Tesco Fitness Reviews
One Body Heart Rate Monitor
As part of my concerted effort to lose weight, I not only count my calories in, but also try and count calories expended over the norm by exercising so that I can "eat them back". The theory behind this is that your body needs a certain amount of calories just to keep going and if you don't eat enough calories then your body ... will go into starvation mode, making it harder to lose weight. My diet allows me a specific number of calories a day, which takes my normal lifestyle into account and supplies me with enough energy for my body to keep going and still lose about one pound a week, but I also partake of cardio exercise every day and need to eat back these calories to keep my net intake at the recommended amount. While it is possible to guess how many calories I burn or use the calculations given by some machines, I much more accurate way of measuring them is to use a heart rate monitor (HRM) with a chest strap. I was originally using a Polar model, but I somehow managed to misplace the chest strap, so I looked for a cheap alternative and found the One Body HRM, which appears to be a Tesco brand, for just £19.99 and have been using it for the last few months now.
The One Body HRM is supplied in a fairly small box and consists of three components along with an instruction manual. Before I go into the components, I'm going to talk a bit about the instruction manual, or should I say leaflet. The leaflet itself is very small, but the printing on it is ridiculous. I am short sighted, but usually have no problem seeing or reading things that are close to my eyes. The printing on this leaflet though, is so small that it is almost impossible to read without a magnifying glass, I really do struggle to read it and would imagine anyone with even a hint of long-sightedness would find it completely impossible. I do feel this is very short-sighted (no pun intended) on Tesco/One Body's part as it does mean that there is a large group of people who would have to work out how to use it via trial and error.
The watch component of the HRM is fairly unisex, size-wise it does fall more in the masculine range, but it's not so enormous to immediately make you think that I'm wearing a man's watch. The transparent grey with black detailing, rubber-feel strap houses a metal buckle and plenty of holes to allow a reasonably secure fit. Personally I would have liked the holes to be in a slightly different position, but that's simply because at the moment I am between fittings meaning it's a tiny bit loose. The watch face is fairly large, with the digital display clear enough to read at a glance, if a little over-crowded with information. The buttons used to cycle between the different modes, set/reset the functions and operate the light are all flush with the bevel and yet large enough to be easy to push. The watch is powered by a CR2025 button battery which is supplied ready installed and can be changed by removing the back which is securely held in place with four tiny screws.
The chest strap consists of a rubberised section that houses the heart rate sensors along with the transmitter, both of which are powered by a single CR2023 button battery, which is once more supplied and user-replacable (this battery compartment is opened with a coin). This sensor section is then held in place via an adjustable, elasticated strap that clicks into each end of the sensor. This strap has a large size range, easily fitting around my more than ample chest (44") with plenty of space to spare and able to be adjusted to fit far smaller frames. The final component is a small stand that allows you to have the watch section free-standing rather than on your wrist. This component looks exactly like the stands used to display watches in a jewellers and almost as if it is a piece of packaging you should throw away.
Before the One Body HRM can be used for the first time it needs a certain amount of setting up, including adding such details as your gender, height, weight and age along with setting the actual time and date. Although I found it easy to enter these details, I was disappointed to discover that these variables cannot easily be adjusted. In fact the only way of changing them is to remove the battery and start again, which considering that I'm using this as a weight-loss tool is a little awkward as I am losing weight weekly and the amount of calories you burn depends on your weight. Once the watch is set, using this monitor is extremely easy. The sensors on the strap need to be dampened before it is put on (the leaflet suggested licking them, but I just use tap water) and then it needs to be positioned on your chest and tightened so that it has good contact with the skin but is not so tight as to be uncomfortable. For us women, it's easy to gauge the correct position, I generally place under the strap of my sport's bra, for a man I would imagine that it is best placed just under the nipples.
When first in place the strap does feel a little strange, but not particularly uncomfortable and once I've got into the rhythm of exercising I tend to forget it is there. As long as the sensors are dampened and correctly positioned the watch picks up my heart rate within a few seconds and does not seem to lose signal. There are a number of different readings that can be displayed, including actual heart rate (including average percentage of maximum), calories burnt, fat burnt, time spent exercising and a memory function. There is also a fit level test, that checks how long it takes for your heart rate to recover along with a stopwatch. Having previously recorded details of maximum/average heart rate and calories burnt using the far more expensive Polar FT4, I can say that the results are almost identical, meaning the One Body HRM is at least as accurate. I've also used this in conjunction with the HRM that came with Active Sports 2, with the difference in readings again being negligible.
