I spend most of my days designing and executing workouts. With our football players, we concentrate more on raw strength and fast twitch muscle fibers, but for myself, heart rate is the important factor. If time is to be taken to workout, it is important to make sure the exercise is maximized. If your heart rate is too low, there will be no benefits, and if your heart rate is too high, the workout becomes dangerous. Maintaining target heart rate will bring the most results safely.
Since I am no spring chicken anymore, the safety issue is really important for myself. There are many ways to monitor exercise targets, none of which are easy if not connected to a machine. 4iiii Innovations has brought an easier target management system with the Sportiiiis Heads Up Display. The idea is that you could attach the display to any pair of glasses to safely and easily monitor your workouts.
Let’s take a look.
The Sportiiiis display and audio system is designed to give workout feedback data while keeping the athlete moving and their eyes on the road. Seven color LEDs on a boom are placed in the bottom of any glasses or sunglasses provide feedback on heart rate, power, cadence and speed. The built-in speaker system is located near the ear pieces and provides feedback via 4iiii’s TipTap technology. Tap the box once to get an audio cue for heart rate, and tap twice to switch between other paired accessories.
Currently there are three accessories available for the Sportiiiis system. The foot pod attaches to a shoe to provide real-time distance information while running, walking or hiking. The bike sensor attaches to a bicycle to provide both speed and cadence data. The heart rate monitor, which I used for this review, provides the information to keep your workout at the targeted level. The unit can also sync with ANT+ devices providing feedback for machine specific workouts.
Before using the Sportiiiis display, it is best to download the Mac or PC software and create a custom workout profile. Make sure the target heart rates you enter match your current fitness level and goals. If you are not sure what rates to use, consult your physician and they can provide you with that information. Using the Mac software, I created my profile entering my name, height, weight and birth year.
With my profile now set up, I moved on to set my zones. The unit comes set to be used with the right eye, but can be switched. The target zones work left to right with the far left being too easy and the far right, too difficult. When the target heart rate is reached a green light in the middle will be visible. All of this is adjustable by changing the graph in the software. The colors of the lights can even be adjusted, though I would keep them at red, yellow and green. Any other devices providing pace and cadence can also be adjusted in this tab at the bottom of the screen.
The setup tab is where adjustments can be made to all of the lights. Switch the unit to be used with the left eye or even how it is read from below to above target. I found all of the default features to work just fine and did not need any adjustments. There are also options for the audio, taptap and sensors. They really allow the athlete to make this product work the way they want it to.
Once the Sportiiiis is charged up and the profile is downloaded, it is ready to get to work. The accessories sync with the unit quickly and easily, and they can be used to within 10 feet. The heart monitor basically turns the display on when it is correctly fitted and within range. The heart monitor is worn on an elastic strap that snaps around the chest. The strap is adjustable and hand washable, and it is more comfortable than you might think. Make sure the strap is adjusted to stay in place, but you do not want it so tight that it is difficult to breathe.
I had no trouble getting a reading almost immediately. Running with a strap around my chest did take some getting used to, but it was not enough of an issue to affect performance. After a few uses, I barely noticed it was there and actually relied on the LEDs so much it would not have mattered if it did.
The Sportiiiis display is attached to the glasses with the use of two zip ties which are included in the package. I installed the product on an old pair of Oakley sunglasses with no problems. I chose an older pair because the zip ties need to stay on the glasses for continued use, and I did not want to leave anything on my daily wear glasses. What I really need to do is find a pair of clear glasses I can wear for early morning runs. It gets so hot in south Texas that I prefer to run before the sun comes up during the summer. Having the display on my glasses did not change the fit or feel of my glasses, and I barely knew it was there. You do see the lights from the boom in the bottom of your peripheral vision, but it is actually easier than looking at a wrist worn monitor or other methods. The TapTap technology works flawlessly and is helpful to find the exact reading of your pulse, especially if your rate is above the target.
During your workout when your heart rate has reached your target zone (145-155 BPM in this example) the center LED will slowly blink green.
If your heart rate drops below your target (120-145 BPM) the Yellow LED to the left will begin to blink, indicating you have dropped out of your target zone.
If your heart rate climbs above your target (155-165 BPM) the Yellow LED to the right will begin to blink indicating you are over your target.
If your heart rate continues to climb the Orange and Red LEDs to the right will let you know exactly what’s going on.
After just a few uses, I already feel like my running workouts have improved with the used of the Sportiiiis Heads Up Display System. Since I have always tried to adjust my workouts based on how I feel, this is a better method of getting the most out of each workout while being safe. For anyone who also bikes or uses equipment in a gym, this product can adjust and mold to your uses. For beginners, the ability to create a custom profile will make the exercises safe and beneficial while allowing for adjustments as fitness levels advance.
Keeping your eyes on the road, track or trail easily allows you to safely monitor your heart rate while also avoiding trips or crashes during the workout. You can learn more about the Sportiiiis Display System along with all of the current accessories,.
MSRP: $199 Each accessory costs $59
What I like: I like the ability to keep my eyes on the road while monitoring my workouts; Custom profiles make the product good for any fitness level
What can be improved: I would like to see a method that is not so permanent for installation to allow for various glasses or to easily be removed; There is an iOS application shown on the website, but it is not yet available. I was told it will be out soon