. It serves all the functions I need and I can check all the primary activities right at my wrist. The syncing would be a bonus, but does not detract from my overall enjoyment of the product. I would recommend it to friends and clients.

But not everyone feels the need for a wearable. Even though she organizes a digital health care technology meeting, Health 2.0, with a big emphasis on wearables, Indu Subaiya tells me she relies on smart phone apps.

Believe it or not I don’t use a wearable! I use “Moves” & “Headspace” a meditation app. My hubby has fitbit but is phasing it out.

And some fitness pros still haven’t embraced the new technology at all.  Greg Nigro, owner of Vicore Fitness,  still tracks his performance “the old fashioned way.”

There are so many options to choose from. I’m waiting for products to become more accurate. There is some debate as to how reliable some products are… Right now, it’s pretty much just watching the clock. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when I’m in my zone.

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