The Scosche Rhythm Plus

compass_in_hand_0Take a journey with me, to a time before cell phones made for an able guide in even the harshest wilderness. For an explorer braving uncharted territory, one of their most prized possessions was a compass. A compass that rang true acted as a guiding light in even the darkest of times, a good reading leading them to their destination unscathed. Therefore, before they embarked on an expedition, it was of the utmost importance to travel with a credible and consistent compass.

Fast forward to the present, and to your own personal health and fitness journey. No matter where this long and winding road leads, it is undeniable you will need a reliable compass. When it comes to working out, your compass is a heart rate monitor. A heart rate monitor (combined with the Fitdigits app) will inform and instruct your workouts, allowing you to learn how your body responds and rejects certain workout types. You need a heart rate monitor that is comfortable, reliable, durable and distinctive. You need the Scosche Rhythm Plus.

At this point, we here at Fitdigits consider ourselves heart rate monitor experts. Fitdigits was the first app to track Heart Rate, and we were using watches and monitors before that. We have tried more heart rate monitors then we can count, and after countless hours and workouts with a monitor grooving to our own personal beat, we came to the conclusion that the Scosche Rhythm Plus is one of the best in the business. What makes the Scosche Rhythm Plus stand out? Glad you asked.

  • Where You Wear It– The Scosche Rhythm Plus is worn around your forearm instead of on your chest. We can’t tell you how many times we gave the gym a free peep show when you had to adjust, take off or put on a traditional chest strap
  • The Rhythm Plus goes right on your forearm.

    The Rhythm Plus goes right on your forearm.

  • No Replacing Batteries– The Scosche Rhythm Plus is re-chargeable, meaning you never have to worry about going to the store and figuring out which tiny battery belongs in your monitor. Just charge it after each workout and you never have to worry about it dying right in the middle of a killer sweat session.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy– The Scosche Rhythm Plus uses state-of-the-art technology in Bluetooth Low Energy. This allows you to be over 100 feet away from your phone, allowing you to have a worry-free workout without a bulky cell phone on your person.
  • Sleek, Modern Design– While not necessarily quantifiable, the Rhythm Plus just looks cool! It brings to mind a fancy gadget from Sci-Fi or James Bond. No, Q did not cook this bad boy up in his lab at MI6, but it certainly feels that way, using integrated dual LED/optical sensors to produce real time pulse monitoring.
  • Lightweight and Travel Friendly– The Rhythm Plus can fold up to about the size of a Ping Pong ball, allowing you to just plop it into your pocket.

Let the Scosche Rhythm Plus be your guide to a better you! At only $79.95, it is the ideal companion to the advanced heart rate functionality that the Fitdigits app offers.

Robert Gets Fit For Family

Testimonial by Fitdigits User Robert L.

I was 57 years old and about 70 lbs overweight. I had developed high blood pressure and my blood sugar was in the “pre-diabetic” range. Worst of all, my daughter’s kidneys had failed requiring constant dialysis, and I wanted to donate a kidney to her. Sadly, because I had let myself go so badly, I wasn’t considered an acceptable donor. I realized I needed to do something, So I immediately started a diet and gradually eased into an exercise program. With renewed self-discipline (and the grace of God), I lost 10 lbs per month and attained my goal weight within just a few months. I increased my exercise levels and have been able to get my blood pressure down to the normal range, and my fasting blood sugar is normal also! But my continual problem was the inability to find a heart rate strap that would accurately measure my level of fitness.

Chubby

About a month ago I got the Scosche Rhythm armband from eBay. I had been looking for a heart rate monitor for a long time that was accurate AND was compatible with my Android phone. I had used several of the chest strap/watch sets without satisfaction. After receiving the armband and getting them configured on my phone, I have been amazed at how well it works and provides me with all the information I need to fine-tune my workouts.

My search finally ended with Fitdigits. It does so much more than just show me my rate through my workouts; it gives me tons of data AND tracks my performance over time – so I can stay on track!

