- Gives you a comprehensive understanding of your rest and recovery
- The data and the visualisations are amazing.
- Offers unprocessed information on heart rate variability, blood oxygen saturation, and respiratory rate
- The capability to teach the device as well as to construct a bespoke exercise library
- Wearing it won’t bother you.
- No display
- a short life for the batteries
- No GPS receiver built-in
- Not for everyone
- insufficient support
It is common knowledge that maintaining a regular exercise routine is necessary for optimal health and fitness. However, the rest is a component of the equation that is sometimes overlooked.
It is imperative that a training programme accounts for recovery time in order for it to be successful. This is because the process of the body adapting to the stressors that are placed on it throughout exercise routines takes place during this period. It is the process through which the body rebuilds injured muscle fibres and restores its depleted energy resources. Underperformance is a direct result of insufficient rest as well as overtraining, which can sometimes lead to injuries.
It would appear that the majority of wearable technology available today is able to measure things like steps, distance, and calories, in addition to providing fundamental data on sleep. That does not in any way constitute a remarkable accomplishment any longer. Biostrap operates in a somewhat different manner. This is a fitness tracker that boosts your performance by assisting you in getting a better night’s rest and speeding up your recovery time.
So how well does it work? The Biostrap has been fastened to my wrist throughout the entirety of the past month. What I concluded from it is as follows.
The primary device, shoe pod, and charger are all stored within the wristband that comes standard with each Biostrap purchase. You can also find a couple of additional bands and two shoe clips tucked away in the box, which is used to secure the shoe pod to your shoes if you search for them for a sufficient amount of time.
The inclusion of more bands is a welcome bonus. You have a total of three to choose from, and they come in the colours white, blue, and black. All of these are suitable for wrists that measure between 120 and 200 millimetres in circumference. They have a really pleasant feel to them and are quite soft. There was no sign of a rash, which is something that can happen to me when I use activity trackers or smartwatches.
However, each band has its own unique strategy for securing, and after trying out a variety of methods, I’ve discovered that certain approaches are more successful than others. The majority of the time, I went with the white band because it seemed to be the stealthiest option.
The process of switching out the bands couldn’t be any easier. It is as easy as sliding out the small pod that contains the intelligence and inserting it into some other band. It takes roughly three seconds to complete.
The weight of the core unit is merely 23 grammes, and it has dimensions of 91 centimetres on each side. It is the location of the Red Infrared PPG, as well as accelerometers on three axes, gyroscopes, and Bluetooth sensors.
I feel the need to emphasise that the overall design is quite simplistic. There is no display panel, and there are also no vibrations or any alerts of any kind for incoming notifications. Not at all; that has nothing to do with Biostrap. My best assumption is that this is done to extend the life of the battery and reduce the number of distractions. And even though it could appear to be overly simplistic, the choice of design does have the advantage of making Biostrap look almost exactly like a bracelet.
I actually went back to using my sports watch on one wrist and my Biostrap on the other, and no one seemed to notice that I was actually wearing two fitness tracking gadgets simultaneously on both wrists. This worked out well for me because, as you’ll see, the Biostrap may be used on its own, but I found that using it in conjunction with a sports watch maximised its usefulness for me.
Additionally, the shoe clip performs its function effectively. The pod fits into it easily and appears to be well-protected once inside.
However, a word of caution is in order. When I first connected the clip, I linked it with my shoelace by going across in one direction and then going across in the opposite direction. It only took about 70 metres of jogging for the shoe pod to come loose, and then about a half an hour of searching for it until I finally found it. What a valuable education! When you are securing your shoelace, check to see that it only goes once across the clip.
The shoe pod itself is fairly compact and does not weigh very much. It weighs only 8 grammes and has dimensions of 35 mm by 23 mm by 15 mm. The sensor array in the pod is identical to that of the core unit, with the exception of an infrared PPG sensor. When you go for a run, you may even use it on its own while leaving the main device at home. But we’ll talk more about that in a bit.
Water resistance is another key distinction between the two. Because it has a rating of 5 ATMs, the core unit is able to endure depths of up to 50 metres. The shoe pod, on the other hand, is only water-resistant to a light drizzle.
Both are capable of being wirelessly charged. The charger setup functions correctly and has a stylish and sophisticated appearance. You may recharge both the core unit and the shoe pod at the same time because there is room for both of them. When each gadget is fully charged, you will be notified by two separate LED lights that operate independently of one another.
