Heart Beats

Years ago I ditched my stuffy office job to pursue a lifelong goal of fitness through an outdoor lifestyle. But I’ve never quite mastered self-training or quantifying what “fitness” is. App-driven wearable products are changing that. Last year a friend at PulseOn introduced me to their wristwatch with built-in heart rate monitor.

A spinout of Finland’s Nokia, the PulseOn is elegantly simple and comes with a free app to measure progress. PulseOn is also one of few wearables with a minimalist fashion statement. I’ve been using PulseOn for 3 months. Here are some results with suggestions for getting the most out of your fitness wearables.


Results for 3 Months




Some Suggestions

Awareness is a good thing. But too much of a good thing….

Heart beats are an important measure of fitness. Are you at 150BPM or 170? How long are you sustaining these levels? Are you going faster or slower than before? These questions matter.

To reach a goal, you need a target. You can’t kick a ball into the goal without knowing where to aim and how hard to kick. In fitness, wearables can help you do that by defining your starting point and helping you measure progress. For people like me, they’re a handy compass on the trail to weight loss and self-improvement.

Over time though I’ve seen awareness become an obsession. In a game where achievement isn’t always measured by how fast you’re going or how many calories you’ve burned, preoccupation with details can turn into self-loathing. For example, you didn’t run as far or as fast as you did last week. Does this mean you’re underperforming? Probably not. Sometimes ignoring the short-term details is exactly what you need to do. A personal trainer would give you these helpful hints.

That brings me to my second point.

Apps are limited to data acquisition.

Wearables are just tools to help you focus. Right now they are limited to telling you what you have done. I’ve not seen one that suggests what you should do, the way a personal trainer might.

The apps haven’t reached their peak yet because, IMO, they’re still focused on quantitative analysis. That’s only half of what people need. They also need to hear positivity and suggestions for getting better because people respond to encouragement. There’s an opportunity here for app devs to push the limits of performance enhancement through software. Whoever can match human insight and reinforcement with data-driven applications could have a great business.



One final entrepreneurial thought. The last 3 months have taught me that luck has little to do with fitness, just as it has little to do with success. As it bears out with serial entrepreneurs, luck is something that may present itself over and over again. No matter your age and circumstances, there’s a lucky streak in your future. Act today for future results.