As both the watch/monitor itself and chest strap are in contact with the skin during exercise sessions where I sweat profusely, they do understandably get a little gunky and end up with a layer of salts. It's a good job then that they are easily cleaned. The watch and sensor section of the strap cannot be immersed in water, but are easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth, while the elasticated section of the strap can be hand washed then allowed to dry naturally. It is simplicity itself to cycle through the various readings, should you wish to do what I do and keep a record of how long you've exercised and how many calories you have burnt and all these readings can be reset to zero by simply holding a button down for three seconds. The batteries have so far held their charge well with three months of almost daily use and having also used this as a simple watch, I can safely say it has also kept time perfectly not losing a single second. When used as a watch it is nice to know that there is also an alarm feature that is just about loud enough to hear over a moderately loud TV.
I find that if I exercise without wearing a HRM I do not have quite the same drive as watching the calories expended and fat burnt totals rise gives me a real incentive to push myself harder. It is a great source of satisfaction to set myself a target of a number of calories to burn in a session, which in turn helps me push through the pain barrier and keep going even though I think I am completely exhausted. I also find that I lose weight at a far more steady pace if I have an accurate gauge of calories in and calories out and do feel that the use of HRMs has contributed to my 30lb+ weight-loss.
This particular HRM is far, far cheaper than it's competitors and indeed is a similar price to those heart rate monitors that do not come with a chest strap and so are far less accurate. While not perfect, it is as full featured and records at least as many different variables as my Polar FT4 did at half the price. In fact you could say that it records more variables as the FT4 did not record fat burnt while this does. My only real gripes with this HRM are that I am unable to change my weight in the setting without removing the battery and that it is not completely waterproof. But if you are looking for a cheap, yet full featured HRM to either motivate you to work out harder or keep a track of the calories you have expended then I can't recommend the One Body Heart Rate Monitor enough.
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Tesco Value Aerobic Step
I really enjoy going up the gym and like to try and get up there at least a couple of times a week, I also have a few pieces of work out equipment at home, one I normally use on a regular basis is my weighted hula hoop (previously reviewed) however since being pregnant I have had to give this up for a few months, this was something I ... used to do most mornings and after I had to give it up I did miss doing it so I decided to have a look around for an alternative that I could do instead of hula hooping. Whilst looking on the Tesco Direct website I came across the Value Aerobic Step, this looked perfect for what I wanted, it was reasonably priced and would allow me to do a more gentle work out in the mornings.
The Value Aerobic Step looks similar to the steps that you see up the gym, mine is black and grey although the description on the website does say colours may vary. My step has light grey plastic feet with the main part of the step being made from a black plastic. Right in the middle on the top of the step (where you actually step) is a grey oval shape and the word "One Body" written inside in grey and white writing. The top part of the Aerobic Step where your feet go is a non slip surface, this is slightly textured with a diagonal pattern and is designed with your safety in mind, this will allow your feet to grip the surface more easily to prevent you from slipping off of the step. Personally I find the non slip surface very good, I often use my step with no shoes on so either socks or bare feet, just wearing socks is probably not the most sensible ideal however the textured surface does help you to keep your grip and means that you do not have to wear trainers every time you use it.
One feature I particularly liked about the Value Aerobic Step is the adjustable height, to do this you simple adjust the feet which easy move and slot into position. By being able to adjust the height of the step you can alter the intensity of your work out at your own pace. The Value Aerobic Step is ideal for both beginners and experts, you can start off with the step low doing a gentle and gradually increase the height as you wish, you can also alter the height on a daily basis depending on how energetic you feel, if you fancy an easy work out simply lower the step or if you want to make your work out a bit harder then just raise it a little, I particularly like this idea as it means that if I am not feeling as energetic one day I can still do a workout but just not as intense. In my opinion the Value Aerobic Step is ideal to have at home you can either put on some music and do a work out to that or you can have it in front of the TV and do a workout whilst watching your favourite programme, I find that by doing a work out with this in front of the TV especially in the mornings the time really goes quickly, because I have something to focus on other than how much my legs are aching I am not constantly looking at the clock to see if I have been stepping for a decent amount of time.
