Stepping up the miles

I have been doing more miles on the bike this year than i normally do

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I am nearly 1000km up on where i was at this time last year. I also have been a bit more focused on riding rather than my other loves of kitesurfing, swimming and running.

The end result is that I am doing between 1 and 2  100km rides a week and they are beginning to feel easy.

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This morning I headed west into a 15mph wind on a gravel towpath and then around an exposed headland with nary a thought about the wind. Sure I felt it but i just thought ‘more resistance then’ which I think is a positive.

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It wasnt the hilliest route but even after 80km I was tootling along then came home to discover i had knocked off an impressive 56 Strava trophies – most of them PR’s for sections as well as a mysterious top 10 placing and all this with an average Heart Rate of 121bpm (in my fat burn / low cardio zone)

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So then i thought i really should be cycling either quicker or longer or BOTH. So my next challenge …….

There comes a time for most road riders and this includes me, where you focus on the 100-mile (160.93km) target. This can be in the shape of a sportive, club ride or a personal challenge, alone or with a group.

For some, 100 miles is no big deal, just something they do every Sunday. For others it can be the single biggest physical challenge they will ever undertake on a bike. For me it is something I have never done but feel that i am nearly ready to do it. The precursor to this is the eTape Caledonia in a fortnight,  an 82 mile ride sportive done at a much higher pace with no stopping.

From Cycling Weekly – Many cyclists, however, fall somewhere between the two and may already be comfortable with 50-60 mile rides but are eyeing the triple-figured milestone for their next achievement.

Just how big is the jump from 60 to 100 miles? How will you know if it’ll be a cakewalk or a frustrating grovel ending in a miserable train journey back home?

Let’s take a look at the factors that come into play with the extended mileage and see how best to prepare for 100 miles so you can undertake that distance with a realistic chance of it being an enjoyable and achievable target.

We’ve split it up into five sections, which we think need to be nailed in order to smash the 100-mile barrier. So let’s start with the biggie: training.

Pondering the big one? Start training today!

1 – Train!

The physical aspect of training is usually the most common focus for people with a new goal or challenge, and many folks will think that riding as much as possible in the two weeks leading up to the big ride is sufficient. This isn’t the best approach though, and what we need to do is ‘train smarter’.

This doesn’t mean we are striving for marginal gains like the GB squad; it means that we should be looking to maximise our training so that we are doing the right things at the right times.

Cycling Weekly Box Hill sportive 2014


If you are regularly riding 50-60 miles then that is already a great start; you could probably get through a century ride without too much bother, although you could be far better prepared if you have gradually increased your riding time and distance on your training rides.

Remember, to do the 100, you don’t need to be training by doing 100 miles all the time — 75-80 per cent is ample preparation without adding excessive volume.

  • Your physical training should take into account the following points:
    Specificity: Is your 100-mile ride going to be hilly? Then ride hills on your 60-milers! Some riders really struggle on the climbs. If you are one of them then make sure you are addressing them in your training. In many cases, 100 flat miles can seem very easy and very different when compared to a hilly 60 or 70.
  • Saddle time: Try and focus more on the time in the saddle without stopping, rather than miles covered on your training rides. Try riding at a lower intensity and see if you can stick it out for longer. If your average speed over three hours is 15mph, do you think you can hold it for over six hours? If you can comfortably ride your bike for 4-4.5 hours, then you are in a good place to think about the century.
  • Rest: This is so important. Include active recovery in your training weeks and make sure you are resting properly. Keep the legs turning in the week leading up to the big ride, but don’t do anything that will make you excessively tired.


2 – Effort levels

Whether you are riding an individual pursuit over 4km or a whole Grand Tour, pacing your effort will be of maximum importance.

For 100 miles, you will want to make sure you don’t use up all your energy too early and struggle badly in the last third of the ride. You can use a simple speedometer to gauge an average speed which you know you are comfortable with, or a heart rate monitor to keep around a particular BPM, or even old-fashioned perceived exertion — simply going by feel.

>>> Build your strength and big gear efforts

However you pace yourself, it’s a good idea to also have a psychological pacing strategy, such as waypoints you think you should be at during particular times. For example: “I should be at the sharp climb at 40 miles in 150 minutes.” You can adjust your effort to ensure that you avoid blowing up too early, but that you also aren’t dawdling unnecessarily and missing out on a faster time.


