Optimize Apple Watch Heart Rate Readings

Have you see flatlines or choppy heart rate readings from your Apple Watch?


The most basic thing to check is to make sure you’ve enabled ALL your Apple Health permissions but if that hasn’t helped, or you have results that aren’t quite flat-lined for an entire workout, something like this: 


Here are some tips to get the best out of your experience and the cleanest heart rate readings we can get while tracking activities. Like most wrist based HRMs, the values are not quite as accurate as those of chest straps or the Scosche Rhythm+, but there are a few things you can do to help.

Tighten and check position of the Apple Watch

  • Check the positioning of your Apple Watch. The Watch should be snug, but still comfortable. You can move the Watch so it sits higher on your wrist (toward your elbow).

Close Apps Currently in the Background

  1. On the Watch, press and hold down the side button until the shutdown screen appears. Release the side button, then press and hold the Digital Crown to force quit the active app
  2. Force quite any other apps running on the iPhone as well

Restart Fitdigits app on Watch and iPhone – see Troubleshooting

In the end, a lot of factors play into results, but you should be able to be as fluid as the screen shot above!

Special notes:

  • Haptics will disrupt the optical heart rate sensor on your Apple Watch. When your Watch buzzes from notifications, it will not query HR for that moment, which can result in a brief dropout.
  • Like with other heart rate monitors, we recommend using one app at a time. Using Fitdigits along with the Heart Rate or Workout app will result in poor readings.

Happy tracking!

Apple Watch 

Installing the Companion App

Apple Watch Setup 

Optimize Heart Rate from the Apple Watch

Troubleshooting

Starting a Workout & Customization

Starting a workout is pretty simple, hit the big play button on the home screen to start. After acquiring sensors and a quick countdown, you’re off. For members, you can also see the weather and temperature too!

But there are times when you might want more time, or less, or you might want to change from outdoor to indoor workouts, as GPS isn’t always available in the basement gyms. Customize Workouts Starting

Customizing the Quick Start Countdown

  1. Choose the activity you want to set a custom countdown on
  2. Tap the gear icon to go to Activity Settings
  3. Tap Countdown Timer section under Preferences
  4. Set the value anywhere between 0 seconds and 6 minutes

Open Ended Starts – Outdoor & Indoor Options

Sometimes you want to just get all sensors acquired, be ready to go, but still not sure how long before you begin. Kids, teammates, your partner, all can effect the start of your workout. In this case, you may want to just have everything ready by launching, but not starting your workout.

  1. Choose the activity you want to perform
  2. Tap the gear icon to go to Activity Settings
  3. Tap Outdoor Workout or Indoor Workout (Indoor will not use GPS)

The workout will launch, but not start. To start, whenever you are ready, tap the Start button at the bottom.

Ending a Workout

Slide the heart button to the right, to the pause icon, to pause the workout. Then tap End.

Alternatively, double tap the pause icon, then tap End.

Launching a Custom Workout Routine

When you want to run your 4 mile standard run, or do a hard HIIT workout your trainer gave you for homework, it’s time for launching one of your routines!

  1. Choose the activity you want to do a routine with
  2. Tap the gear icon > Activity Settings > Workout Routines
  3. Choose the predefined workout or make one up on the fly!

More on Custom Workout Routines

Launching a Fitness Assessment

For more on Fitness Assessments, see our post here.

Managing Notification Preferences

Fitdigits apps can give you many different types of feedback and encouragement. There are 2 different ways you can manage these notifications, either within the app, or in the devices’ settings.

There are 3 types of notifications:

  1. In app notifications, which includes popups and notifications that show up inside the app when you are doing custom workouts or changing Zones (aka Popups). Read more on those here.
  2. Push notifications which originate from the cloud and show in the devices’ notification section.
  3. Local notifications, which originate from within the app itself and show in the devices’ notification section.

Of course, not every option or metric is for everyone, so we try to do our best to make the level and types of engagement so there is something for everyone, even if that something is nothing. In this article we will discuss Push and Local notifications, including daily encouragement on steps, goals, weekly and monthly summaries, LiveTracking notifications and more.

