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My Attempt at Simulating Microsoft Band Guided Workouts for Garmin Devices

One of the best features of Microsoft’s now defunct fitness wearable, the Microsoft Band, is the ability to sift through a database of existing exercises, create a custom workout, and then be guided through the entire workout directly from the wrist. Talking with many of those now looking for Microsoft Band alternatives, this is the one feature that is still missing from the myriad of devices currently available.

Personally, I gave up on the Microsoft Band in July of 2016, after I had my second device replaced due to rips and tears. I tested and reviewed quite a few other fitness wearables at the time and finally decided on the Garmin devices and services as the single best ecosystem available for me. The Garmin ecosystem is rich with athletes and not just part-time exercisers concerned most with number of steps. For me, that was the most important reason and why I chose it over the likes of Apple and Fitbit. And, of course after dealing with Microsoft Band quality issues for so long the durability of Garmin devices was another strong factor. Everyone should make their own decision here as its most important to just be active, constantly improve, and do so in a way that is easy and comfortable to maintain.

I regularly see others still holding tightly to their Microsoft Bands, afraid to give them up despite the devices seemingly deteriorating on their wrists – and it’s that single feature, the Guided Workouts, that is keeping holdouts from moving away from the unsupported device. And, yes – it’s also a feature that I miss horribly.

Garmin does have a similar feature, but it’s difficult to use and only supports cardio-type workouts – not strength workouts. There are also 3rd party applications for the Garmin ecosystem as part of the company’s app store (Connect IQ), but these also fail to suffice. The company is also, fortunately, very open to suggestions. I’ve already submitted a suggestion to offer a better guided workout feature, particularly for strength workouts and you can do the same here: I highly suggest that you do so. The more requests Garmin receives on this matter, hopefully the quicker we’ll see movement in this area.

In the interim, over the holiday break, I set out to determine if there was something viable to fulfill this need. I tried a gaggle of apps, and finally settled on Fitbod. More info here:

Fitbod is an interesting app in that it automatically generates workouts based on your workout history. It develops a new workout each time, focusing on unused muscles and uses different exercises to hit those muscles each time. Muscle confusion is a great way to continue developing strength and flexibility without hitting plateaus and I’ve subscribed to this method for a couple years already.

Garmin devices with a wrist-based HR sensor, or that support a chest strap, already have an exercise type called “Strength” that is based on heart rate returns. Just turn this on, initiate your Fitbod workout for the day, and your Garmin device will record your workout into the “Strength” category in the service.

Fitbod is currently only available for iOS – there’s no Android equivalent. If you find something similar for Android, please share here.

This is a convoluted solution, for sure, but it works until there’s a better market option. Hopefully, Garmin will eventually fill this need, otherwise, another vendor will probably get the bulk of Microsoft Band refugees.

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A community professional, keynoter, and evangelist who has driven social media and marketing strategies, editorial successes, delivered customer successes and built some of the largest and longest-running online communities. Rod has created, managed and grown small, medium, and mega-sized conferences; run entire editorial teams to deliver record traffic and market leadership; as product manager, directed the success of hundreds of product releases; supported sales and marketing to ensure customer success; developed, run and sold businesses; written thousands of technical articles, white papers, case studies, and technical documentation; hosted and delivered hundreds of attendance shattering webinars and virtual tradeshows; and delivered keynote speeches and sessions at a wide variety of events including conferences, webinars, events, and user groups.

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