Random thoughts from my kayak workout this afternoon

randomthoughts

It’s time for the first installment of what I think will be a recurring theme of this blog.

Welcome to installment #1 of “Random Thoughts from my Kayak.”

I headed out this afternoon in my Nelo 510 to get in my first paddling miles of November.  The weather was a chilly 45 degrees F but it was a sunny day with no wind.  I wore my 1/2 wetsuit and it was plenty good but at the end of my paddle when the sun went down behind the trees, my feet and fingers got chilly.

Now on to my random thoughts:

  1. The Nelo 510 is not a good Fall/Winter training boat for flat water.  In fact, no ski really is.  The nature of the beast is you will always get water in the bucket area of a ski and once the feet and the butt get wet and cold, things become a bit uncomfortable.  Add to that the fact that the bow of the Nelo 510 collects leaves like a Hoover vacuum cleaner and you’ve got a recipe for a less-than-optimum Fall workout. Bellagio_fountains_nightWhile the water display on the front of the boat when a leaf gets stuck is quite spectacular, akin to the fountains at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, the excitement wears off quickly once you realize how much the dazzling water display is costing you in terms of speed and efficiency.  I perfected a technique of quickly slamming my torso straight back while pulling on my legs to lift the bow out of the water to clear leaves, but that saps additional energy.  Therefore…
  2. There will always be room in the quiver of boats for a fully decked kayak for winter training.  I’ll be back in my Thunderbolt-X and Cobra Viper for the rest of the winter.  I like keeping my feet and butt dry and they seem to collect less leaves because their bows are much sharper.
  3. I tested out a new fitness watch that a company sent me for free in exchange for a review.  The iWownFit P1 has built-in GPS and actually counts paddle strokes as steps!  A full review of that watch will be forthcoming, but it appears to be a credible offering for kayaking.
  4. I wore the Amazfit Bip fitness tracker on my right wrist.  Its GPS locks onto satellites quicker than the iWownFit and strangely, it counted paddle strokes as steps on my right wrist when it did not count them as strokes previously on my left wrist.  Strange.

    GPS tracks from the iWownFit P1 and the Amazfit Bip

    5. Spotting an American Bald Eagle is always exciting.  Always.

 

 

Actofit: Take II, Actofit Rise review

Actofit just notified me that they are sending a replacement unit for my original device, the Gen 1 Actofit fitness tracker.

The new device is called the Actofit Rise and it looks good on paper with continuous heart rate, GPS and is IP67 waterproof.

rise

The thing I liked most about this device in its first incarnation was its ability to track reps and sets in the gym along with the ability to train new exercises, such as kayak paddle strokes.  Unfortunately, the first release of this product was buggy and not quite ready for prime time.

If this new device delivers on gym tracking abilities and is a reasonable all-day, every day fitness tracker then it might displace the Amazfit Bip as my main device.

We shall see.

Update 9/24/18: The device arrived in the mail today.

I was expecting to set it up through the app on the phone but it took me a while to realize the device itself runs a full version of Android and all setup of Bluetooth, Wifi, etc. happens through the device itself.

As you can imagine, my reading glasses were required once the keyboard popped up on the device and inputting things likes my Gmail user name and password and wifi password should qualify me as a world-class surgeon.  And, no, a stylus did not work, so it took me several attempts.

The device is large compared to the Amazfit Bip, the Atlas Wearables 2 and the first generation of the Actofit, yet the virtual keyboard on the device is very, very small.

I’m reserving judgement until my first gym workout, but I have visions of wearing reading glasses to the gym and fighting with sweaty fingers to input numbers for amount of weight used and correcting the number of reps in case it gets it wrong.

I can’t imagine battery life will be very good considering it is running a full version of Android, but the device is so big they might have a big battery packed in there.

I think the key is going to be keeping BLE and wifi turned off until I need to upload my workouts to the cloud to then be able to pull into the app on the phone.

Reserving judgement, but it is not at all what I expected.

20180924_155440Out of the box

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Size vs. the Amazfit Bip

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Size vs. the Atlas Wearable 2 (well worn!)

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Size vs. the Gen 1 Actofit


Actofit Rise first impressions and early review video

Update 9/26/18:

I was unable to get the device to track workouts and then Actofit informed me that freestyle mode is not available yet and will come in a future update, so for now you have to follow guided routines.  The good news, though, is that you can create your own, custom guided workouts.

Well, that didn’t exactly work at first either, until a new app update came via Play Store overnight last night.

So I updated the app today, created 3 different guided workouts, and when I hit the gym to start the workouts and track them, the Actofit Rise failed to recognize even a single rep of any of the 4 different exercises.

So for now, the product is useless and falls short on promises.  I’m shocked they took so long to develop the gen 2 tracker and it still has so far to go.

I’ll re-review it if and when they do any major upgrades or improvements, but it is going in a drawer until then.

I’d really like to hear from other users of the new device to see if their experience is any different from mine.  I suppose it is possible I got a faulty device.

Update October 24, 2018:

I’m continuing to play with the device and have learned you need to treat it like any other phone or Android device.  If you want reasonable battery life, make sure wifi, BLE and Location Services are all turned off.  It woke me up far too early the other morning as it chimed when the battery died. Quite sooner than I anticipated.

The step counter seems to drastically over-count steps but I actually quite like the on-demand heart rate and blood pressure measurements. Lack of sleep analysis is a major drawback.

More and more, I just can’t shake the feeling that a device so big and bulky just seems like a child’s toy.  I can’t imagine others seeing it on my wrist and thinking any differently.

I’ll keep you updated as I gain experience with the device, but it is still not a credible gym tracker for those who program their own workouts, it lacks sleep analysis and over-counts steps, so at this point it is little more than a novelty.

My review of the Amazfit Bip

I’ve owned the Amazfit Bip smartwatch for well over 1 month now and it is the device that resides on my left wrist.

The battery life is phenomenal at greater than 30 days (I only use GPS minimally,) it has various different watch faces that can be installed (with many others available from 3rd party sources available for download and installation,) and it is stylish and comfortable to wear.

It has continuous heart rate mode that can be turned off or set to automatically measure at 1, 10 or 30 minute intervals or can be set to “Sleep assistant” mode which only measures while you are sleeping to improve sleep tracking accuracy.

It has become my main device, although it still comes off and the Atlas 2 goes one when I’m in the gym.

Definitely a great watch at its price point.

Amazfit Bip Smartwatch by Huami with All-day Heart Rate and Activity Tracking, Sleep Monitoring, GPS, Ultra-Long Battery Life, Bluetooth, US Service and Warranty (A1608 Black)

Great for kayaking in terms of GPS tracks and total mileage, but it does not count paddle strokes as steps, unfortunately.  For that I wear the Lemfo LT02 on my right wrist while paddling.

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