Geeks like me love to track their workouts. I have been using a heart rate monitor for about 5 years now and a GPS watch for about 3.5 years. I’ve tested and used regularly a minimum of 10 different varieties. Late summer, a TomTom Runner Cardio watch was given to me to test and I was a skeptic. How can a GPS watch accurately measure my heart rate through my wrist?

After a painful shower after an 18-mile training run thanks to the chaffing of my HR chest strap, I finally gave the TomTom a try on a short recovery day.

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Not only did it pick up a signal within 2 minutes of leaving my home, but it also picked up my heart rate that felt accurate at the time. I had a feeling it would lose my heart rate once I started running but it didn’t!

“Your heart rate is measured through a sensor in the watch that monitors changes in the blood flow in your wrist. This is done by shining light through the skin and detecting the changing light reflections.” TomTom

After my first quick outing, I wore the TomTom Runner Cardio watch for every training run thereafter. My heart rate felt accurate every time. The watch also tells you what zone your HR is in; Easy, Fat Burn, Endure, Speed and Sprint.

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During your run, you can check your heart rate, heart rate zone, calories burned, average and current speed, distance, duration and clock time.

In addition to the outdoor GPS option, you can also use the watch while running on a treadmill and also as a stopwatch – which is great for me while I teach.

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The battery is excellent. It charges quickly and holds a charge for over a week. Specifically, it lasts 8 hours while using GPS or 10 hours without.

It’s a little larger than some of the other watches I’ve tested but is still comfortable. I happily will wear a slightly larger watch without a chest strap any day. It is also waterproof and equipped with bluetooth technology which allows you to transfer data to your smart phone.

Don’t like the red and white band it comes with? You can change out the wrist bands for your own personal style and more feminine fit.

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Once connected, you can view your previous runs in the app easily with every details recorded. It’s fun to see different paces and heart rate levels on long training runs for me. This activity log is from the end of my marathon training. I forgot to bring the charge with me to Scotland and my watch died on me on Friday that 12th!

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Priced at $269 it is expensive but many will find the price tag is worth it if you are a serious runner. If you don’t want to spend the money but still want to track your fitness, I recommend buying a bluetooth heart rate monitor and use it with an App like RunKeeper that can connect to it. I like this one from Pear which is $79 but requires you to use your phone – and subsequently precious battery. For a 4 hour training run, I would be nervous mine would die which is why I think the watch is worth the price tag for some people. It avoids the dreaded dead battery and chest strap chaffing.

I only have 2 complaints which are personal problems

#1 is the fact that when I’m at Barry’s and I use the watch in treadmill mode, it doesn’t accurately count calories burned when I’m on the floor doing strength training. For this season, I’m not a huge fan of the watch during group exercise classes. It will pick up your heart rate and you can see what it is but it won’t count calories burned unless it senses you are “running”.

I just discovered complaint #2 when the weather got cold. You have to have the watch on your wrist in order for it to pick up your heart rate so pulling down your sleeves to use cold weather thumbholes causes a problem. If you want to see your splits or heart rate, you have to roll up the sleeves or keep the watch face covered. I hate wearing gloves so I sacrifice knowing details and just wait until I finish to look at the data.

Watch More

In my new YouTube video from yesterday, I reviewed my Fall Favorites featuring the TomTom watch and a bunch of other products including activity tracker Garmin VivoFit. You can watch it by clicking here :)

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What is your favorite heart rate monitor or do you prefer using the old-fashioned method of perceived level of exertion?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated to write this review.

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Wellness travel is one of the hottest tourism trends so when I was invited to check out Hilton Head Health Resort in South Carolina, I happily accepted the offer. I love to travel, eat healthy food and exercise, so why not? 

Based on my research, the resort appeared to have 3 tracks guests could follow named Lose Well, Live Well and Play Well. Lose Well was for guests looking to lose weight. Live Well was for guests it appeared who lived an active lifestyle and wanted a vacation to recharge their batteries while boosting their health. The Play Well track looked to be built for the adventure seeker and athlete with rounds of golf, paddle boarding, kayaking and more. 

Since the Play Well track was not offered during our stay, I signed up for the Live Well. 

The Good:

I stayed in a fabulous 2-bed, 3-bath condo that felt like a family vacation home with another blogger. The resort leases them from various owners.

The meals were delicious and probably my favorite part of the stay. The calories are listed right on the menu along with dietary labels. The Lose Well guests are given suggested calorie limits but pre-portioned healthy snacks are always available. There are no fad diets that dictate the menu but most dishes would be considered by me as “clean” and close to its original source. 

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We had a menu for breakfast and lunch but dinner was a set entree with exceptions for special diets. 

The veggie scramble was a favorite breakfast of mine. I ordered it twice. Once with fruit and avocado and once with a bowl of oatmeal with berries.

