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"Intensity Minutes" calculations seriously flawed


The Intensity Minutes ("IM") calculations are seriously flawed, which is a shame because that's the main reason why I bought the FR55. I now erroneously earn IM for every single activity I start, even if my HR is low. I want to be able to start a simple walk (where my HR is below "Moderate Intensity") and track the distance without earning IM for it when I clearly haven't earnt it! Besides, when I compare the IM I get from an activity it doesn't match the HR data for that activity. Apparently a lot of dumb magic is happening in the background.

I want a setting that adds IM solely(!) on HR, nothing else! And this should work regardless if I'm recording an activity or not. And it should work even if I'm above "Moderate Intensity" for just a few seconds, and it should stop counting as soon as I go below "Moderate". I want the IM calculations to 100% obey my user defined HR zones, be it HR reserve or HR max, shouldn't matter, and it should of course obey my defined "Moderate Intensity" and "Vigorous Intensity" zones.

This should be really really simple to implement, really, everything is already there! Are Garmin afraid that people will earn too few IM points and give bad reviews, or what's going on here?! It makes no sense to me. I truly hate when software tries to be "smart", but instead ends up not even meeting basic functionality. At least have a switch so that people can choose the "dumb" setting! Calculating weekly intensity minutes (which we all know should be between 150 - 300 minutes) based on HR is the only true measurement, that's why this "feature" 100% must work for a sport watch, for crying out loud. 

I've read the following link and it doesn't give me anything:

I've also scanned the Internet and forums for a solution, with zero results.

Can this be accomplished on the FR55, or do I need to get a new watch/brand?

// Mack (annoyed FR55 owner)

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  • Hi ,

    I'm sorry to hear that you're frustrated. I'm happy to help! May I have permission to email you and view your Connect account, to see some examples of this happening?

  • Hi! Sure, you can definitely email me and view my Connect account, if you can elaborate on why this would help? It's impossible to "see" just by watching some training logs why my HR doesn't accurately earn me IM points. There's only one fix: the Garmin developers need to read my issue, confirm it, implement the fix and then test it on the devices they have. What I'm asking for (a switch that turns on the "dumb" mode explained in my previous post) should be extremely simple to implement because the watch already knows my HR (either from the built-in optical or a chest strap), my user defined HR zones and my "Weekly Intensity Minutes" settings.

    If you just do a quick scan online you will find countless of people like me with the same issue, and they are equally frustrated. It's not only the FR55 that has this bug.

    If this were to be fixed, the FR55 would be the perfect sports watch! Everything else works smooth as butter, the step counter is spot on, the GPS is accurate AF, it connects very quick to external devices, unbeatable battery (for the price range) etc etc.

  • , it would help if I look into activity data and your settings to see if the Intensity Minutes are reporting data as designed. If they are not, I can create a case for my second-tier help to look into. If they are working as designed and you are wanting us to change or add something, you will need to request that HERE, on our "Ideas" page.

  • Thanks for replying so quickly. Do you think you can elaborate on how it's meant to work, i.e. what is the exact "design"?  This I assume you already know because how would you otherwise control that it works as intended. I think it's smoother if we start there, it saves your time. Either if you write here or send a Garmin link that explains the design clearly with IM and heart zones (refer to my previous posts). 

    I will gladly push in a request on the "Ideas" page because I'm pretty sure that my watch and Garmin Connect works as intended, just that it's lacking the feature (hard to call it "feature", it's more like "base level functionality") I want.

  • "I want a setting that adds IM solely(!) on HR, nothing else!"

    Have you tried the following option?

    "Some newer watches have an option to base intensity minutes on heart rate zone"

    1. Open the Garmin Connect App.

    2. Open the menu:

      • Android: Select (top left).

      • iOS: Select More (bottom right).

    3. Select Garmin Devices.

    4. Select your device.

    5. Select Activity Tracking.

    6. Select Weekly Intensity Minutes.

    7. Select Heart Rate Zones.

      1. Select Moderate Intensity and select a zone.

      2. Select Vigorous Intensity and select a zone.

  • Absolutely agree with this problem, but want to add one more moment. Regardless of how IM is configured (Auto or HR zones) for me it works very buggy - with the same settings sometimes it recognizes my walks and adds IM to the counters. Sometimes not. I've compared many times HR rate and pace of my walks - 99% of time they are the same - same route, same HR, same pace... Why FR55 work in this stupid way? I have a very cheap Huawei bracelet that counts IM much much better than this "professional" device...

  • That is exactly what is not working. The settings are simply ignored. See also my thread which I have linked below.

  • I would say it's definitely not working.  The HR zone settings are being ignored.  I purchased a FR 55 about 3 weeks ago after 2 years with a Vivosmart 4 which seemed to work fine btw.  

    I've got some screenshots from a workout today where Vigorous was set at Zone 5 - the activity has 15 minutes in Zone 5 but the IM says 57 minutes Vigorous (x 2).  I'd paste the images here but it doesn't seem to let you. 

    Has a case been created to look at this  for the original poster ? 

    thank you,


    Oh I'm on 7.0.8  - it just updated this week.