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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.

Get moving
When you're ready to get sweaty, hook up the system again: Put on the chest strap and insert the dongle—and this time add the included armband, which fits every iPhone and iPod touch. Watch the video again in the Vitness Rx tab for a refresher, and then tap Begin Workout, which advances you to the Heart Rate tab. This is the screen you'll watch as you exercise—it's even in landscape orientation so that you can glance at it while your iPhone is in the armband.

If you need a reminder about the order of the exercises, tap Rx Quickview for a scrollable list of exercise names next to still images of them. Otherwise, tap Start to begin the workout timer, the current heart-rate reading, and the calories-burned calculation. As you exercise, you'll hear audible cues to help your heart rate stay in the target range.

Let's stop here before delving into details on the mostly great workouts themselves, because we've just uncovered the Vitness Rx's main weakness: Although the app has shown you a 3- to 5-minute video outlining the exercises in your workout, it's up to you to remember how to do those exercises and to time or count them yourself.

For example, the Heating workout (which is the most intense, for days when you are rested and refreshed with a high vitality score) has five exercises that you're meant to do for 1 minute each, after which you must cycle through all five moves again two more times. But the video is merely an introduction to those exercises, and the Rx Quickview is just images. So I have to make myself a little cheat sheet to tape to the floor, and time the minutes by watching the overall workout timer. It would be much easier to have an included audio track to follow along to.

VITNESS RX.The Heart Rate screen is in landscape so that you can keep an eye on it during your workout, and so that you can tap the Rx Quickview button on the bottom for a pop-up showing still images of the exercises.

Additionally, because the dongle plugs in to the iPhone's headphone jack, no audio will play through the iPhone's built-in speaker. The only way to hear the heart-rate cues is to plug a pair of headphones into the dongle, which means your iPhone needs to be strapped to your arm. If the chest strap used Bluetooth instead (as this one from Scosche does), the iPhone would need to be in range, but you could use the speaker instead of headphones.

Work it good
Still, the workouts themselves are pretty great. The concept of tailoring a workout to your energy level really works, and Vitness Rx adds new workouts periodically, so you won't get tired of doing the same three over and over.


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