Heart rate zone training can be an excellent way to monitor workout intensity and increase your fitness and endurance. By spending certain periods of workout time at different percentages of your maximum heart rate. For example, warming up at 50-60%, then entering the "fitness zone" of 60-70% for a period, then going into the aerobic zone of 70-80%, finally peaking in the intense anaerobic zone of 80-90%.

Using a Bluetooth LE heart rate monitor armband or chest strap, you can send up-to-the moment heart rate data to a battery-powered Feather nRF5280 Bluefruit equipped with a pair of seven segment LED displays.

Place it on a wall or shelf where you can easily see it while you work out! Or carry it or hook it to your bike. CircuitPython makes it straightforward to connect to your heart rate monitor and stream the heart rate data and zone percentages to the displays.

Parts & Materials

Heart Rate Monitor

You'll need a heart rate monitor that supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). I'm using the Scosche RHYTHM+ but you should be able to use any monitor that uses the Bluetooth SIG Heart Rate service standard.

These work by flashing green (and sometimes yellow) LEDs against your skin and then measuring the reflected light that returns. The color changes/darkens during the pulse of your heart thanks to all that blood sloshing around!

Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Express

PRODUCT ID: 4062
The Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Express is the new Feather family member with Bluetooth Low Energy and native USB support featuring the nRF52840!  It's...
$24.95
IN STOCK

FeatherWing Tripler Mini Kit - Prototyping Add-on For Feathers

PRODUCT ID: 3417
This is the FeatherWing Tripler - a prototyping add-on and more for all Feather boards. This is similar to our
$8.50
IN STOCK

Adafruit 0.56" 4-Digit 7-Segment FeatherWing Display - Red

PRODUCT ID: 3108
One segment? No way dude! 7-Segments for life!This is the Red Adafruit 0.56" 4-Digit 7-Segment Display w/ FeatherWing Combo Pack! We also have these combo...
$9.95
IN STOCK

Adafruit 0.56" 4-Digit 7-Segment FeatherWing Display - Blue

PRODUCT ID: 3106
One segment? No way dude! 7-Segments for life!This is the Blue Adafruit 0.56" 4-Digit 7-Segment Display w/ FeatherWing Combo Pack! We also have these...
OUT OF STOCK

Lithium Ion Polymer Battery - 3.7v 1200mAh

PRODUCT ID: 258
Lithium ion polymer (also known as 'lipo' or 'lipoly') batteries are thin, light and powerful. The output ranges from 4.2V when completely charged to 3.7V. This battery...
OUT OF STOCK
1 x USB Cable
USB A to Micro-B - 3 foot long

Optional

Seven Segment LED displays look pretty good on their own, but they look even better with a colored gel filter in front of them!

I really like the way they look through a small piece of LEE Filters CL797 Gel Filter Sheet - Deep Purple. I get mine from Filmtools.

Alt Version

You can build a CLUE variant of this project instead. All you'll need are a CLUE board instead of the Feather and seven segment displays.

Adafruit CLUE - nRF52840 Express with Bluetooth LE

PRODUCT ID: 4500
Do you feel like you just don't have a CLUE? Well, we can help with that - get a CLUE here at Adafruit by picking up this sensor-packed development board. We wanted to build some...
$39.95
IN STOCK
This guide was first published on Feb 05, 2020. It was last updated on Feb 05, 2020.
This page (Overview) was last updated on Oct 19, 2020.