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.

Stay Healthy Through the Holidays

How to Fit Fitness into Your Busy Holiday Schedule

While the holidays are often thought of as a magical time of year, this season can also be stressful for those who gripe about money, family issues and putting on extra pounds. In fact, a survey by Consumer Reports found that 34% of Americans say gaining weight is what they dread most about the holidays.

Luckily, this worry can be easily avoided by simply working off the extra calories. However, carving out time to go to the gym or on a run is an entirely different issue. While most peoples’ schedules are jam-packed with corporate gatherings, holiday parties and family obligations this time of year, it’s important to find ways to fit fitness into your daily routine.

Follow these six workout tips to stay fit and beat the holiday bulge.

    1. Turn your commute into a workout.
      Whether you’re going to work or taking the kids to school, your morning commute is the perfect time to be physically active. You can walk or ride a bike to work or school and burn extra calories. Just make sure to plan extra time in the morning to get to your final destination.

 

    1. Plan active activities with your family.
      Instead of sitting around and indulging in chips and sweets while watching reruns of the Christmas Story, get the family out on a walk around town to look at store window decorations and holiday lights, or perhaps go for a fun ice skating outing.

 

    1. Track your weight and activity.
      The holiday bulge can creep up when you aren’t watching, and that’s why it’s important to monitor your calories, weight and activity to ensure you don’t slip up. Fitdigits’s iCardio App keeps your cardio in check by tracking calories burned during any cardio activity like walking, running or riding a bike. As a Fitdigits MVP member for less than $5 per month, you can set specific fitness goals, receive advanced heart-rate charts and training graphs, and much more. The data syncs with MyFitnessPal’s food journal and Fitbit’s step activity tracker for a complete overview of your all-day activity and nutrition, which will motivate you to make better food and fitness decisions.

 

    1. 10 minutes is all you need.
      A study published by the New York Times found that three 10-minute cardio intervals were just as effective as one 30-minute sweat session. Go for a 10-minute jog before work, complete 10 minutes of lunges and squats at lunch, and end the night with 10 minutes of push-ups and sit-ups. Splitting up your fitness sessions during the day ensures you keep burning calories throughout the day and works with any busy schedule.

 

    1. Challenge your buddies.
      Find a fitness buddy to help you stay on track. Working out with a friend or family member holds you accountable, whether it’s meeting up at the gym or at the outdoor track. During the holidays it’s easy to lose your fitness focus. Stay connected with your buddy through a friendly fitness competition. For instance, commit to a Calorie-Burn Challenge to see who can burn more calories through the end of the year. Track and share results using Fitdigits’s heart-rate monitor and keep each other motivated!

 

    1. Bring fitness with you.
      One of the biggest deterrents to working out when traveling during the holidays is not having access to a gym. Anticipate this obstacle and bring your fitness gear with you. Lightweight resistance bands, a jump rope and a laptop are all you need to get your sweat on whether you’re staying in a hotel room or your grandmother’s basement. You can access free fitness videos online at sites like fitness.com or BodyRock.TV and set your phone timer to ensure you get in a full 30 or 60-minute cardio session.

 

Written by Andrea Woroch

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure

Testimonial by Fitdigits User Richard M.

I was a mess. My cholesterol and triglycerides were off the charts. My doctor told me that if I did not make a change to my lifestyle I was about become a diabetic. He upped my meds and told me come back in three months for a follow-up.

Richard working out with Kettlebells

Knowing I had to make a change I began to look for ways to change my diet and to begin some sort of physical fitness activity. I had at one time walked off a weight gain and considered it this time too, but it was December and I live in blizzard country. Ironically while thinking my options through when coming back from taking my dogs on a hike I drove past a new gym in my town that uses kettlebells. I stopped in, the trainer there told me that working with resistance was a great way to get fit. That working out with kettlebells, you get two workouts for the price of one, both resistance training and cardio. He also said the first one was free to I decided to try it out. I also cut all wheat out of my diet in order to get my carb intake and high triglyceride count under control. My goal was to have things on their way to “normal” for the three month follow-up.

I’m a business process guy in my professional life, and I decided that I would take a business process approach to my health and fitness. I believe that in business that “You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure.” So I started a food diary, bought a heart rate monitor, and downloaded Fitdigits and began tracking my heart rate and calorie burns during workouts. I quickly realized that a heart rate monitor without Fitdigits is just a strap across your chest. With the assistance of Fitdigits’s Advanced Cardio Assessment, I am confident that my heart rate and calorie burn are as accurate as possible. The ability to “see” my workouts and progress is amazing.