Local Notifications:

weekly/monthly summaries, Daily Steps & Progress Notifications

Local notifications about your weekly / monthly activity summaries, as well as encouragement towards your daily steps when you are connected to Apple Health or Google Fit are all handled on the Local (app based) level.

To adjust these settings, go to Menu > Profile, and look for the Notifications & Account Permissions section.

The following options are available:

  • Off (no local notifications)
  • Summary (just a previous days summary each day for steps, and weekly / monthly summary notifications)
  • All (a few encouraging messages through the day plus the weekly / monthly summaries).

Manage these notifications in-app under Partners (Fig. 1), at the bottom of the Platforms section in versions pre-8.140.

Resting Heart Rate Notifications

Local notifications about your resting heart rate on a daily basis when you are connected to Apple Health, which is really based mainly around users with the Apple Watch. Since your Resting Heart Rate is really mostly important when you are starting the day to see how stressed or ready your body may be for exercise, it doesn’t do a Summary option, only an All or Off option. Summary is the equivalent of All.

Heart Rate Zone Change Notifications

Local notifications about when you change heart rate zones during a workout. Since these are very oriented towards the in-app workout experience, you can turn them on or off in your app under Activity Options (gear icon) – select the activity type, tap the gear icon in the lower left, tap on Heart Rate Zones. You will find the preferences at the bottom of the list of heart rate zones associated with your account.

See more on these specific zone notifications.

PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

Manage the notifications pushed to your device by tapping on the “Other Notifications & Permissions” option within Notifications & Account Permissions. The following options are available:

Goals & Achievements

Email and push notifications when goals are reached. Future development to include optional goal progress notifications, as well as when new personal bests are reached in a given year. Future development to include optional monthly best notifications.

Livetracking

Get a push notification when fellow group members or friends you are following (coming soon) are LiveTracking their activities.

 

DEVICE LEVEL OS Notification Management | All Notifications On or Off

Whether you are Android or iOS, the devices settings under the App details can be modified in a variety of ways. These will affect both push and local notifications.

iOS (device/iOS level):

Settings > Notifications > iCardio (App Name)

OR

Settings > iCardio (App Name) > Notifications

Please see the following article on what the Notifications options are on an Apple iOS level.

Fitdigits iOS Notification Options

Android (device/iOS level):

Settings > Apps & notifications > App info > iCardio (App Name) > App notifications

Fitdigits Android Notification Options

We hope you enjoy your messages and settings and find them motivating and informative.

Add Daily Activity & Step Tracking to Fitdigits Apps

Get Your Steps On

Turn your app into a fun, motivating and powerful step and daily activity tracker!

Add Steps to your home screen
We love our partners like Fitbit, Garmin and other daily step and activity trackers, but we do recognize that having to carry or wear another gadget and maintain it can be a bit much, both in terms of cost and learning yet another gadget.

Here’s an easy and effective way to get steps and daily calorie burn just by carrying your iPhone or Android around with you when you move, complimented by more accurate calorie burn when cardio exercises are measured in our heart rate training apps of course! Heart rate is still, by far, is the most accurate personal caloric burn number you can get outside of a clinical test. Accurate numbers mean greater accuracy hitting your goals!

To add steps and other daily activity metrics, simply pair the app with Apple Health (iOS) or Google Fit (Android). Simple! We’ll do the rest, and help you understand yourself better, motivate and hopefully inspire you to greatness! Let’s get our steps on!

 

Apple Health Icon - stepsLink Apple Health

Google Fit IconLink Google Fit

iCardio, iRunner, iBiker & iWalker

 

  • Note: pre-iPhone 5S devices not supported. Phones must have either Google Fit or Apple Health enabled on a device with an accelerometer to get daily activity detail.

Add Advanced & Alternative Heart Rate Zones

 

Don’t accept the default! Add more modern, advanced Heart Rate Zones to your Fitdigits experience and experience heart rate zone training as relatable to this century.