The amount of time a battery may last depends on the settings. You are given the option to select how frequently the core unit gathers readings using the app on your smartphone. The default setting is every ten minutes, but you have the option of changing it to every five minutes. Because of this, the battery can last anywhere from three to five days before needing to be recharged. The shoe pod only has one setting for taking a sample, but it can collect data for a little longer than a week on a single charge.
I selected the high sample rate for the core unit so that I could test it, but this decision meant that I had to charge it more frequently. After a few days, I went back to my previous charging routine, which consisted of attaching the small clip to the charger and leaving it there for half an hour each day. In most cases, this was sufficient to bring the battery up to its maximum capacity.
Methods for application
Amiigo is a name that is familiar to those of us who have been keeping up with wearable technology since its earliest days. This was a piece of hardware that was initially funded through Indiegogo in the year 2015. It measured and kept track of specific exercises, reps, and sets performed at the gym, as well as the user’s heart rate and the number of calories burned.
It’s possible that some people are asking whether Biostrap really is Amiigo 2.0. We are told that this is not the case. Despite having obtained an exclusive licence to Amiigo’s fundamental biometric and movement tracking technologies, Biostrap has introduced a completely unique product to the market. The company that developed the Amiigo fitness band has, on the other side, rebranded itself as Wavelet Health and is now engaged in research collaboration with a variety of organisations, including medical clinics, academic institutions, pharmaceutical firms, and insurance carriers.
Having said that, Biostrap does maintain a connection with Wavelet Health, which enables it to run raw data from its devices via Wavelet Health’s unique signal computing engine and machine learning algorithms. This allows Biostrap to better serve its customers. However, this is being done in order to analyse the data that is being produced by the Biostrap fitness tracker and produce useful insights for users.
The process of configuring Biostrap is not unlike that of any other standard fitness gear. Ensure that the device has a full charge, and then download and install the corresponding mobile app on your smartphone. There is a version available on the Google Play Store as well as the Apple App Store. Set up an account in the app by providing the answers to a few fundamental questions, and then couple the main unit with the shoe pod. Things are pretty straightforward here.
Even though you may wear the wristband and the foot pod at the same time, I don’t really see the benefit in doing so. The data is collected by the wristband regardless of whether you are going about your normal day or sleeping. This contains information on the number of steps taken, the number of active calories consumed, the amount of time spent sleeping, the heart rate, the heart rate variability, the respiratory rate, and the oxygen saturation. The shoe pod is an essential component for the classification of activities. Alternatively, you can use it in place of the bracelet when you go for a run.
When I went for a run, I discovered that it was more practical for me to wear the shoe pod rather than the wristband because I also had a sports watch on. Due to the fact that the wristband is only capable of tracking a person’s resting heart rate, this information has no bearing on the data that was collected.
Having said that, the smartphone app can be paired with an additional heart rate monitor so that it may broadcast pulse rate and HRV data in real-time while exercising. This is something that is highly recommended because it makes a lot of sense to do so. You will receive a more detailed summary of your workout, which will also include information on the various heart rate zones. The Polar H7, the Polar H10, the Polar OH1, the Rhythm+, the Wahoo Tickr, the Adidas X Cell, and a few additional devices are all capable of being paired.
The Connected GPS feature was made available after a current software update was applied. This means that when you exercise outside, Biostrap will be able to tap into the satellite signal of your smartphone to provide you with more accurate tracking information, including metrics such as distance, altitude, pace, and a map of the activity.
To ensure that the correct activities are logged, the Biostrap app requires that workouts be explicitly initiated. In order to preserve battery life, the gyro is not always active; nevertheless, it does start working once the user initiates a new activity. The acceleration sensor additionally boosts the scanning frequency simultaneously.
The app provides information on over forty different types of activities. This involves everything from sitting in quiet contemplation to working out at the pool or lifting weights.
Information and key insights
As was previously said, Biostrap is not your average exercise band. Certainly, it keeps tabs on the essentials, such as the number of steps taken, calories burned, and hours slept. In addition to this, it uses sensors of a clinical-grade to assist you in optimising your recovery by measuring and analysing your resting heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), breathing rate, and oxygen saturation.
Variability of the heart rate
At this juncture, it is probably worthwhile to make some comments regarding the significance of HRV. This is a very essential metric, but only a small percentage of individuals are familiar with it.
HRV is important since your heart does not beat at a consistent rhythm, which is why it exists. To put it another way, it analyses the variability in the amount of time that passes between heartbeats.
