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Spire, The ‘Fitbit For Your Mind’

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from team member Adam Bedford, our brand new Fitness In Post “Tech Reviewer.”


I’m a working editor as well as the host of the Going Postal podcast. I’m based in Los Angeles, and I often work long and crazy hours, but like most people working in post I just wasn’t finding (or making) the time to look after my health (both mental and physical). 2 years ago my friend Zack Arnold started Fitness in Post and helped me change my approach to health & wellness. I was even inspired to run my first 10k!

Technology and its uses for improving wellness are a passion of mine, but when I discovered Spire, a device that markets itself as a “Fitbit for your mind,” my initial reaction was skepticism (with a side of curiosity).

Starting a new project is when my stress levels are often at their highest, so for the purposes of this review, I wore the Spire device every day for a month as I started an edit on a new scripted tv series.

When I’m on a roll cutting a show or film, It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and disappear down a proverbial rabbit hole. Having a device like the ‘Spire’ could help me determine what my triggers are for stress which would then help me to create better behavior patterns.

WHAT IS SPIRE?

466726-spireSpire is a small stone shaped device with an attached belt clip. The sensor inside measures the wearer’s breathing patterns and determines whether or not they are calm, focused or tense.

Spire is based on a science known as psychophysiology—the study of how the brain and body interacts with each other.

Spire claims “Your state of mind causes a cascade of physiological and hormonal changes throughout your body. In short doses, these are normal and beneficial. However, when experienced constantly over time, stress can become chronic and result in lasting damage, impoverished cognitive execution, irritability, and a host of other issues both cognitive/emotional and physical. Respiration is one physiological function that is affected by a change in your state in mind. By consciously  adjusting your rate of breathing, you can actually influence your nervous system.”

The Spire is a simple & elegant looking device, approximating the size, shape and color of a small stone.  The only metal (at least on the outside) is the attachment clip. It charges wirelessly through an included induction base which connects to power (or your computer) via mini-USB which looks great sitting on a desk or bedside table.

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Other features include 5-7 day battery life, an onboard activity tracker and a companion app (available for both iPhone and Android) which controls the device, sends push notifications about your current state and provides breathing & mini-meditation exercises.

health-spire-6PROS:
  • Design: Spire have taken a page out of Apple’s book here by going with a simplistic & minimalistic concept. The texture of the parametric polymer shell gives a nice non-slip feel in your hand. If not for the attached metal belt clip, you’d think you were holding a small pebble.
  • Spire is so small and lightweight that I barely felt the device as I was wearing it. The manufacturer even claims that Spire can survive a trip through the washing machine. (A theory I wasn’t willing to test.)
  • 7 day battery life
  • Wireless Charging

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CONS:
  • Spire only stores 6 hours of data without a connection to your phone. Considering that all it’s effectively measuring is Metadata, and that other trackers (Fitbit etc) can store up to 7 days of data, this feature could be greatly improved.
  • Sync time with the companion app is VERY SLOW if you don’t have a constant Bluetooth connection. One manual sync took me over 15 minutes.
  • The onboard Activity Tracker is basic, clunky and in my opinion unnecessary considering the abundance of trackers already on the market.

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Overall I found that Spire is a great training device for building new habits. The most important thing I learned was to STOP. AND. RELAX. It’s a lot harder to ignore your breathing patterns and stress levels when you have a device telling you to slow down and take a break. By gaining the awareness of my current state of mind and taking a 5-10 min walk during a tense period, I was able to increase my calm and focus numbers considerably thanks to Spire.

I’m a Los Angeles based editor who works primarily in TV and also hosts & produces an online radio show called “Going POSTal.” Before arriving in Los Angeles, I worked in the U.K and grew up in Australia. In my travels, I’ve experienced the wellness and productivity benefits of a good work/life balance firsthand. My biggest challenge since moving to America is trying to recreate this within the confines of working in Post-Production. I’m more than likely in the same boat as you. There’s never enough hours in the day and never enough energy to get through them. Kids, house, work, and the pressures of everyday life take over. I had no energy left. It wasn’t fair on me or my family and something needed to be done. What drew me to Fitness in Post was the accountability aspect. It’s so much easier to keep moving and stay on track when you have friends keeping you in line. Since joining, my energy levels have risen considerably, focus and concentration are dramatically improved, I’ve lost weight, and it’s given me the confidence to sign up for a 10K race run, something I would never have considered before. My journey is not complete yet, but I’m already feeling healthier, happier and am eager to do whatever I can to help others in similar situations.