Virgin Health (Virgin Pulse): How to Maximize Healthmiles!

Virgin Health (Virgin Pulse): How to Maximize Healthmiles!

January 21, 2013
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Virgin Health (Virgin Pulse): How to Maximize Healthmiles!

Virgin Health (Virgin Pulse): How to Maximize Healthmiles!

Update 5/2014: I’ve moved the latest updates to the bottom of this entry! 

Your company just joined Virgin Health, or you just started at a company partnered with VirginHealthMiles (Virgin Pulse), and you’re ready to get out there and win some prizes. You want to get to the highest level.  Well, just how you will maximize your miles will depend on what type of person you are.

Maximizing Health Miles

Some key steps apply to all archetypes:

  • Log in and create a profile. Fill it out completely. Upload a photo. Yes, you get lots of miles just for doing that!
  • Take a Health Snapshot. Guess what! 1,000 Miles just for the snapshot.
  • Put in your biometrics (weight/body fat) monthly.
  • Look for your friends and add them. Yes, you get some HM for that!
  • Look under “Challenges”. Virgin HealthMiles will often have weekly challenges. Just following their rules will net you 150+ miles.
  • Order your pedometer immediately. When you get it, start using it!
  • Challenge your friends (500 Miles just for setting up a challenge!).
  • Begin using Runkeeper.com, fitbit, Polar, or other apps. If you’re not familiar, get familiar, as this will be Virgin Healthmiles major “neighbor” in activities. Your activities on runkeeper will sync with Virgin Pulse under certain circumstances which VP has been very mysterious about.
  • If you’re not a runner/walker, you’ll need to invest in a cheap Heart Rate monitor. It’s a great investment for health. But see the section on HRM’s before purchasing a cheap one on ebay!

Jane – A Swimmer/Gym Rat/Bicyclist

Jane is a Gym Rat, who spends a lot of time swimming and lifting weights. Unfortunately for Jane, she’s going to have the most difficult time recording healthmiles, and will have to go outside her normal routine to maximize her prizes.

  • As a swimmer, you will have to enter your workouts manually. Two workouts a day only equals 20 HM.
  • As a weightlifter, you will have to start wearing a Heart Rate Monitor.Sorry, the pedometer simply won’t do enough for you.
  • Start doing Interval/circuit training with the HRM. Make sure to put the Avg HR% as one of your indicators… Make sure it exceeds the “intense” level of HR as indicated by VH (found under “Polar FAQs” or 70% of your max heart rate, found by taking 220 Minus your Age x .7).
  • If you’re a bit short on the Avg HR – hit the treadmill until your HR exceeds “intense”.
  • If you strictly lift, then:
    • Become friends with the treadmill or add some cardio before/after your workout… 16 minutes should do it, as long as your HR exceeds “intense” level. When you work out with an average heart rate of more than 70% of your age-predicted maximum heart rate, it’s considered “intense”.
    • Start/End your workout with 16-17 minutes of cardio “intense” training. It’s good for you! http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/training/a/ExerciseOrder.htm
  • Participate in all the other ways to get HM – join challenges, do the VH weekly challenge, do “Quests”, get a health screening, etc. Since your activity miles will vary, this will help leapfrog you forward.
  • Wear your pedometer everywhere!
  • If you’re going to be on the treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical, then, and only then, place the pedometer on your foot. Or better yet, place it on your thigh (this seems to work best).
  • Place the pedometer on your foot (after further experiments, I’ve found the thigh works best) whenever you go for a bike ride.

Jack – A Beginner On A Fitness Journey

Jack has been sedentary for many years, but has a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get back into better shape. But he hasn’t done much of anything and really isn’t that much into fitness…He’s also very, very busy.

