A month ago I published my initial review of the Garmin Instinct fitness watch. Now that I have been wearing it every day for a month, it’s time to share what I’ve learned from the experience.
Better Cardio Training
My primary reason for buying a fitness watch was to track my heart rate throughout my workouts. I hate wearing a chest strap heart rate monitor. The Garmin Instinct has proven to be incredibly consistent in tracking my heart rate throughout the day and throughout my workouts.
By using HR feedback I have been able to better target my workouts on my bike. Efficiently cycling is achieved by finding the sweet spot where your heart is thumping out of your chest but you’re also not just grinding away on a big gear. Using the HR feedback has enabled me to target a specific HR at a specific resistance to maximize my pedaling efficiency. In other words if I see my heart rate is consistently lower than my goal but my speed is where I want it to be, I know that I’m probably not pedaling as efficiently as possible.
Weights Move My HR More Than I Thought
I don’t do a lot of work with weights, but I have noticed that when lifting my heart rate is higher than I would have guessed it to be.
I have to thank my therapist for this one. She suggested taking a look at my heart rate through the Garmin Connect app to see if there was pattern during the day in which my heart rate increased from its normal resting BPM in response to various stressors. Interestingly, some things that I thought would raise my heart rate didn’t raise it as much as I thought it would while other events definitely spiked my heart rate.
Texts and Phone Call Alerts
I’m often annoyed by alerts on my phone so I try to keep them to a minimum. I thought that I would be annoyed by getting text and phone call alerts on my watch too. Surprisingly, I actually kind of like getting those alerts on my watch. The reason is that those are the only alerts I’m letting through so if my phone buzzes but my watch doesn’t buzz, I know that I don’t need to pick up my phone.
I Don’t Walk Enough
At my previous home I had a mile long private road and hundreds of acres of land surrounding it. I took my dogs out for walks twice a day. I never worried about walking enough. Since moving to a neighborhood 18 months ago, my dogs and I don’t walk nearly as much as we used to. Not coincidentally this is about the same time that I started to pack on the pounds around my middle. I knew that I wasn’t walking enough, but wearing the Garmin Instinct for a month has confirmed that in a big way! Most days I don’t come close to 10,000 steps. In fact, most days I’m not getting much more than 5,000 steps.
Features I Haven’t Used
My Garmin Instinct has a slew of other features including weather alerts, music controls, GPS, a barometer, and an altimeter. I don’t listen to music when working out so I haven’t used the music controls on the watch other than to try them once. I haven’t been able to ski for the last month except for taking my daughter to the bunny slope so I haven’t given the GPS, altimeter, or barometer options a try. That is going to, hopefully, change tomorrow.
Would I Buy It Again?
After a month of wearing the Garmin Instinct I can say that I am happy with the purchase. Does it make me a fitter person? At most it makes my training a bit better. Should you buy it? That depends on your goals, needs, and budget. If you’re just starting to work on your physical fitness, there are much better places to spend your money (better food, a trainer, yoga classes, fitness class). If you already have the exercise habit and want to improve your training, a fitness watch could help.
To learn more about the Garmin Instinct and why I chose it over some of the similarly priced competitors, read this review.