At my age now, 64, I am now being evaluated to be a donor for my daughter. And I have the wonderful added benefit of excellent health – and looking forward to a long and very active life.

Robert with his son and daughter

Robert with his son and daughter

Fitdigits Discontinues ANT+ Support on iOS 8

On September 17th, Apple released iOS 8, “the biggest iOS release ever”. For months now, Fitdigits has been hard at work to deliver an app that is optimized for iOS 8 and the new Apple HealthKit.

During development we ran into a roadblock with ANT+ sensor support, a platform that less than 2% of all Fitdigits users are currently using and which continues to decrease daily.

The good news for ANT+ users is Apple has limited iOS 8 to newer iPads, the iPhone 4S, 5, 5S and the new 6 series. Of those, only the 4S supports both the 30-pin connector (which the ANT+ transceiver plugs into) and will also support iOS 8. However, running iOS 8 on an iPhone 4S makes everything very sluggish and many would not recommend the upgrade. Even Apple has recognized the issue and is allowing users to re-install iOS 7 even after upgrading to iOS 8.

If you don’t intend on upgrading to iOS 8, or have an iPhone 4, you don’t have to worry. iOS 7 or below, will work just fine.

For those of you brave enough to upgrade to iOS 8 who still are using ANT+, Fitdigits will no longer be a useable option, and for this you have our sincere apologies. Currently less than 2% of our users (and dropping quickly due to hardware upgrades) are still using ANT+, and between the effort to maintain technology and the rapidly declining usage, we have made the tough decision.

ANT+

ANT+ is one of the initial platforms Fitdigits used to connect with heart rate monitors and other sensors, using an ANT+ Adapter plugged in to the 30-pin adapter on the bottom of an iPhone to receive real time stats. ANT+ was the best technology available at the time, and Fitdigits was excited to use this technology to allow users to track heart rate right on their iPhone.

Introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy

However, technology moves fast. What was viewed as innovative and groundbreaking just a few short years ago can quickly become an outdated fossil of the past. This was the case for ANT+ in October of 2011, when the iPhone 4s was released.

The iPhone 4s featured Bluetooth Low Energy technology built right into the device, allowing for easy pairing of Bluetooth Low Energy health and fitness sensors such as the Polar H7. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a far superior platform to ANT+, for three main reasons:

  1. ANT+ has a range of only 8-12 feet from your iPhone, while BLE has a range of over 100 ft
  2. BLE does not require an adapter plugged into the bottom of your iPhone
  3. A more consistent and reliable signal, with less dropouts and variability

So naturally, with Bluetooth Low Energy now standard in all new phones, developers left the ANT+ platform behind and focused on developing sensors that use BLE. This was amplified when the iPhone 5 was released in September of 2012 with the new lightning port, making the 30-pin ANT+ Adapter more or less obsolete and ANT+ connection burdensome.

The writing was on the wall for ANT+ on the iPhone.

The End of ANT+ on iPhones

Fast forward 2 years to iOS 8 and the iPhone 6. During our initial testing of the iOS 8 beta, we found that ANT+ connection was no longer working at all. As each beta version of the new operating system was released we hoped something would be altered to make our handling of ANT+ still functional, but no such change ever came.

After some digging by our development team, it was determined that it would take a considerable amount of time to get ANT+ working in Fitdigits on iOS 8 devices, so it was time to look at our user base and determine what we should do next.

Since iOS 8 is only available for iPhone 4s and above, and the iPhone 5 has the lightning port, we determined that only iPhone 4s users that use ANT+ would be impacted. All told, less then 2% of all users, and less than 3% of all workouts recorded by Fitdigits users each month have an ANT+ sensor active. That number continues to fall, even on iOS 7.

With this in mind, we have decided to no longer offer ANT+ sensor compatibility in the upcoming iOS 8 versions of Fitdigits. This decision comes with a heavy heart, as our ANT+ users constitute some of our oldest and most dedicated customers. We value these users and all they have done to support Fitdigits throughout the years, but it is time to move on from ANT+ and look to the future.