Why set up personal or custom heart rate zones?

There are so many reasons to reject the worn and inaccurate 220-Age formula from Haskell – Fox, and the resulting 5 zones at 10% each (actually 7 zones if you count below zone 1 and above zone 5). While once upon a time, in a land far, far away, it was simple and helped to spread the acceptance of using heart rate during exercise, Dr. Haskell is said to have laughed about it later, as the formula was “never supposed to be an absolute guide to rule people’s training. “[1]

The report had flaws, which are well documented, to the point where the formula was deemed unacceptable even as a general guideline. It did popularize heart rate training, which is a positive, it just isn’t accurate for the majority of people.

For us here, it makes us cringe to thing so many take the formula for granted, which also means we’re excited you’re here to try some new, updated and modern zones! Many of you have known about our online zone creation tool, but now we’ve automated it. We’ve made it super easy for our Pro Plus and Star members to keep the zone sets current based on new, hopefully improving, numbers like new resting heart rates or max heart rates.

To add or update heart rate zones, login to your account online at Fitdigits.com. Mouse over the profile icon and select the Heart Rate Zones section.

Look for the section on Personalized Heart Rate Zones. This will create five of the most common, popular zone definitions plus one we’ve made based on the others, but simplified.

When you click Create, you’ll see the current values set that will be key in many of the zone set calculations. If the data showing on the popup isn’t what you want for these calculations, you can go in your profile and edit the values there. If you’re good with them, create them!

To bring the new zone you will need to open your app and tap menu, then sync, to bring these new zones down to your devices.

To update the zone sets when there are any changes, like in resting heart rate, where as you get more fit it comes down, simply tap or click on the Create / Update button again.

To delete a set, tap the X in the upper right of the zone set.

To keep a zone set, so it isn’t automatically updated each time, simply go in and edit it, giving it a unique name. That’s one way to keep a history of progress. You can edit individual values in the edit zone set as well, though if you do and want to keep it around, rename it.

That’s about it! For our Pro Plus and Star members, we hope you enjoy, and feel free, as your base numbers change (resting heart rate, maximum heart rate or age), update, and keep the zones personal to you.

 

Fitdigits 4 Keys to Cardio Fitness

LiveTrack Your Activities and Effort in Real Time

A feature
Learn more!


LiveTracking is great for sharing your location and effort levels with others you care about on your rides, runs, hikes and so much more.

Star member feature, LiveTracking tracks your efforts in near real-time as you run, walk, ride or do just about any activity.

Perfect for trainers and group members, or even event managers to track participants in their events. View maps, courses, time, distance, pace, heart rate and even power/watts cranked out if you’ve got it.

LiveTracking can be done on an individual level or in groups. Fun for everyone and perfect for: LiveTracking icon

  1. Tracking when your spouse will be home for dinner after their run.
  2. Monitoring fitness activities by those in your training group.
  3. Showing multiple people in multiple activities around the world in one place.
  4. Adding an extra level of safety knowing your loved ones know where you are.

Starting LiveTracking

  1. To start LiveTracking, in the app, go to the activity you want to track, and tap the gear icon in the lower right (Activity Options)
  2. Turn on LiveTracking in Preferences (Star members only)

    Turning on LiveTracking

    Turning on LiveTracking

  3. Start your activity.
    1. The bottom bar turns green when active and there is a good connection to the internet and the data is streaming.
    2. If there is no connection, the bottom bar will turn red, though you will continue tracking on the device and (if the connection isn’t lost more than 20 minutes) it should pick back up when a good connection is established again.
  4. To notify someone or share the URL for tracking the activity, tap on the animated small LiveTracking icon in the green area.
    1. See LiveTracking Share Options below for more on how to manage who sees the link, is notified, and more.Sharing your LiveTracking Sessions
  5. LiveTracking will end when the activity is stopped.

LiveTracking Share Options

LiveTracking Share PermissionsTo turn of / not enable LiveTracking, simply turn it off in the same place as it was turned on in the app.

