There is no question that the fitness market is one of the most competitive ones out there. Whether it’s gyms, supplements, clothing or wearable technology, there are thousands of companies looking to out-duel one another. F45 is a company that is learning that the hard way. New gyms are popping up on the corner every other week (so it seems). Aside from their new concept, they’ve even developed a new product to try and drive people through their doors; The F45 Lionheart heart rate monitor.
F45 is a specialty gym that offers group workouts focusing on HIIT (high intensity interval training) style workouts. It’s a community of health enthusiasts that find themselves on the wellness journey together. Very similar to the Orange Theory model, they believe in group workouts where everyone motivates one another and keeps everyone accountable and engaged.
F45 gyms were started in Australia in just 2013. There are now nearly 4,000 F45 gyms in 74 countries around the world. The company has even piqued the interest of Mark Wahlberg, who became an early investor in F45 gyms.
But even with the Mark Wahlberg fitness brand and his aura, the company still fails to make money. In Q3 of 2022 alone, the company has a net loss of around $60,000,000. So, the company decided to create a device that would help differentiate their business and provide further support to its members. That’s the F45 Lionheart.
THE F45 FITNESS TRACKER
The F45 Lionheart is a heart rate monitor and fitness tracker that gym goers wear while working out at the F45 gym. It tracks your heart rate (min, max and average), calories burned and points earned for each workout (based on their own system). They are not the first company to use this innovative approach to fitness.
Polar has been partnering with gyms for years. Users wear the Polar H10 (or other chest straps), connect to the Bluetooth in the gym and track their progress on the gym’s television and their smartphone app. It’s a way to encourage a healthy lifestyle and allow users to engage in friendly competition.
The two devices use similar technology. A PPG sensor is present in both devices to measure heart rate and an accelerometer will track steps, distance and calories. The technology isn’t the premier innovation as compared to other wearable products but it does the job. It gets people in the door, engaged and allows people to track some important metrics.
F45 LIONHEART ACCURACY
Not much is known about the accuracy of the F45 Lionheart, but the faultiness of today’s PPG sensors has been widely documented over the years. We did an in-depth write-up about the world of fitness trackers and their accuracies here.
Companies like Fitbit have been sued for their lack of accuracy over the years. The main issue with their products is that they are all wrist-based. With the PPG sensor on the wrist, the bracelet or watch tends to move around the lot. This causes interruptions in heart rate reading and tons of false positives.
Intuitively, chest straps will probably see better accuracy because they are right on the body in a place where it is unlikely to move (as much). For This reason, you may get a clearer picture of your heart rate with products like the F45 Lionheart or the Polar 10.
HOW DOES F45 COMPARE TO OTHER PRODUCTS
It’s difficult to compare the F45 Lionheart to the Apple Watch or other products because they all have a different purpose. The Apple Watch is more of a statue symbol and all of the health features are somewhat secondary to most of its users.
The closest comparison is to the Polar 10. Same form factor, basically the same features and operates similarly. Then there are other, more advanced health wearables like WHOOP, the AIO Smart Sleeve, BioHeart and others.
What makes these devices different?
It’s all about one, very important feature called heart rate variability (or HRV). WHOOP, the AIO Smart Sleeve and BioHeart all have an HRV feature. This is a biomarker that is quickly taking over the health biometric world.
HRV measures the distance between each successive heartbeat. This beat-to-beat variance tells us A LOT. A High HRV means there is a large variance between these beats (which is good), and a low HRV means little variance (this is not so good).
HRV provides a unique look at the brain-heart connection. HRV can show you stress levels, recovery levels, food sensitivities and how well your body is adapting to external stressors. It provides a way for you to really analyze your body and see the real strain you put on it throughout each day. Then, you can use that data to optimize your health and your daily routine to extend your time on this planet.
IS THE F45 LIONHEART WORTH IT?
This depends on what you are looking for. If you need a simple fitness tracker for calories and heart rate, the F45 Lionheart will suffice. If you are looking for in depth health metrics, it probably won’t.
As an example, The AIO Smart Sleeve has many of the same features as the F45; heart rate, distance, activity intensity, etc. Plus, it has HRV, sleep analysis and real-time EKG monitoring. The AIO Health App allows you to track and monitor your HRV throughout the day, week and month. It gives you a great perspective on how you are living, how healthy you are and how stressed you are.
These days, it’s all about collecting data. And the more data you collect on yourself, it will give you an upper hand in life. Products like Fitbit and the F45 Lionheart are motivational devices, which is an incredible thing also. If it gets you to the gym, or to the yoga studio and gets you to be better every day, it’s a win.
It doesn’t really matter what innovative technology you are using to better your health as long as your using something. You can’t go wrong.