  • You’ll need to work on good habit patterns, and the first step in that process: Wearing your pedometer. Get in the habit at the beginning of the day putting it in your pocket; At the end of the day, plug it in to your computer.
  • Baby Steps: Start with a simple goal of getting 7,000 steps a day. And don’t end up just a few steps short! (Parking farther from the store entrance will net 200-500 more steps!)
  • Make sure to do challenges even if you aren’t going to win. Sometimes just not being last is motivating!
  • Participate in the Quarterly Challenges, and the VH Quests. You’ll get a lot of points to supplement your pedometer habit!
  • Challenge your fellows at HQ with Starbucks and other treats
  • Log in to the website at least 2x per week. Good Habits and it gets points!
  • Join AIDS Walk, American Heart Association Walk, and other Sponsored walks. Lots of steps there!
  • Jog easily in place while doing dishes, waiting for the elevator, and other “standing around” points to make sure to get your step goals!
  • Take a “Health Snapshot” every month or every two weeks. It will get points, and you can see your progress!

Jill – A Runner and Aerobic Fanatic

Jill will have the easiest time of everyone getting the maximum HM, as VP emphasizes cardio workouts.

  • Wear your pedometer on your runs. Afterward, check the active minutes on the pedometer –remember you will be looking for 45+ minutes.
  • Wear your Heart Rate monitor and upload its information along with your steps.
    • You’re a runner and you don’t train by heart rate? Really? Well… Start!
  • Remember to run with your heart rate above 70% of your “Maximum” HR, determined by 220 Minus Your Age x .7. This will be an “intense” workout but still aerobic. You don’t need to run anaerobic!
  • Your Yoga, Gym, and strength workouts can be entered manually, but will only net 10-20 HM’s per day, so make sure to keep your steps above 12,000 per day.
  • 20,000 steps a day is hard to get if you only wear your pedometer during runs. Make sure to wear it all day, and make sure to take the stairs and park far away from your building or grocery store!

 

Using Heart Rate Monitors

NOTE: Unless you are using a Polar HRM, getting HM via heartrate is very buggy and inconsistent. 

  • Get a Heart Rate monitor (Polar) – These days, heart rate monitors are cheap, but there are some cautions. Before buying one, make sure you can upload the data to polarpersonaltrainer.com, or trainingpeaks.com, or runkeeper.com, or strava.com, etc. If you already have a heart rate monitor, you should be able to make it work with VP as long as you can upload your data to one of those websites.
  • Don’t buy just any cheap Heart Rate Monitor you find on ebay! Not all HRM’s are able to upload to the internet!
  • A heart rate monitor is essential to getting HealthMiles if you’re not a walker/runner. It is the only way they can verify you are doing the workout you swear you are doing.

Polar

  • If you get/have a Polar, make sure what you get is compatible with your computer and with polarpersonaltrainer.com. There are Polar HR monitors that are compatible with Mac computers. Some of the Polar’s offered by VP are not mac-friendly. Some Polars aren’t friendly with polarpersonaltrainer.com. Don’t buy those.
    • Mac Compatible Polar Watches:
      • Polar FA20
      • Polar FT40
      • Polar FT60
      • Polar FT80
      • Polar RS300X
      • Polar FT7
      • Polar CS500
      • Polar RCX5
      • Polar RCX3
      • Polar RC3 GPS
      • Polar V800 (?)
  • Sign in to https://www.polarpersonaltrainer.com/ and create an account. Once you do, make sure to look for “Partners” under your name and put “Virgin Health” as one of the sites you are willing to share your data.
  • Virgin Pulse only uses two pieces of data from polarpersonaltrainer: Your average HR and your total time.  It doesn’t care about miles, kilometers, hills, fartleks, intensity, etc. Just make sure to get your heart rate above their low threshold (70%) for the majority of the exercise (if you are doing intervals, make sure they are intense and don’t do too much a rest in between. If you’re doing p90x for example, you may want to keep active during “rests” to keep the heart rate from getting too low).