For individual shares, no session is visible, even when LiveTracking is turned on, until it is shared by tapping the LiveTracking icon in the workout (see above). However, once shared, the following rules apply to the view, depending on the option chosen in your online profile Account Permissions section.

Open

When a link is shared, anyone with that link will be able to view the session. The link times out 3 hours after the end of the session, and is unique per session.

As Required: (Default Setting)

If a user has LiveTracking turned on and shares the link generated in their app, the person trying to view will need to have a valid Fitdigits account (free and available via downloading the app or creating online) and login to view the session. Or, as part of a Group permission setting, a group member may have access, see below for more on Group LiveTracking.

Group LiveTracking – Sharing

When you first sign up for a group, or when going to edit your group Member Privacy & Sharing Permissions, you have the option of sharing your LiveTracking activities with the group. Each group member who has also agreed to share will be notified and be able to view the session when their fellow sharing member begins LiveTracking.

Simply turn off this option if you do not wish to share with the group.

Viewing Group LiveTracking

In addition to the above, if you have LiveTracking Share enabled in your group settings for any given group, any group member can see you tracking by:

  1. Tap Groups (in-app or on the desktop or mobile version of my.fitdigits.com)
  2. Tap the name of the Group if more than one
  3. The number of LiveTracking sessions is shown at the top. Tap in that area to see current sessions.

    LiveTracking for Groups

    LiveTracking for Groups

Sample: Topher’s Triathlon LiveTracking Sessions 

LiveTracking the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, International Distance

LiveTracking the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, International Distance

Guide to Designing Interval Structured Workouts

Related: Creating Interval Structured Workouts on our iOS apps

Guide on designing fun, effective and interesting interval workouts

The Basics of the Workout Routine Definition

<Routine (for a specific workout type) >
<Interval 1 – do this Z times>
<Series 1>
<Do Pace / Effort Level A for X time / dist.>
</End Series 1>
</End Interval 1>
<Interval 2 – do this Z times>
<Series 1>
<Do Pace / Effort Level B for Y time / dist.>
</End Series 1>
<Series 2>
<Do Pace / Effort Level C for Z time / dist.>
</End Series 2>
</End Interval 1>
<Interval 3 – do this Z times>
<Series 1>
<Do Pace / Effort Level A for X time / dist.>
</End Series 1>
</End Interval 1>
</End Routine>

A Workout Routine is basically an activity you do in a more structured way than what most would call a “free” or “open” run.

There is a point to a workout routine. It can be as simple as completing a set time or distance, to guide you through a recovery run, a steady-state to build stamina, or even a hard HIIT session (High Intensity Interval Training) workout for peak performance and caloric burn.

The basic Workout Routine has the following structure, which is time honored. A routine is broken into time or distance “Intervals”, then from there a “Series” of actions are performed during those Intervals. With Fitdigits, we give you the choice of workouts based on either Heart Rate (BPM), which we call also “effort based”, or by pace zones.

When you are doing custom Workout Routines, it helps to check out the Zone Notifications section so you are prompted to transition when you want.

Some examples of Custom Workout Routines 

Recovery Run 30 min Run: Warm Up, Easy Run, Warm Down
Translates to: Interval 1 (repeat 1 time) – Zone 1 for 5 min. Then Interval 2 (repeat 1 time) Zone 2 for 20 min. Finish with Interval 3 (repeat 1 time) – Zone 1 for 5 min.

Steady State 4 mile Run: Warm Up, Strong Run, Warm Down
(Interval 1 (repeat 1 time) – Zone 1 for .25 miles. Then Interval 2 (repeat 1 time) Zone 3 for 3.5 miles. Finish with Interval 3 (repeat 1 time) – Zone 1 for .25 miles.

Walk / Jog 30 min: Warm up, Jog 1 min, Walk 1 min (do this for 20 min), Warm down. 
(Interval 1 (repeat 1 time) – Walking Pace Zone 5 min. Then Interval 2 (repeat 10 times) – Jogging Pace Zone for 1 minute then Walking Pace Zone for 1 minute. Finish with Interval 3 (repeat 1 time) – Walking Pace Zone 5 min.