3 – Getting in the zone

We all know how powerful the mind can be, and how it can affect performance both positively and negatively. If you are riding 100 miles alone, the mind can be a helpful ally, or a destructive pest. We want to enjoy our ride, so learning during training how to disassociate ourselves from feelings of discomfort is a useful skill.

Try to focus on other things, like the scenery, your pedalling technique, or holding an aerodynamic position. The small ‘process goals’ of each waypoint within your pacing strategy will also help to break down the ride in your head into more manageable sections.

Remember, no matter how demoralising the weather, the hills or the headwinds might be, think about how amazing you will feel at the end of the ride, and always look ahead, up the road to where things will be changing.


4 – Fuelling

How you approach your nutrition both before and during the ride can be the difference between a great performance and a trip to A&E.

How you refuel afterwards can also be a factor, which will have a huge influence on your general health and your future riding plans.

Nutrition tips
Before: The day before your 100-miler needs to be seriously considered — this is where the ride actually starts. You may have heard of ‘carb loading’ but the simplest advice here is to make sure you take on a healthy, balanced meal with fresh vegetables and low glycaemic index carbs. It’s also worth considering a bowl of cereal two hours before bed as a booster.

Leave off the alcohol or fizzy pop, and drink plenty of water. In the morning, go for the cereal and fruit, and drink at least 500ml of water before you set out.

During: Avoid taking on a whole bunch of energy gels; these are mostly designed to help riders through the last few demanding kilometres of a road race.

You might want to take along something with caffeine and sugar just in case, but don’t be tempted to break into this unless you are getting really fatigued and have already covered a good distance. All you really need is adequate carbohydrate to fuel from. An average sized cereal bar of about 30 grams for every 45-60 minutes of riding is ideal. Take along some bananas too.

Don’t forget to keep eating! A critical stumbling point for many riders is the inability to fuel while riding, so make sure you are able to take a drink from a bottle whenever you need to.

When drinking, tilt the bottle up and to the side to avoid tilting your head (so you can still look where you’re going) and keep your food to hand in jersey pockets. You will need around 500ml of water per hour (more if it’s very hot and you are losing it through sweat). And to help replenish the lost minerals, your second bottle should contain a small amount of an additive which contains electrolytes. Go for the powders that are aimed at hydration rather than energy. Don’t try anything you haven’t already used and are happy with — the big ride isn’t the one for experimenting with nutrition and hydration.

>>> Six steps for healthier eating

After: Your muscles need glycogen now, so this is the time for fruit juice or a purpose made recovery shake. Get those sugars in within 20 minutes —even ‘bad’ sugars like fizzy drinks and sweets (in moderation) can help at this point. Remember to keep hydrating and sit down to a decent meal containing some good protein within about an hour.

Bike fit

5 – Bike fit

When you are on the bike for several hours, little imperfections in position or fit can evolve into very major issues. If you have any niggles or particular localised discomfort during your normal rides, then it pays to get these seen to before the century ride.

A professional bike-fit can improve comfort and performance, while reducing fatigue and the risk of injury. It’s not just how the bike fits you though — how you fit yourself to the bike also matters.

What we are talking about here is your ability to hold your position, your pedalling efficiency and flexibility.

>>> Cleats explained: how to set them up correctly

Check out the pros with their slightly bent elbows and stable upper body, their flat backs and aerodynamic positions. OK, you might not be able to emulate them immediately, but you will probably be able to improve your current position with a few tweaks and off-bike exercises and stretches.

Get advice from a physio if needed, and make sure that you don’t attempt the big ride without properly testing new positions or bike parts beforehand.

New Year resolutions – I guess I do

Well most other people are putting up New Year resolutions so I guess I could too. Last year was alright I guess – These WERE my goals

So What for 2015

  • Backpacking trip on the Fat Bike – Cairngorms or the Western Isles (bonus if i do both) DID CAIRNGORMS and SOLD FAT BIKE
  • Do eTape Caledonia quicker (hard with last years 33km/h average) POURING RAIN but only 2 min slower so I will take that as a done
  • Do Mountain Bike Marathon (Selkirk 85km is the week before the eTape – good training or bad taper) DID it and may have helped the eTAPE
  • Do more kitesurfing – PROBABLY
  • Do more Stand up Paddleboarding PROBABLY NOT

SO 4/5


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My goals

  • DRINK booze LESS
  • RIDE the Etape quicker >22mph over 80miles

and today I started the day with a 10km run …. rock on

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How to get fitted – bike – mtb – reblog

from single tracks – a reminder on how to do it …


So, you’re planning on purchasing or assembling your dream bike for the upcoming MTB season. What size should you choose? How long of a stem do you need? Should you get a setback seatpost? What’s the right bar width? I’ll try to answer all these questions and more in this article on mountain bike fitting.

