In addition to Nike’s ever-popular “+” system, numerous accessories are available for iOS and Android device owners who want to monitor their exercise. Specifically, Scosche Industries’ myTREK offers a particularly interesting feature set.
The myTREK is a Bluetooth-enabled wireless, real-time pulse monitor, so its main focus is your heart rate. It syncs with your iPhone or iPod touch to keep an eye on your heartbeat so you can tailor your exercise regime — and crucially, its intensity — to suit you. Whether you walk, run, cycle or do aerobics and you want to burn fat, endurance train or push yourself to your maximum cardiovascular limit, you can use the myTREK.
The system contains a wireless monitor, which you wear strapped to your arm (a much more comfortable solution than some rival systems’ chest straps) and a free app. You have to turn on Bluetooth to use the device, as well as keep your phone nearby, so consider these factors if you’re weighing whether the myTREK is best for you.
Once you’re set up (an easy process we detail in the gallery below) you can start your first workout by tailoring the settings to your personal data — such as age, weight, resting heart rate, etc. Then, tell the app what type of activity you’re performing (yoga, running, etc.), your target training zone (burning fat, performance, etc.), what you’re looking to achieve and the type of workout (timed, distance, calories burned, etc.).
When you have entered those simple options, hit the “Start Workout” button and the armband will instantly begin monitoring your pulse. It will also let you know which performance zone you’re in, giving a little chime as the zones change. If you’re in a lower zone than you want to be, the app will encourage you with commands. If you need to slow the pace a little, the app will inform you of that, too, to ensure you stay in the specified zone.
We found the voice commands motivating. The app also shows relevant data on the display (again, more info in the slideshow), but Scosche obviously realizes that most people will use this app with their device in an armband or pocket, so it’s not a must-view.
The myTREK has another neat trick — it can wirelessly control your music from easily accessible buttons on the armband, a much handier method than fiddling with controls through a case.
After your workout you can instantly view a graph that charted your progress. These graphs save to the app, so you can look back and review progress over time. They display info such as pulse, calories burned, approximate distance, speed, pace and workout duration. There is also the option to share your workout data to social networking and social fitness services. At $99.95 (£99.95/119.95 Euros), the Scosche myTREK isn’t cheap, but it’s easy to use and comfortable to wear. For anyone whose focus is workout intensity, or for anyone who needs help understanding what different intensities mean for maximizing success, it’s a nifty fitness system that we expect will gain a fair few fans.