When I started giving a score to my mental, emotional and physical health every day, I made an important discovery about my health after only a week. I perform mentally better if I exercise every day. But I do not have the time to go out for a run or to play football all the time. Sometimes I arrive home late at night and I would do something although 1) I don’t know what, 2) I don’t know how and 3) if I do something anyway, I don’t have the slightest idea whether I’m doing it right.
Therefore finding the most useful wearable had a big impact on my life. Here is how Gymwatch can help you train at home.
The Big GymWatch Review
What does it look like?
GymWatch is different from the activity trackers on the wearable market which count your activity and steps – e.g. Fitbit – or monitor how much sleep you get every night – e.g. Pebble Time. Rather, it wants to become your personal fitness coach or your professional performance diagnostician – no matter whether you would like to exercise at home or at the gym. It is ideal for people who would like to build up their muscles and head straight for the weights. I can also recommend it for those who do not like to have many people around them during their work-out or who like to figure out the exercises by themselves and only need a helping hand in monitoring whether they are doing them right.
The GymWatch device
GymWatch consists of the device connected to the GymWatch app through Bluetooth or by a USB cable, and the app itself. The small device does not have a screen, but the logo itself lights up when it’s turned on and it changes color offering LED feedback. You can wear it on your arm or on the leg without drawing to much attention to it – so you do not have to worry about being asked in the gym what on earth you are wearing, but well, on the other hand, if your goals are getting acquainted with people during workout, the simple and discreet Gymwatch might not help you with that. The device comes with two different sized velcro straps, about the same thickness and size as a heart rate monitor chest strap. The longer one can be wrapped around the upper leg and the smaller one goes around the bicep or lower arm.
Regarding the batteries, you do not need to worry: GymWatch should make it through 8 workouts and it only takes about an hour to get back up to 100 per cent from a flat battery with the help of a micro USB cable.
The GymWatch App
So, now you have to install the Gymwatch app on your phone. It is available for both Android and iPhones, however another Gymwatch review found that the iOS version has some stability issues and you might run into a lot of trouble with that. As I used it on Android, I cannot confirm whether it has such problems.
You will find out that the program is easy to navigate. Quite unambiguously, if you push the Let’s Go button, you will reach the home screen, where you will find four options. There are several ready-made workout plans waiting for you in the Templates: body weight, free equipment or gym-equipment exercises. In the Free Workout section, there is an entire portfolio of exercises to perform – no matter whether you would like to work with your upper arm, hips or waist. You have the chance to add your own exercises here and see where the sensor needs to be placed to get the most accurate tracking. As you would expect, in the History section you can look back on your performance – how well did you do with the repetitions or how much time you took with the exercises. On the other hand, in Upcoming, you can find your customized workouts. Although you cannot really design the exercises on the app, for doing so, you need to go on the GymWatch website – which might be nerving for some.
Ready? Steady? Go!
Now that you are quite familiar with the device and the app as well, let’s give it a try. How does it work?
In the small body of the device, there is an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a magnetometer built-in. Their trio is able to track muscle movements and measure the tension in different muscle contractions in real-time. Also, it is pretty impressive that the hardware is able to learn the exercises you are performing and it gives you visual and verbal feedback whether you are doing it right. The data about the muscle movements is sent to the GymWatch app through Bluetooth. Then, when you are done with your exercises you are able to analyze your performance on the app itself and if you are in the mood for it, you can prepare brand-new series of workouts on the GymWatch website.
In my experience the device is effective – and cruel
Log into your account on a browser and create a personalized workout plan. I made three with different lengths (10, 15 and 30 minutes) and different exercises (focusing on upper body or lower body). This way when I get home, I just start the app, choose my plan depending on how much time I’ve got and start the exercises.
The app tells you on which part of your body to put the device and how to perform the exercises accurately. If you don’t do it well, it lets you know. I have to tell you the device is cruel.
It feels like having a very strict personal trainer at home. It also connects you with its community of like-minded fitness enthusiasts which is also ready to help you with planning the exercise programs.
GymWatch Review – Our Summary
- A lot of exercise options
- Long battery life
- Feels like a personal trainer
- You need to customize the exercise plans on a desktop PC
- A bit expensive compared to its limitations (cc. 150 EUR)
- Not comfortable to wear – even with the longer strips
If I had to design such a wearable myself, I would have tried to make it thinner but otherwise I do not see how it could be significantly improved which is my compliment to the German team.