Price tag: $129.99 available at Amazon

I first heard about the MyZone Tracker (MZ3) from Joe Rogan’s podcast. In October Rogan and pals embarked on a month long fitness competition, using MyZone to track their progress.

MyZone is a heart rate tracker that comes with a robust social app. In addition to tracking heart rate and calories, the app lets you compete against friends anywhere in the world. The app uses a unique scoring system based on MEPs (MyZone Effort Points). You’re awarded MEPs for every minute you spend in target heart rate zone.

MEPS breakdown guide

According to Rogan he and his crew put MyZone to the test.

“I was working out so hard my body was breaking down,” Rogan explained (JRE Podcast #1194). “I went to a dark place that you couldn’t follow.”

To say we were skeptical is like calling Mount Everest a steep hill. It was a stretch of the imagination to believe that Rogan and his three comedian friends, two of whom are overweight, had pushed their MZ3 units to the limit.

So we set out to do our own month long challenge to

  1. See what MyZone could really handle
  2. Crush Joe Rogan’s score
  3. Firmly cement our standing as fitness masochists.

Activities I performed during the challenge:
Distance Running
HIIT (including agility work, plyometric, sled pushes, battle ropes, etc.)
Hot Yoga (in a 180 degree sauna)
Mountain Climbing / Trail Running
Airdyne/Bicycle Riding
24 Hour Fitness Cardio Equipment

What I liked:
Fantastic social features, long battery life

What I disliked:
Could not swim with unit on, minor connectivity issues


Durability – 8/10

I subjected my MyZone Tracker to more punishment than one of Mike Tyson’s mid 80’s opponents.


I subjected my MyZone Tracker to more punishment than one of Mike Tyson’s mid 80’s opponents.

The MZ3 tracker withstood 45 minute sessions in 180 degree sauna heat during hot yoga.  In comparison, my smart phone started to fry after only 7 minutes in those hellish conditions.

The tracker was constantly getting smacked against the ground and banged into hard objects during high intensity training.

It received the most abuse on some of the brutal, snowy trail runs.

On the Buffalo Bill to Beaver Creak Trail in Golden, CO

For example, the last day of the competition I headed out to Golden Colorado to tackle all 13.3 miles of the Buffalo Bill to Beaver Creek Trail. It was a frosty 32 degrees, and my tracker was bundled under three layers of thermal clothing. By the end of the trail run enough sweat had passed over it to fill a small swimming pool.

Additionally much of the trail still had freshly fallen snow on it. It was thrilling as I spent a solid 2 miles literally running in the footsteps of a terrifyingly large mountain lion. The beautiful snow also served as a pure white blanket of camouflage for icy patches underneath. I slipped and came crashing hard to theground easily six million times during that run.

That’s a big mountain lion.

Despite all theabuse the MyZone Tracker made it through in one piece. The major complaint I have with the MZ3 is unlike similar trackers you cannot swim with it (MyZone makes this very clear). To be sure I ran a pool test, with the enthusiasm that only the type of idiot who would willing run in a mount lion’s tracks can have, and found that it is indeed accurate.



Battery – 10/10

The battery life is truly outstanding. If my MZ3 had run out of juice in the middle of one of those long hikes I would have undoubtedly lost my mind, ran off into the mountains, and become a feral hermit.

Fortunately I started the competition at 100% charge and ended it with a 55% charge. Take into account that I spent seventy-three hours just riding my Airdyne bike. The MZ3 was practically strapped to my chest for a straight month.

And when you do start to run low the MyZone app will also send you a notification well in advance of the tracker running out of power. Just make sure you do not overcharge you MZ3 or you may run into issues.


Connectivity – 8/10

The MZ3 uses a Bluetooth connection, so you don’t have to worry if you’re in a remote location with no cellular service. And even if you lose your Bluetooth connection the tracker will keep recording and update once you connect again … in theory.

Everyone in our competition had some small connectivity issues at one point or another.

I occasionally had trouble getting the tracker to connect initially. Maybe 85% of the time it connected quickly, but the other 15% I needed 5-10 minutes before I could get it to register. Not the best when you’re standing at freezing cold trailhead trying to start a hike.

I also had the last hour of a workout mysteriously disappear. Fortunately I was well ahead in the competition at that point, or we might have learned how durable the MZ3 is when confronted with a flying sledge hammer.

All in all the connectivity is very good. Take account that I completed 58 workouts during the month long competition, and only lost data for one hour.


Comfort 7/10

You wear the MZ3 by clipping it into a belt you attach to your upper torso. If you have a v-shaped torso that means you need to keep the belt very tight. Otherwise the belt will slip down, and you’ll be tracking your belly button instead of your heart. This led to a bit of chafing on those long runs.

The MZ3 unit itself is also a little larger than I’d like. It’s not obtrusive, but it is visible through a tight shit. It was also a bit uncomfortable, particularly in certain yoga poses when it got pressed into the floor

After a few days I barely noticed the minor discomfort though. After all, when you’re pushing so hard your legs feel like they’re made out of cold mashed potatoes a little chafing is the farthest thing from your mind.


Features – 10/10

The MZ3 records calories, heart rate, and steps like many similar trackers in its class. However what puts it in a class by itself is the social app.

We’ve all had trouble getting motivated to work out in the past. Being pitted against friends in a cardio contest for ultimate bragging rights was all the motivation I needed.

We all have that friend who would never shut up about winning. We could be 90 years old, and attending a solemn funeral. He’d turn to me with a look of pure grief in his face and say, “Hey, remember that time I kicked your ass in that MyZone competition?

No way was I going to lose.

For added motivation the app allowed me to see other competitors logging points in real time. It also gave the option to add titles and descriptions to your workouts, as well as adding photos. This was a great feature for the trail runs to help document where I’d been.

Right: Workout screen showing HR, calories, MEPS, and Battery. Left: Fitness Challenge leader board.

Even if you don’t have a group willing to submit to self-inflicted torture there are plenty of other great features. You can connect with fellow cardio warriors in your area, just like you would with another social app. You receive MyZone awards for completing a certain number of MEps in consecutive months. And MyZone offers quick challenges you can participate in with thousands of others around the world.


Conclusion:
If the social features sound appealing then hands down this is the heart rate tracker for you. If you want to connect with friends and hold competitions there is nothing that compares. Believe me, at $129.99 a unit we looked extensively.

However, if you’re just looking for something to track and record your progress there are better pure trackers out there for a more modest price tag.

At the end of the competition I was very happy with the purchase. I had some phenomenal workouts. I pushed my cardio to a level I never thought possible. And most importantly I crushed Joe Rogan’s score 14,462 to 11,253.

Here are my final stats for the month:

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