The Moov is a brand new fitness tracking and AI coach device. What is unique about this particular device versus other fitness trackers is the live, real-time coaching aspect. It’s definitely great for the numbers and statistics junkies out there for sure, and so far it has been fun.
It consists of a small circular device that either straps to your ankle (while walking or running) or wrist (just boxing for now). It links real-time with your iOS device (I use my iPhone 4S). Two things that I did not realize before getting the device is that it must be linked (via Bluetooth) to my phone at all times when in use (aka I must have my phone with me at all times when in use) and also that the device is just for using the coaching programs–meaning that it’s not an all-day fitness tracker and is only used/worn when doing the workouts.
Although small and hip looking, it still made me wonder if anyone thought I was on the lam from some sort of house-arrest tether while running down the side of the road with it showing–That made me giggle.
Right now the programs are somewhat limited, being 5 of them total. However, they are decently extensive (aka customizable for desired pace). The five programs are: Brisk Walking intervals, Sprint Intervals, Speed Endurance (longer distance intervals), Running Efficiency (intervals that focus on high turnover, aka more steps per minute, geared toward improving running form), and Cardio Punch.
The programs are all pretty fun (if you’re into that sort of thing) and work well for the intended goal. Both wrist and ankle straps attach easily and are very comfortable–I don’t notice wearing them for the most part. The device also pops in and out of its similar USB charger. It has held a charge quite well so far, as I have not had to charge it through about a couple hours of use at least and it’s still half-charged. It also doesn’t seem to use my phone battery too quickly either.
I tried the Running Efficiency program first and it went well. I started off at level one which wants around 160 steps per minute, which was relatively easy for me, so I pumped up the level after that to keep it a challenge. Every ten seconds it gives you a check whether you’re on goal or not. If you are, it sometimes just gives you a pleasant little chime. It will also occasionally give you an exact update, such as “Your goal is 175 steps per minute and you are currently running at 178 steps per minute.” It also gives other occasional advice such as “keep a straight spine”, “pump your arms faster to help get your feet moving”, and “tighten your abs”. All the advice is to help you keep or get better form.
All in all this program is great for someone to work on faster turnover and to improve their form. It’s very customizable in the way that each level represents a small increase in cadence (steps per minute) so that you can really dial in to a specific goal. Going from level 1 to 9 took me from a goal of just 160 steps per minute to 176. I like that although the program starts with a goal of 3 intervals, you can just keep going afterward if you don’t push the end button and it will continue on with more if you want to run further.
Some areas the program I felt is lacking: Notice that my interval #2 below doesn’t have a result. This is because I had to stop mid-interval to cross a busy road and I couldn’t find a way to pause it. It just eventually said something along the lines of “interval interrupted, take a 30 second break and try again”. Some way to pause would be very helpful. As with each walking and running program, this one gives a lot of great stats afterward, including average cadence for each interval, elevation, pace, range of motion, and impact (see the bottom of the Speed Endurance section next for some screenshots of the stats). Range of motion and impact were interesting, because this info is beyond what my current running GPS watch offers me, or any other that I have used before.
However, I also felt like sometimes I would be given advice that wasn’t appropriate. For example, if my current program had a goal of 170 steps per minute and I was running a consistent 175 steps per minute, I don’t need to be told to “take smaller steps to increase cadence”. If I’m above goal, then should I be trying to increase cadence still? It’s probably just more of a reminder of things to think about, but it could come off as instructional or as a suggestion which can be confusing.
Also, it may be helpful for there to be an option to automatically change level settings on its own based on your performance–this would allow me to tuck away my phone instead of having to hold on to it to keep making adjustments. For example, if I had it set on level one and goaling for 160 cadence and I was consistently running at 175, if it could auto-adjust to a goal about that or just under, it might be helpful. Of course the auto-adjust should be an optional opt-in, because I can also see the desire to want the setting to remain where it was set to.
I tried the Speed Endurance program next (different days for most of these, don’t worry!). I tried to really push myself for at least one of the intervals to test the program (~6:25 pace for one of the miles) and it was definitely tough! The hardest part for me was running with the phone in my hand (which headphones) while trying to push the pace AND maintain the high cadence it wanted me to. I achieved it, but I was gassed.
I really liked again how customizable this program was. As you can see, I had to crank it all the way up to level 36 for a 6:25 pace, so there are plenty of options for all speeds of runners. As you increase the pace, the distance of the interval also increases. I think my first interval was between a half mile and 3/4 of a mile, but at the faster pace it was up to a full mile. This is fine, but I would perhaps like to see this even more customizable, as in the user gets to define the length and pace for a given workout.
Again, no way to pause this one that I could easily see, so that would be a definite good feature to add. Luckily, I didn’t need to stop for anything during this workout, so none of the intervals were interrupted. As I mentioned, I didn’t really like running while holding onto my phone, especially for this particular workout where I’m pushing the pace, so I may have to pick up a cheap armband.
The newest program, Cardio Punch, is pretty awesome. For this program you use two Moov devices with the wrist strap, one on each wrist. It’s essentially like the game Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) but for your arms. Overall the learning curve seemed pretty easy, but it gets tough fast and I was surprised how quickly my forearms got tight and tired–after my first workout with it, 12 minutes was enough! It offers real-time instruction as far as foot placement and punch types, with reminders to keep your hands up in between punches. It also incorporates different types of punches, such as jabs, cross-punches, hooks, and upper-cuts. All of these can be reviewed in a short instructional program that it comes with for first-timers (it was definitely helpful).
I really enjoyed this program (I used it on my iPhone this first time, but look forward to using the larger-screened iPad in the future, but it still worked fine on the phone) and look forward to using it more. It was a fun upper body workout that required no other equipment other than the devices themselves.
Lastly I tried the Brisk Walking program. It works in the same way as the Running Efficiency and is based on cadence–increasing walking cadence increases speed. It starts off seemingly plenty slow, so it would again seem good for all ability and goal levels. I did it while taking the dog for a walk, and it wasn’t quite convenient because her occasional lingers did not always coincide with my interval breaks. But it would be a great solo walking guide.
This is the only program that I have yet to try. Check back soon as I will surely get to trying it and will share my thoughts.
Overall the Moov is a fun and unique device. The iOS software is simple to set up and use and the programs/workouts are pretty customizable and quite fun to actually use. The real-time coaching aspect is a really cool idea and overall it seems to work well. I look forward to using it much more, and I definitely look forward to some of its other uses down the road and more software and programs are developed for it. Preview videos suggest its use with yoga, swimming, and other activities, which will just be cool incorporating it into other activities.