Owning an Apple Watch convinced me to buy a chest HRM

Do you use a chest strap HRM with your Apple Watch?

  • Yes

    Votes: 29 31.9%
  • No

    Votes: 62 68.1%

  • Total voters
    91

frumpy16

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
854
531
I've had my Apple Watch since launch day and have loved it. It's definitely motivated me to exercise and be active more than I already was. I do a lot of fitness classes at the gym my company offers and have found that I love having heart rate data. However, for activities like circuit training or non-running/biking types of things, the HR data is spotty (which gets frustrating quickly). So... I bought a Polar H7. I guess I didn't know what I was missing until Apple showed me the feature but didn't implement it in a fully usable manner.

The H7 is rock solid and feeds data consistently and constantly during my workouts now. Plus, I can use third party apps (like Runtastic Gold) and get HR data fed into the activity feed (which lets me overlay heart rate data over a map, pace, elevation, you name it). I love it. I still like having the Watch for seeing the data on my wrist during the workout but this strap (at least for now) is a required fitness accessory for me.

Anyone else follow a similar path?
 

Smurphy Gherkin

macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2015
263
109
Melbourne, Australia
Other way round, had a Polar (died in 2 days), then TICKR, then Watch.

Short version is the Watch wrist sensor/software is no way near as good as a chest strap, but way more convenient.

Bummed about the Watch, but offset that TICKR was not a waste!

Incidentally, I heard reports the Polar pollutes the Healthkit with like 20 readings per second. I could not open Show All Data in the Health app until I deleted the Polar data (Share Data... Data Sources... Polar... Edit.. Clear All). I would be interested to see if you run into problems.

Back on topic, I use the Tickr when I do a stepper workout (with irregular arm swinging/aerobics), as the Watch doesn't fare well, it often reports 1/2 or 3/4 of the correct rate.

Outdoor walks don't get reported well, especially in colder weather (Apple support docs warn about this) but I don't bother using the chest strap anymore for walking.
 

frumpy16

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
854
531
No. Doesn't seem logical (to me) that you felt you needed a chest HR monitor because you had one on your wrist. But good luck with your purchase.
It's two things. 1) the readings aren't reliable. Half the time I look down to see my rate and it's recalculating. 2) the HR data from the watch is only usable by the Activity App (not other third party apps). The activity app lacks many features that Runkeeper, Runtastic, etc have.
 
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thefredelement

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2012
1,142
559
New York
I'm with you and just ordered one from Amazon. Apple half baked this whole fitness thing, it was great at first to get motivated but it's severely lacking and pretty crappy once someone gets really into it.

Can you get heart rate measurements from the watch and in an app at the same time? Can the sensor share data to both at once is what I'm asking .
 
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Smurphy Gherkin

macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2015
263
109
Melbourne, Australia
I'm with you and just ordered one from Amazon. Apple half baked this whole fitness thing, it was great at first to get motivated but it's severely lacking and pretty crappy once someone gets really into it.

Can you get heart rate measurements from the watch and in an app at the same time? Can the sensor share data to both at once is what I'm asking .
Just tried pairing the Tickr to my phone instead of my Watch.

Weird things happen.

Started recording a workout in iPhone app Wahoo Fitness, which worked.
Tried using Heart rate glance on Watch - this used Watch sensor separately which was within 3 BPM of the Wahoo.

It takes a few minutes for readings to show up in Apple Health app. (initially I though the Watch readings were not recording while the Wahoo app/Tickr was on, but they showed up 5 mins later)

I stopped the workout in Wahoo iPhone app, and then the Watch grabbed the bluetooth connection with the Tickr. I got excited thinking the Watch was sharing, but it wasn't - the Watch Bluetooth settings showed the Tickr being connected.

If you run the Wahoo app, the heart rate gets recorded as from the Wahoo app. If you just connect the TICKR it will record into Healthkit as a Bluetooth icon without any app running - I did not know that.

The Health app likes to freeze when you try to show all data while a Tickr is dumping in data.
 

thefredelement

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2012
1,142
559
New York
Just tried pairing the Tickr to my phone instead of my Watch.

Weird things happen.

Started recording a workout in iPhone app Wahoo Fitness, which worked.
Tried using Heart rate glance on Watch - this used Watch sensor separately which was within 3 BPM of the Wahoo.

It takes a few minutes for readings to show up in Apple Health app. (initially I though the Watch readings were not recording while the Wahoo app/Tickr was on, but they showed up 5 mins later)

I stopped the workout in Wahoo iPhone app, and then the Watch grabbed the bluetooth connection with the Tickr. I got excited thinking the Watch was sharing, but it wasn't - the Watch Bluetooth settings showed the Tickr being connected.

