I recently received a fancy new GPS fitness watch from TomTom. I have wanted one for ages and so it worked out brilliantly when TomTom offered to send me one to try out. When I am on it fitness wise, I don’t mind admitting I get a little obsessed, I like to track my activity and have been doing so thus far, the old fashioned way of recording the classes I’ve been to and the runs I’ve been on in a notebook. My diet can get a bit rubbish if I don’t rein myself in so when I’m focussing on a fitness goal I try and keep a food diary to help me keep an eye on what I’m eating.
Writing everything down is all well and good, but up until now I’ve had no means of monitoring physical output. The TomTom Spark has enabled me to keep track of activity as well as calories used and it also monitors sleep (massive eye opener if you’ll pardon the pun!) as well as having other useful functions.
TomTom Spark Cardio + Music functions
- 3GB Music storage
- built in heart rate monitor
- 24/7 activity tracking
- Multisport mode: run, bike, swim, treadmill, gym, freestyle
- GPS tracking
TomTom Spark Cardio + Music features
- goal setting
- automatic sleep tracking
- audio performance feedback
- 5 heart rate training zones
- wireless syncing
- water resistant to 50M
- customisable straps
- ultra slim design
Wireless Bluetooth headphones and music
The TomTom Spark Cardio + Music can be bought with wireless bluetooth headphones that are preloaded with a Running Trax mix by Ministry of Sound. It has a 3GB music storage capacity which means you can load all of your music direct from iTunes or Windows Media Player (hello Elton John, how I love listening to you whilst running up hills-I’m still standing?!) This is a massive bonus for me because I have an iPhone 6 plus, it’s too big to fit in an arm strap and who wants to go running with their phone in hand? I for one find it near on impossible to exercise without music so was delighted to discover that the TomTom has that covered. I’ve never used wireless headphones before but these are like a revelation for me. They are so light and comfortable and it’s really something else not having to put up with headphone wires flapping about while you’re exercising. I will never, ever go back to my previous headphones.
It’s easy to get started with the TomTom Spark all you do is remove the black watch part of the TomTom from the rubber strap and plug it in. Go to the TomTom get started web page and follow the simple instructions to set the watch up. Setting up the wireless headphones is just as easy and is a case of pressing a button on the headphones and a button on the watch. They will automatically pair and you’re good to go!
Heart rate monitor
The watch has a built-in heart rate monitor which measures your heart rate on your wrist. Only heart rate can measure the intensity of your workout, without the watch I would try and judge by feeling how much effort I was putting into exercising but I had no way of keeping track of progress the reality is, as it happens quite different from the effort I *thought* I was putting in. By using a heart rate monitor you can keep an eye on what your heart rate is doing in real time. I’ve never used a chest band before but can imagine they might feel uncomfortable whereas there is no discomfort from wearing the TomTom watch, I even sleep in mine!
You can track your activity in real time by glancing down at the watch to see pace and distance etc, you can then plug in the watch and upload your stats to TomTom MySports where there is a breakdown of everything with charts to show progress and the results from your training. You can see screenshots below from two runs in the same place, I can clearly see (although I am still a bit rubbish at running) comparing these two I was definitely faster and more efficient on the second run. This sort of information is valuable for me to be able to effectively track my goals and to be able to see it in front of me is a brilliant tool in spurring me on to continue with training and watch myself progressing.
Also really interesting to see what my heart rate was doing in comparison to my pace:
And another handy chart to show which zones my heart rate was working to, was a bit disappointed to see that I was only in the fat burning zone for a very short time on my run and gives me the impetus to work harder on subsequent runs!
Coming onto sleep: I knew I was not getting enough but wow, I really wasn’t getting hardly any sleep at all. According to the watch the first week I wore it I was getting between 4 and 5 hours sleep a night! Now of course I know what time I go to bed and what time I have to get up in the morning, but with Rose waking in the early hours almost every night it was wrecking havoc with my sleeping pattern. Since having the watch I’ve made a conscious effort to ‘clock up’ 6-7 hours sleep a night. I’ve been doing this by going to bed earlier. I know it sounds a pretty obvious solution, before I must have been taking a really long time to actually fall asleep this is probably down to my brain not switching off properly because I was working into the wee hours, Seeing the amount of sleep I was getting, in black and white in front of me has really spurred me on to taking action to get more of it!
24/7 activity tracking
If you wear your watch all the time like I do, you will be able to monitor your activity 24/7 which means you can capture steps taken, distance, active minutes (a really good one to keep an eye on if you’re not exercising that day/week) and calories burnt. The watch will allow you to track all sports; run, bike, swim, treadmill, gym and freestyle and there is, as you would expect, a stopwatch too. The pedometer is really handy and will tell you how many steps you’ve taken a day, my target being 10,000 which remarkably I regularly exceed often doubling to 20,000. It’s amazing just how many steps you actually take on a busy day, but can get to the point where you are obsessively checking if you’ve taken enough that day!
GPS tracking will tell you exactly how far you’ve run, what your time was, distance, speed and pace as well as your heart rate zones. The TomTom Spark has everything you need to track and monitor activity, live and on the go.
I absolutely love the TomTom Spark Cardio + Music and couldn’t be without it, for me it is completely essential to keep track of activity and help me focus on my fitness goals. I am so impressed with it I’ll be buying one for Mr T for his birthday because he’s really jealous of mine!
A fantastic bit of tech that comes highly recommended from me.
*I was gifted the TomTom watch as consideration for a feature on the blog. All thoughts and opinions my own.