Garmin

VP has not made it easy to sync data. It is doable, but will require work on your part. Initially, it was thought the runkeeper “syncing” by VP would work, but it appears to be questionable.So your best first bet before doing anything else is to upload your workout to runkeeper.com and see if you are awarded healthmiles. Refer to the Runkeeper section for more details. If that doesn’t work, then… 

  • You can get any Garmin that uploads to Garmin Connect. You’ll have to do some roundabout conversions and convoluted steps to get them uploaded to polarpersonaltrainer.com.
  • Steps to get HealthMiles from a Garmin
    • First, upload your Garmin data to connect.garmin.com
    • Then, export the file in .tcx format from connect.garmin.com to your computer
    • Then, follow the steps under “Timex Ironman Watch” starting on the step for converting .tcx to .hrm.
  • You can also use copymysports.com or tapiirik.com to automatically sync with runkeeper.com and strava.com any files you upload to connect.garmin.com. However, it appears that VP is blocking these files from being awarded HM’s, although they do appear in the “Activity Log”. Numerous inquiries by myself and others have lead to no answers as to why or how this is done or the inconsistent awarding of healthmiles.
  • Since VH has not yet revealed just what/how they will sync with Runkeeper, I don’t have details, but I would assume it will be similar to polarpersonaltrainer.com – average HR and time. Once that goes live, I’ll revise this QRH.
  • VP has said that when it comes to runkeeper activities, for running, you must maintain at least an average of 3-4mph over the entire time of the workout, with NO lost gps waypoints (don’t pause the watch at any time to be certain).
  • Fitbit used to sync steps through runkeeper. As of 12/2014, they now sync directly, but very active minutes do not.

Suunto Heart Rate GPS Monitor (Ambit)

VP has not made it easy to sync data. It is doable, but will require work on your part. Initially, it was thought the runkeeper “syncing” by VP would work, but it appears to be questionable.  So your best first bet before doing anything else is to upload your workout to runkeeper.com and see if you are awarded healthmiles. Refer to the Runkeeper section for more details. If that doesn’t work, then… 

  • You’ll need to convert the workout files to.tcx to upload to strava/runkeeper/Virgin Health.
  • Currently Rubitrack will do it for Mac, and I’ve had good luck with SportTracks 3.1 for Windows. You have to install SportTracks 3.1, then download and click to install the “Export2Tcx” plugin, super easy. Once that’s done, the process after each ride is:
  • Connect watch to computer
  • Launch SportTracks, import the ride from your ride folder on the computer that the watch syncs with
  • Export as TCX
  • Follow the instructions under Timex Ironman GPS Watch to convert to .hrm and upload to polarpersonaltrainer.com.
  • If you are using a Suunto, please contact me and let me know any further details to add to this FAQ.

Timex Ironman GPS Watch

VP has not made it easy to sync data. It is doable, but will require work on your part. Initially, it was thought the runkeeper “syncing” by VP would work, but it appears to be questionable. So your best first bet before doing anything else is to upload your workout to runkeeper.com and see if you are awarded healthmiles. Refer to the Runkeeper section for more details. If that doesn’t work, then… 

  • Congratulations on your new watch, as it natively syncs with one of the best websites out there – trainingpeaks.com. That’s the good news. For Virgin Pulse – that’s the bad news because it doesn’t autosync with runkeeper.com or VH. But there is a way to get your workouts in to get your HealthMiles!It’s a bit convoluted, but doable.
  • Steps to Upload to VP:
    • Get an account at http://www.polarpersonaltrainer.com. This will be used only for your Virgin Health miles, so don’t worry about exploring it too much. Make sure to add VP as your “Partner” and share your data!
    • Go to trainingpeaks.com and under account settings, export data… Export your workout (it will export as a .pwx.gz file).
    • Go to http://pwx.raytracer.dk/ and convert your .pwx to .tcx
    • If runkeeper is not syncing with VH then:
      • Download Ergograph. Convert from .tcx to .hrm with Ergograph (PC-Only), then upload with HRMuploader. NOTE: If you are using Ergograph, you MUST have GPS information – even if you didn’t go anywhere!
      • Download HRMUploader from http://rikara.blogspot.ca/2009/04/uploading-old-polar-hrm-data-to-polar.html
      • Run HRMUploader (make sure you have java installed!) and sign in to your polarpersonaltrainer.com account
      • Upload your workouts.
      • Voila! - It takes about 5 minutes for polarpersonaltrainer to sync with VP (they say 15 minutes).
      • Caution: If you are using this work-around to upload you workouts, please keep in mind that ergograph and Polar do not recognize “starts” and “stops” (ie, pauses) in workouts. Consequently, even if you pause your watch, it will determine average HR from the time you start until the time you finally “finish” (or reset) your workout on the watch. So once you start – don’t stop, or you’ll lower that average HR!