Your sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve systems are all connected in some way to all of this. These are the components of your autonomic nervous system that are responsible for regulating life-sustaining processes within your body, including breathing, heart rate, digestion, organ regulation, and blood pressure. The first one is connected to the instinct to either fight or run away, while the second one is the counterpart that kicks in to help with recovery. The hypothalamus is a part of your brain that is responsible for controlling the entire process. It sends impulses to your body, which can either energize it or relax it, depending on what the signals say.
The heart rate variability (HRV) test is a method for evaluating the adaptability of one’s autonomic nervous system or the rate at which it can switch from one condition to another. It may seem counterintuitive, but you should strive for a high HRV rather than a low resting heart rate. This is in contrast to your heart rate when you are at rest. This has been associated with increased resistance to the effects of stress, improved cardiovascular fitness, and lower biological age.
The values of your HRV change from day to day based on factors such as how stressed you are, how well you slept, how much exercise you had, and other factors. If the daily number is high in comparison to the normal value, this indicates that you have had sufficient rest. If it’s low, it’s probably a good idea to take it easy for the rest of the day so that your body has time to recover more. I highly recommend that you read this post on the Biostrap website because it provides a lot more data on the subject of HRV.
The dashboard on both the mobile app and the website
The data that is displayed on the dashboard of the mobile app will begin to accumulate over the course of five days. Biostrap requires a few days in order to gain a deeper, more personalised understanding of your body and to establish your baseline readings. After that, you will receive information regarding how well-rested you are, how prepared you are for action, and how these factors are evolving over time.
On a daily basis, the dashboard will award you a score ranging from 0 to 100 based on how well you perform in the categories of activity, recovery, and sleep. In addition, your daily or weekly averaged footsteps, active calories, resting pulse rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation will be displayed for you.
If you click on any of them, you will be led to further explanations. This can be viewed on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, depending on the view you choose. As was said, the majority of these other metrics, with the exception of steps and active calories, are measured while the subject is at rest. Taking them with you when you are on the move won’t accomplish much of anything useful.
The Recovery score and the Sleep score are the ones that you will concentrate on most of the time. Simply giving each of them a quick glance in the morning will tell you all you need to know about whether or not you are ready to work out. Simply tap on them to learn how the calculations are done if you are curious about how they are determined.
As an illustration, this morning I was given a score of 90 with regard to my recovery. The value is determined by integrating the nocturnal HRV, the resting HR, the sleep efficiency, and the total amount of time spent sleeping. Both the nocturnal HRV and the total amount of time spent sleeping could have been better in this particular instance.
Specifically, the observations regarding sleep are quite comprehensive. The Sleep Score is comprised of both good contributing elements, such as total sleep, deep sleep, and efficiency and negative contributing aspects, such as not getting enough sleep (number of awakenings, low SpO2, etc). This is accompanied by data on the various stages of sleep, including waking, light, and deep sleep, as well as complete charts on heart rate, SpO2, HRV, respiration, and disturbances.
The capacity of Biostrap to wake up from afternoon snoozes was one of the features that most intrigued me about it. I usually get a short amount of sleep at night, but I try to make up for it in the afternoon the following day. If the naps weren’t factored into the final score, I don’t see much of a point in purchasing this product.
Those who are interested can obtain even more comprehensive data by subscribing to a service known as Sleep Lab. This provides a more in-depth analysis of your sleep disruptions by assessing snoring as well as movements of your legs, arms, and other body parts. You’ll need to make sure the wrist band and shoe pod are both on at all times (which latches on to your leg with a special strap).
The monthly subscription fee is presently $9.49, but the first month is on the house so you can try it out risk-free and see whether you like it before committing. For me, having access to the essential information was sufficient.
The app contains a feature known as “Insights,” which is one of the most interesting parts of the programme. This generates a histogram that compares the performance of your baseline metrics to those of other organisations (or just those in your particular demographic).
You have the ability to filter the data so that it displays HRV, resting HR, SpO2, respiration rate, and many more parameters. You are able to see at a glance where there is room for improvement thanks to the radar chart.
In my instance, it is obvious that there is a deficit of sleep in comparison to the average for the population, and my HRV is low. That squares with the facts, considering that I spent the past few weeks travelling for work, during which time I got very little sleep, walked a lot, and was under a lot of stress, which contributed to my low HRV.
Observing how the state of your body responds to changes in your environment is both a fascinating and enlightening experience. In the past several days, all of the values have begun to rebound, which coincides with when everyone got back home and started getting more rest and relaxation.
