I had a busy, awesome long weekend packed with fun – including a hiking trip, multiple beach excursions, watching football at a bar + seeing the sunset in La Jolla, a Saturday morning tennis workout, and treating myself to a mani & pedi. We even had a last minute guest stay with us for a few nights. One of my childhood friends and his dog were visiting San Diego as part of a cross-country trip he’s doing, so Adam and I showed him around town a bit. A few random weekend photos:
view from the top of Cowles Mountain yesterday
Note my lovely There’s Something about Mary hair. 😉
Over the weekend I also gave my new
crappy heart rate watch one more shot before writing this post about it.
I’ve used a heart rate watch during my workouts for around 3 years now. My primary reason for using one is to track my heart rate and get a good estimate of how many calories I’ve burned. This helps me to know if I need to push my body harder and get my heart rate up more, or if I’m where I want to be in terms of intensity. I also like to use it as a timer so I know how long I’ve been working out for, and sometimes as a stopwatch to time certain exercises, such as holding a plank for 90 seconds. When the holidays came around last month, I went on the hunt for a new watch to pick out as a Christmas gift. The watch I had been using for awhile is one in Sportline’s Solo line, which I found to be pretty accurate, but it was getting old and scratched up.
I originally wanted to see if I could find a watch that continuously monitored my heart rate throughout the day, without having to stop my workouts fairly often to have my watch measure my pulse. What I found out was that I only have 2 options when it comes to continuous heart rate watches :
1.) to wear a chest strap with it
2.) to buy a Mio Alpha, the only continuous heart rate sport watch on the market so far.
I knew that a chest strap would bug me, so the first option was out. Though trying out a seemingly cutting edge watch was tempting, I didn’t like how bulky it looked. On top of not being crazy about its look, the watch runs at $200. I didn’t particularly want to get a pricey one without being sure that it’d even work accurately. So, a continuous heart rate watch was out.
Once I ruled that out, I did a considerable amount of research online trying to find a watch that had the functions I wanted, was visually appealing to me, was at a reasonable price point and had a lot of good reviews. In the end, I got tired of looking around so much and just picked one similar to my current watch. The product I got was a Sportline 925 Solo heart rate watch, which sells for around $60.
I was excited to see how my new watch worked, but quickly was disappointed with its inefficiency in counting calories. I’ve tried to use it a bunch of times, and always get similar results to this:
In 43 minutes of working out at a pretty high intensity (between 70-85% of my maximum heart rate), I burned 53 calories?! Get outtaaaa here! The funny thing is that I believe my old Sportline Solo tends to overestimate calorie burn, while this one seriously underestimates it.
As far as heart rate measurement goes, the watch seems to be in the right range of accuracy…. when it actually measures it. The majority of the time, the watch does not take my heart rate on the first try. I even read through the entire manual to see if there was something I was missing, but I wasn’t. Having to pause a workout for a good 2 minutes to try to get your heart rate to be measured is annoying. My older watch sometimes has trouble measuring my heart rate if I’m moving around – i.e. on a bike or something of that nature – but this watch has a hard time even when I’m standing perfectly still.
One day I did a barre workout and decided to put on both my old and new watch so that I could compare the results. I felt like I was wasting so much time attempting to get my heart rate from the 925 Solo, so I wound up leaving my heart rate up somewhere high (around 85%) for most of the workout. Even with that inaccuracy, here is how off the watch was compared to my older one:
37 versus 407 calories burned?!
On the other hand, the Sportline 925 Solo’s pedometer, distance, and speed functions seem to be pretty similar to what my FitBit measures. But since I pretty much always have my FitBit clipped onto my waist, I use it for these kind of stats and don’t need my watch to be a pedometer. As far as the look and feel, I like the watch.
I understand that these types of products can’t be 100% accurate. However, if I can’t rely on the watch to be anywhere near correct with my calorie burn, and obtaining a heart rate measurement is difficult, what’s the point in me using it? For now I’m going back to my old watch until I find a new one that is highly recommended to me…. speaking of which, anyone have a great heart rate watch they want to tell me about?!
*UPDATE: Immediately following my writing this post, I headed to the gym for a workout wearing my older watch. At the beginning of my workout, the watch totally conked out and won’t turn back on. Oh the irony!! Now I really need a new watch recommendation…*