Thursday, 30 January 2014

Firstbeat - Lifestyle Assessment Results @Firstbeatinfo

Hi all

If you have landed here I encourage you to read the first part of this two part post.

After my Firstbeat life assessment was completed I sent back the equipment and awaited the results.

Just a week later I was contacted by Tiina, who is extremely qualified to provide the feedback:

Tiina Hoffman is involved in training our international customers for well-being and performance services. She has a B.Sc. degree from the University of Alaska and an M.Sc. degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Jyväskylä. She is a former cross-country skiing coach at the University of Alaska and has also worked in academic research in heart rate variability field studies. Ms. Hoffman has gained significant experience in the principles of delivering quality heartbeat measurement based services in the corporate wellness sector.

The assessment results are very detailed and cover the following:

- Stress and recovery charts for each day
- Overview of sleep for each night
- Health promoting physical activity charts for each day
- Heath affects and energy expenditure for each day
- Training effect report for each activity
- Lifestyle inspection

To be very honest I was shocked at the data they were able to lift off from the sensor and then articulate into all these categories.

Example reports seen here

Stress and recovery
This is such an important measurement for us all, the ability to understand how we work and how it affects not only our work but family lives is critical. I had a good few observations, that I will not go into detail in public :-)

The main learning for me in this area is to really ensure that I can split the work (stress) time from the relaxing (recovery) time.... and ensure that I get enough recovery time.


Overview of sleep
Sleep is key for us all, its the time our body rests and recovers, see above.

This for me was an area I thought I would score low on, however the results painted a different picture. Whilst the amount of sleep I get is on the low side, once I go to bed I go to sleep very quickly and the quality of my sleep is very high, so straight into the recovery mode and free from stress. So I was pretty happy to hear that :-)

Health promoting physical activity & health affects and energy expenditure
I trained on each of the days and these charts simlpy captured the activity based on "fitness promotion or health promotion", which if even the lightest of actvity would have been captured. The only drawback with the sensor is that it is not waterproof so there was no data collection during activity, however the training effect associated with is would have been captured.


Training effect report
Since I had two training session I received further, deeper assesment on the results: EPOC and training effect, training clssification (VO2, fast and slow distance). These were of huge interest to me since my training sessions were very different: one was my local run around where I live and done at quite a high level and the second session was more a recovery session on the elipical trainer.


The results fully explained how the sessions differed from each other, one promoting cardiorespiratory fitness whilst the other improving health and well-being.

Lifestyle inspection
In summary, whilst there was nothing I needed to change - it was a timely reminder that the body is working 24 hours and that the less time we leave for recovery could have a detrimental affect to ones overall lifestyle.

The final part of this was to set some goals and make those small changes :-)

After completing the assessment and going through the results I would whole heartedly recommend this to everyone and anyone. Should you be looking to have a better understanding of your activity, your stress levels, or indeed your lifestyle, the good folk at firstbeat you be the next people you contact

My thanks go out to Tiina and the Firstbeat team, its been a real insight to how my lifestyle and body are functioning :-)

For more info visit these first beat web pages


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Firstbeat - Lifestyle Assessment @Firstbeatinfo

Hi all

Leading on from my last post I decided to understand what my "base" was in terms of "lifestyle" and then improve it. Whilst its great having these fitness bands, if there is no reference point for your fitness level, then how do you where to improve. It's almost like Alice in Wonderland if you don't know where you are going any road will take you there.

Anyway, I digress...

I was looking for a company or product that would not just measure heart rate, or simply count steps, but something that would be able to provide me with a very detailed view of my "lifestyle", one that would capture activities and sleep.

I discovered a great Finnish company that specializes in fitness and lifestyle called Firstbeat and they have a whole host of different products aimed at fitness.

To be honest this has got to be the most comprehensive range of fitness/lifestyle product and service I have ever seen.!

Within the range of products and services was a "Work and Well being - Lifestyle Assessment" aimed at improving your work/life balance, but also capturing your work out activities.

The assessment service covers all these points:

Seems that will tick all of my boxes and more.!

I signed up to the assessment and I must comment here that from my first contact with Firstbeat, the emails I had with the CEO, the subsequent assessment and debrief their conduct was impeccable. My only wish would be that more companies were this receptive and customer orientated like Firstbeat.!

OK, so I signed up and was send a great info pack containing the Body Guard 2 heart sensor that I had to wear for three days, an online questionnaire and reporting tool.

The assessment is conducted over three days, one of which is a rest day so Thu/Fri/Sat or Sun/Mon/Tue, I chose the later as I knew that on this week it would capture a very typical set of activities with family and work.

The Body Guard 2 sensor itself is a two part affair with one part below the heart and the other close to the right shoulder blade. This must aid the collection of data that shows not only heart rate, but physiological changes in your body so that stress and physical activity is captured.

So with questionnaire completed and the Body Guard 2 fitted I started the three day assessment period.

I will save the new post to reveal the three days and then the all important results :-)


Monday, 20 January 2014

Post #CES fitness and @PolarGlobal

Hi all

I thought I would deviate from actual gadgets and take a holistic look at fitness for this week.

Fitness, diets and living healthy has always been very prominent in our current lifestyle. Nike with their Fuelband kicked off a the craze of fitness trackers, which was then emulated by the likes of Jawbone, Fitbit and others. During 2013 many of the larger brands (not just sports brands) jumped on board with some form of smart wearable device from Adidas to Polar and also Sony. Judging by the amount of companies showcasing wearable tech at CES it seems that 2014 will see an avalanche of these fitness trackers and smart wearable devices.

At their core these fitness devices capture movement in all 3 axis, which will show times of activity, non activity and sleep. They come with apps that allow the manual tracking of food, water consumption and some offer the gameification and social element.

