If you know me well enough, you’d know that I am probably the most low tech person, EVER! Of course, I am talking about running gadgets and running gear.
I bought my very first pair of running shoes 2 years after running around in my “shopping-trainers” (the equivalent of Converse). And I got my first running outfit a year later.
GPS watch? Don’t even go there, I am not there yet. I own a G-Shock which tells me the time. I ONLY started using the TIMER function after being pressured by my friends who kept pestering me about my finishing time (after EVERY race!). Previously, I would just take the difference between the flag off time and the time when I arrived at the finish line. And that was it. Ask me down to the very second and I wouldn’t have been able to give you an answer (that’s what timing chips are for, right?).
When Mio approached me to try out and review their new Mio Alpha 2, I did not hesitate. Because, why not? It was good to see effort in numbers. And your heart rate is the best way to measure effort.
Like I said before, you can fool your brain but you cannot fool your heart!
Mio Alpha 2
NO CHEST STRAP!
Ok, this is actually THE BEST thing about Mio (to me). I own a heart rate watch that came with a chest strap. Let’s just say the chest strap has never seen the outside of the box.
I find chest straps uncomfortable – I just don’t like having a tight strap around my chest. For us women, it is even more of a hassle. We have to attempt to make the chest strap play nice with our sports bras. Too fussy!
Previously, I used a chest strap when I did the VT1 and VT2 test on a treadmill. Just when I was about to hit my max, the chest strap slipped off, and I had to hold it up against my chest to get it to continue recording my heart rate!
With Mio, I don’t have to deal with any chest straps!
How does it measure heart rate?
Mio measures real-time heartbeat with an electro-optical cell and two green LEDs. Together, they detect your pulsing volume of blood flow. This technology is also used in oximeters in hospitals.
Is it accurate?
Well, Mio Continuous Technology boasts that it is highly comparable to ECG and chest strap readings. If you are interested, you can read the study done here. It is also very accurate at high speeds and performance training with 99% EKG accuracy. You can check out the study here.
I was skeptical at first but after taking it out for a spin, I found that IT WAS very accurate. I was out on my easy run and my heart rate matched exactly what it should be based on my 10KM race effort.
Keeping Tabs on Your Heart Rate Zone
As mentioned in my previous post, it is important to be training in the right heart rate zone.
The Mio Alpha 2 allows you to do JUST that. You can put in your maximum heart rate (MHR) based on what you know or you can use their formula.
For males: MHR = 214 – (0.8 x your age in years)
For females: MHR = 209 – (0.7 x your age in years)
The heart rate indicator light will flash different colours of light according to the zones that you are training in (real-time). You can choose either the 5-zone training mode or the 1-zone alert mode.
5-zone Training Mode
Light Blue – Rest
Blue – Very Light
Green – Light
Yellow – Moderate
Pink – Hard
Red – Maximum
1-zone Alert Mode
Blue – Below Target HR Zone
Green – Within Target HR Zone
Red – Above Target HR Zone
Based on your maximum heart rate, the watch automatically sets the heart rate zones. But you can opt to customise them manually. Also, the different zones can be set based on beats per minute or as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.
If you have enabled audio alerts, it will beep whenever you switch between the different zones.
I pair my Mio Alpha 2 with the Mio GO app on my iPhone via the Bluetooth Smart (4.0). You can use it as a GPS device if you pair it with your phone (I don’t really bother much about the distance and pace so I have yet to try this out!). You can also pair it with your GPS watch and/or bike computer and they are compatible with a few popular fitness apps for both Android and iPhone. You can check out http://www.mioglobal.com/apps/ for more information on compatibility.
Track your progress with the Mio GO app! Training with the Puma Running Club members!
-It has a back-light! I cannot stress how important this is to me! I don’t know how people can survive without a back-light. I’m an evening/night runner so I love this feature. PLUS, the light comes on AUTOMATICALLY! Just position your wrist at an angle and VOILA! Or, you can double tap the screen for the light.
–BIG buttons! You know how I always fail to press the buttons on my watch? Is it just me or does anyone else have this issue too? But yeah, this definitely comes in handy.
-Built in accelerometer to track distance, speed and pace without the need to connect to your external GPS device (phone, watch). However, I found that the distance was not that accurate. But I am not aiming to track my distance (I use Google Maps for that) so it doesn’t really bother me.
-Gives accurate measures of calories burned after every workout. I am not looking to lose weight but it is always good to see how many calories I managed to torch with each run!
-Records lap time
-Up to 20 hours (workout time) of battery life. I was able to use mine for close to 2 weeks before needing to charge it again.
-It has a countdown timer, repeat timer and chronograph. But I just use the timer. I like to keep things simple.
-The watch is water resistant up to 30m.
–Soft and comfortable silicon strap!
-Comes in 3 different colours (Black, Yellow, Pink!). The Black and Yellow colours have longer straps compared to the Pink (available in June!).
But it doesn’t come with a GPS function!
I have survived my whole running life without a GPS watch.
Do you really need one? Well, I would say not really. Yes, there are many benefits of having a GPS watch which can accurately track distance covered and pace (among many other things!). However, if you are seeking for improvement, having a GPS watch is not as important as having a heart rate monitor. You need to be training at the RIGHT intensity to elicit the necessary training adaptations (Read about it here).
What about judging your effort based on pace? Well, you improve overtime so how would you know that you are doing your best at that particular pace? Again, your heart knows best!
Why do you need a heart rate watch?
-Train smart by training in the right heart rate zone
-Know when to pull back, maintain or push the pace
-Prevent fatigue and injury caused by overtraining. Your resting heart rate can give you an insight into overtraining syndrome. An elevated heart rate of more than 5bpm over several days would mean that you need to schedule in REST!
If you think the Mio Alpha 2 is a bit too big and chunky, check out the MIO Fuse!
Mio Fuse is very much the same as Mio Alpha 2 with an added all-day activity tracking (steps, calories, distance) feature. The interface is also a bit different (swipe the screen to change modes instead of having to press any buttons). Also, instead of beeping when you switch between the heart rate zones, it vibrates! It comes in two different colours with different strap length (Aqua – shorter, Crimson – longer).
The good thing about Mio is that it works for anyone who wants to improve their fitness – whether it is performance training, aerobic conditioning, weight loss, anaerobic threshold training or just wanting to maintain general health and fitness.
Ultimately, it tracks your heart rate and your physiological response to ANY type of exercise.
Mio was kind enough to offer my readers and friends a 10% discount if you order through me with the code MIO 003!
-Mio Fuse (Crimson – longer strap & Aqua – shorter strap): RM639 (Before discount)
-Mio Alpha 2 (Yellow & Black – longer strap; Pink – shorter strap): RM799 (Before discount)
Email the following to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Code: MIO 003
- Full name
- Address (for courier, free shipping
- Contact number
- Email address
- Product, colour & quantity
You can drop me an email at email@example.com with the above details.
Hurry! The discount is valid for 1 month from this date!
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If you are just getting started on your fitness journey, I highly recommend getting a heart rate monitor. We all start from somewhere. I never knew how important it was to be training in the right heart rate zone. You can learn from my rookie cookie mistake and train smart with a heart rate monitor!
If you have been training hard but have yet to see any changes, give this a go! It is good to break away from your routine and try something new!
*Drop me a comment or an email for further enquiries!*