In my quest for better time management, I wanted to review my new favorite toy, the Gymboss Interval Timer.
First some background. I had looked at the Gymboss before because of some recommendations from other Kettlebell enthusiasts and RKC certified trainers. They touted the ability of the unit to time boxing rounds, kettlebell circuits, and tabata intervals.
I had two thoughts at that time. One, “that is too cool! I have to have one” and two, “Ah, I don’t need that.” I went with option one and checked it out. Of course, I am cheap. The $19.95 seemed like way more than I wanted to spend. So I looked on eBay trying to find a cheaper one. Didn’t find anything cheaper, so I gave up.
Now, I gave up on wanting to get one, but don’t think it wasn’t in the back of my mind. It gets hard to watch the clock and keep up with a kettlebell workout. Doable, but hard.
Cut to a few months later and a couple of months into my blogging adventure. I am getting overwhelmed with writing and reading and trying to keep the house up. Kettlebell workouts are not happening. Stuff isn’t getting done like it should.
Reading blogs is now part of my daily work and doing that work, I came across a post on David Risley’s Blog about time management. In that post, he outlined some great tips on how to concentrate on working and get better results. One of those tips was to use a timer. I have read other places about using timers and keeping track of how much time you are using to work on things.
I decided then to get a timer to work better at my business. I went to Walmart and a couple of other stores and the kitchen timers were all $10 plus. I decided then that I could use the timer to work with, and to workout, and the Gymboss was only $10 more than anything I could get locally.
So I went home and bought the new Camo model on the internet. They sent it right out and I had it in 3 days. It took a bit of learning how to program it but it was easy after going through it once.
The buttons are easy to press but not so big that you hit them inadvertently when working out. I really like the fact that each function of the timer requires multiple presses or a press and hold of the button to function. I am a klutz and I am sure that I would hit and reset the thing all of the time if not for that. It used to happen with my pedometer, I would hit the reset button way too easily.
The unit itself is compact measuring about 1 3/4 inches by 2 1/4 inches and is about 3/4 of an inch thick. It runs on 1 AAA battery and seems to be very well constructed. The body is rubberized and has a very sure grip feel to it. The only thing that I am slightly concerned about is the screen. It has basically been on my desk and in the pocket of my workout shorts and is showing some scratches that are more than I would have imagined for the amount I have used it. I am going to cover the screen with one of those plastic screen protectors I have for my Sony Clie and the kids Nintendo DS’s. The display is crisp underneath the screen and I think it will be readable for a long time with care and the protector.
There are 2 alarm volumes as well as vibrate. Vibrate is great if you have music blaring or are wearing headphones. The low beep is great for me to work with. It is not obnoxious when it goes off.
One of the best things about the Gymboss is the way you can set intervals. And they stay. A kitchen timer you have to reset after each cycle. Not so the Gymboss. The times you set stay in memory, even when you shut it off. That is one of my favorite features, I am not always setting the thing.
For working, I chose to use the method recommended by Nate over at Cumalu.com and work in 2 hour blocks, broken down into 25 minute work segments with a 5 minute break. Every 4 cycles (2 hours) take a 30 minute break.
I went with 30 minute cycles and 5 minute breaks because I found that 25 was just not quite enough time but 30 was pretty good. I set my Gymboss to time 2 cycles and repeat 4 times. It counts down on the digital display for 30 minutes and then beeps. Then it counts down 5 minutes and beeps. Then it repeats until the 4 cycles are up and it is time for a break.
You can even set the duration of the beeps if you want to have them longer or shorter. It can also function as a stopwatch but I haven’t used that feature yet. The intervals can be set as low as 2 seconds for tabata protocols so I could conceivably set a kettlebell workout for 30 seconds work, 35 minutes rest to repeat 99 times. That is silly but possible. A real workout could be 30 seconds to work, and 30 seconds to rest set to repeat 20 times, and I do as many as I can.
I really like using the timer to work with. I am getting in the habit of moving away from the computer when it beeps and going back when it beeps again. I have been doing kettlebell cycles of swings where I start at 1 minute and do 15 swings and rest for the remainder of the minute and then go again at the start of the next minute. Or beep as the Gymboss says. Thanks to Sandy Sommer RKC at Charm City Kettlebells for that workout. I can do about 8 cycles.
All in all I love this timer. It does everything I need it to do for my workouts as well as my business and my blog. It is hard to beat the benefits of the timer for the investment. There is also a 30 day 100% satisfaction guarantee as well as a 1 year replacement warranty. Unless the thing absolutely falls apart, and it doesn’t feel like it will, I don’t intend to use either.
So there you have it, I found a great tool and I liked it so much, I bought the company. Just kidding, only you older guys will get that joke. I just became an affiliate for them. If you click any of the Gymboss links on this page it is an affiliate link, I will get a commission for sending you to their site. But trust me, it is worth it.
Until next time my friends, feel free to share comments!