Most bike shops do a good job helping customers find the right frame size and you can always double check by taking a peek at the bike manufacturer’s website or catalog. The size chart below is an example and as you can see there is a range for every frame size. Beyond height, this chart doesn’t take into account specific body measurements (torso size, leg length, etc.) and that’s where component fitting comes in.


So… it’s really up to you to get the perfect fit. Some bike shops offer fittings, usually at a cost nowadays (not including parts which is an additional cost). But looking at your body and sitting on the bike with someone holding you on, you can get a good idea of what fits or what feels best for you. But before you spend your cash, let’s cover the list of things we can change on the bike, what those changes will feel like, and what a retailer shop should be able to do to accommodate you when you purchase that shiny new bike.

Frame size: #1 most important item

Getting the right frame size is paramount. If you’re in between sizes and are planning on really riding rough, you may want the smaller size rather than the larger (easier to bail when things go wrong). Use a sizing chart to get an idea of where you fit, then check the actual bike. Hop on the bike and if possible, go for a test ride. You should also be able to get a sense of what’s going on with the fit just by sitting on the bike and pedaling backward.

At this point you should feel more or less comfortable: not up too high and stretched or too low and cramped. You should also be able to place your feet flat on the ground when you dismount the bike. Stand over height is a bit more difficult to gauge these days due to the newer, sloping top tube frames which give the illusion that the frame is smaller than it is. Instead, I focus my attention on the top tube length.

To find the right seat tube length, take your inseam (legs 6 inches apart) and multiply by .67 then subtract 4 inches. For example I have a 33 inch inseam. Multiplied by .67 I get 21.75 inches, take 4- 5 inches away I end up with a 17.5 inch frame set (which happens to be what I use).


MTB handlebar width

Sometimes due to your specific body type or riding style a wider than stock bar can be a good choice. As the bars widens, it allows more steering torque (great for nasty terrain) and slows your steering down. A bar change on its own will also pull you forward a bit. A wider bar also makes it easier to breathe as it encourages you to open your chest more when huffing up a hill. The good news is that most bike shops are willing to change to a wider bar if necessary. Once you have your bar width, work on shifter and brake positioning. Try to set both so your wrist is not bent in an awkward angle and there is a small degree of freedom there – about 15 degrees. Anything more than that and you are at risk of hurting yourself.


Stem length

Riders with disproportionate leg to torso sizes will want to take a look at changing up stem length for a more comfortable riding posture. A longer stem typically pulls the rider forward and flattens the back. The result is slowed steering and more traction to the front wheel.

Shortening the stem moves the rider toward the center of the bike and adds curvature to the back, leading to a more upright riding position. Ideally the rider should have elbows slightly bent when riding straight ahead which acts as a natural upper body shock absorber. Proper stem length and positioning alleviates upper body soreness and removes excessive force from the wrists. Most XC stems range in length from 70mm to 130mm. AM and DH stems can range from as short as 25mm to about 55mm+.


Seat post height and setback

Once you have the right frame size it’s time to set the seat post height and setback (for you folks who ride DH, FR, and DJ this does not apply). Starting with the seat parallel with the ground, set the cranks so that they are in line with your seat tube, projecting a straight line through the BB and to the floor. Hop on the bike and have someone support you while you position your feet on the pedals – ball of the foot on the axle and foot slightly pointing forward a couple degrees. You should not have your leg fully extended – there should be about 10-15 degrees of movement before your leg locks straight.

You can also use this formula as a decent starting point: Take your inseam measurement and multiply by .883. The result is the ballpark measurement from the top of the lower pedal to the top of the saddle. From here you may need to go up or down a quarter of an inch until it looks and feels right.


With the basic seat height position set, it’s time to check positioning front to back. With the cranks set at 3 and 9 o’clock, get a piece of string and tie a weight to it. Sit on the bike in your riding position and pedal backwards a few strokes and stop at 3 and 9 o’clock again (you’ll need a spotter to help). Hang the weighted string from the bony protrusion just below your knee cap and have a look at where the string intersects your crank – it should fall right at the pedal axle. If the string falls forward or behind, just slide the seat on the post to fix your positioning.