Here’s an example: This was a workout I did recently doing a kettlebell ladder, increasing a bell size each set after working for 8 minutes each with a 30 second rest between sets. Fitdigits captured this workout perfectly. As you can see at the load increased, so did my HRR. The last 10 minutes or so are of me rowing and then doing some cool down stretching.

As I said, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and at the end of my initial three months of working out I had taken my triglyceride numbers from the upper stratosphere down to normal and off medication. My cholesterol numbers had dropped significantly too and my medication was halved and in another three months I would come off all meds. So within six months I went from a candidate for diabetes to having normal blood-work. Oh ya, and I lost 40 pounds and dropped my body fat percentage by 25%.

So take my advice and measure what you want to manage fitness-wise. They say that weight loss happens 70% in the kitchen and 30% in the gym. I can tell you that I am making the most out of my gym time thanks to Fitdigits.

Scott lost 130 pounds with Fitdigits

Scott decided to change his lifestyle

Testimonial by Fitdigits user Scott B.

Last September my wife and I made a strong and ongoing commitment to get into and maintain healthier lifestyle. I was 41 and had been morbidly obese much of my adult life. At one point I weighted almost 300 pounds. I had also been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes seven years ago and severe sleep apnea too. I knew it was critical I make some significant lifestyle changes or face even worse health risks.

We started by eating healthy and incorporating a variety of exercises, including cardio and resistance-based activities, into our daily activities. I had owned several heart rate monitors in the past and found them helpful. Both my wife and I started to use them again to track workout intensity and caloric burns. In Mid-September of last year I discovered the Fitdigits app and was blown away by its features. It quickly proved to be one of the more essential tools I used to get down to 170 pounds by April of this year and see other health improvements: I no longer have sleep apnea or have to wear a CPAP mask every time I try to sleep. More importantly, my blood sugar/glucose levels are now within very healthy levels without the need for medication! My resting heart rate went from the low 80s to upper 50s now. For the first time as an adult I can both jog and run respectable distances.

The Fitdigits app stands out from the other heart rate monitor and running apps because of the broad feature set, level of customization, the Fitdigits website, partner integration, ease of use despite the large feature set, and great support.

After getting familiar with the app and features my wife and I did the Fitdigits fitness assessments. From that we had something to measure our progress, more accurate and personalized heart rate zones, and other information the Fitdigits app uses to more accurately measure and display your heart rate related data and calorie burn. I like that the heart rate zones the Fitdigits app created support more modern information regarding optimal fat burning, aerobic, and anaerobic heart rate zones and not the old 10% increments of your maximum heart rate that have been used in the past.

The next thing I did was setup custom dashboards to display different data based on the activity we were doing. The custom dashboards are capable of displaying up to 12 items per screen, and you can have multiple screens! As an example, when I am on the elliptical I want to see my heart rate, what zone I am in, total calories burned, current calories per minute I am burning, average calorie burn per minute, total workout time, etc. If I am doing a custom workout routine I want to see how long I have left in the current zone, and how much time is left in the routine. How is all that data useful? The data is like a coach telling you how hard you are working your body, and if your efforts are in align with what you are trying to accomplish with that workout; I can look at the screen and see if I need to keep my effort as is, push it harder, or slow down.

The ability to easily create custom routines is very nice. Sometimes I just want to burn a lot of calories, other times I am doing a structured high intensity interval training workout to boost my cardio, and other times and am focusing on cardio endurance. Routines help guide you so that you stay on track with the proper intensity levels throughout the workouts.

As mentioned, the Fitdigits app has the ability to display a lot of useful data during the workout but it also stands out from other similar apps in what you can do with the data post-workout. The app itself saves all the workouts locally and syncs them to your Fitdigits account online. I find it incredibly useful and motivating to compare past and present workouts to monitor my progress. I can see very clear improvements in my cardio and running speeds on a regular basis. Doing the fitness assessments regularly and comparing those is also very helpful to track progress and ensure the cardio related settings within the Fitdigits app update and maintain accuracy.

The web site allows you to setup different types of goals so that that you can better track, measure, and get reports on your progress. Both my wife and I have found the goal related features very helpful in staying committed. We both have weekly calorie burn and workout duration goals. Since I can now run, I also have a weekly distance running goal too.

