Intense training at home with Moov Now

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Moov Now is a small and colourful fitness wearable.  This is the 9-months review, after I used it extensively for running, cycling, as well as its bodyweight workouts.

I don’t have any relationship with the company Moov and have other fitness and health devices. I consider this as an objective and fair review.

In short, it’s a fun and practical fitness wearable that will get your heart pumping, be it at home or when travelling.

Let’s see it in detail.

Moov Now can be picked up on Amazon, on the company website for $59 down from its launch price of $99 or at the Apple store. It comes in a box similar to the size of energy bars boxes.

Inside, you will find Moov Now. It’s the size of a dollar. Most of the device’s space is actually taken by the CR2032 battery. Changing the battery requiring having a sharp object or knife, a clumsy and potentially dangerous operation. Fortunately, the device runs on Bluetooth low energy and most users will have to change the battery only once a year.

You will find also two black elastic bands in the box. One is for the wrist and is adjustable, on the left or right hand. Since it’s small, I sometimes left it on my wrist. I guess your friends might mistake for a bracelet or similar. The other black band is for the ankle. This position is for the cycling and running activity.

At the core of the device is accelerometers, found in mobile phones and the vast majority of fitness devices. The device doesn’t have a screen and transmits 3D movement and acceleration information to your Android or iPhone.

Up to now, this is similar to other devices such as the misfit shine or other basic trackers.

So what makes Moov Now different? Its engineers thought the value of the device was not in the activity tracking but in the coaching.

You might know wealthy friends or advanced athletes who pay the services of a  coach. This professional writes customized training plans based on your fitness goals and abilities. He will track your performance as well as your technique. He is also a great motivator who will encourage you to finish your reps and force you to sweat profusely.

For those who are motivated by external social feedback, this has great value and lets them accomplish their fitness objectives.

While not totally replacing a personal coach, Moov Now has similar goals.

First, it offers an array of various workouts, such as high intensity interval training, long slow runs, cycling workouts, Tabata-style bodyweight exercises, and more. The workouts are quite accessible and fun for the whole family. This is similar to training plans by personal coaches.

My favourite workout is the boxing workout. The app shows different circles that you need to punch in various ways (straight, uppercut, jabs). It’s quite intense, and I find myself picturing myself in a muay thai or kung fu class and trying to outpunch an opposite partner in speed. At advanced settings, the app got me in my maximum heart rate! It’s the jewel and alone worth the $99 investment.

Second, Moov Now has sophisticated algorithms to analyze in 3D your movements. Via a computerized voice, it will let you know if your cadence is too slow, if your bike gear should be changed, or any other enhancement possible to your form. I especially like the boxing tips telling me not to let my guard down and to punch faster.

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Left : the app indicates there are 5 squats to do. Center : you can see here the different workouts offered by the app. Right : the boxing workout

As you can guess, Moov Now will also motivate you if you slow your cadence or if it’s time to switch to another bodyweight exercise. I slack off sometimes and Moov Now will immediately tell you to stay focused.

One of the big advantages of this approach compared to others is that Moov will know exactly when you finish a movement. I have for example another iPhone app for legs workouts which will count 1 to 10, without syncing at all with your movements. Moov on the other hand will only start counting when you move and will increase count only at your next movement. No excuse or no skipping an exercise this time!

In summary, it’s an ever-present coach that will motivate those who don’t finish their planned exercise.

But it does have its limitations.

The sensor are quite limited. There is no GPS, no heart rate monitor, or camera to see your real movements. A boxing coach for example will remind you to close your hands – Moov have no way of knowing what exactly you are doing. A strength coach will balk at you if your squat has a poor angle. He will tell you your form will lead to injury. Moov on the other hand just assumes you are doing a perfect squat.

I also found the workouts lacking for those who are serious.

There are several kinds of high intensity interval trainings for example, and the app doesn’t let you adjust the duration of the interval. I need to set a cadence based on my V02max and that’s not possible, which is a big let down.

I would love a Fartlek option. Typically Fartleks are difficult to design or plan due the nature but the Moov app would be perfect to do it.

It also lacks heart-rate based training, required by many runners.

I would also love to include weights in the bodyweight exercises, for those looking to develop strength.

Of course, if you are running or cycling, you will also need wireless bluetooth earphones to listen to the coaching. Unfortunately, I haven’t found yet good bluetooth earphones that won’t fall off when I run.

Wrap-up

I loved Moov Now when I first got it and so did the wife, for running or for the bodyweight exercise in early mornings. We quickly bought another one for the boxing workout. That was fun for us, back in the long winter nights. I bought another one for my brother’s birthday and it got him started in light jogging and commuting by bike to work.

I used to have a sedentary lifestyle, and thanks to Moov, got out of my couch and started running in the local park. I have thus eternal gratitude to them. Moov Now can be considered as the perfect first device for those who need more physical activity.

I haven’t used seriously Moov Now though for a few months. My workouts are more elaborate, such as : Warm-up 10 minutes, Run at 170% vo2max for 8 seconds then 12 seconds recovery, repeat 40 times, Cool down 10 minutes. Moov Now can’t offer me that unfortunately, contrary to my Garmin Fenix 3. It can’t tell me either my current pace or what distance I’ve run.

I also go into a meditative state when I do long slow runs and the coaching offered by Moov is counter productive.

Would I recommend it though? If you don’t have any fitness device and you want to get moving, totally yes! It would be also an amazing gift for a loved one who you would love to get out of his/her couch. However, if you are seriously working out, I fear Moov is not advanced enough. Better check out a GPS sports watch !

 

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