The answer to this question – Which One is Best? - is that it depends. Smartphone with UpBeat Workouts makes the feeling of discomfort less and the time to fatigue longer – you simply can go further with synched matched music as you move. Heart rate monitors measure and monitor the quality of your activity. Activity trackers measure and monitor the quantity of your activity. The two are quite different. Heart rate monitors are measuring the load or the stress on your body. Activity trackers are when stripped to their basic, an electronic step counter pedometer. Both are most useful if you use them as a management tool not as gauge of it.
The quality of your activity – whether you are sleeping or you are sprinting – is one if not the most valuable metric that there is. Using stride-matched-music is one of the most valuable ways to run longer and faster because your perception of effort and pain is less.
But the activity monitor or another name is the “electronic activity tracker” has hit a sweet spot with consumers. They are easy. They don’t take a transmitter belt (except for the Mio and a few other strapless pulse monitors). They are simple. They allege but they don’t really measure sleep though the allege to – they just measure how much you move when you are in sleep-mode and then guess that you are restless or in REM sleep. They are used for challenges and ramifications, for social media sharing, for cred in the fitness world
What the two share is that they are wearable technologies – which is hot right now. They both use mobile apps for smartphones. They estimate caloric expenditure but there’s a huge error factor and they are so inaccurate you shouldn’t use this feature. Some integrate data with built-in accelerometers, GPS, skin temperature, and altitude sensors.
Several mobile devices now marry the activity tracker with the heart rate monitor the Polar Loop and from Within Pulse. More data. What does it mean – how does one use it to solve their fitness challenges? And, is there a way to marry the data to truly be meaningful?
Here – we love the Blink heart watch for the quality and we love UpBeat Workouts and The Urban Cow Half Marathon Training Program because it has coaching. If you want to know more about The Blink – the quality monitor that flashes the color that matches your effort zone – the click over to ZONING fitness to learn about the easy 3-Step program and blink your way to better running.
Co-Author of Be a Better Runner