If you can’t adjust the seat far enough you may need to change your seatpost offset. There are seatpost offset options you can purchase from zero offsets all the way to 25mm offsets (see images below).


Handlebar height 

You may find that your handlebars are too low or high. By adjusting bar height you’re trying to achieve:

  • A comfortable back angle, depending on your degree of flexibility.
  • A natural feel to look ahead without craning your neck.

There are a few solutions here. Firstly take a look at where your stem meets your steering tube. You may see a few spacers – if so great! You can adjust the shim stack position relative to the frame which will raise or lower the stem and bar. For example, placing all the shims below the stem will raise your bar up by that amount. If you don’t have shims, you may need to get either a riser bar or a riser stem. Easton sells the EA50 stem with either 6 or 20 degrees of rise. You can also choose from flat bars, mid rise bars (about 20mm), or full rise bars (from 35mm to 45mm depending on the model).

Crank arm length 

You may want to consider changing up your crank arm length as well. Most manufacturers offer MTB cranks from 165mm to 180mm, usually in 5mm increments. The proper crank arm length is typically dependent on the rider’s height and inseam. So a short person (5′ – 5′.5″) may want to consider 165- 170mm cranks. For someone from 5′.5″ – 5′ 10″, a 175mm usually works well and taller folks may want to consider 175mm+ cranks. Now if you have short legs, a shorter crank arm may be a better choice. Or if you’re a quick peddler, a shorter crank arm may be the way to go as well.


This next section will help you consider a few items that can give you that “at one” feeling with your bike. There are really just 3 spots where body meets machine: handlebar grips, saddle, and pedals.

Handlebar grips 

Before we talk about bar grips you should understand the two basic classes of grips. There are the lock-on types that are gaining popularity and the conventional style that holds onto the bar with friction. The difference? About $15.00. Seriously though, the new locking grips do work a bit better because they don’t slip and are easily removed and installed using an allen key to tighten.

Saying all that, there many MTB grip choices on the market today. When choosing consider a few things: What is your riding style? Are you an epic kinda person who will spend hours on the bike or are you a DH / FR type who needs maximum grip?


Pedal and cleat positions

Setting up your cleats is probably (in my opinion) the second most important fitting task. After all, the wrong positioning will increase strain in the knee and results in a less-than-ideal pedal stroke. Ideally you want the cleat set up so that if you draw a line from the center of the pedal axle up it will intersect with the widest part of your foot (where you apply the most force).


Use a mirror to take a look at the front of your feet and make sure they run parallel with your crank arms. This position will ease the load on your knee and ensures your feet will release from the pedals. One final note: many pedals feature adjustable tension and it’s often a good idea to start with the lightest tension where your feet barely wiggle (float). What you don’t want is a super solid feel to the pedal-shoe interface that hinders your foot’s natural tendency to twist on the back stroke.



Selecting the right MTB saddle depends on a few things. For one, consider the type of riding you’ll be doing: racing, long epic rides, DH, etc. Do you need extra padding because your current saddle is killing you?

Aside from padding and support, take a look at saddle width. In short, your pelvic bone should match up to the widest part of the saddle. So if a saddle feels good, it’s probably the proper size for you.

This is by no means a definitive article on bike fitting but it’s based on years of personal experience fitting myself and others on their bikes. If you have question feel free to ask and I can clarify further as there are many more variables that can change a measurement or two in relationship to what was mentioned in this article.

A quick thanks to the good folks at OPUS for the sizing chart.


Will the apple watch shake up the GPS and app market?

In addition to being a wearable emoji-sender, heartbeat-sharer, and payment system, the Apple Watch will also be a fitness tracker. And although the watch won’t be available until early 2015, Apple provided a few details on how the wearable will track activity. The watch has its own accelerometer and heart-rate monitor, but it needs to be paired with an iPhone to track your distance traveled via GPS or Wi-Fi.

These features are of note because they add a new set of functions to Apple’s hardware stable, and they directly compete with offerings from long-time hardware partners who already make fitness tracking wearables like Jawbone, Fitbit and Garmin.

The Apple Watch has some standard features familiar to the fitness crowd. Its built-in Activity app has three modes, all of which display goals in a ring-shaped interface. In the “Move” display, it shows you how much you’ve been in motion during the day, gives you a running countdown to your 30-minute goal, and shows how many calories you’ve burned. The “Stand” display reminds you to stop sitting for at least a minute every 12 hours (see the photo above), and the “Exercise” ring will gauge harder-core activities like running.


