Vívoactive + Tracking My Heart Rate During Strength Training

If we’re friends on Insta you may already have seen that I have a new Garmin in my life!


After lots of back and forth and wayyyy too many hours of research I decided to take the plunge and get the Garmin Vivoactive as both my activity tracker and my running tracker!

I really wanted an all-in-one watch that also had a heart rate monitor built into the band, but most of the reviews I read said the non-Mio HR wrist monitors were inaccurate. Since I just bought my Mio Link HR band anyway, I decided to just keep it and pair it with the Vivoactive (which does not have a HR monitor built in).

There is no doubt that the newest Garmin is BEAUTIFUL!


It’s shiny, it’s white and it’s super thin and lightweight.


It’s also sleek enough that I think it pairs well with my regular jewelry and I feel like I can easily pair it with most of my work and dress up clothes.

I tried the Vivofit 2 on at the store and I didn’t feel like it was nice enough to wear to work everyday, which is why I ended up opting for the Vivoactive. The Vivofit 2 looked really cool with my casual clothes, but since I spend the majority of my life at work having a device I could wear to the office was important to me.


I’ll be honest and say I’m a little sad to retire my Garmin 220 (for sale on ebay here) already since I just got it for my birthday last August, but there are so many feature upgrades in the Vivoactive that it felt like a good decision.

The Vivoactive features I’ve discovered and already love:

  • Being able to control my music right from the watch *
  • Getting phone notifications right on the watch screen *
  • Being able to track treadmill runs without a foot pod
  • Being able to track cycling and swimming **
  • Activity/step counting so I can compete with Adam who just got the Basis Peak
  • Smart alarm that vibrates to gently wake me up
  • Sleep tracking

* I love that I don’t have to wrestle my phone out of my Armpocket during a run now to mess with my music or to see who is calling/texting/emailing me.

** I’m not a cyclist at all, but I do like swimming and now I can take my watch in the pool this summer!

I just got the Vivoactive this morning so I haven’t had a chance to take it on a real run yet, but I did a weight lifting session and I did a one mile run on the treadmill just to see how accurate the treadmill tracking was (very accurate).

Here it is paired with my Mio Link heart rate band.


This was actually the very first time I’ve ever tracked my heart rate during a lifting session. I love getting some data from my lifting; I can’t believe I never tracked my heart rate during strength training before!

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 12.49.47 PM

That first spike you see there around the 4:10 mark is when I was doing my toughest set of pull-ups and where my heart rate gets high around the 12 – 19 minute marks I was getting in some good squats!

I was somewhat surprised that my heart rate actually got so high at points, but it just goes to show that weightlifting can be just as hard (and rewarding) as running when you push yourself!

So far I am really loving my Vivoactive, but we haven’t spent much time together yet. I’ll keep you updated on how things go in case you’re considering getting one! If you have any specific questions about it leave ’em in the comments down below.

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

What do you think about smart watches like the Apple Watch and Vivoactive? Would you ever replace your trusty Forerunner with one? 

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you make a purchase through one of the links I will receive a very tiny commission that will help support the hosting of this blog. Thank you :).



  1. May 23, 2015 / 2:11 pm

    Wow, this watch is amazing, how have I never seen it before now??! I love to swim too but I’m always losing count of my laps especially when I’m doing longer distances. The price is great, it’s a beautiful piece, not big and clunky like those first Garmins (gaad, remember those?). Can’t wait to hear more updates about this one!!

    I am kinda sad now that I just bought a Marc Jacobs watch on eBay…. I’m going to have to stick with my Garmin 220 for a while longer. 🙁 boo

    • May 23, 2015 / 5:48 pm

      I think it just came out at the end of March so it’s pretty new! The extra cool thing about the Vivoactive is that it has it’s own app store. Right now there aren’t a ton of apps in it, but I bet the store really expands over the next few months as more people get devices that can use it!

      Ohhh post a pic of the MJ watch you got when it arrives! 🙂

  2. May 23, 2015 / 4:35 pm

    So I’ve been running without a GPS watch since I started running 4ish years ago, but I just bought a 220. I considered buying the Vivoactive, but the I realized that it can not do distance based intervals (but will do time intervals). Do you think that you will miss this feature for speed work? When I saw your insta I was wondering if you were going to be keeping your 220, but I guess not. I could still return my 220 and go for the vivoactive, but this is really holding me back. Thoughts?

    • May 23, 2015 / 5:56 pm

      The distance based interval thing definitely gave me pause, but I think a future firmware update will fix that. Since the Vivoactive came out in March Garmin has already pushed through a bunch of updates via firmware. I have seen a lot of people request distance based intervals so I bet within the next couple of months Garmin will push that through too…. or a third party will develop an app that Vivoactive users can download through the Connect IQ app store. If that never happens I’m okay with just having to keep an eye on the distance when I’m running. It’s not ideal, but it’s something I’m willing to do to get the other Vivoactive features.

      That being said the FR220 is such a great watch – it really does EVERYTHING a running specific watch should and I loved it so much!

  3. May 24, 2015 / 10:08 am

    It is a beautiful watch! I’m glad it has so many features that you will be able to use. I have never tracked my heart rate while lifting, but I do know that sometimes when I do pull up I feel “throw uppy”, so my heart rate MUST get up there! 🙂

    • May 24, 2015 / 10:49 pm

      I’m sure!!! I usually feel throw-uppy after squats…. and pull ups. They both suck the life out of me (in a good way)!