A web dashboard that is a streamlined version of the mobile app is also available through Biostrap. You will only be able to export “the values provided in the app itself and not the raw waveform data” if you choose to do so using this method (either as CSV or JSON).
Monitoring physical activity
The information about your runs is comparable to what you would get from a standard fitness band, but it is not as detailed as the information you would find on a sports watch that has a GPS built-in. Because of this, I have found that it is beneficial to wear both a sports watch and a Biostrap. During exercise, the notion that you only need to attach the shoe clip makes this process even more convenient.
Because there are neither physical buttons nor a touchscreen, users must navigate to the Activity area of the app in order to begin their workouts. For jogging, the app will inquire as to whether or not you are using a fitness band or a shoe clip, as well as whether or not you wish to use Connected GPS.
After your run, you will be provided with a map, information on calories burned, pace, wattage, and the length of your workout. Following this is a chart that displays your stride rate and the total number of steps you’ve taken, followed by your heart rate (if you’ve connected an HR chest strap), your exercise zones, and a chronology that displays daily weekly, monthly, and yearly averages, and finally, the session’s overall averages.
While at the gym
When it comes to monitoring physical activity, the capacity of the wearable to automatically recognise, keep track of, and assess any activity that involves repeated motion is possibly the most innovative feature it possesses. Obviously, the fact that this enables you to compile your very own exercise collection makes it an excellent addition to a fitness centre.
The very first time you put the wearable through its paces, you will have to put it through its training. To accomplish this, perform 12 repetitions in a clean manner. As soon as that is finished, the wristband will automatically identify the activity, and it will count the reps for you while also keeping track of the time, form, and consistency of your workout. In addition, the database that comes with Biostrap contains a few pre-made workouts that can easily be imported by the user.
After then, all that is required of you is to enter the weight after each set. This can be accomplished by either verbally stating it or entering it into the app. The most beneficial aspect of this is that it does not in any way interfere with your normal workout regimen. You also have the option of using a heart rate chest strap, which will provide you with even more specific information about your workout.
Is it completely accurate in determining the number of reps and sets? Not in my recollection or experience. After giving it a few goes, I came to the conclusion that although it does a decent job overall, it does have certain shortcomings. In addition, you won’t know if the activities were accurately detected until the end of your training session when your data will be examined. Something that can update me in the here and now would have been preferable for me.
Having said that, I am confident that, with sufficient practice, I could get Biostrap to track my workout at the gym with a high degree of precision. Your skill and how well you’ve trained the wearable are the most important factors in this endeavour.
For instance, you may notice that the app does not record the very last repetition of the set on occasion. However, this is often the result of your failure to complete a clean rep. If you believe that you should be given credit for it, all you need to do is adjust the number of repetitions for that set after the exercise. It is simple to accomplish. You also have the option to reclassify exercises if you believe they were incorrectly identified.
I’ve also given the practice of meditation a go because it’s something that I make an effort to incorporate into my day-to-day routine. This uses the readings of your heart rate variability (HRV), pulmonary oxygen saturation (SpO2), and respiration to tell you how relaxed you were throughout the session. A timer is also included in this.
Everything about this is incredibly successful. When you see the results of your meditation efforts measured, it may be quite eye-opening. In addition to this, it gives you the opportunity to evaluate your level of relaxation relative to previous sessions.
You can subscribe to Meditation Plus if you would like some additional information. This adds a Zen score, gives you more time to complete the task (up to 90 minutes), plays music designed to help you relax, and takes your biometric readings more frequently. The cost of the subscription is $4.49 every single month.
The final decision
The Biostrap is not your average piece of wearable technology. It does not concentrate primarily on tracking activities but rather informs you of how well you are healing from your injuries. In its most basic form, it attempts to imitate Whoop 3.0, which generates a lot of the same information.
The use of Biostrap has been an eye-opening experience regarding the significance of enough rest and sleep, as well as how the connection between the two factors influences performance. There is also data for activity tracking, which includes the new rep and set tracking capability that was added recently. However, the information regarding recovery will be of the greatest use to you. Since Biostrap does not fully perform the functions of a typical fitness tracker, one may say that it is a “one-trick pony.”
Would I suggest it to someone else? If you are interested in recovery statistics, then should you continue reading. However, you should be aware that it is likely that you will still need to wear a sports watch on the other wrist in order to keep track of other statistics.
Readers located in the United States can access Biostrap through the website maintained by teams. We were able to negotiate a discount of 10% for them. Simply make sure to enter the code “Aff10Off” when you are checking out. The device can be purchased through the Biostrap website by individuals located in various nations.