There’s also a separate Workout app that can break your activities into more-specific groups, such as Running, Cycling, or Cross Training. All your stats and workout history are stored in a Fitness app, which gives you a dashboard of your workout sessions. You can share your workout stats with third-party apps via the watch’s Health app, too.

Even though all of that is standard-issue stuff for a fitness tracker, Apple’s HealthKit initiative is likely to play a major part in making all that workout data usable by other apps on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. The software package for developers will likely speed the growth of the ecosystem of apps built for the watch—though Apple has been largely silent on details about how or when those third-party apps will make their way onto its Watch.


Best fitness tracker

I have ordered the Garmin one (as I have a fenix for running / kitesurfing and the edge 510 for cycling)  but this article from iMore highlights the best and better out there.
Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

Fitness trackers are all the rage these days. The iPhone 5s already includes an Apple M7 motion co-processor that lets apps monitor steps taken, calories burned, and more. If you want a dedicated fitness tracker, though, something you can wear in the rain or in the shower, while running or while in bed, then until an iWatch comes along, you’re going to have to get a Fitbit, Jawbone, Nike, or Garmin. But which one should you get? They aren’t cheap and they aren’t all created equal. That’s why I’ve taken an in-depth look at the most popular ones!

Fitbit Force recall

Before beginning I’ll preface this and say we initially started our tests using the Fitbit Force. We swapped it out for a Fitbit Flex since Fitbit recently recalled the Force due to skin irritation. The main differences are that the Flex doesn’t have a full LCD like the Force and it doesn’t track stairs. Other than that, they’re pretty similar in every other way.

Design and comfort

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

The Fitbit Flex is made of a soft silicon material and doesn’t create any discomfort when wearing it for long periods of time. This is especially important since the Flex can track your sleep as well. The problem I ran into with the Flex is that when sleeping with it on, the clasp would come undone during the night resulting in it falling off. I’ve never been a huge fan of the push in clasp types as it’s very easy for them to snag on something and get ripped off. The same holds true for the Garmin vivofit whose design is very similar to the Flex. I had the same issues with it falling off or getting snagged if I pulled my sleeve down over it.

The FuelBand has the most secure locking mechanism since it clicks in place with a metal clip. A friend of mine tested my FuelBand for a few days and found that while playing sports like basketball, it’s not pleasant when a ball hits your wrist where the FuelBand sits. It even came unlatched a few times, proving no type of clasp mechanism is completely fool proof. The UP24 by Jawbone was the most comfortable fitness band to wear and by far the easiest to put on and off. There’s no display on the UP24 at all which allows for it to be smaller. It comes in several different colors and also tracks sleep. More importantly, it never fell off, which I couldn’t say for the vivofit and the Flex.

When it comes to comfort, the UP24 wins hands down, if you’re willing to forego a display. If that isn’t an option for you, the FuelBand is second best.

Fitness tracking and app functionality

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

All four fitness trackers pair with companion apps on your iPhone. Fitbit’s app offering pulls data from any Fitbit tracker you own. It pulls in calorie burn, active minutes, steps walked, distance, and more. Fitbit also tracks your weight loss progress if you want it to along with sleep. You can also choose to log food so you can see what your calorie intake is compared to your burn. I didn’t find the food tracking portion to be very intuitive or easy to use. A major concern I had with the Flex (and the Force) was how generous it was with calories and steps. It always seemed to offer up way more activity than I feel I actually performed. The screens above are from the Nike FuelBand and the Fitbit Flex from the exact same workout. You can see the huge discrepancy. When using the Garmin and UP24, they always seemed to be more in line with the FuelBand than the Flex.

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

Moving on to the Connect by Garmin, it has the simplest interface and just imports everything from the vivofit when you choose to sync it. The vivofit also comes with a heart rate monitor strap which can import data right into the app as well. It’s nothing fancy and has very few frills but for those worried more about stats than a pretty app, it gets the job done.

