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Vitness Rx tailors workouts to your energy level

Susie Ochs | July 3, 2013
Finally, a fitness system that knows you don't have to go all-out every single day.

Some days you're just not feeling it—you can tell before you get out of bed that you're dragging, and no amount of coffee or sunshine seems to snap you out of it. But your Fitbit, or your FuelBand, or that overly peppy trainer you thought it would be a good idea to hire aren't taking "meh" for an answer. Wouldn't it be great to have some fit tech that responded to your overall energy level with tailored workouts?

Vitness Rx is aiming to achieve just that very thing. The starter kit includes a chest-strap heart-rate monitor, a square dongle that plugs in to your iPhone's headphone jack, an armband for your iPhone, and a promo code for the Vitness Rx app for iOS (which otherwise costs $10).

But instead of simply monitoring your heart rate while you work out, the chest strap determines which workout you should do. The idea is to strap it on first thing in the morning, ideally before you've even gotten up—and definitely before you've had a cup of coffee. It determines your energy level—and the appropriate workout for that day—by examining your HRV, or heart rate variability, basically a measure of how regular your heartbeat is.—

How it works
The chest strap's pulse sensors need to be slightly wet for the best performance, so you can dampen them with a little water (or even a dab of saliva if that doesn't gross you out). You must push the dongle all the way into the headphone jack until you hear a click, and for me that meant removing my iPhone case.

Once you're strapped in, launch the Vitness Rx app and tap the Assessment tab. Tap the Start button, and the chest strap will start sending your pulse to the app through the dongle. Once it locks on to your pulse, you have to follow the deep-breathing prompts in the app throughout the 60-second assessment. That gives you a Vitality Score somewhere between 50 and 100, with a higher number being better—don't mistake it for your resting pulse, where a lower number is better, of course.

Tap the Save to Chart button to log the score, and you'll advance to the Vitness Rx tab, which shows you which of the three Vitness Rx workouts you should do: Heating, Grounding, or Cooling. Each has a different workout time and target heart-rate zone, and you can tap Watch Today's Vitness Rx to watch a video outlining the exercises. If you're ready to work out, tap Begin Workout. You don't have to work out first thing in the morning, though—the Vitness Rx score is good for the day, so go ahead and remove the chest strap, get out of bed, and grab that cup of coffee.


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