Related: Creating Interval Structured Workouts on our iOS apps

 

 

 

 

Fitdigits and Samsung S Health

Fitdigits apps, iCardio, iRunner, iWalker and iBiker do not currently, officially, support Samsung S Health as a data provider or partner. However, for people who would like to pair the S Health data and view it in your Fitdigits app and website, there is an unofficial link that can be created through a 3rd party app – Health Sync – that offers a bridge between data from S Health to Google Fit, then when Google Fit is paired with Fitdigits, the daily activity information is synced.

As this requires a third party app which we don’t control, we can’t officially support it. However, users have reported it works fairly well.

Getting Started – Quickstart Guide to Fitdigits Android apps

(View for iOS)

Thank you for your interest in Fitdigits health, fitness, activity tracking and heart rate training apps, iCardio, iRunner, iWalker and iBiker. We hope the following short video will help you get up and running (pardon the pun) in no time! Each of our apps offers a distinct experience, but they all share a similar Fitdigits account and general functionality, based around activity and heart rate tracking and training, creating a fun and engaging tool that can help you stay healthy and hit your goals.

 

We hope you enjoy the video above and it helps you get started, as getting started is the most important part!

After the basics, you might want to take a deeper dive into the app settings, where you can set options by Activity Type, including  Audio and Voice Feedback, Laps, Dashboards, your Chart and Map Metrics, Heart Rate Zones and Pace Zones. You can also learn more about overall App Settings like Zone Alerts and Prompts, customizing your home screen, customizing heart rate zones, or Auto Pause, or managing Heart Rate Monitors (HRM) and other sensors.

You can also learn more about managing your activities and history by editing workouts, deleting workouts, change a workout type after a workout was recorded, entering a manual workout, or customizing your own Other workout type.

 

Update iCardio, iRunner to v4 for Android

Updated Interface • Customized Countdown • Material Design • Integrated Goals

Step 1: Download the latest v4

Download iCardio v4 for Android Download iRunner v4 for Android

 

Step 2: Tap the Big Green Button

The program will sync your old version to make sure all your data is in the cloud, then sync that back down to the new v4. When complete, it will even ask if you want it to delete the previous version for you. Deleting the previous version is not required but nice to do, you can always access previous versions from our iCardio Android Archive.

The All New v4 for Android

We are thrilled to announce the new and updated iCardio and iRunner v4 for Android, the next generation in health and fitness tracking and heart rate training!

V4 apps include a whole new user interface, simplified and streamlined for access to the things you want most. All new navigation, from Profile to Sensors and Settings, and more features like creating goals or joining groups at your fingertips. Tablet support is new to this version too, with in-workout landscape mode coming soon. The update to v4 requires downloading again from our new Google Play home.

 

 

Why are we requiring a new download?

We used to be managed under one name but became Fitdigits back in 2016, and Google Play doesn’t allow some things to transfer over between entities in our case, so we can not continue to evolve the platform on that Play account, we have moved.

The good part – it is super easy to do, and all your data and previous purchases will be immediately available!

 

 

Troubleshooting

If you don’t see the big green button, check the version you currently have installed and are logged into.You can see your older app version at the bottom of the Settings screen. You can tell the older version because it will say iCardio 3 under the icon.

You may not have the latest 3.9x installed and be logged into that version. In that case you can either first update your existing 3.x version to the latest, then run v4 (it will recognize the older version on launch).

You also can login to v4 with your existing username and password you used on your current installation.

  • In the existing 3.x app, tap Settings > Profile. Make a note of the email associated with your account (tip: watch for typos). This is your email/username for your account.
  • Download the latest v4 of your Fitdigits App: iCardio  |  iRunner
  • Using the account password, or if you logged in with Facebook, login as an Existing User.
    1. If necessary, see how to reset your password. You might check your email and password by logging into my.fitdigits.com – if you haven’t been in a while, it has undergone some nice upgrades recently.
  • When you are comfortable everything is over, delete your older version.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at support.