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

The UP24 app by Jawbone pulls in similar information but displays it differently. One of my favorite features is the Lifeline which lets you quickly scrub through your activity. You can also track food with the UP app but again, I didn’t find it particularly awesome and much prefer dedicated apps like My Fitness Pal instead. UP24 can pair with other third party apps too including IFTTT, RunKeeper, Strava, and more. So that’s something to think about if you’re currently using any partner apps. Both the Flex and the UP24 have the ability to pester you to start moving if you’ve been sitting idle for too long. The vivofit has a similar function but instead shows a red bar on the display that increases and grows longer as you sit inactive.

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

The FuelBand SE tracks basic data like the others but also uses its own system of points called NikeFuel. This algorithm combines calories, steps, and activity to obtain your NikeFuel point count. You can compete with friends to rack up the most NikeFuel and hit milestones. Aside from the uniqueness of the NikeFuel system, I’ve found the FuelBand SE to be the most accurate when it comes to actually tracking calories, steps, and distance. Unfortunately it’s also the easiest to fool. Just give it a few twirls around your finger and watch your step and NikeFuel count climb. As for the FuelBand app, it’s well designed and easy to use. The Sessions feature for SE owners lets you track Fuel points that you rack up doing a specific activity like biking, playing basketball, or anything else. It breaks it out separately instead of lumping it with everything else.

The FuelBand app by Nike is the best of the bunch when it comes to design and usability. Garmin’s Connect app is the only one that tracks heart rate while UP by Jawbone has the best third party integration. Fitbit’s data concerns me as it seems to be far too generous when it comes to steps and calorie count.

Sleep tracking

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

The only fitness tracker out of the bunch that does not track sleep is the Nike FuelBand so if that’s important to you, eliminate the FuelBand from your pool of candidates right off the bat. When deciding between the other three, it really comes down to what you want to know. If you’re just tracking how many hours you’re sleeping each night, all three apps can either track while you sleep or you can manually enter it in.

The UP24 analyzes and breaks up sleep the best within the app and shows you how many times you woke up, how many hours of light sleep you got as opposed to heavy sleep, and more. Just hold the only button found on the UP24 down when you’re ready to go to sleep to put it in sleep mode. You can even set an alarm within the app and the UP24 will wake you up within 20 minutes of it based on where you are in a sleep cycle. The UP24 will never disturb you during a REM cycle. When it comes to comfort, the UP24 is by far the most comfortable. And as mentioned before, I had issues with the others coming off during the night which is something to think about.

The UP24 not only analyzes sleep better than the rest, it’s by far the most comfortable to wear all night long.

Battery life

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

What kind of battery life you get varies greatly across all four trackers. I’ve found the Nike FuelBand SE to suck the most battery resulting in needing to charge it every three to four days. If I’m lucky I can squeeze five days out of it. It’s also got bright LED lights that make it flashy but unfortunately it results it faster battery drain. The Fitbit Flex was next to die at around the five day mark. It can make it six or seven in some cases but if you’re wearing it all day every day, I’d expect about five days.

The UP24 has no trouble making it a complete week with no charge mainly due to the complete lack of LCD or any kind of indicator lights minus the sleep/wake toggle. None of the bands however can hold a candle to the Garmin vivofit when it comes to battery life. It lasts an entire year. Yes you heard that right, a whole year. There is actually no way to charge it. The screen is always on but uses a technology that eats a lot less battery life than the others. Once it dies a quick trip to a supermarket or battery store and you’re good to go again.

If you hate charging things, consider either the Garmin vivofit or the UP24.

Water resistance vs water proof

The Nike FuelBand SE, Fitbit Flex, and UP24 by Jawbone are all billed as water resistant but not waterproof. That means they can tolerate activities like taking a shower but you shouldn’t go swimming with them on. The vivofit by Garmin is rated to be waterproof up to 50 meters which means you can wear it while swimming and performing other water activities.

If waterproof is what you want, the vivofit is the only option.

Who should buy a Fitbit Flex?

Who should buy a Fitbit Flex?

My biggest concern with Fitbit’s line of products is tracking accuracy. I feel they greatly overcompensate when it comes to step count, calories burned, and distance. This makes it really hard for me to recommend it over other offerings I feel are far more accurate. However, the Flex is one of the most fashionable bands on the market. Fitbit even offers an attractive array of colored bands on their website you can swap yours for.

If you’re willing to forego accuracy to make a fashion statement, there’s no arguing that the Flex is a nice looking product.

Who should buy an UP24?

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

The UP24 is by far the most comfortable fitness tracker out of the bunch and the easiest to take off and put back on. The battery lasts a reasonable amount of time due to the lack of a display and the app is well done. It’s also the best at tracking sleeping patterns.

