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Best Running Tips Newsletter, Issue #038 -- The Many Ways to Use the Gymboss Interval Timer

April 24, 2012


Alright, so last week we had a quick Facebook contest to win a Gymboss interval timer. Winner was Fraser who provided an original idea to use the Gymboss timer. More about that one later.

A few others had great ideas as well, but unfortunately there can only be one winner.

Missed it? Well that should teach you to open my newsletters... :)

I always make sure to let the newsletter subscribers know about these contests, because I wouldn't want you to miss out.

Don't know what a Gymboss interval timer is? What, have you been living under a rock? Check it out here:

The Gymboss timer is a really handy device. And it can be yours for only $19.95!

So, what were some of the ideas that people had about how to use a Gymboss?

#1. Running intervals
This was the most popular and logical answer. Most of us would use the Gymboss interval timer for their intervals. I do too. I love how intervals can help make you faster. I hate doing them though. The Gymboss helps to make them a little bit easier.

#2. Run/Walk programs
Another great way to use the Gymboss is when you are doing a run/walk program. Set your running time, set your walking time and get out of the door!

#3. Tabata

Tabata is a special type of high intensity interval training. It consists of 20 seconds of work alternated with 10 seconds of rest. You do eight rounds, so that is four minutes of exercise+rest. Then people usually take a somewhat longer break (e.g. two minutes) after which they do another round of Tabata.

You can do Tabata intervals with many different sports. Running, cycling, boxing, rowing, jumping rope, dumbbell exercises, bodyweight exercises etc.

The sky is the limit.

#4. Other types of interval training
Many others suggested some type of interval training to use the Gymboss.

I used the Gymboss last weekend with settings of 1 min exercise, 15 sec rest. Exercise was jumping rope, alternated with various bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, push ups, mountain climbers and crunches.

So 1 min of jumping rope, 15 sec rest, 1 min of squats, 15 sec rest, 1 min of jumping rope, 15 sec rest, 1 min of lunges, etc.

Three rounds of that (30 min exercise time) was enough for the day!

As said previously, the sky is the limit with this type of exercise. There are many different workouts you can design.

#5. Yoga
Some suggested using the Gymboss timer to time their yoga poses. A smart idea as it takes away the distraction of having to count. You can just fully concentrate on the poses themselves and let the Gymboss take care of the counting.

Some more creative uses:

#6. As time-out device for the kids

Shannon's entry:
"LOL, Oh the uses I would put this to. Time outs for the kids (separate time outs and different times depending on how mad I am!) but for me, for running, for cycling (high cadence easy gear and mashing); and for my own version of boot camp - switching up my exercises. I think the Gymboss would give me a boot!"

#7. Stand up and walk time when working with the laptop
Andris' entry:
"Running, kayaking and cycling intervals but also standup and walk time when doing laptop time (both day job and Facebook)."

#8. Give away to a friend
Denise's entry:

"My 13 year old niece is just getting into running. She's a natural and has a lot of potential. Loves to wear my gps timer but it's too complicated for her to operate. She would be able to use Gymboss on her own. It would be a great 'passing into grade 8' gift for the summer."

#9. In the bedroom...
There were actually two people who suggested using this in the bedroom for "mummy and daddy time".... :)

Not sure about this. Stop, start, stop, start, hmmm....

I won't claim to be an expert on the subject, but I think that a long distance run the Kenyan way is a more appropriate analogy. Kenyans start their long runs generally very slow and go up a gear every five or ten minutes or so. The end is done at top speed... hmm, okay, time to move on to the next one....

#10. To silence co-workers or running partners
Anastasia's entry:

"For all I do: Holding yoga poses to build strength; jump rope intervals; sprinting; tabata training & if only it were waterproof (hint, Gymboss) I'd use it for open water swim training ...but ideally & most importantly of all I'd like to use it for the secretary in our office..."When you hear the beeeep, SHUT UP"!"

Fraser's 2nd entry:
"I thought of another use - for 'talking breaks' - beep every few minutes that signals my talkative running partner to zip it til I can get a word in!"

#11. At work
Becky's entry:

"What an awesome tool! I could not only use it for running, but also in my work as a therapist. Sometimes we either use a timer for work time vs. reward time (hence the benefit of two timers) or for data taking vs. observation. It could be beneficial in all areas of my life!"

#12. As a trainer
Jammer's entry:

"As a cross-country/track coach this device would free up my time to work with different groups of runners. I could assign group leaders to take the Gymboss for hard/easy intervals. This way, the faster groups wouldn't be impeeded by the slower groups and I could run with the slower groups to talk about form, breathing, etc."

#13. The winning entry - to time oven chips
This was actually the first entry into the contest. The oven chips idea had me smiling and was the kind of lateral thinking that I love. 

Congratulations Fraser on winning your Gymboss. Fraser and I have been in contact already and he has chosen the blue Gymboss. 

Fraser's winning entry:
"Definitely get it going for some much needed interval training - my usual 'run faster between two lamposts then slower between the next' doesn't work when the lamposts switch sides! Might have an ideal side use: reminding me when to turn over the oven chips so they're crispy on both sides... or is that defeating the purpose? ;)"

Some other good entries:

"Run - dance, run - dance....repeat until I trip over my feet! Excellent cross training :)"

Cheryl again:
"Running with the dogs - times they can stop and sniff the hydrants."


"No machine will ever be the (Gym)boss of me but I can always use some extra motivation to do intervals and if I'm feeling extra nice I might lend it to my boyfriend to help with his Ironman training."

"I'd use it for trying to improve my running speed; no matter how I try, I tend to run at the same pace whether I'm running three miles or thirteen. An audible signal to up the pace is what I need, and I can't afford a GPS device (or a personal trainer). This would be ideal!"

"I would use it to improve my running speed to at 6.30 per km and would like to be down to 6.00 per km. This would definitely help me out :)"

Alison's and Amber's answers hit the nail on the head. A good dose of interval training (combined with other types of running) will definitely help  you improve your running speed.

For more information about the Gymboss, check out the review page:

I always love the contests. Lots of activity, lots of runners sharing their ideas. We'll definitely have more of these in the future. Stay tuned, open those newsletters and participate so that you don't miss out on your chance to win something!

Talk to you soon.
In the meantime, come visit my site often and happy running!


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