It's no secret, I'm fond of the odd cake or two. When I go out for a meal, I'll treat myself to the dish that most appeals to me without worrying about calories. If that happens to be a salad, that's cool. I love getting my five a day. But if I'm going to the latest diner opening - there's no way you're fighting that double cheeseburger and fries from my grasp.
Luckily, I also love to run. I live in the Leicestershire countryside where there are long winding routes, challenging hills and beautiful landscapes. I like to think the two cancel each other out, as much as both activities make me happy. I love food and I love the countryside (except when it rains).
I already have a Polar Watch and HRM, so was intrigued as to how the Bluetooth in this gadget would act with the latest running apps. I have an iPhone 5C and use the Strava running app anyway, which works with the device.
The gadget itself is a soft elastic chest band with HRM technology on the front. You simply wet the underside monitor pads with a tiny splash of water (there's not really a nice way to put it!) and fit it snugly under your sports bra. It can be adjusted to fit and the front just fastens like a popper.
If you're using Strava, which I throughly recommend, you just need to go into your Devices > Settings and turn on your Bluetooth sensors. You will know it's working when your bpm starts to show in the Heart Rate section.
This took a while for me to find, as Beets Blu doesn't recommend any one particular app in the instructions. If you look on other reviews you may see other apps such as MapMyRun and RunKeeper which work too. Generally though, I like the design and usability of Strava.
Now, after your warm up, it's time to get out there running! Here's what the screen looks like after you press "Record" and move those feet...
As you can see, your current time, distance and split pace are all displayed like you'd expect. With the HRM attached, you can see your heart rate too. This is a really important factor in working out if you're overexerting yourself or not pushing yourself hard enough. It's great if you want to work out via interval training too (mixing slow and fast paces). Generally your personal max heart rate will be 210 bpm minus your age. So as I'm 26 mine is roughly 194 bpm, and I can definitely feel it when I hit my peak.
This screenshot is from a different run, but is an example of how you could run splits at varying heart rates to suit you and your exercise.
After your run, the stats are great to look back on too. As you can see, the HRM means you can track your heart rate in relation to the elevation of your running route and the pace you went. As you might expect, hills are difficult and downhill is less effort. But still, you can look back on previous runs and see how you've improved or paced yourself more effectively. Nifty, hey? I was so surprised to see that 224 on my stats - that was a tricky hill!
In all I've been using the app and HRM together a lot lately. It's brilliant to see my improvement and track how I'm doing. In fact I've been using it more than the Polar HRM (which is a shame as it was a really thoughtful gift!) as the data capture and presentation is just so easy to manage.
Typically I do a shorter run in the evening (2-3 miles) and challenge myself to running my first mile as fast as possible. Then on the weekends I'll enjoy a slower paced 5 mile run and explore some off road tracks and public footpaths. I think I do better on a 10-11 minute per mile, which isn't the speediest but it keeps me healthy and happy.
So yes I do love my Bakewell tarts, chocolate cake and macarons. But I also like to fill myself up with the good stuff. I'm talking greeeeens. Asparagus, kale, spinach, broccoli and lots of them. Here are a couple of super easy well balanced recipes that I turn to throughout the week.
What is your favourite way to exercise? Do you use a HRM, watch or app to track your progress?
Note: I was sent the Beets Blu Heart Rate Monitor for consideration for review. All opinions are honest and my own.