Runkeeper

(Update 5/2014: ONLY the APP is compatible with Virgin Pulse. Anything else that works is by pure luck!)

With the latest release of the Virgin Pulse, you can now earn healthmiles through activities on Runkeeper app. The functionality for anything else is rare. Wherein I’ll see my “active minutes” in the activity log, it refuses to grant me “healthmiles” for active minutes from Runkeeper. Recently (12/2013) they added a “Sync Runkeeper” button but it has little effect on granting HealthMiles.

  • (As of 12/2013, fitbit steps DO count). If you use fitbit or other devices for steps, those steps do not count for challenges. The only time active minutes or steps count is through the pedometer.
  • In order to get credit from Runkeeper, you must not have any missing GPS points. You must use the app. That means, once you start the app, do not pause the app. Pausing could cause the “loss” of GPS points and prevent credit
  • You must proceed faster than 4mph in order for the activity to count with “at least one validated GPS Tag” no matter the type of activity – cycling, running, etc.
  • HR does not matter with runkeeper.
  • If your device saves your information in .fit or .tcx format, you can upload them to runkeeper, and VHM will show the active minutes in the activity log, but does not seem to grant healthmiles or does so inconsistently.
  • When attempting to sync from other devices, I’ve had the best luck never pausing the watch. This may lead to “lost” GPS waypoints which cause it not to accept the workout.

Fitbit

  • As of 12/2013, VP has said that you can connect your fitbit account directly to VP, and you don’t need to use Runkeeper to do it. In fact, all steps counted by fitbit is just as good for challenges and other activities as using the GoZone pedometer. They say all versions of fitbit will work. I don’t own a fitbit (yet), so I can’t verify how it works with active minutes…
  • As of 12/2013, the “Very Active Minutes” recorded by fitbit do NOT translate into Virgin Pulse “Active Minutes”. No word as to why, or when, or if ever, such compatibility will occur. After having the opportunity to speak with Virgin Pulse on a conference call, I learned the potential for having “Very Active Minutes” transfer is relatively small. It isn’t because Virgin Pulse isn’t willing, but instead because FitBit is being rather coy (ie – not telling) about just how they determine “Very Active Minutes”. As far as anyone can tell from what I’ve read… nobody knows or can figure it out for certain. Since VP can’t figure out how they do it, they can’t allow it to transfer. You can’t blame them for that.
  • The only way to get credit for “active minutes” is through the GoZone or Polar Heart Rate.

Withings

  • Virgin Pulse claims compatibility with Withings WI-FI scales but you will NOT gain any HM for automatically synced weigh-ins with Withings. You must still manually input your weight, body fat, and blood pressure in order to earn Healthmiles, so don’t be deceived into thinking their “compatibility” will automatically get you miles. Not yet, anyway.

MyFitnessPal

  • In October of 2013 Virgin Pulse announced a partnership with MyFitnessPal calorie tracking.
  • According to their recent FAQ’s, myfitnesspal is part of an optional program that your organization may or may not participate in. Mine apparently does not so I can’t tell you much about it.

Windows 8

The old isync software is not compatible. You will need to download the new Virgin Pulse software.. . . Although Microsoft says isync is compatible, From the Q&A from virginpulse.com:

Is the software compatible with Windows 8?