Upgrade to Bluetooth Low Energy

Fitdigits is compatible with a variety of other BLE sensors.

Heart Rate Monitoring is at Fitdigits’s Core

Testimonial by Fitdigits user David S.

Having decided I needed more Heart Rate analysis than my Garmin 310 Forerunner/Garmin Connect combination provided I began the process of testing the myriad of fitness/running Apps available for the iPhone. I finally identified iRunner by Fitdigits as the one that would give me the information I required.

iRunner by Fitdigits stands above other Apps because it is designed with Heart Rate monitoring at its core rather than an added extra; for me heart rate based training is essential for anyone who is serious about improving their performance.

I use a Polar H7 Heart Rate strap and an iPhone 5 and it works seamlessly. The App allows me customization of my Heart Rate Zones and of what I see and hear, allowing me to achieve the goals I have set for each training session; I have found no other App that delivers this kind of functionality.

Once I have completed my training session the information breakdown given by the App is excellent, but when it is uploaded to the Fitdigits website, My.Fitdigits, along with a Fitdigits MVP Subscription the analysis starts to stand out against other fitness sites. I can now analyze my cumulative Heart Rate data for any period and any training type. I now know if I am spending the right amount of time in each zone for any phase of my training. It was this functionality that led me to doing a VO2 Max test to nail my Heart Rate Zones, which then took my training to another level.

I have been using iRunner since June 2013 and have no doubt that it was a major contributor to setting PRs in the Half Marathon and 10k this year!

Stronger and Smarter Workouts With Fitdigits

Susan has been Spinning® with Fitdigits Ambassador and Spinning Instructor Giovanni Masi for over a year.

Since Gio has started to help her in her running training using Fitdigits to track Heart Rate, Susan has recorded Personal Bests on runs on a near weekly basis! She never thought she could break the 12 min mile mark, but with the help of her trainer, the Fitdigits app and a Heart Rate Monitor, she has left that time in the dust. Also gathering dust is her old Garmin Watch.

Suffice to say, Susan thinks Fitdigits is pretty splendid:

“I have so far logged 88 running and Spinning workouts with Fitdigits. Fitdigits’s visual displays allow me to compare one workout to another, which has facilitated improvement in performance, recovery and endurance. Over the past four months Fitdigits has taught me to control my heart rate in such a way as to become more efficient in both running and Spinning®. For example, the first run I logged on Fitdigits was October 10, 2012 with a pace average of 12:04, which was pretty much the norm for me. Later on a similar run I logged a pace average of 10:34, which is a time I never thought I would see! This is a remarkable feat and attributable to the skills learned from using Fitdigits and Giovanni’s training advices/plans on a regular basis. Taking more than 1.5 minutes off my pace has inspired me to keep trying to run faster and stronger.

During spinning classes, Fitdigits has taught me to control my heart rate with resistance and breath. It has truly empowered me with the confidence and strength with which to challenge myself to become a stronger and smarter rider. It appears as though the strength gained from using Fitdigits regularly has spilled over into general fitness classes and personal training at the Y and at L.A. Fitness. Now, using Fitdigits in those classes will help me to improve my performance there as well.

Overall, I would say that the gains from using Fitdigits have been great. Just by monitoring my heart rate and learning how to control it, my level of fitness has improved remarkably. Since I spend an average of nine hours a week engaged in physical activity, this is a big deal. Thank you Fitdigits!”

Now that Susan has made such great gains, the next step is taking a Fitness Assessment so she can truly see her gains in her fitness level.

Heart Rate Spikes and Dropouts With the Polar H7 and Other Heart Rate Monitors

See Also: Troubleshooting BLE Sensors

Have you been having spikes and dropouts in your heart rate monitoring? Especially with chest straps, such as Orange Theory and Polar H7 or other devices.

The way the belt works is that it receives electrical signals from the heart that are then shown as Beats Per Minute. However, without some kind of moisture (such as saliva, water, or a conductive gel) to act as a conductor between the heart and the belt, the signal will not be strong or consistent. We believed this is what causes erratic data, so we threw our lab coats on and decided to run an experiment.

