Heart Rate Monitors, or HRM, are all the training rage. It is the new way to train, not to merely get faster but to become stronger. The slower your heart beats as the faster you glide is all down to controlled and methodical training. Most new HRMS connect to and display phone notifications and also double up as activity monitors, so they calculate how much you walk on a given day, and remind you, ever so naggingly, when you’ve been idle for a while. Any of these brands listed below will get the job done.
This is first a fitness band with a wrist-based HRM. It will record your activities, but it doesn’t have GPS. What it does have, though, is an innovative bio impedance analysis which tells you about your fat and muscle mass. The device passes a micro-current, and the time taken to travel across your body tells it how much resistance it faced, thereby helping it assess your fat percentage. I prefer not to be reminded how chubby I am every day, so I’ve decided to not opt for it yet. TomTom was the brand which pioneered wrist-based HRMs, and with bio impedance, they’ve raised the bar yet again.
TOMTOM SPARK CARDIO
This is for someone who isn’t into extreme or ultra sports — more a beginner to medium-level fitness enthusiast. It tracks all the usual metrics and has a very unique design, with a joystick-like button to control it all. The new version can also store and play music, through a Bluetooth headset. The battery drain isn’t too significant for anything up to 2-3 hours of training. The option to upload and run courses (or off-road tracks) is another great feature that has been added on.
This is the latest triathlon-specific wrist-device with an inbuilt optical HRM. The battery is disappointing, and unless you plan to finish an Ironman distance triathlon in less than 10 hours, it will die on you. For training, it is a versatile tool and can throw up more statistics and data than one may even feel the need for. For example, I now know the time I spend on the ground, which foot I use more and just how much I bob up and down while running. They have another model called the Fenix 3 HR, which will do all this and then some, and also comes in a chunky “boy’s toys” style metal body.
This too has some of the features mentioned above, but given its meagre battery and lack of detailed tracking and monitoring, it seems to be mostly for those whose idea of fitness is purely recreational. This is not a serious fitness tool, even if you opt for its sporty avatar.