By Punch Correspondent Zoraida Rodriguez-Keeton
Disclosure: I am a fitness junky, running junky to be exact. But because I do triathlons I weight lift, swim, bike and run multiple times per week. I’ve used a heart rate monitor for a few years and at first, I didn’t truly understand the concept or purpose of using one. Until I saw the overall improvement, that is. Heart (or in this case pulse) rate monitors are not only for fitness junkies. One of the secrets to optimal fitness isn’t just the amount of exercise you get. It’s the intensity level of that exercise—not too high, not too low. A heart rate monitor is a useful tool to find this “sweet spot” of heartbeats per minute.
Scosche’s Rhythm Health + Fitness Monitor is a pulse rate monitor that straps around your forearm. This “appcessory” costs $99 and works in tandem with a free app (available on iOS and Android) to track various stats, including heart rate, distance, pace, and calories lost.
What’s in the Box:
· Scosche Pulse Monitor
· Small Arm Band
· Large Arm Band
· USB Charging Cable
· Carrying pouch
Design: Getting started is straightforward but not very well explained in the quick start guide. First, you’ll need to charge your device using the charging dock. Once your device is charged, you can choose an arm band (there are 2 sizes to choose from, depending on the size of your forearm), and fasten the Rhythm monitor around your forearm. Wearing the motinor on the forearm was different since I was used to the traditional band, worn around the chest. Not only did I think it was a neat concept but it was also easier to put on/take off. For me, no chest strap meant greater simplicity and comfort.
The Rhythm’s three buttons control power (in the center) and volume (up/down buttons on either side). To turn the device on, tap the power button once. The first time you use the Rhythm, you’ll need to pair the device to your phone (I used my iPhone 5) using Bluetooth. The pairing process was quite simple. The app will detail the steps necessary.
The sportCLIPS earbuds felt secure but were not as comfortable as my current (bluetooth) pair. You are able to adjust volume, change tracks, play/pause, and surprisingly, take hands-free calls. This was a nice addition to the kit but didn’t add to the value of the monitor. This was mainly because I was able to use my own Bluetooth headphones (which I happen to love and claim is the best thing since the sports bra).
The bright yellow band and the blinking LED light on the pulse monitor are very noticeable. This feature is particularly good if you plan to use it outside (which I didn’t). Since the Rhythm is Bluetooth, you can take advantage of the 33 wireless foot range. My favorite feature of the product is that your iPod music shows up inside of the Rhythm app and you can control your music with the buttons on Rhythm device.
Performance: My test period was 3 weeks and during that time, Rhythm Pulse Monitor was nearly perfect. I swam, ran (treadmill), biked (stationary), and lifted weights with the monitor. My pulse rates reported were pretty consistent with my chest strap monitor readings. However, in the beginning of a work out, it takes some adjusting on the forearm before the pulse rate is stable. By the third week with experience and a bit of experimenting, I was able to find the sweet spot on my forearm. This might be an ongoing issue but it is easily remedied.
The workout log, dashboard and various displays are great. There is so much information: duration, pulse, average pulse, max pulse, calories burned, distance travelled, current speed, average speed, max speed, terrain and a map of the route for every workout. You can also share your workouts with other apps and social media.
My only gripe of the device is that the phone must be on your body (or max 33ft away). I do not normally take my phone with me on runs or bike rides nor do I own or plan to purchase an arm holder armband. I do not see myself running with my phone in the near future and for this reason alone, the Rhythm Pulse monitor will not be going outdoors with me.
Bottom line: Rhythm Pulse Monitor is an awesome device that would complement any fitness level. The monitor and its app are easy to use, comfortable to wear, responsive, and comprehensive. The $99 price point may sound a bit steep, but compared to other options it’s a bargain. The Rhythm Pulse Monitor would be a great addition to your fitness arsenal and it could help with that (maybe) long forgotten New Year’s resolution.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.