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!

Advanced Heart Rate Analysis

Fitdigits advanced heart rate analysis is now included with the Star Membership. Heart rate analysis helps you monitor how your fitness is changing through time, making sure that your efforts over multiple workouts are balanced to your goals and helping you reach those goals. It can also help you dial in your personal heart rate zones, allowing you to see how the distribution goes at different intensities.

To access new heart rate analysis charts, log into my.fitdigits.com. Go to Activities. Click the arrows on either side of the dashboard display to switch dashboards. Remember, you can adjust your time in the top left corner to view your stats by week, month, year, or custom. By dropping down the options menu, you can also change the grouping of your activities (to select Runs only, Cycle only, etc) and adjust which activity type is displayed.

BPM (Beats per Minute) Histogram

BPM histograms show your heart rate distribution for the given time frame. Below is the heart rate distribution for all workouts in 2013. Zones can be determined by dropping the Options section and selecting the heart rate zone set of your choice. Check out how Fitdigits determines heart rate zones and how accurately determine zones with fitness assessments. If you have had a fitness assessment elsewhere and know your zones, you can also manually enter them.

Zone Histogram

Zone histograms show the time spent in each heart rate zone as well as a percent breakdown for each zone. In the image below, 12% or 7:22 hours of total workout time with heart rate was spent in zone 2. The zone histogram and pie chart will show just how your time in zones adds up.

 

New advanced graphs allow you to see your time in zones over multiple workouts. Select to view workouts by month to see how your fitness is changing through time. If you choose, you may also view these changes over all workouts or over a specific workout type.

 

This can be great when you are going through different training stages or have different goals in mind. Are you looking to build your base in the off-season? If so, maybe you want to make sure you are mostly in those lower zones for longer periods of time. Are you looking to improve your stamina at race pace? Or perhaps your power for shorter distances?

Each goal has, at its core, a mix of time in the zones; if you are always pushing too hard, it may be time to give your body a break! Can you identify where you are cutting yourself short by not pushing hard enough, or if you aren’t taking enough base building time?

Fitdigits 4 Keys to Cardio Fitness

Using the Critical Power 30 Minute (CP30) Assessments to Create Custom Heart Rate Zones

By setting Zones customized to your body, heart, and systems, you get a true view of your level of effort you are currently training or exercising in, which allows you to train better, without injury over longer times.

Critical Power 30 Minute assessments are one of the best ways to determine heart rate zones without a laboratory, and is the best assessment in the apps for that purpose.

But it also takes the most personal effort.

With a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) you can use it to develop Heart Rate Training Zones. With GPS and/or Foot pod in Running, it can be used to develop Pace Zones too.

To calculate a VO2 Max and FitRank (age adjusted ranking based on VO2 Max) for these assessments, you must have a Resting Pulse entry in the Health section of the app (one not taken from a Blood Pressure reading). See this post on measuring your Resting Heart Rate.

The CP30 does this by measuring your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) and/or your LTHR equivalent pace, and setting your personal zones based around that number.

The Critical Power 30 Minute (CP30) assessments are not meant for those who are not used to physical exercise. This test requires you to run for 30 minutes as fast as possible (race pace).

How to do the CP30 Assessment:

  • Find a track or very flat area you can run along unobstructed for 30 minutes. You should run alone and at race pace (it has been shown that running with others affects the test and actually makes you faster). Ideally this should be a constant pace, that you can hold through the end of the 30 minutes without slowing down.
  • Warm up for 10 minutes (light walking, stretching, etc)
  • Start the assessment on your App, and start running at race pace – Choose Run > Workout > CP30 Running Test
  • After 30 minutes, the workout ends and the recovery portion will begin (recovery is an option we’ve added here as another data point to assess your overall change in fitness – the better the recovery, the better the cardio fitness). Stand still and relax for 2-minutes.
  • Your results will be on the final screen, as well as online at My.Fitdigits.com and in your results listing. The assessment in the app allows you to easily set the calculated zone set from the assessment as your default zone set.

The CP30 assessments also help determine Pace Zones applicable to running – similar to heart zones and used for training, they can help your training and keep you injury free by keeping your training in the right zones at the right times, without a heart monitor. You can watch these zones change over time with changes in your fitness! In fact, this assessment should be used on a regular basis to show changes in your fitness levels and training zones.

How We Calculate Zones and VO2 Max:
Heart Rate Zones and Pace Zones are determined using the formulas provided for this type of test. One of the best write-ups of these calculations is the Joel Friel post here. For VO2 Max, we take your Resting Heart Rate and your calculated Max HR leveraging the assumption of your LTHR being ~85% of Max HR, and using the Heart Rate Ratio Method. (Eur J Appl Physiol. 2004).

Many factors can influence results including temperature, elevation, sleep, emotional state, eating habits and more. The best analysis of the results are by comparing it with previous results. The test environment should remain as constant as possible.

Please don’t perform any fitness test without talking to your physician about it first.

Assessments can change the way you live your life, change the way you exercise because:

1. They help determine your Fitness Level.

Using physical tests developed over the years by a variety of individuals and institutions, these fitness tests have been shown to result in fairly accurate measures of fitness, and can be compared to others of similar age and gender. Not all assessments in Fitdigits apps have the ability to determine VO2 Max, but the majority do.
See the article “Why Should You Know (and Track) Your Fitness Level?” for more.

2. They help determine personal heart zones.
People are all different. Only 20% of people have a max heart rate that is close to the 220-Age = Max HR. For a large majority, setting zones of 50%-100% off that formula does not result in zones that are meaningful or correct. From previous discussions, we know how important understanding what HR zone you are in can be towards realizing your goals (is your goal endurance and fat burn, or speed and power, for example). Your HR zones will also change over time – the more fit you become, the higher your HR Max will be (relative to yourself, not others) for example. Not all assessments in Fitdigits apps have the ability to set HR zones, but the majority do when paired with a heart rate monitor.
See the article “Why Should You Know Your Personal Heart Rate Zones?” for more.

Customize Heart Rate Zones on the Android

Customizing your Heart Rate Zones is important to personalizing your workouts and calorie burn.

With Fitdigits apps on Android, it’s simple to change your zones, though ideally it is done through a customized Fitness Assessment you’ve taken, where we do the work for you.

  1. Tap Menu > Settings
  2. Tap My Heart Rate Zones
  3.  Tap Add Zone Set
    1. To edit a zone set, tap that zone set and tap Edit in the top right
  4. Tap on the Title of the Zone Set and the zones themselves to change the names.
  5. Tap on the beats per minute barriers to change them
  6. Tap “DONE” when finished.
  7. To set the new zone set as default in the app, tap “Set Default”