If you run the Wahoo app, the heart rate gets recorded as from the Wahoo app. If you just connect the TICKR it will record into Healthkit as a Bluetooth icon without any app running - I did not know that.

The Health app likes to freeze when you try to show all data while a Tickr is dumping in data.
Got ya, thank you. So I'm wondering if it's better to pair it to the watch only, which will hide the data from 3rd party exercise apps, or to pair it directly to the apps (which the ones I use don't appear to write heart rate data to health, and it also wouldn't be as accurate on the exercise ring).
 

kevroc

macrumors 6502
Oct 15, 2011
456
118
I've had my Apple Watch since launch day and have loved it. It's definitely motivated me to exercise and be active more than I already was. I do a lot of fitness classes at the gym my company offers and have found that I love having heart rate data. However, for activities like circuit training or non-running/biking types of things, the HR data is spotty (which gets frustrating quickly). So... I bought a Polar H7. I guess I didn't know what I was missing until Apple showed me the feature but didn't implement it in a fully usable manner.

The H7 is rock solid and feeds data consistently and constantly during my workouts now. Plus, I can use third party apps (like Runtastic Gold) and get HR data fed into the activity feed (which lets me overlay heart rate data over a map, pace, elevation, you name it). I love it. I still like having the Watch for seeing the data on my wrist during the workout but this strap (at least for now) is a required fitness accessory for me.

Anyone else follow a similar path?
Excellent choice. Taking HR during exercise seriously is only going to benefit you...
 

ElCidRo

macrumors regular
Aug 29, 2010
209
10
Yes, I have my TICKR ready to go. If only the AW would ship sooner :)
Having a dedicated HRM chest strap is the way to go if you care about your fitness. Having the HR on the AW is good too, I'm really interested in some statistics during a normal day. But when I workout I plan to put the tickr on.
 

Michael CM1

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2008
5,677
273
No, but I do value the heart rate data immensely. If it's accurate, it gives you a little wake-up call at times. I can tell you the numbers I saw have made me work out more than I have in the past six months probably. That's also because of the good tracking via the Workouts and Activity app. I have considered buying a blood pressure monitor that will wirelessly send data to an app on your phone -- that will store it in Health -- but haven't done that yet. I've never had any BP trouble, but maybe that's just not from monitoring it much.
 

frumpy16

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
854
531
I'm with you and just ordered one from Amazon. Apple half baked this whole fitness thing, it was great at first to get motivated but it's severely lacking and pretty crappy once someone gets really into it.

Can you get heart rate measurements from the watch and in an app at the same time? Can the sensor share data to both at once is what I'm asking .
Can it share? Probably. Is it allowed under the current regime? Not quite sure. Not Activity plus a third party app, I know that much.

Edit: and I should say that I paired with the iPhone not the watch. As far as I can tell pairing with the watch gets the data to flow into activity only. I like Runtastic which has an apple watch app. So the data is mirrored onto the watch but recorded on the iPhone.
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
i am interested to hear what people actually do with that info? same with tracking sleep. its not like i can somehow change my sleep routine when my iPhone tells me i wake up around 3am for 1,5 minutes
 
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nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,775
1,482
I've had my Apple Watch since launch day and have loved it. It's definitely motivated me to exercise and be active more than I already was. I do a lot of fitness classes at the gym my company offers and have found that I love having heart rate data. However, for activities like circuit training or non-running/biking types of things, the HR data is spotty (which gets frustrating quickly). So... I bought a Polar H7. I guess I didn't know what I was missing until Apple showed me the feature but didn't implement it in a fully usable manner.

The H7 is rock solid and feeds data consistently and constantly during my workouts now. Plus, I can use third party apps (like Runtastic Gold) and get HR data fed into the activity feed (which lets me overlay heart rate data over a map, pace, elevation, you name it). I love it. I still like having the Watch for seeing the data on my wrist during the workout but this strap (at least for now) is a required fitness accessory for me.

Anyone else follow a similar path?
My path was a little different, i got a chest strap instead of the Watch. I was looking for a fitness tracker particularly heart rate measurements because I like to keep within specific Zones. I considered the Apple watch along with a number of other devices but since my interest was limited to fitness tracking and seeing the feedback on heart rate measurements on the apple watch, decided to get a chest strap and use it with my Iphone. I use Runtastic on the phone and very pleased with the results.
 

iwayne

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2011
301
76
Santa Clara, California
No. Doesn't seem logical (to me) that you felt you needed a chest HR monitor because you had one on your wrist. But good luck with your purchase.
If you were into fitness and HR data you'd quickly realize that apple watch's HR monitor is complete sh*t. Been wearing my tckr since the first day I worked out with my apple watch. Apple really has so much work to do on the fitness aspects of the watch.
 

frumpy16

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 8, 2008
854
531
i am interested to hear what people actually do with that info? same with tracking sleep. its not like i can somehow change my sleep routine when my iPhone tells me i wake up around 3am for 1,5 minutes
There is a ton of info out there about HR training but essentially by knowing your heart rate as you train, you can judge what type of exercise you're doing (fat burn, cardio, anaerobic, red line) and/or adjust your exertion to match the zone you want. Also, with constant HR monitoring you get a more accurate calorie burn picture.
 