For those who are the most about comfort and tracking sleep habits, the UP24 is what you want.

Who should buy a Nike FuelBand SE?

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

Nike makes the best companion app out of the bunch and the FuelBand’s latching mechanism is designed a heck of a lot better some of the others. The NikeFuel system also helps to create some healthy competition among friends which can be a great motivator for some.

If you’re a competitive person, you’ll love the NikeFuel system and what it can offer you and your friend when it comes to getting, and staying healthy together.

Who should buy a Garmin vivofit?

Best fitness tracker: Fitbit Flex vs Jawbone UP24 vs Nike FuelBand SE vs Garmin vivofit!

Garmin is the only offering currently available on the market that requires zero charging. A whole year on a single battery charge is pretty awesome. You can also swim with it on, which is a huge plus for those that want to track water activities. You can also order different colored bands and pop the tracker into them.

If you don’t ever want to take off a fitness tracker in fear of forgetting to put it back on, get the vivofit. You won’t have to take it off for an entire year, unless you choose to.

Still can’t decide?

Fitness trackers are a large purchase and for many people, they just can’t seem to decide on just one. If that sounds like you, I would personally recommend the UP24. It’s a great middle ground that improved on a lot of things from the original version of the UP. It may not get a full year of battery life but it gets a full week and that’ll be good enough for most. The UP24 is also the most comfortable to wear for long periods of time which is important if you want to track sleeping habits regularly.

What is your fitness age?

good article from WELL in the NYT ….

Trying to quantify your aerobic fitness is a daunting task. It usually requires access to an exercise-physiology lab. But researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim have developed a remarkably low-tech means of precisely assessing aerobic fitness and estimating your “fitness age,” or how well your body functions physically, relative to how well it should work, given your age.

The researchers evaluated almost 5,000 Norwegians between the ages of 20 and 90, using mobile labs. They took about a dozen measurements, including height, body mass index, resting heart rate, HDL and total cholesterol levels. Each person also filled out a lengthy lifestyle questionnaire. Finally, each volunteer ran to the point of exhaustion on a treadmill to pinpoint his or her peak oxygen intake (VO2 max), or how well the body delivers oxygen to its cells. VO2 max has been shown in large-scale studies to closely correlate with significantly augmented life spans, even among the elderly or overweight. In other words, VO2 max can indicate fitness age.

In order to figure out how to estimate VO2 max without a treadmill, the scientists combed through the results to determine which of the data points were most useful. You might expect that the most taxing physical tests would yield the most reliable results. Instead, the researchers found that putting just five measurements — waist circumference; resting heart rate; frequency and intensity of exercise; age; and sex — into an algorithm allowed them to predict a person’s VO2 max with noteworthy accuracy, according to their study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The researchers used the data set to tabulate the typical, desirable VO2 max for a healthy person at every age from 20 to 90, creating specific parameters for fitness age. The concept is simple enough, explains Ulrik Wisloff, the director of the K. G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University and the senior author of the study. “A 70-year-old man or woman who has the peak oxygen uptake of a 20-year-old has a fitness age of 20,” he says. He has seen just this combination during his research.

The researchers have used all of this data to create an online calculator that allows people to determine their VO2 max without going to a lab. You’ll need your waist measurement and your resting heart rate. To determine it, sit quietly for 10 minutes and check your pulse; count for 30 seconds, double the number and you have your resting heart rate. Plug these numbers, along with your age, sex and frequency and intensity of exercise, into the calculator, and you’ll learn your fitness age.

The results can be sobering. A 50-year-old man, for instance, who exercises moderately a few times a week, sports a 36-inch waist and a resting heart rate of 75 — not atypical values for healthy middle-aged men — will have a fitness age of 59. Thankfully, unwanted fitness years, unlike the chronological kind, can be erased, Dr. Wisloff says. Exercise more frequently or more intensely. Then replug your numbers and exult as your “age” declines. A youthful fitness age, Dr. Wisloff says, “is the single best predictor of current and future health.”

and my result …?

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 12.27.36boll*cks – in my dreams


last nights 5 a side

Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power and by body builders to build muscle mass. Muscle energy systems trained using anaerobic exercise develop differently compared to aerobic exercise, leading to greater performance in short duration, high intensity activities, which last from mere seconds up to about 2 minutes.

Then i guess this counts

strava screen