Nonparametric and parametric analysis of calorie consumption in Tanzania [An article from: Food Policy]
Any physical trainer could tell you that in order to maximize the impact of your workouts, you need to train hard enough to make a difference, but not so hard that you damage yourself. However, this optimal training range has always been exceedingly difficult to figure out, especially because your target training zone changes over time as your fitness level improves. The Suunto t6 takes both the guesswork and the need for a professional trainer out of the fitness equation. During training, the Suunto t6 measures your every single heartbeat, allowing you to analyze data that was previously possible only through laboratory tests. Then the easy-to-use PC analysis combines this training data with your personal background info, calculating seven different physiological parameters, including oxygen consumption, energy consumption, heart rate, respiratory rate, and EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption; this describes fatigue accumulation and helps evaluate your training load). Over time, the program automatically monitors your progress and continues to recommend training loads appropriate to your changing fitness level. In addition to the highly advanced heartrate and training functionality, the Suunto t6 also features an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, stopwatch, and, of course, full watch functions, making it the most useful and advanced health & fitness wristop computer on the market today. For some more in-depth info, see the product details down below. *Includes Suunto Personal Training Software and Heart Rate Monitor Belt.
With the introduction of the t6, Suunto is targeting athletes and fitness-minded folks who want to track performance and training goals. On the surface, it's apparent that the t6 is seriously trying to steal a bit of market share from the leader in the biz, Polar. After spending a little time with the t6, we found that it holds its own and offers some things that are truly unique, like the ability to track respiration rate, VO2max, and a new measurement called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).
The Suunto Training Manager software can track and display EPOC, VO2max, energy expenditure, respiration rate, and more when linked to a PC.
Until now, measuring these things required sophisticated lab equipment. Suunto has teamed up with a company called Firstbeat, which has developed a way to extrapolate a range of physiological measurements from heart rate alone. While we weren't able to independently verify the accuracy of this new measurement technology, Suunto and Firstbeat claim that the accuracy of the t6 is pretty darn close to that of laboratory equipment. If that's true, the t6 represents nothing less than a major breakthrough in fitness technology.
Give Me a Beat
The basic t6 unit ships with the wrist unit and a heart rate transmitter--which is worn around the chest and proved to be quite comfortable. The transmitter is coded, like the newer Polar transmitter units, so you never have to worry about interference from other transmitters--a common problem in race events. Typically, a heart rate monitor measures how fast or slow your heart is beating during exercise, which is an indirect way to measure aerobic capacity and other performance factors. The t6's Firstbeat technology takes this a step further by measuring the intervals between heart beats. According to Suunto and Firstbeat, this measurement can be used to closely approximate seven measurements, most important of which are related to EPOC. Using the EPOC measurement, it is possible to estimate how much one's training has improved overall fitness. If EPOC levels are high, the body is in a heightened state of recovery, meaning the training has been more effective. Likewise, lower EPOC levels reveal suboptimal training effect.
Other measurements, such as oxygen consumption (VO2max) and respiratory rate, are unavailable on any other wrist-mounted device. In fact, before the t6, they were available only to people like Lance Armstrong. Knowing oxygen consumption data is a valuable tool for anyone who is trying to increase performance.
Adding the Pods
In addition to tracking heart-related data, the t6 can track speed and distance--with a little help from some pods. Both the bike pod and the foot pod are cleverly designed little units that transmit data to the wrist device. We were impressed with the way the bike pod attaches cleanly and simply to the front fork dropout--no wacky zip ties and sticky rubber to mess with. Meanwhile, the foot pod is a durable little pedometer-like device that attaches directly to your shoe for greater accuracy. Both pods are fully weatherproof and add features like a speed alarm, as well as interval and lap timing.
The foot pod and the bike pod are easy to mount and deliver accurate training data to the wrist unit.
Training with the t6
The wrist unit's displays are easy to read and controls are fairly intuitive. We did have some trouble pairing the bike pod with the wrist unit, but once we were up and running, speed and distance data was accurate and consistent. The one thing missing with the t6 is the ability to measure pedaling cadence, an important data point for serious cyclists. A "cadence pod" would be a welcome addition, and it would bring the T6 in line with offerings by Polar.
We tested in the foot pod on a 3-mile jog and were impressed with the accuracy of speed readings. While GPS solutions also offer speed and distance measurement, the foot pod isn't dependent on a clear line of sight to the sky to get a reading. This makes it a great choice for indoor tracks or running on city streets with high buildings. As icing on the cake, the t6 also includes a barometric altimeter that can measure altitude, rate of ascent, and temperature. While these aren't vital for training, it's great to know how high you've been. Plus, you can brag to your friends about the frigid temps you endured on those winter morning runs.
Lastly, heart rate readings were steady and consistent, and we liked the t6's target heart rate zone alerts--perfect for those who want to stay under certain heart rate levels for specific training goals.
In many ways, the things that aren't displayed on the t6 wrist unit are the most interesting, and to view them, you'll need a PC. With the t6, Suunto has finally incorporated USB connectivity instead of serial, and it makes connecting the watch to the computer a breeze. The Suunto Training Manager software can track and display EPOC, VO2max, energy expenditure (kcal/min), respiration rate (breaths/min), heart rate, and ventilation. This data can then be used to build an overall picture of one's fitness level over time--an invaluable tool for athletes, as well as regular folks who want a clear picture of how their training is going. Before the T6, much of this data wasn't available to mere mortals, and it's nothing short of a revolution that anyone can now track their fitness level in such detail.
Revolutionary new data types, including EPOC and VO2max
Straightforward watch interface
Cleverly designed bike and foot pods
No pedaling cadence "pod"
Oxygen consumption and EPOC measurements are extrapolated from heart rate, not directly measured
Computer required to view advanced training data