Unfortunately, Windows 8 has not yet been identified as a compatible operating system to use with the iSync software.  While our development team works through improving compatibility with Windows 8, please upload your pedometer to a computer that is running one of the compatible operating systems listed below.

iSync software is fully compatible with:

- Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7

(Note: A new tidbit says you can try the Max pedometer software with the GoZone on Win8. However, they didn’t say for sure it would work.)

- MAC OS X v10.4 or above

Updates

Update 6/2014: Polar just released the V800, the first activity and 24×7 HR monitoring watch. Whether or not it is compatible with VP has yet to be determined, but purely guessing… I wouldn’t count on it right away! 

Update 5/2014: When using Runkeeper, the ONLY part that is compatible with Virgin Pulse is the app. Any other uploads to Runkeeper may/may not work.

Update 5/2014: The company announced “partnership” with Endomondo and the new Misfit. Only steps will transfer. Also, the virgin pulse sync software for windows has been updated to 3.0.20. For some strange reason the software does not yet automatically update –  you have to download the latest version from the website. They have released the android app to use with VP and the Max pedometer.

UPDATE 5/2014: BE CAREFUL WITH THE NEW MAX PEDOMETER. IF YOU EXCEED 100,000 STEPS IN A DAY IT MAY CRASH or BRICK! (Verified during Ironman St. George).  I sent mine back for them to analyze and see what happened so there may be some firmware patches that will fix that shortly. Meanwhile, if you are doing an Ironman or Ultra, upload before the race!

Update 3/2014: Virgin Healthmiles has issued the new “Max” pedometer. The “Dash” App is no longer. There is an iphone app to use with the new Max pedometer. There is as of now no Android app to use with the Max (no wireless sync on Android phones). 

Update 2014: NOTE: iSync (Gozone) IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH WINDOWS 8. However, the new “Max” software *may* work with GoZone on Win8. It works on my Win8.1 Surface Pro Tablet.

Update 1/2014: Revised section on HRM. Unless you’re using Polar, the use of Heart Rate Monitors is buggy, at best. Updated Garmin section to reference .tcx >> .hrm conversions.

Update 12/2013 (Part 2): For all the fitbit users, don’t get too excited yet. Very Active Minutes from fitbit do NOT translate into VP active minutes. Also added warning about Withings “compatibility” and HM. Added note about myfitnesspal – an new “optional nutritional module”.

Update 12/2013: Virgin Pulse continues to update the site with better integration between Runkeeper and FitBit. Fitbit section now updated.

Update 10/2013: Virgin Healthmiles changed its name to “Virgin Pulse”. Virgin Healthmiles and Virgin Pulse are used interchangeably below.

Update 04/17/2013. VHM has integrated with runkeeper.com. Please see the Runkeeper section for an update on how to use it.

 

Happy workouts!

, ,
Chas Melichar

Chas is a world-produced playwright, director, actor, and non-fiction author, .Mythled is the ancient world bedeviled by the machinations of both evil and good.

View my other posts

24 comments

  1. j35u5fr34k
    Reply

    Captain Chas,

    Thanks a bunch for this article. Very useful and appreciated information. However, I am still finding it hard to put all the pieces together. Let me quantify that statement. I have an Android device (Galaxy Nexus). I am looking at purchasing the Zephyr HRM. I want to be able to use RunKeeper (RK) but it is not supported at this time. I don’t want to have to purchase another watch style device and simply want to use my phone in conjunction with a chest strap. Now, I am using Virgin HealthMiles (VHM) and you stated that as long as your device can upload to Strava that it can be used for VHM. My question is can you post a blog about this process? Do I use the Fit2App to get there? In other words, export Strava, import to Fit2App, export to another site… lost here somehow.

    Please advise. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    I would love to use this Zephyr HRM over the Polar BT Wearlink+ due to the numerous complaints Polar has received on their Android device.