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My other favorite was the oatmeal with locally made granola, fruit and single fried egg. The oatmeal was sweetened with a touch of vanilla instead of sugar. 

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I didn’t take a picture of the lunch menu but it was equally as impressive and longer, allowing us to order a starter and main meal. 

The massaged kale salad was a favorite. It only had 100 calories and was so filling. I ordered this to start one day and was almost full from it thanks to the volume.

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I also loved the shrimp taco salad. Instead of a corn fried tortilla, the chef used baked wanton wrapper. 

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I wrote down that I preferred fish in my registration packet and so one night, when pork was on the menu, I was served a local white fish instead. It came with mashed sweet potatoes and broccoli. 

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The following night, we all were served a delicious sea bass with risotto, carrots and green beans. The fish was the best I had all weekend. 

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I wasn’t able to try any of the vegan dinner entrees but they looked amazing! Dessert is only served on Wednesday and Saturday. While I enjoyed the pumpkin cheesecake I was served, I later saw it was made with Splenda and fat free cream cheese… 

It was suggested to have a fit bite at 10:30 am and also 3:30 pm which were all prepackaged are available to grab at any time. 

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The lectures were really interesting! I didn’t think I would find them very captivating but the speakers were animated, inspiring and intriguing. A simple lecture about portion control turned into how to eat mindlessly to lose weight. Also fun were the healthy cooking classes. Some were free and others were additional. 

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We learned how to make this delicious peanut butter hummus recipe during a free demonstration. I’ll be posting the recipe soon! It’s a great way to satisfy a peanut butter lover’s cravings without binging. 

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During the day, classes and excursions are offered at various times. The excursions cost additional money and included things like a zip line, bike ride, and stand up paddle boarding. With our schedule, I couldn’t participate in any of them sadly so I decided to sign up for a private golf lesson. When in Hilton Head I figured, right? The H3 staff arranged my appointment, dropped me off and picked me up from a near by course.

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The classes were varied for all abilities and interests. The Treading class was challenging and reminded me of a longer version of Barry’s Bootcamp treadmill work. I took it along with the other bloggers on our trip, Andie, Beth, Monique and Nicole

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The Pilates, TRX, Yoga, Pool activities, Zumba and more offer something for all abilities. I especially loved Camilla’s classes! Her spunk made the time fly by and her moves were easy to modify and advance. Nicole and I took her TRX and had a blast. 

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Since I wanted to see the beach, I went running one morning in lieu of taking a class. I was glad I did because the beach was gorgeous but chilly thanks to the latest polar vortex. I would love to come back during beach season. 

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Other Impressions… 

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My room was a little over a mile from the H3. There were no shuttle buses but if you called the front desk a van would pick you up within 10 minutes. I couldn’t get a van at 7:30 am Thursday morning and had to walk. You can rent beach bikes for the duration of your stay to get to and from H3.  We were also over a mile from the beach so it’s easy to forget you’re so close. I would recommend getting a bike!

I signed up a for a deep tissue massage which was amazing! It was hard to book an appointment but the staff added some extra times due to high volume. H3 is building a brand new spa with more rooms to accommodate the requests as well as step up their game in the spa options. I would love it if they added an acupuncturist or chiropractor to round out alternative health experience. 

I had my finger pricked and measurements taken my first morning after fasting for 12 hours. The results were not mind blowing for me since I recently had my blood drawn but it would be very helpful for someone going to H3 to start their weight loss journey. You talk about your results with one of the medical professionals on staff the following day. Some guests stay for a full week, others a full month or longer! They are able to track their progress during their stay.

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H3 is a no judgement zone. We wore casual clothes the entire time and no make up. People don’t come to H3 for a spa vacation, they come to make a real change. I know that the resort is hoping to attract a younger audience with the expansion of their spa services. I was told the demographic gets younger during the summer season with school break. H3 is expensive, but for its services, it is a reasonable price compared to other resorts offering similar results.

Overall, I had a great experience. I would recommend H3 to anyone who is looking to get away and get a jump start or boost in motivation to reach their health goals. H3 is better suited in my opinion, right now, for those who are beginners, need to lose a lot of weight or are a little older as the exercise classes are better geared towards those populations. I felt a little out of place at times but was happy that I am now able to share my experience with you guys and maybe inspire one of you guys to invest in your health. Most of the guests at H3 were all reoccurring guests so they must be doing something right, right!? 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. While my stay was complimentary at the resort, I paid for my flight to South Carolina. 

 

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How To Have a Healthy Thanksgiving That Doesn’t Suck

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Spice up the cold with these warm vegan drinks!

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Blast Fat & Get Fast – Shred Mill Workout #2

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5 Easy & Fast Breakfast Ideas

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