Whilst it great to have a understanding of how active we are and how much sleep we get I feel the area of weakness that all these devices have is that they do not offer a base understanding of "how we are". Most of us will simply gauge how much we weigh and try to loose weight.!

Put it like this, when you join a gym you don't normally start busting some heavy weight, no you typically have some form of assement to capture a "base reading" then comes "target setting / what so you want to achieve" that could be improved fitness, weight loss or running 10Km.

With that in mind I have chosen to try out a few different methods to capture my "base" and then from there set my "targets". I will be blogging these in the next few posts.

So why am I telling you all this.? Simply put I feel that most folk will be perplexed by the amount of wearable tech being offered and if you don't know "what your goal is" then how do you know what piece of tech to buy.

Going out and dropping 450€ on the Polar v800 may seem like a great idea, but unless you are targeting triathons and training leading up to them, this may not be the best piece of tech for you. Taking nothing away form the v800 its a superb piece of kit.! But you may be better off with a sub 100€ Polar Loop.


Thursday, 9 January 2014

#CES2014 @kiwiwearables #Wearable

Hi all

I saw this via one of the twitter gang its a new (smaller) start up called Kiwi Wearables, their activity tracker is rather like Misfit Shine, i.e. you wear it on your collar and not as a wrist wearable BUT its much more than that.

Digging deeper the folks at Kiwi are looking to capture all sorts of data from the sensor, it connects to the internet, has a temperature sensor, sleep quality and users voice.

This defo breaks the mold for what we have seen this week - standard activity trackers stand aside.! If these passionate folk at Kiwi Wearables read this right they may just gain a lot of momentum.

They have already been showing this off at hackathons and believe it or not how to use it to make music.!!! So getting this into the hands of the hackers could really see a huge amount of development on their $99 wearable.

Its a bit hard to pick up any hands on with the device, but this is what I have found so far:

Huff Post video

Tech Crunch


PC Mag

Toronto Tech

#CES2014 The rest of the rest #wearables

Hi all

Looks like the launches have all happened, so just collecting the ones that are not the A listers.

Movea have launched (for developers only) an activity tracker G- Series, claiming it to be the "world’s most accurate and energy efficient multisport wristband". Which if this is to be true is a major milestone. I know after using Fitbit flex I am aghast at how bad it is tracking some activities.!

Whether or not this sees the light of day remians to be seen.. certainly a late starter to the wearables arena

Hand on by:


The Verge


Another wearable is the kickstarter project by Neptune, the Pine. Featuring a huge display this SmartPhone, SmartWatch, GPS tracker, 5Meg Camera (VGA front), 32Gig storage, music playing thing - running Driod Jelly bean.


My only observation it that it is not waterproof :-)

This really is the Swiss penknife of smart watched... make one wonder if all that tech is really needed by the average Joe.

Youtube video here

Hand on by Engadget (again)


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

#CES2014 roll up of the others #WearableSmartDevices @Engadget

Hi all

Notable to mention two other wearables launched at CES.

Scosche new heart rate monitor that measure heart rate and blood flow via the arm and not via a chest monitor.

Engadget got a look at it.

Basis have launch a Carbon Steel edition of their tracker. It another that measures heart rate via the under side of the watch. Worn 24/7 this can track sleep, activities etc etc as they say:

Beneath the surface is where Basis separates itself from every other fitness tracker. The Basis band contains the most advanced sensors on the market, continuously capturing heart rate patterns, motion, calorie expenditure by activity…even perspiration and skin temperature. All of this data is captured 24/7. The only thing required of you is to wear it.

Engadget got their hands on this (again)

#CES2014 @Intel dive into the world of #wearables

Hi all

Bit of a curve ball with Intel joining the ranks at CES with the launch of a wearable device.

Direct from the fact sheet

This sounds pretty novel, a pair of earbuds that not only deliver music but monitor your heart rate - pretty cool, if it works. One of the main issues that us runners face of getting ear buds that fit, so this could be a real marmite* product.

Hands on by



The Verge


*Marmite. BING it, but means: some like it and some don't.

#CES2014 @Sony launch the #Core

Hi all

Sony has renewed its efforts in the wearable devices, this time with "The Core", there is little to go on and ask quoted "This is a teaser"...

But safe to say:

Measures activitiy
5 day bettery
Blue tooth to device

Lucky these folk have had some hands on and more comments:


Tech Crunch



Monday, 6 January 2014

#CES2014 @Pebble launch the #PebbleSteel @tnkgrl

Hi all

Another launch from the mighty #CES2014. This time its from the gang over at Pebble.

What started out as a kickstarter program looking to get $100,000 finished with nearly 69K backer reaping in over $10,000,000..!!

As an owner of Pebble I "get it", its a cool looking watch that you can customise the face, add apps to get your notifications...

...what more this took a stack of awards and was voted as the best smartwatch by a number of tech press during 2013.

So for 2014 check out whats happening:

Launch of the new steel model

Available in brushed steel & matte black

This really brings the smart watch to another level not just in terms of looks but with the dedicated App store - functionality.

Also their own App store due to open

Check out the GetPebble blog and also their web site

Hands on reviews:



The Verge



#CES2014 @Polar Global launch the #Polarv800

Hi all

#CES2014 has the second wearable launch from the great folks at Polar called ther #v800

Quick picture

Measures every training session and 24/7 daily activity
Helps you understand your training load and recovery need
Tracks your speed, distance and route with integrated GPS
Supports multisport training with sport profiles

Gives heart rate even in water with a comfortable hybrid transmitter
Allows you to plan and analyze your training with the free Polar Flow app and service
Compatible with Polar Bluetooth Smart running and cycling and sensors
Waterproof to 30 m/100 ft
Dedicated site found here >> Polarv800
Hands on already done by: