Review of CheckMyLevel
Whether you’re a full-time athlete or a weekend warrior, there are some times that you just can’t seem to drag yourself through a training session and others when you feel like you could go again. CheckMyLevel aims to help better understand your body and whether to push on through or take it a little easier, with a quick measurement 15-second measurement every day. According to the makers this will also allow the user to optimise their training to avoid over-training and reduce injuries.
WHAT IS TRACKED?
I’m not really sure if I’m 100% honest; as all I seem to get is a score as to how ‘ready’ I am to train. But according to the creators, CheckMyLevel assesses the load in your nerves and muscles to come to this score. The method is rooted in the physiological phenomena of a muscle reflex generated by specific low-voltage current, with precise assessment of the delay and intensity of the reflex providing a score of the total load on the muscles and nerves. IT’s also worth noting that this based on a personal baseline, rather than a nominal number, so it accurate for you personally rather than a best guess for the general public.
I have no real way to judge the science of this tech at all, but speaking purely anecdotally I did feel that the score I was given bore some resemblance to how tired I felt or hard I’d trained that day. So as far as I can tell the device is accurate enough for a largely weekend warrior like me.
The app is really the heart of the CheckMyLevel system, as without it you have no way to read and analyse the data from the device. It’s not the most stylish of designs, but it is simple and uncluttered with some nice touches while the device is running its test. It does everything you need it to in a quick and easy to understand manner, which given the seemingly very complex science behind the device is all you can really ask for.
The device itself is a peculiar little thing and the first time I tried to use it I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t connect with my phone. Upon realising the flashing lights were not a hello and rather a warning that the battery was near dead, I replaced aforementioned AAA and got to work. The CheckMyLevel assessment device requires you to use a sticky re-usable electrode and attach it to your wrist. Placing this can be a little tricky and although they claim to be reusable I did found they didn’t last many more than 2 or 3 goes (and a couple just the once). Bar the sticky patches and slight battery hick-up the entire system was very easy to use and instructions were well explained to guide you through. Whether it would only take you 15 or 30 seconds a day (as their site claims) is a matter of opinion, but it would certainly only be a minute or two to get this data and then plan your workouts accordingly.
This was generally fairly quick and having a device that it pulsating your arm does tend to help you believe there is actually something going on, which is handy. However, I did find the issue with re-using the sticky patches meant I had to replace and re-test myself a couple of times – no big deal but a little annoying. Once or twice the test seemed to just fail half way through too, although I do wonder whether this was down to a tick I have that tends to extend to my wrist/hand that could have totally thrown off the test. So all in all the sync was reliable bar the sticky electrode issue and being a little twitchy.
As already mentioned, I did have a slight issue with the battery at first try, but this was not a precursor of things to come. The assessment device only takes one AAA battery, making it both small and light, as well as the minimal lights/screens on the device itself meaning that battery actually seems to last pretty well. I do wonder whether it would be such a hardship to put a bit more information on the device itself and add another battery to cope with the extra drain, but that’s just a suggestion for the inevitable 2nd generation of the device.
The CheckMyLevel starter pack includes the assessment device and a month’s supply of the electrodes (it doesn’t say how many this is though). This will set you back a little over £200 according to Amazon, although the RRP is more like £300. That’s not cheap and for a part-timer like me I would have to say it’s a little steep. However, for a serious athlete (whether professional or amateur) if the science is to be believed this could be a money very well spent. Although keep in mind that you’ll also have the ongoing costs of electrodes on top (which I can’t seem to find a price for).
CheckMyLevel is a really interesting device that seems to be based on some solid science, although not my specialist area if I’m honest. However, when it comes to the user experience there are slight question marks and the price is high for what you get. Though I can’t fault it for what it does, I do have to question whether it’s worth investing in this for an average joe like me that trains a bit, but to no real end (I’m no elite sports person that’s for sure). So if you’re a ‘proper’ athlete, by which I mean a train every day, with a plan to peak for competition sort of a person, then the CheckMyLevel could very well be the thing for you.