Heads-up: Huge Sports Tech Sale Underway – 20% Off All Smart Trainers!
There’s a massive sales on smart cycling trainers right now, plus plenty other sports tech. There’s 20% off the Wahoo KICKR, KICKR CORE, CLIMB, Headwind, 20% off the Tacx NEO 2T, Flux 2, and Flux S, 20% off Saris Hammer 3 trainer and Saris MP1 Motion Platform. Plus also 20% off the Elite Direto X and Suito too, even the new Sterzo. Plus even steeper deals including with the Kinetic trainers at 30% off.
Congrats! So you’ve just unboxed a new GPS watch/device? Good deal, here’s how you can get started in understanding how best to take advantage of your newfound toy. Of course, unlike that dessert you’ll eat later on tonight (or, perhaps, all day), don’t try to tackle this in one chunk. Instead, take little pieces here and there and work your way through it. And remember, in most cases, you can just get out and use the device without much knowledge. The below helps you though really take advantage of it and make it work for you.
Like past years, this is a blend of new and classic posts to get you off and running.
Enjoy, and have a Merry Christmas!
1) Burning off all those Christmas Calories…and getting accurate calorie burn numbers
So, you just finished up the statistical 3,000-5,000 calorie Christmas Day grazing – but don’t worry…I’m probably right there with ya! Assuming you’re planning on trying to work some of that off, you’ll probably be wondering how to get your Garmin to tell you how many calories you’ve burned.
The good news is that the setup for calories is easy…even if the hard work outdoors or in the gym isn’t. The below article is frequently used by Garmin support folks to explain to customers how calorie burn works.
If you have certain Garmin devices, you can also look at getting a New Leaf test done to get more accurate calorie data. However be warned I’ve heard many complaints lately from folks and the New Leaf Testing centers:
2) Don’t want to read the manual? Read the in-depth review instead.
It probably won’t surprise many of you, but the most frequent thing I hear is that many folks actually use my reviews as their manual. Given I aim to cover every button/feature/option – it only makes sense to start there. Plus, it’s way more fun to read than the generic manual.
It’s understandable the weather might not be the best outside during the winter months, so here’s how you can utilize your device inside to the best of its capabilities. You can do an amazing amount of stuff inside with it, if you just spend a brief moment to configure it:
By default your GPS watch likely comes with access to some sort of training log. Garmin devices get free access to Garmin Connect, Timex devices get a mid-range version of TrainingPeaks, Polar devices get PolarPersonalTrainer.com, Magellan devices get Magellan Active, Suunto has Movescount, and finally CycleOps devices get the PowerAgent suite. While all these platforms are good as a starting point, you may want to check out what I often use for analysis (especially if analysis is your thing). Thus, I recommend a few different options instead:
A) Sport Tracks – This is free for up to two plug-ins, or $35 for the paid version. It’s downloadable to PC’s only, but has an incredible range of functionality. I wrote up a review on ST3.0 backwhen it came out.
B) Training Peaks – I use this as my day to day training log, as it offers a good balance between usability and functionality. I can drill down pretty deep in data – but also get data from other devices such as my Withings WiFi scale and Zeo(note: ST integrates there as well).
C) Golden Cheetah– This free application is primarily targeted at cyclists, and ideal for the Edge devices. It’ll analyze your power data and more, to degrees you never considered possible.
D) Got a Mac? I’m still chugging away on the Mac options, but that post I did last month has every possible Mac option known to mankind in it.
There’s of course a ton more options out there, but these are my favs, mostly because they’re tried and true. As a minor side note, I do recommend that no matter which 3rd party platform you use, you should always set your device to upload a copy of the training data to the default platform. That way, in case something ever happens, you have a copy there – even if you never use it.
5) Understanding how those things in outer space actually see where you are
For the geeks around these parts, I’ve got a few posts that talk to both accuracy of GPS fitness devices, as well as how elevation data works with GPS devices.
6) Creating workouts and race plans, and then downloading them to your Garmin
You know what’s probably one of the cooler features of the Garmin devices that doesn’t often get as much press? The ability to have it continuously yell at you until you follow your workout plan. Yup, it’ll do that. Even in a race.
7) Understanding the heart rate strap and how to get the most accurate readings
While I just posted on this very topic last week, you may not have given it much thought if you didn’t previously have a GPS watch. Heart rate straps can be finicky little things, especially in winter when the air is dryer and cooler. Thus, check out these guides I’ve put together for getting you on the right path to issue-free heart rate readings:
Aside from the heart rate strap, these are the most popular accessories – and the speed/cadence sensor and footpod being applicable across the board for all ANT+ devices as well. In these posts I go into a bizarre level of detail on all the questions you can think of.
10) Decide that something on your newfound device annoys the crap out of you? Here’s how to tell them.
Last year many of the companies added methods to give them your feedback directly. I really do want to reiterate again how important these methods are. I talk to all these companies at least weekly, and they truly do make decisions on these specific e-mail inboxes/forms. Sometimes the support forums/etc don’t make it to the product development teams, whereas these addresses actually go to the right places.
I swim, bike and run. Then, I come here and write about my adventures. It’s as simple as that. Most of the time. If you’re new around these parts, here’s the long version of my story.
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You probably stumbled upon here looking for a review of a sports gadget. If you’re trying to decide which unit to buy – check out my in-depth reviews section. Some reviews are over 60 pages long when printed out, with hundreds of photos! I aim to leave no stone unturned.
I travel a fair bit, both for work and for fun. Here’s a bunch of random trip reports and daily trip-logs that I’ve put together and posted. I’ve sorted it all by world geography, in an attempt to make it easy to figure out where I’ve been.
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2019 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s 2018 Gear Guide too.