myzone-heart-rateThe MyZone Heart Rate monitor is a great product for tracking exercise. We use the monitor at our group training facility out in Newport Beach, CA. When we opened up, we were lucky to have Mike from the company come out and show us all the neat features and ways we could use the monitor along with the super handy app it comes with. These included live work out monitoring, diet and food tracking, “friending” people with the monitor/app, an activity calendar to track your personal workouts, challenges, body metrics, and as a coach/trainer: a section for your personal clients.

We use the HR monitor for HIIT style classes, so keeping track of our client’s heart rates is extremely important during classes. The monitor uses the industry/ACSM standard of 220-age equation for the Heart Rate max. There are different colors attributed to different zones: Under 50% HR Max is gray, blue for 60-70%, Green for 70-80%, yellow for 80-90%, and red for 90-100%. You can sync your phone to your monitor for a real time zone feedback while exercising. For some people, the equation can be a little off or if you improve and increase your HR, the app can account for that. If you are at 100% for more than 10 seconds, it will readjust your HR Max and adjust the zones accordingly: aka, GAINS!

The facility is also equipped with a computer that has a special MyZone program on it, where we can program different kinds of classes and have the group working out match their HR zones to what is programmed on the specific workout or just monitor what heart rate and zones everyone is working at, as everyone’s monitors will appear on screen. You can then do a “zone match” that can calculate the percentage of accuracy that you matched with the preprogrammed exercise program and the Zones it required you to be at.

With both the phone app and the gym programming, it gives you your own box with your nickname on it. Your box has HR, HR percentage, MEPs, and calories burned displayed which is very easy to read and see.

The app itself is very user friendly & easy to use and promotes heavy usage in and outside the gym. I have used it extensively outside our facility while I am power lifting, doing some SAQ work, or just working out and can easily track whatever I do. The app has many different features, but the predominant one and most fun are the MEPs (MyZone Effort Points), which gives you a specific amount of points per minute in each of the heart rate zones. This gets added each day during the month, and resets at the end. You can then add friends and coaches in the “My Connections” section and see what everyone is doing for their workouts, HR zone color wise, and then see how many points each person has for the month. This leads to a great camaraderie among staff and clients as contests and trash talking are easy to do, which can be a fun way to encourage, get competitive, and push yourself to that next level of training.

You can also rename your workouts, so if you do a HIIT style class, a cycle class, yoga, weight lifting (Dethklok and Deadlifts are one of my favorite names), or any other type of class you can rename the workout to keep track and compare to other classes or workouts you’ve done. As a drummer, I have also used it while playing to see how much my HR gets up while performing and named practice sessions after what I have done.

The monitor itself is small and lightweight. Having had a lot of heart rate monitor experience in graduate school, it seems comparable to the popular and research standard Polar monitors.

Only a few cons I have seen or heard from. Sometimes the monitor doesn’t pick up the HR right away, so small amount of water can be used to get a better connection on the skin if you are pre warm-up and workout and not too sweaty yet. From our female staff and clients, it can be hard to get a reading if it is sliding around under the sports bra. Luckily, the company has just released a sports bra with the monitor inside. The strap itself can get worn down from wear and tear (8-10 months or so), and is easily replaceable with a new one that is fairly cheap at around $10. Any kind of prone exercise with your chest directly on the ground can affect the monitor and cause it to move around. Also it is uncomfortable lying on it. If you do any hang cleans, front squats, bench press or anything else where an implement can come into contact with the MyZone belt, be careful of the monitor as it can get damaged.

The monitor and strap is easy to use, you just snap on the monitor to the strap, and have skin to strap contact. The monitor will then have 1 beep when it turns on, and then 3 beeps when it turns off. It contains a decent amount of memory that unloads and updates when bluetooth is turned on and is connected to the internet or when it connects to the gym program. The battery life is outstanding, having used it quite a bit since receiving it in January, I have only had to charge it ONCE.

The MyZone belt is obviously great to use for aerobic training as well as anaerobic training. I highly recommend the MyZone belt and for anyone to push their training to that next over 9000 level!

Bryan Romero, MS, CSCS