    Thanks again.

    1. Chas Melichar
      Captain Chas (author)
      Reply

      Hi! Thanks for the great question. Sorry for the confusion and I do need to update the article. According to VHM, you don’t need the HRM to use the runkeeper app and get your VHM. All you need to do is run faster than 4mph, and make sure *not* to pause the app at any time. If there are any “dropped” GPS coordinates it will not count toward your healthmiles. So, if you are using the android Runkeeper App, that should be all you need (from what I can tell, VHM completely ignores the HR from Runkeeper. Only HR from Polar is considered).
      Keep in mind, though, that any steps recorded into runkeeper will NOT count toward challenges.

  2. Walter Mander
    Reply

    I am using Virgin Healthmiles, putting their go zone on my shoe while cycling, doesn’t seem to give me the best time to steps ratio. Runkeeper has been problematic on my android phone. I really like tracking my rides with Strava. Is their a way to get Strava info into Virgin HM? Can I do it with a Bluetooth HRM? Is it better to just do heartrate with Polar? Other options? Cateye?

    1. Chas Melichar
      Captain Chas (author)
      Reply

      I’ve found that putting the Gozone on the shoe while cycling doesn’t work as well as simply putting it on my thigh under the bike shorts… It’s far more accurate there than on the shoe.

      As far as Strava, there may be a way, but it would involve quite a few steps. Even Runkeeper isn’t very smooth with VHM but as long as you average over 3mph running (not sure what while cycling) you’ll get the credit. For HR, polar is the best and easiest option.

      However, if you have a fitbit or other device compatible with Runkeeper, VHM will use it to award Health Miles but NOT steps for challenges.

  3. Maureen
    Reply

    So am I correct that the fitbit will not track my active minutes. That I must wear the pedometer as well to get those? (Which is actually how I get most of my point).

    1. Chas Melichar
      Chas Melichar (author)
      Reply

      Well, I’ve had it work about 50% of the time when it comes to Runkeeper “Active Minutes” working. With the fitbit, I’m not sure, because I don’t use the device, but if you use fitbit AND gozone, it will ignore Runkeeper for sure. My fellows at work continue to actually wear both for now. Hopefully, they will get it more accurate in the future.

  4. Brandon Gittelman
    Reply

    I’m in an argument with VHM now. I’m uploading my Garmin Forerunner data to Runkeeper. It’s showing up on the VHM website, but I’m not getting any points.

    I hate the stupid pedometer since I have killed three by sweat thus far and at $25/each it gets expensive.

    1. Chas Melichar
      Chas Melichar (author)
      Reply

      Some things I’ve noticed that seem to occasionally help:

      1. Never pause your Garmin. Any “lost” GPS points will cause it not to sync.
      2. Make sure you upload NO other data that day.
      3. Log into and out of VHM twice after your data has been uploaded and verified on Runkeeper.
      4. Call them and ask them to add it in. They usually do, as they can see the active minutes but, as you said, it doesn’t give any points.
      5. Make sure your UNPAUSED pace is over 3 (4?) mph. VHM doesn’t care about anything from Runkeeper except your average mph.

  5. Justin B
    Reply

    It appears as though VH is recognizing Fitbit steps for challenges (or maybe just this one – for thanksgiving).

    Earn DOUBLE Activity HealthMiles in the Thanksgiving Holiday Hustle Challenge!
    Earn DOUBLE Activity HealthMiles for your uploaded steps (GoZone or Fitbit)

    I just picked up a Fitbit Force as my GoZone seems to be failing more and more frequently. I have replaced the batteries several times.

      1. Justin B
        Reply

        Also, this is fixed I believe as it was a bug:

        If you use the Dash app and the pedometer at the same time, it will double-count your steps. According to VH, that’s fine for getting steps to the HealthMiles levels. However, for challenges, only those steps recorded by the pedometer count.

        Thanks.

