Does anyone use a external heart rate monitor strap?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by mellofello, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. mellofello macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    #1
    If so how has it impacted your workouts? I am very dubious of what my AW has been logging in my workouts. I do a lot of non traditional cardio, and I'm not sure if it is basing my calories of of the gyroscope or HR. Since I am also getting into resistance training with a eye towards getting lean I really want a semi accurate picture of calories out.

    I was under the impression that HR monitor straps were expensive but it looks like the going rate is $50-100 which is doable. If it gets me much better metrics I have no problem spending the money, but I just want to hear from people first.

    Those who have them what is the best brand for the money, and what is the best brand money no object?
     
  2. exxxviii, Jan 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016

    exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #2
    I think that the AW's calorie accuracy issues are more likely a software problem than a HR accuracy problem. My hunch is that Apple decided not to license one of the established algorithms and instead wrote some crapware.

    That said, I have a Scosche Rhythm+ HR monitor, and I absolutely love it. I ran with a chest strap before that, and I did not like the chest strap's chafing. I ran with both side-by-side to compare, and the Scosche is very accurate. But my AW HR is also very accurate when compared to the Scosche and Garmin chest strap. The only time my AW HR struggles is on very cold days and when my fist is clenched, like bicycling.

    For example, I ran today at 32 degrees out. My AW measured 158 average HR on the run, and the Scosche measured 143 average HR. The Scosche was correct.

    But, here is an example of AW software issues-- I have about 15 stationary bicycle rides with the AW and Garmin 910XT side-by-side. The Garmin estimates 830 total calories per hour for these rides. The AW estimates 440 total calories per hour (330 active calories per hours). I can see that the AW is getting good HR data. I am pretty sure the AW calorie estimate is crap. When I run, expending a similar level of effort, the Garmin estimates about 1,100 total calories per hour, and this is consistent with most running calorie calculators I have ever seen. The AW estimates 950 total calories per hour for those same runs. I can live with that difference. But, there is just too far a gap from the Garmin and AW running calorie estimates versus the AW's indoor cycling calorie estimate.

    If reasonably accurate calorie burn estimation is important, you may need another tool. Garmin licenses the Firstbeat Algorithm to estimate calories; it is claimed to be within 10% accuracy.
     
  3. Vader2 macrumors member

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    Jan 6, 2013
    #3
    I use a Polar H7 strap when lifting or doing pretty much any cardio other than running. The watch just seems to have a hard time when I make explosive arm movements.
     
  4. nicho macrumors 68000

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    Feb 15, 2008
    #4
    I got a wahoo tickr dirt cheap from Amazon (I think it was Amazon prime day in the summer while I was visiting my dad). It does the job.
     
  5. BlueMoon63, Jan 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016

    BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    #5
    This is very interesting post because I agree with it but don't always have the same issue. Heart rate measurements seem about right and I would believe your other device over the Apple Watch. I have a hard time getting more than a few percentage point differences between the AW and Fitbit and my polar chest strap.

    The calorie burn is what confuses me or makes me wonder. When I use the other workout option and average 135bpm with the Apple Watch, I burn around 425 calories per hour. A 125 average bpm is 371 calories. Elliptical workout and elliptical choice on the workout app for an hour at an average of 135bpm is 500 calories.

    I think you are right that the Apple Watch calculations are crap or based on typical numbers. Just like BMI tests say I am obese when my body fat is 15% because it doesn't know muscle mass.

    I did a lot of research several months back on calorie burn and averages. Back on version 1 of the Apple Watch, everything was off. They had bad numbers for bmr and calorie burns were way too high. Now, they appear way too low but bmr is very close and uses a basic formula.

    I don't agree with many people who post their calorie burn on treadmills and ellipticals unless they program it with all of their stats and use a heart monitor connected to the treadmill. A super fit 180 pound man will burn as much as 25-50% less calories per hour than an out of shape 180 pound man. The treadmill without stats updated daily will only be estimating.

    The only reason I don't hate the Apple Watch for calories is that it knows my stats right up to the minute I start running and it is almost perfect on my heart rate. I still think it measures calories burned a little low, it is not off by 50%. I think many people think they burn too much or don't program all stats all the time and maybe use a heart rate monitor that isn't tied to the device measuring calories.
     
  6. Aniseedvan macrumors 65816

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    UK
    #6
    Another H7 user here, I had it already and having home gym kit with polar integration it ticks both boxes for me.
     
  7. mellofello thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Feb 1, 2011
    #7
    So you guys are inferring that the AW is under estimating calories? For me sometimes a short 2 mile run or 45 minutes in the gym will come back with 700 calories burned. I am tall and obese but it seems unlikely that I am burning that much. If it were true I would be dropping weight quite a bit faster.
     
  8. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #8
    If obese you will burn a LOT more calories because a deconditioned individual's bodies are less efficient and burn more calories for the same effort as a conditioned person (all other things being relatively equal). Remember one pound of fat is about 3500Kcal. If you have about 25 pounds of fat you want to remove then you must burn (and/or consume less) about 87,500 calories.
     
  9. exxxviii, Jan 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016

    exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #9
    For me, it has been generally OK with running and walking. Those algorithms have been around for a long time and are generally well-known. I think that the AW is crap for calorie estimation on the non-running and non-walking activities.

    In your example, 350 calories/mile is very high, even for someone over 250 lbs. The total seems a couple hundred calories high.
     
  10. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68000

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    Mar 30, 2015
    #10
    This is such a good reminder. Even if you eat the same thing every day and don't diet, doing 500 calories of exercise per day will net you one pound of weight loss per week. I hate exercising in general but I love to eat so I exercise so I can eat what I want. :)

    In theory, this works, but abs are made in the kitchen and that is why I only have a 4 pack in the morning and a 2 pack by bedtime. :)
     

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