  4. May 24, 2015 / 5:25 pm

    Love the watch!!!!!! I just got my Garmin so I won’t be upgrading for now but it’s definitely going to make my list for when I do decide to upgrade 🙂

    • May 24, 2015 / 10:50 pm

      The 220 is such a great watch! I honestly think if it wasn’t purple I would have worn it every single day as my normal watch! I love that little watch and I will be sad to part with it, but I know it will make another runner very happy! 🙂

  5. May 24, 2015 / 5:51 pm

    just got the HRM for my Garmin in the mail. I tried it out on one run…I will do a post about it after I get in a few more runs…

    • May 24, 2015 / 10:47 pm

      Looking forward to hearing what you think! I really enjoy looking at my HR stats after a run, but then again I enjoy looking at ALL of my stats after a run. Looking at the data makes me want to put together a report for myself 🙂 haha

  6. May 24, 2015 / 11:49 pm

    Sorry, not replacing my Garmin any time soon, me and this guy just have WAYYYY too many stories ttogether lol

    • May 25, 2015 / 10:57 am

      Hahah I know exactly what you mean! Whenever I give up anything (laptop, tablet, running watch … even a pen that has run out of ink) I feel sentimental about it!!!

  7. May 26, 2015 / 3:52 pm

    Congrats on your new fitness companion. 🙂 It sounds interesting. I am still in the honeymoon phase with my FR 220, but now you have me curious about the Vivoactive!

  8. May 26, 2015 / 7:43 pm

    Oooh, it’s pretty! So sleek!! I can’t wait to hear how it works out for you.

    I’m still not using a Garmin. I HAVE one, but it confuses me and I’m too lazy to wear it, plus I really love Nike+. I guess I’ll use it when I start speed work during training this summer.

  9. May 29, 2015 / 7:12 am

    Great post! I can’t imagine running without my gramin vivoactive that I have. I really like the features and the design but the most it was very lightweight. I think whose looking for activity as well as running tracker both Gramin vivoactive is the perfect choice for them.

  10. Linda
    August 1, 2015 / 6:40 pm

    I have had the Vivioactive for several months, but just recently got the heart rate band. I’m having trouble figuring out how to monitor my heart rate during an exercise. I want to be able to just look down at the watch and see what my heart rate is without stopping my bike, pushing a bunch of buttons and trying to figure it out. Is this possible?

  11. Nicholas
    December 20, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    How are you tracking your heart rate during weightlifting?

    • Kristina
      January 6, 2016 / 4:29 pm

      Hey Nicholas, I paired my Mio with the Vivoactive and then get the stats from Garmin Connect!

  12. Rob
    December 28, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    What widget in connect iq did you use to track HR during strength training and did it log as an activity?

    • Kristina
      January 6, 2016 / 4:31 pm

      Hey Rob, I just used a standard heart rate widget. I paired my Mio heart rate band with Vivoactive and got the data from Garmin Connect.

  13. Katie
    January 6, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    I’m wondering the same thing as Nicholas and Rob, I can’t figure out a way to track to weightlifting or cross training with my vevo active. Would love to know how you’re doing it! Thanks for all the info!

    • Kristina
      January 6, 2016 / 4:30 pm

      Hi Katie, I paired my Mio heart rate band with the Vivoactive and then got the heart rate stats from Garmin Connect!

  14. Jessie Davis
    February 13, 2016 / 6:19 am

    Hi Kristina,

    I do a lot of tabata / boot camp classes and other strength training exercises in addition to running. What do you set your watch to in order to track just your HR and calories burned during these activities. I just bought this watch and can’t figure how to use it during these activities. For this reason, I’m on the fence about returning it…

  15. Michael Baier
    March 6, 2016 / 4:11 pm

    Hi there.
    was just reading your old commentary on the Vivoactive. I have been using mine for running(and a little swimming) and have been really happy.
    I was curious if you had any recommendations for tracking indoor workouts? Crossfit, bootcamp etc using the HR monitor strap. Is there a good app from the gamin store to use? any thoughts?

  16. May 18, 2016 / 8:54 am

    Yes – was googling how to use it for strength training & your blog popped up! I do some beachbody workouts & would like to use the HR monitor strap to track my heart rate/calories for this purpose! But not sure which app to use or how to use it for strength training purposes. Any help would be appreciated!

  17. Jess
    May 27, 2016 / 11:45 am

    Did you find that the white strap has taken on any colour that shouldn’t be there? Like has it stained!?

    • Kristina
      May 27, 2016 / 12:04 pm

      Hi Jess, I’ve been using the Vivoactive for about a year now and the band is still white. It does get a little bit dirty from time to time (not stained, but dirt can get caught in the side grooves of the band), but you can wash the watch since it’s waterproof.

      If you take it in the pool or shower frequently this probably isn’t an issue.

      I stopped wearing it 24/7 in favor of wearing more fashionable watches to work, so I don’t shower with it anymore which is why I sometimes wash it!

  18. May 27, 2016 / 11:46 am

    Did you find the band changed colour? Did it stain?