I recently got an email from Jake from Gymboss.com asking if I would like to try out the GymBoss interval timer.
I’m a sucker for free stuff, especially if I know that “stuff” is good, so I said yes! I also told Jake that I would write a review of the Gymboss interval timer, and here it is!
You might think that this will be a glowingly positive review simply because I received this item for free and I’m just returning the favor.
I have owned and used an older version of the GymBoss which I purchased in 2008!
The newer GymBoss interval timers are nearly the same as the old ones, but with a few additional features and a variety of colors and designs to choose from.
The older Gymboss is pictured below, on the left, and the newer on on the right:
The old version only came in grey (from what I remember), but for the new one, I choose black, because black seems to match with just about anything. It also has a different feel to it. The outer casing feels like some sort of soft rubber. Not sure if this has any function, but it feels nice.
Here’s a closer look at what it looks like:
I’m not sure why there’s the phone number printed on the bottom of the device. Maybe it’s for technical support or a number to call if I want to order more interval timers?? I don’t know.
There’s also a REBOOT button (which is not featured on the older version). According to the instructions, it’s for a “malfunctioning or frozen timer”. Handy, but I’ve haven’t come across any issues that required a rebooting.
It also came with a pamphlet with a few Tabata workouts, and an article on interval training:
Multiple Alarms & Alarm Durations
There are 2 different types of beeps (BH or beep high, and BL or beep low) along with a vibration alarm.
These can be used in combinations. For example BH or a high pitch beep combined with a vibration for the alarm at the end of the interval. This is good because in a noisy environment, you may not be able to hear the beep, but will feel the vibrations from the alarm.
You can also choose the alarm duration, from 1, 2, 5 or 9 seconds. Personally I use 5 seconds.
The Gymboss interval timer is tiny. It measures 1 3/4” x 2 1/4”. Apparently it’s a size of something called a “pager”, whatever that is.
The stopwatch is a newer feature on the updated Gymboss that’s not included in the older version.
The Gymboss has a clip on the back, which is used to attach to your shorts, shirt, armband or whatever else. Personally, I do not do attach the timer to any parts of my clothing. I usually set it on the table, or clip it into the holes of my power rack.
How To Set It Up
It’s pretty easy. You can follow the instructions written on the back of the Gymboss:
Or read the “manual” that’s printed on a piece of paper (which was folded up and neatly tucked under the clip that’s on the back of the Gymboss):
Or watch the video below:
How I Use It
I mainly use this exercise timer whenever I hit the heavy bag or jump rope. I set the timer to 3 minutes on, and 1 minute off and let it run while I train.
I also started using the newer Gymboss as a stopwatch to time my rest periods in between sets. Normally I rest for about 3 minutes in between sets before slapping on my belt and wrist wraps and getting under the bar.
The “Pomodoro technique” is a simple time management system where you use a timer as a tool, and you work on a task for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break. After repeating this 4 times, you take a longer break.
It’s a pretty simple and effective technique for overcoming procrastination, getting on task and getting stuff done. Like studying, or writing this review that you’re reading now.
You can read more about the Pomodoro technique here.
The Gymboss interval timer is almost perfect for this. What I do is set the timer so that it is on for 25 minutes before the alarm goes off, and then it counts down for 5 minutes before the alarm goes off again. This is repeated 4 times. After 4 x 25 minutes of “work”, I manually time myself to take a 15-20 minute break before starting up again.
Although it’s not perfect, the Gymboss works a lot better than a kitchen timer!
Other Uses That I Haven’t Tried But Pretty Sure Will Work
- Kitchen Timer
- Tabata Intervals (20 seconds on, 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times)
- Various methods of HIIT (high intensity interval training)
- Alarm to wake you up if you want to nap for X minutes
Stuff I Liked
I really liked that they had the instructions printed on the back of the device! This makes it even easier to operate, especially if, for whatever reason, you stop using the Gymboss and forget how to use it.
I also liked the option vibration feature as one of the alarms.
My hearing sucks, probably due to listening to Michael Jackson on full blast when I was a toddler and standing next to those huge-ass speakers at rave parties when I was at the tail end of my teenage years. I usually have trouble hearing high pitch noises, but thankfully this timer vibrates so I can feel it. Or at the very least, see that it’s moving on the table due to the vibrations.
So it’s nice that a self-diagnosed hearing impaired individual like myself can be alerted at the end of an interval.
Stuff I Wish This Thing Had
My main gripe is that I can’t save any intervals.
For example, as mentioned earlier, I like to work on the heavy bag or jump rope to the interval of 3 minutes on and 1 minute off.
I also use the Pomodoro technique, which is 25 minutes "on" followed by a 5 minute break, repeated 4 times before a longer break.
Every time I want to switch between the two, I have to manually change the timer to the desired intervals. This is a pain in the ass, but luckily now that I have two Gymboss interval timers, I’ll use one for my workouts, and another for work and whatever else.
Update: I recently found out that they have a new product called the “Gymboss Max” and “Gymboss MiniMax”, both of which have the feature to save multiple intervals in it’s memory, and also perform multiple, complex intervals.
Here’s a video showcasing the Gymboss Max:
I’m not sure if they still sell the Gymboss Max because it’s no longer available on their website (at least, that I could tell). It seems to be phased out and replaced by the Gymboss MiniMax.
Also, even though there’s a clip, I think it would have been nice to have a magnet on the back of the clip so I can stick it on my fridge or anything else that’s metal. I’ll probably end up gluing a magnet on by myself.
It’s a simple, durable interval timer that does the job it’s intended to do.
The Gymboss is priced at about $20, which some people might think is expensive for such a small device.
But think about it this way: I got my first GymBoss interval timer almost 5 years ago, and I’m still using it today. The smartphone that I got 5 years ago costs almost 5 times as much, and is now a piece of junk today which I would be surprised if I could sell for $5. $20 for an interval timer that’s used on a regular basis is not so expensive in the long run.
As for the new one, I get the feeling that I’ll be using this GymBoss for a long time. After all, I did use the older GymBoss interval timer since 2008.
I’ll probably use this one more often simply because it has the stopwatch feature that I can use to time my rest periods in between sets.
Anyway, check it out if you’re looking for a solid, standalone interval timer: GymBoss.com