Dropouts, which often are represented by “Flat Line” readings on the chart, are very typically low battery level or lost connection issues. An interesting note however; with certain devices such as the Polar H7 which have dual mode operation, the same heart rate monitor can read just fine on gym equipment while struggling to keep connection with the app. This is because the channel the H7 communicates with the gym equipment requires less battery power, so a low battery can be enough to power that channel (5.8 GHz) than BLE. Check out this great article on changing your Polar H7 battery.

Note: The Fitdigits app does not manipulate the data it receives from a heart rate monitor at all.

Immediate spike caused by conductivity issues

The Experiment: We decided to go out for a run using two devices, the Fitdigits app as well as a Polar watch. We connected both with the Polar H7. The interesting thing about this experiment is that the phone and the watch use two different platforms. The iPhone uses Bluetooth Smart to connect with the H7, while the watch uses a 5.8 kHz signal to pair. This enables us to be comfortable concluding that if both devices spike, it is because of the belt and not because of an issue with the app, or a specific platform (such as Bluetooth Smart). So basically we went out for a run with both devices, and whenever we saw a spike in the Fitdigits app, we compared those results with the Polar watch.

The Results:The run started with a bang, spiking right off the bat and soaring to unforeseen heights all the way out of zone 5! The watch mirrored the results. When the heart chart on Fitdigits showed our BPM going above zone 5, the watch showed exactly the same results, with no discernible difference.

Conclusion We conclude that the spikes are a result of conductivity issues and / or hardware issues, not the app itself. Any time you get a spike or dropout, it is either the result of your body not having enough moisture to get a firm connection with the belt, or, in more rare cases, the hardware going bad, many times the belt, but less frequently the HRM “peanut” (brain) – the part that clips into the belt, goes bad.

We also believe messing with heart rate numbers received from a device is not a good policy, even if it is due to these malfunctions.

ot-hrm-polar-belt-spikes

If you get spikes at the beginning of your activity, typically that points to a connection issue between the strap and your body, since you haven’t yet really begun to sweat. We strongly suggest wetting the strap with either water, saliva, or a conductive gel. Fitdigits has a great blog post on Troubleshooting Your Polar H7, and noted fitness blogger DC Rainmaker also has a great post on How to Fix Heart Rate Strap Dropouts/Spikes.

If you are mostly walking / running / biking, you might consider getting and Optical HRM (like the Scosche Rhythm+ or a Mio HRM) instead of the Polar (or any chest strap). Typically, not being electrical per se, they have less of these issues.

 

If you still are experiencing issues, please contact Fitdigits customer support.

Pairing your Older Scosche myTrek or Rhythm Heart Rate Monitor with Fitdigits Apps

Related Links:
Pairing your Bluetooth Low Energy Heart Rate Monitor in iOS
Troubleshooting Your Scosche Rhythm+ or Mio Heart Rate Monitor
Troubleshooting Your Sensors

******NOTE: SUPPORT FOR OLDER SCOSCHE myTrek and the original Rhythm is being discontinued in July, 2016 ******

Scosche Rhythm and myTrekPairing the older versions of Scosche Rhythm / myTrek

If you are using an old-school Scosche Rhythm / myTrek using traditional bluetooth,  Scosche stopped supporting them a while ago.  Since the bluetooth classic monitors have been discontinued by Scosche, the SDK has not been updated in order for the monitors to work on iOS 9 and Android OS 5. This meant we could no longer support Scosche’s MyTrek and Rhythm Pulse monitor.  We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, and please see below for options on Android and iOS devices.

Upgrade your monitor (it is worth it!)


Android

However, you can download and install older versions of the Android app – iRunner or iCardio. The last version with support was v3.31 and here are the links below:

iCardio:
http://www.fitdigits.com/downloads/Android/3.31/iCardio_3.31(69).apk

iRunner:
http://www.fitdigits.com/downloads/Android/3.31/iRunner_3.31(69).apk

Once you have the file, you can uninstall the newer version of the app from your device, and copy the older APK file you found to the phone or tablet. If you tap on the links above on the device, it should install automatically.