One of the other great features about the Fitdigits Ecosystem is that they have partnered with some of the other popular fitness-related resources. My favorite is MyFitnessPal. Many people, including my wife and I, use that free site to plan our meals and track food consumption. We like that our workouts get synced to the site so we can track net calories (consumed calories minus burned calories).

I previously purchased two Garmin FR-620s ($450 each) for my wife and I before Fitdigits implemented the BLE stride sensor feature. I have to say, after using my Polar HR strap and stride sensor with the Fitdigits app—the Garmin watches will only be used on very long runs. Thankfully Fitdigits has made it very easy to import data from Garmin and other companies that use common exportable data logging formats.

Overall I feel the small cost of the Fitdigits app, compatible heart rate monitor, their optional MVP program features, and taking a little time to both understand how to use the features and setting up an obtainable action plan are an amazing value and a must have investment for anyone that wants to improve their fitness.

Link MyFitnessPal and Fitdigits

Fitdigits is now partners with MyFitnessPal, and we could not be more excited! All you have to do is link your Fitdigits account with MyFitnessPal, and you will be able to see your Fitdigits calories count towards your daily allowance from MyFitnessPal. To link accounts:

1. Open Fitdigits and go to Menu > Partners > MyFitnessPal
2. Tap “Link Account”
3. Enter in your MyFitnessPal username and password, or link with Facebook
4. Tap Allow, and then tap Done

Now, after you complete a Fitdigits workout the application will automatically send the amount of calories you burn to your MyFitnessPal account!

If you also have a Fitbit or other daily activity partner linked (for the sake of this discussion we will use Fitbit as the primary example), we have found that linking Fitdigits with Fitbit, then Fitbit with MyFitnessPal is the best way to link the three partners. If you try to link them a different way, problems will occur:

1. Link Fitdigits with MyFitnessPal, and MyFitnessPal with another Daily Activity Provider (Not recommended)
You will need to take your Fitbit off when using Fitdigits, or you will get a double-dose of calorie adjustments – Fitbit giving you “some” credit for the exercise (especially if running or walking), while Fitdigits also would give you total credit for the exercise. Also, when MFP posts activity burn to Fitbit, it doesn’t transfer the distance. The worst part, though, is that if you don’t wear Fitbit while exercising/running/walking, it means you wouldn’t get credit for the steps you do during those exercises and that is probably the biggest bummer!

2. Link Fitdigits with BOTH MyFitnessPal and with another Daily Activity Provider (Not recommended)
If you want to live in a world of delusion, this will give you a huge caloric intake capacity as it will double your calories everywhere you look and give you a false sense of accomplishment on a regular basis. However, we have found living in a world of delusion, while fun for a little while, can have results that don’t exactly match the real world!

Mark Laps and Customize Split Intervals

If you run at the track, or have ever used a lap button to mark your half-way split or other marked point in time or place, you likely know how helpful laps functionality can be.

With Fitdigits, your options are as flexible as a woman’s elite gymnast. Set custom splits for your workouts, either by distance or time, set a lap marker at just about any time, or even dedicate an entire screen to nothing but a lap button and lap information, perfect for custom high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Mark a Lap Anytime

  1. While in the workout, tap the gear icon in the lower right side
  2. Tap the Lap button

Mark a lap in-workout

 

Add a Dedicated Lap Screen

To turn laps on so you have a dedicated lap-oriented screen, complete with a large lap button:

  1. Tap the gear / settings icon for the activity type
  2. Tap the Activity Type Options (eg. Run Options)
  3. Tap Laps
  4. Tap Lap Screen

The screen will show elapsed time, distance, and speed in the top section. It will show previous lap information below the lap button.

Dedicated Lap Screen

 

Auto Lap / Splits Preferences

To set automatically recorded and announced splits / laps by distance, time, or not at all, access laps settings like above.

  1. Tap the gear / settings icon for the activity type
  2. Tap the Activity Type Options (eg. Run Options)
  3. Tap Laps

Set auto-lap markers by Distance or Time (or Off). Depending on the choice there, set the distance or time interval you want to track in the rows below.

Below the Auto Lap triggers is the type of alert you want to receive. Vibrate, chime, pop-up alert (visual) or Local Notifications (iOS only) are all options. Local notifications will notify you of laps even when you have the app running in the background as long as you have notifications enabled.

 

Settings are by activity type

Choose how often you want a Lap to occur

Splits / Laps / Auto Laps will show in your results when you are done, so you can compare, contrast and analyze any activity by equivalent segments.