  6. Lew Proudfoot
    Reply

    GREAT resource, Chas, thank you very much. I, too, am in an argument with VP about my Garmin Forerunner 305. And I have destroyed a couple of pedometers, too, although what gripes me about these little devices is that when I’m out on a long hike or bike ride, they seem to lose data, resulting in a very low stepcount on a day where I’ve put a lot of effort in.
    VP says they will not accept Garmin through RunKeeper. they just repeat a list of the things that they will accept, with no explanation. The impression I get is that they are filtering on device type, somehow. A weekend research project to search through the GPX 1.1 format and see what might be the culprit.

    I do not understand the 3 mph or 4mph requirement for heart rate monitors. If I’m on a stationary bike, a rowing machine, or lifting, I won’t register distance traveled, although I’m getting a very good workout. And a 4 mph swim would be a pretty good pace, at least for me! What’s their reasoning on this? This is another question i can’t get answered from VP. If they’re interested in my health, bpm should count as much as steps do. Are they just stuck on walking? Makes me want to give up on them, because the chase for reward dollars is distorting what I do. who would have thought I’d be so worried about $100 per year???
    Thanks for the great work!

    1. Chas Melichar
      Chas Melichar (author)
      Reply

      If you use the Polar, you don’t need to get the 3-4mph, but if it’s on Runkeeper it doesn’t use the HR, just the speed. But as you said, it does appear that they are actively blocking information from devices such as Garmin, which, in effect, makes Runkeeper essentially useless to 90% of people.

      VP has a habit of claiming compatibility when in fact, they don’t or undermine that capability. I also suspect the IT department is not full of athletic people, because when I asked them some simple, straight-forward questions related to fitness devices during a company conference call, they had no clue.

      Outside that call, I also found it frustrating that they wouldn’t allow me to talk to anyone directly except for the sales people who rarely know anything beyond the most basic of customer service questions. And, when I did submit questions via email, I only received stock answers that actually didn’t answer the question I asked because they didn’t understand the real question, or simply cut and paste standard replies.

      I’m on my 3rd pedometer in about a year and 6th battery. Getting expensive!

      From a technology standpoint, VP is making strides forward, but they are, in fact, still stuck at the turn of the 21st century. I’ve heard of rumors they may be coming out with their own wrist pedometer, but all that will do is frustrate everyone with fitbits, vivo’s, or other excellent devices… Why they feel the need to reinvent the wheel is beyond me.

      And integrating with the RK healthgraph and then blocking that very information… Odd.

      My Polar/Garmin workaround still works as far as I know, but it is a lot of effort on our part.

      Thanks for your feedback!

  7. Diane
    Reply

    I got a Wahoo Blue HR because I wanted to track using the Iphone and because it uploads to Runkeeper. My goal is to get active minutes for elliptical time. I haven’t had much luck yet. The Runkeeper upload to VM is working great for getting active minutes for running (without the HR monitor). When the Blue HR is working, it uploads to Runkeeper well, but so far I haven’t been getting healthmiles for it; it just shows in the activity diary. I was hoping to avoid the pedometer and just get active minutes for my 4 workouts a week (running and elliptical) but so far no luck.

    1. Chas Melichar
      Chas Melichar (author)
      Reply

      Hi Diane!

      I was just in the process of updating this article and it has much to do with what you just mentioned.

      Despite what your company or VP may be claiming, it appears they are actively blocking awarding HM’s through 3rd party devices (except Fitbit, and even then only steps) even if they sync with runkeeper. This isn’t stated anywhere I can find, but it seems to work from a practical standpoint. Calling the help center on numerous occasions has resulted in the agent manually awarding the points, with an assurance to “check in to it”. However, I have never received a response. If I hear anything, however, I’ll make sure to post it here.

      Keep in mind: The only thing that syncs through runkeeper is your speed… At least for HM award. Also, if you put *any* other data in for that day (such as your pedometer), it appears it will ignore runkeeper and only use the pedometer to award HM.