If not, copy the file to either a new folder, or the existing Download folder. Then, you’ll need to find the file on your Android device (with a File Explorer app or similar), at which point you can tap on it and install it. Note that you will need to tick the box somewhere in your device’s settings menu to allow the installation of apps from “unknown sources”. Most but not all Android devices have this option.


iOS

 

For iOS users, there is only a limited time left to download a compatible app – as soon and the next release goes live in Apple iTunes it will no longer have support for these older heart rate monitors. iCardio no longer supports them, so you would have to download iRunner or iBiker, which are older versions. But remember not to allow automatic upgrades or the next update to those apps will no longer support the old app!  

Turn off automatic updates:
http://www.gottabemobile.com/2016/01/26/how-to-turn-off-automatic-app-updates-in-ios-9/

Download iRunner:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/irunner-runners-walkers-fitness/id304074554?mt=8

 


For all compatibility, please view here:
http://www.fitdigits.com/compatibility.html

We hope that helps!

 

*************

Pairing your Android with the Scosche Rhythm or myTrek:

The beginning of every great story has an introduction. Well Android users, prepare to be introduced to the device that will change your life, the Scosche Rhythm. Learn how to Pair your Scosche myTREK or Rhythm with Fitdigits on the Android, and re-write your life story to include a happier and healthier you!

First, put on your Scosche sensor. Make sure your alignment is correct:

Next, turn on the Bluetooth settings in the iPhone and pair the Scosche sensor.

1. Go to your Android Settings
2. Tap Wireless & Network

Choose Wireless & Network

3. Tap Bluetooth Settings

Tap Bluetooth settings

4. Make Sure Bluetooth is ON. If ON, tap Scan Devices
5. Your Heart Rate Belt should appear as “Scosche myTREK” below “Bluetooth devices”. Tap to pair

Tap Scosche to pair

6. Your Scosche will now be paired. To delete a pairing, tap and and hold the Scosche sensor, and choose to unpair
7. Open your Fitdigits app and go to Settings -> My Sensors, and tap Heart so the check is orange
8. Choose Scosche from the menu that comes up

Tap Scosche myTREK

9. You will be taken back to the “Bluetooth devices” screen. Tap on Scosche and you are paired.

Start a workout, and you are ready to take this relationship to a whole new level!

Pairing your Bluetooth Low Energy Heart Rate Monitor – Android

View for iOS

When it comes to Heart Rate Monitors (HRMs), it is essential to make a gentle first contact; do not make any sudden movements as to scare it. There are many different types, they all react a little differently. There is the chest strap, and electrode-based type, which is a great, accurate solution that can last for a long, long time but also has it’s comfort and use drawbacks. That is the traditional HRM.

There are optical solutions such as the Scosche Rhythm + which sits on the arm, the Mio line of wrist based, or the new opticals now coming out in earbuds, bike helmets and sweatbands. Seems if you can see blood, there will be a way to get heart rate from it!

That said, many of the cheap daily activity monitors that claim also to have Heart Rate support, are not compatible because they are not to BLE/Bluetooth Smart specifications or, like Fitbit, decided to keep the HR proprietary thus they did not build the ability for others to pair for HR.

Pairing is very easy. Deleting a current pairing is also super easy. I would recommend, just to get comfortable with the process, the first time you pair your HRM you delete it and then repair just again. Practice makes perfect Mom always said.

If you haven’t already, download the Fitdigits app, and upgrade in-app to support the heart rate monitor functionality and more. We provide a 5 minute trial however so you can pair and do a small test workout without upgrading, if you are still on the fence. All apps have the same functionality but different messaging and graphics in areas.