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Smurphy Gherkin

macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2015
263
109
Melbourne, Australia
i am interested to hear what people actually do with that info? same with tracking sleep. its not like i can somehow change my sleep routine when my iPhone tells me i wake up around 3am for 1,5 minutes
I had episodes of weird sleep problems that were never diagnosed. Heart racing overnight, but only ever tested mild for sleep apnea. Seasonal and sporadic problems are hard to catch unless you monitor all the time.

Knowing if I am experiencing episodes of racing heart overnight is of huge interest to me.

But for most folks without sleep problems sleep tracking is a waste of time.
 

thefredelement

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2012
1,142
559
New York
i am interested to hear what people actually do with that info? same with tracking sleep. its not like i can somehow change my sleep routine when my iPhone tells me i wake up around 3am for 1,5 minutes
For me I want to track where I am while going for endurance and then I want to see how high my max is while trying to expend all of my energy. These measurements are crucial in getting the most out of training.

I can then use this as a guide to further my distance / endurance train and my performance training.

Edit, also it helps with accurately counting burned calories which in turn helps me figuring out my nutrition.
 

srshaw

macrumors 6502
Aug 13, 2011
410
66
I voted yes since I have a polar V800, and the bluetooth strap works with my Apple Watch, but I haven't tried it properly whilst exercising since I use other products. It does work well though, and If I were to use my watch for exercise I would get one.
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,759
15,220
Jacksonville, Florida
i am interested to hear what people actually do with that info? same with tracking sleep. its not like i can somehow change my sleep routine when my iPhone tells me i wake up around 3am for 1,5 minutes
You watch is only looking for movement and it is possible you do semi-wake up around the same time each night, if only to turn over. It is all it takes to show up! I wear the fitbit surge and it does sleep tracking in great detail and maybe 20-30 times a night it detects that I have moved. But then there are some periods of over an hours where there is zero movement
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
You watch is only looking for movement and it is possible you do semi-wake up around the same time each night, if only to turn over. It is all it takes to show up! I wear the fitbit surge and it does sleep tracking in great detail and maybe 20-30 times a night it detects that I have moved. But then there are some periods of over an hours where there is zero movement
i am using my iPhone for sleep tracking works fine but like i said i am not even sure why i do it lol i just do
 

mark824

macrumors member
Apr 22, 2014
71
16
Waiting on my apple watch but have a Fitbit surge and TICKR (had Polar HL7 but died). The fitbit is close in HR and calorie burn to the chest strap but close is not good enough. I use the TCIK with polar app which actually takes into account BMR (I have done the calculations manually for Net Calorie Burn) and gives an accurate Net calorie burn per exercise. Watch based HR's just not there yet in my opinion. Intreretsd to see how the apple watch will work with my TICKR.
 

fanta88

macrumors 6502
Apr 10, 2015
304
170
There is a ton of info out there about HR training but essentially by knowing your heart rate as you train, you can judge what type of exercise you're doing (fat burn, cardio, anaerobic, red line) and/or adjust your exertion to match the zone you want. Also, with constant HR monitoring you get a more accurate calorie burn picture.
^This x2. HR data is important to me for precisely these reasons.
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,759
15,220
Jacksonville, Florida
Waiting on my apple watch but have a Fitbit surge and TICKR (had Polar HL7 but died). The fitbit is close in HR and calorie burn to the chest strap but close is not good enough. I use the TCIK with polar app which actually takes into account BMR (I have done the calculations manually for Net Calorie Burn) and gives an accurate Net calorie burn per exercise. Watch based HR's just not there yet in my opinion. Intreretsd to see how the apple watch will work with my TICKR.
"Accuracy" is a bit down the road when it comes to the Apple watch. Maybe with some software updates it will improve but it is likely going to take a hardware change to do near as good as a chest monitor.
 

kevroc

macrumors 6502
Oct 15, 2011
456
118
I voted yes since I have a polar V800, and the bluetooth strap works with my Apple Watch, but I haven't tried it properly whilst exercising since I use other products. It does work well though, and If I were to use my watch for exercise I would get one.
Hey, a fellow V800 user!! Love mine...

In your Flow settings you can enable the HR to be "shared" so even though it's paired to the V800 the watch can see it also. It's a bit finicky in the order you connect things up, but it does seem to work.
 
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