      VP hasn’t been very forthcoming so far, but hopefully that will change.

  8. Kermit Short
    Reply

    My employer recently joined up with VP. As much as they (said employer) are pushing the GoZone pedometers, reaching the maximum benefit level is practically impossible without verified cardio sessions at least 4 times a week, if not more. Your blog post has been tremendously helpful in figuring out what I need to get and how it will work with VP so that my very hard work will get me the reward I am (hopefully) eligible for. Thanks so much for the extraordinary effort you’ve put in to keeping all of this straight and for sharing what you’ve learned!

    1. Chas Melichar
      Chas Melichar (author)
      Reply

      Thanks for the kind words!

      As a head’s up to others, Don’t forgo the pedometer, though, as it is the easiest way to get more HealthMiles during “rest” days, and for those occasions there might be issues with the HRM. I still wear my pedometer every day even though I use the Garmin >> Polar workaround on those gym days.

      Oddly enough, this was a quick one-off article I wrote after my company first joined VP. As a Garmin user, I was convinced there had to be a way to move my stuff to Polar and it took some work but find the workaround (although imperfect).

  9. Vennela
    Reply

    Hello Chas,

    I came across this page while looking for troubleshooting help on my GoZone pedometer and this page is a great help!!

    I have been unable to upload steps from my GoZone from the past 2 weeks and have no understanding why. Obviously, reaching out to VP is no help. Weird enough, I am also unable to download the sync software onto other machines- which seems to indicate issues with VP servers. I asked other colleagues to test it and they too confirm that they are unable to download the software.

    Are you aware of any information on this front? Would really appreciate any help you can provide.

    1. Chas Melichar
      Chas Melichar (author)
      Reply

      I’ve had similar issues with trying to download the new “pulse sync” software… It would get to 100% and freeze – without actually finishing. After reboots, and retries, it finally worked – in the late night hours when demand on the VP servers would be, I would guess, much less. So trying downloading the software at an “off” hour and see if that helps. And keep trying and trying – it takes me on average about 5 tries to get the Pulse sync to download. Also, you mentioned you are unable to upload – can you give more details? Does it give you an error, or just do nothing? Were you using isync or the new sync software?

      1. Vennela
        Reply

        I have been trying to download the Windows and Mac version of software from around 2 weeks from this page: https://www.virginhealthmiles.com/secure/isync/download.aspx It always fails with network error.

        My original image of Mac software is an old one as the new one does not work according to reviewers- got it from this link: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=71223882137 (link in comments).

        When I try to upload steps the software detects my pedometer and says connecting to servers. After that the process thread for the software stops but the steps are not uploaded. This is using the old GoZone isync software.

        I have not tried it with the new software as I am unable to download it.

        Any thoughts?

        1. Chas Melichar
          Chas Melichar (author)
          Reply

          They’ve updated the software to work on a mac… That FB page is way out of date (as VP related information often is). The best thing to do is go to the isyncdownload.aspx page, and even though you have a GoZone, choose the option showing you have a “Max” pedometer, then mac, then download. Once the file downloads, you can then install on your mac – you may have to change your settings to allow “unapproved applications” (as mentioned on the FB page), but once you install the max app, it also recognizes the gozone pedometer (I’ve used both pedometers with the Max App on both Mac and PC, as I lost my Max pedometer at one point and went back to using my old gozone).

          Moral of the story: Whether you use GoZone or Max, download the Max software on either PC or Mac

  10. geekychic
    Reply

    Dedicated Garmin cyclist here.
    I’ve found success using CopyMySports to sync Garmin Connect to RunKeeper then VP to load from RK.
    I’m getting active minutes to show up, and my boss is having the same experience

    1. Chas Melichar
      Chas Melichar (author)
      Reply

      As long as you don’t have any missing GPS points (or don’t pause the Garmin) that should work fine. In my last discussion with VP, all you had to do was maintain an average of 4mph… Whether cycling OR running!

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