Downloads

iCardio Apps iRunner Apps iBiker Apps iWalker Apps
Fitdigits iCardio app for Apple iOS Fitdigits iRunner app for Apple iOS Fitdigits iBiker app for Apple iOS Fitdigits iWalker app for Apple iOS
Fitdigits iCardio app for Android Fitdigits iRunner app for Android Fitdigits iBiker app for Android Fitdigits iWalker app for Android

 

Pairing Your Heart Rate Monitor

  1. Make sure the heart rate monitor is on and turned on with heart rate
    1. Optical HRMs: Typically there are green flashing lights from most optical HRMs as they try and read your heart rate (check the back of your Mio or Apple Watch, etc).
    2. Chest Straps: Dab water, saliva, or gel onto the underside of the electrode receivers on the strap to strengthen the electrode connection (it conducts when wet, sometimes initially there isn’t enough sweat to get it to pick up). You want to create real chemistry between you and the belt. Next, put the strap on, placing it on your bare skin on the top of your ribcage right below your chest. Make sure it is snug enough not to bounce around much during exercise. Check that the peanut (the plastic monitor part) is right-side up and properly snapped into the belt.

 

 v4.x

1. Tap Menu > Sensors
2. Tap Heart Rate Monitor in the Add a Sensor section
3. When it finds the HRM, tap on it to pair.

v3.x

1. Tap Settings > My Sensors
2. Tap Add a Sensor: Heart Rate Monitor
3. Tap Auto Detect HRM
4. When it finds the HRM, tap on it to pair.

 

After pairing, the sensor will show in the Paired Sensors section below the Add a Sensor section. You can use the on-off switch anytime you want to not use the HRM, but you don’t want to delete the pairing (like if you forget your HRM).

Tapping on the name of the sensor will bring you to the Sensor detail page, where you can see more information on the sensor or tap Delete to delete it from there.

Deleting a Paired Sensor

  1. Tap Menu > Sensors
  2. Tap and hold on the paired HRM button on the name.
  3. Tap OK on the popup to confirm deleting the sensor.

You can also delete the sensor from memory by tapping on the name of the sensor, then tapping Delete from the Sensor details page.

Start a workout wearing your HRM and you are ready to finally realize your health and fitness destiny! When you are ready, read more on doing custom Fitness Assessments to get your custom heart rate zones, and why that is so important and effective in your own personal journey to health and fitness.

 

Troubleshooting

Try these initial steps if you are experiencing difficulties pairing, or these other articles for issues such as heart rate spikes or dropouts or general compatibility.

  • Chest Straps: Wet the electrodes on the belt part (which touches your skin) with water or saliva on the chest strap heart rate monitor to increase connectivity.
  • Optical HRMs: Make sure the green lights / receptors are pulsing in the part next to your skin.
  • Reset Bluetooth: Go to the Android Settings and turn off Bluetooth. Wait a few seconds then turn it back on.
  • Manually Close Your App: Exit the app and then double tap the iPhone home button. Look for the multitasking window to appear at the bottom of your screen. Tap and hold the Fitdigits icon to make a little red circle (minus sign) appear on all the apps. Then tap the little red circle for Fitdigits. Your app has now been manually closed. Relaunch the app and try pairing again.
  • Reboot: When in doubt, never hurts to reboot your phone/tablet.
If you still cannot pair with your Bluetooth HRM, check out the complete 

HRM pairing troubleshooting tips

 

Paring your HRM with Android

HRM Sensor Detail

 

Tracking Blood Pressure with Fitdigits Apps

Use any blood pressure cuff/monitor to measure your blood pressure, then manually enter your stats into Fitdigits, or link with supported blood pressure partners like Withings and have your blood pressure automatically imported from their portal.

To manually enter your blood pressure:
1. Launch your Fitdigits app, tap Menu > Health  Vitals
2. Tap Blood Pressure.
3. Tap “+” sign located at the top right of the screen.
4. Enter your blood pressure, tap Save.

You can also change the date and time if you are entering a blood pressure from a previous date.

To manually delete a blood pressure entry:

1. From the same screen, swipe from right to left to delete any of the manually entered blood pressure entries. (A red delete icon will appear.)
2. Tap delete and the entry will be erased from your dashboard.

Please note you can only delete manually entered blood pressure entries, you cannot delete a BP entry from Withings or other data provider.