The Aerobic Step is not overly bulky to store it measures 15cm high, 68.2cm wide and 28.2cm deep so over all the step is not too bulky and not too heavy to move around. I tend to keep mine in the spare room but it is not too heavy to carry up and down stairs when I want to use it. The step is definitely sturdy, the whole thing is made from plastic which is reasonably thick and appears strong, you do not step on it and it feels flimsy beneath your feet and like it is going to break from too much use. I have on occasions dropped mine whilst altering the height and it has not cracked at all, the whole thing is robust and solid, even the adjustable feet feel strong and sturdy despite them being adjustable, I did read on the tesco website reviews where people had said they didn't find it very sturdy or strong, however I didn't let this put me off and personally I have found no problems with it at all.
The Tesco Value Aerobic Step obviously comes from Tesco, I brought mine online and have not seen it available in store, although it may be in some larger stores. The step cost me £15.00, it currently has £5.00 off it and is just £10.00, however I do that think £15.00 is a good price for this item, if you go to a spots shop or a specialist shop then you would probably pay more than double for an item like this so in my opinion it is good value for money.
Overall I would definitely recommend the Tesco Value Aerobic Step, it is ideal to carry out a quick workout in the comfort of your own home. You can adjust the height of the step as and when you wish allowing you to do the intensity of work out you wish. The benefits of using a step are basically that it tones the muscles in your legs, it surprising how much just stepping up and down on this step can make your legs ache, whilst it is good for toning it also helps to keep your weight down as well, I cannot say I have noticed a difference in the muscles in my legs but I do feel happier that I am doing something along side going to the gym twice a week. This product is ideal for anyone from beginners to experts and allows you to keep fit and active within your own home, whilst a step probably isn't the most exciting form of exercise this is the ideal item for your home, it would also be ideal for someone who wants to keep fit but is unable to go to a gym, you can make the intensity of the work out as hard as you like and also the workout as long as you like so there is a lot of flexibility by using this item This product is very reasonably priced and in my opinion is well worth the money. I have been extremely pleased with my step as it has allowed me to carry on doing a more gentle workout at home since having to give up my weighted hula hoop 6 months ago. I would definitely recommend this to anyone.
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Tesco Value Aerobic Step
With Christmas now behind us, I think many are starting to want to get active and fit again. I am quite during the summer months and regularly go for jogs, I live just off a main road so going for a brisk jog on my own is fine but in winter months as sad as it may seem, I don't feel confident going out on my own and tend to find ... exercises that I can do from home instead (It of course nothing too do with me not wanting to go for a run in the cold weather!) In an ideal world I would like to go to the gym but finances do not allow it and so I do what I can. I do invest in a couple of pieces of home equipment and one of them is my Tesco Value Aerobic step.
I do enjoy step workouts, throughout my college years I would regularly attend a step class so this is at least one piece of equipment that I will know that I will use and get the Benefit of. The Tesco Value step can sometimes be found in store but it tends to be something that is available on the Tesco Direct website and at the moment it will cost you £10.00, this is on an offer price as it normally retails at £15.00 which in my opinion is still not that bad at all.
The step was brought for a number of reasons but as this tones your legs it makes it a great replacement as I am not running in the winter. The step is not that big so it makes it a good piece of exercise equipment that you can easily store away. The width is 68.2cm and the depth is 28.2cm, the height on this product is adjustable. You can get this product in a few varying different shades, the one that I have is black and silver in colour and looks really quite classy, you would never have guessed how little I paid for the item considering the cost of other steps that are on the market.
The design has been well thought through and the step has a good surface that has small groves built into it and so makes it a non slip surface, I tend to use the step with either a trainer or a bare foot, with having just socks on you do notice the surface is quite slippy and so not recommended. As I previously mentioned, the step allows you to adjust the height and to start with I used this on the lowest setting and then gradually built up as I got more competent with the step exercises and buit up my fitness.
The height is adjusted by moving the feet on either side of the step, I found no difficulty in this, I was a little concerned as when adjusting the height I thought the legs felt a little bit flimsy but luckily I have never had an issue with them and the step has looked after me well!
The only downside that I can really find with this aerobic step is that there is no dvd or detailed exercise booklet that comes with it so you have to either plan your workout to your own music, which I am happy to do but I know what exercises to combine with the step, as a beginner to this it may be more difficult, you could also combine a fitness DVD to ti but this would of course add to the cost when buying the step.
In summary, I am really pleased with the price, the design and the quality of this product.
4 out of 5 from me on this one
Thank you for reading
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Manufacturer: Tesco / Fitness / Type: Heart Rate Monitor
Brand: Tesco / Fitness / Type: Stepper - Step Board
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