You’ve probably read us incessantly harp on about the virtues of an interval timer watch, and for good reason. Interval timers are sequential, variable length countdown timers that allows one to perform structured interval training in a variety of different activities by sounding an alarm when each countdown timer has reached zero. The variable length of the countdown timers makes watches that feature an interval timer mode perfect for sessions requiring a set effort time followed by a set period of rest.
While we are mostly interested in sports watches that feature the interval timer feature, we would like to point out that there are also devices on the market designed solely with interval training in mind. The most prominant of these is the Gymboss Interval Timer and as we recently got our hands on one of these beauties, we thought we’d take the opportunity to write a brief Gymboss Interval Timer Review.
Dedicated Interval Timer Vs Sports Watch
So why buy a dedicated interval timer when you could buy a sports watch that does the same thing and more? One reason is cost. An interval timer feature on a sports watch falls under the more advanced and sophisticated features of a sports watch, which commonly means you have to pay a lot more money. The Gymboss Interval Timer sells for under $20, offers a sophisticated interval training timer system as well as a stopwatch. Expect to pay around double for a sports watch with a basic interval timer feature that has fewer configuration options than the Gymboss Timer, which has been carefully designed for the sole purpose of structured interval training.
Gymboss: Our First Impressions
The first thing that impressed us about the Gymboss Interval Timer is that it’s a well developed product, has been around for a while, with solid customer reviews on Amazon.com. The device is well packaged and well documented. Upon removing the device from it’s packet, we could tell right away that the Gymboss interval timer device is a sound and solid device, construction is superb – the device is cast in a durable case with three distinct buttons, two on the top and one on the right hand side and a clear LCD display that is large and prominantly displayed for intuitive reading during exercise. Gymboss, unlike a watch with interval timer, features a clip on the back of the box with a solid spring that can clamp tightly to a pair of running shorts. You certainly don’t have to worry about the thing falling off, even if you are doing an activity like jumping rope or boxing where you are making sudden moves and jumping around. The basic operating instructions are printed boldly on the back of the case, albeit upside-down on our model.
Setting Up The Gymboss
Setting up the Gymboss for the first time, proved to be more complicated than we originally anticipated and it is in this area we feel the Gymboss falls short. While interval training by its very nature is a rather complicated practice, setting up the Gymboss requires a convoluted and arbitrary set of button presses that will require you to dedicate some time and effort to learn. Reading the manual will certainly be required to get up and running with the Gymboss and it is not hard to forget which combination of buttons you need to press to get yourself in or out of the various modes, but to their credit Gymboss have provided an excellent series of instructional videos on YouTube. We found that after a period of playing around, we were getting the hang of the Gymboss device and could take full advantage of its better features.
Gymboss Instructions on YouTube
- Setup Instructions
- Expanded Set-up Instructions
- Stopwatch Function
- Operating Tips
- Troubleshooting Your Gymboss
Gymboss’s Better Features
So what do we like most about Gymboss? The Gymboss Interval Timer stands out from cheaper sports watch interval timers in a number of ways. Above offering an adjustable interval timer system, the Gymboss, lets you set three levels of alarm audibility. You can have a loud beep, a quiet beep or have the device vibrate to signal the end of the current interval. A loud beep is very audible and should be easily heard even over the hum of a speed bag. The device offers two interval countdown timers and will beep once after the first has reached zero and twice after the second which we thought was a nice touch. Gymboss also offer you the option of setting the number of repetitions of the cycle or can just repeat indefinitely until you stop it. The alarm duration can also be set to 1, 5 or 10 seconds and can be silenced at any time by pressing the START button.
The Gymboss Interval Timer device is a handy and capable device that is solely dedicated to set timer interval workouts. the advantage of customized interval lengths make it the ideal tool for high intensity repetition training like the Tabata training method, as a boxing interval timer, a running interval timer, a weight lifting timer or a multitude of other uses. At $19.95, this device will cost you a good deal less than a sports watch with interval workout timer feature while providing you with the ability to set the number of repetition cycles, customize your alarm type and duration and even serve as a normal chronograph stopwatch if you need it. If you are prepared to be a little baffled when first setting up the device, you will certainly benefit from all dedicated interval training timers can offer once this is overcome.