Fitbit Charge HR and CrossFit – Part 1

Step Count at 4:30pm
Step Count at 4:30pm

In the last couple of years we have seen a few wearables hit the market and a new feature that some have introduced is the continuous heart rate monitoring.

One of the wearables that peeked my attention was the Fitbit Charge HR. It did have a couple of things right, right out of the box. It has a great battery life, it is pretty small, it is somewhat water resistant, it measures heart rate continuously and the price made it a pretty easy sell for me.

The big feature that I was looking forward to testing was the accuracy of the heart rate measurement. Because once you start keeping track of your heart rate you can start uncovering a lot of new information about your training, your rest and subsequent recovery. Heart rate is also a factor in determining if you are overtrained or getting sick, so this was a game changer for me. Information now could be correlated and backed by a hard number.

Since we gather a lot of metrics here at Kilomodo I also wanted to find out how useful the data collected from the Fitbit would actually make sense to display for the regular Kilomodo user.

After 3 months of wearing it and using it for 54 WODs I can draw the following conclusions (in no particular order):

  • Resting Heart rate measurement did help me determine my rest cycle.
  • Resting Heart rate measurement did indeed reflect my current health state (i had a period of 2 weeks that I was fighting a cold).
  • My sleep cycle is horrible. I think mentally it kills me during hard exercises, but in the days that I did get a decent amount of sleep I was able to push a bit harder and do reach better scores (6 hours total of sleep per night).
  • Heart Rate measurement for Crossfit specific activities is pretty useless. There in optimal range that the Fitbit excels and it seems to me that it is a day-to-day moderate activity. I have never seen it register anything above 145bpm. Sometimes I can tell that my heart rate is higher because I can count it by the throbs in my head!
  • Sweat was never an issue and it kept working just fine.
  • Battery life is actually pretty awesome. I check stats a lot so mine lasts 3.5 to 4 days on a full charge (no pun intended).
  • Riding a motorcycle with the Charge HR on will skew all your numbers. Every 10 miles on the bike adds 1000 steps or so to your daily count.

I think overall it is a great tool that you can add to your training. I am hoping that with subsequent software and firmware releases they will be able to address issues such as the heart rate accuracy at higher intensities and also the calculation of movement when not actually exercising (motorcycle riding, peeling sweet potatoes).

For $150 dollars it was an easy sell for me. I will continue to use it and write some more about the experience and who knows, it might some day make it into your Kilomodo dashboard.

JH

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