8 In Fatherhood/ Fitness

Things I’m Loving Thursday: Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music Review

UPDATE: Garmin just announced that Spotify offline playlists are now available on the Vivoactive 3! This is a massive game changer.

I tend to be a very passionate person. This shows very strongly in my hobbies, and especially the physical items used in these hobbies. Once I commit myself to learning about something, I dive in and try to learn everything I possibly can about the subject. I believe that an interesting person is an interested person; someone that loves something. I could listen to someone talk about their passions for hours even if I have no idea what it is. Because of this, I have amassed a small collection of a wide variety of hobbies. (Sarah here – he’s not kidding. Adam is the king of hobbies, and has had countless over the years, but it’s so much fun watching him passionately learn everything he can about a new one!) Each item in this collection is the product of days upon days of research, picking people’s brains, and testing different things. I love talking about all of these things and think this will be the perfect outlet for letting the world know about some of my passions. I will be taking over most Thursdays around here to show off something from my collection of dad hobbies that I hope you guys will be interested in and hopefully I might influence you a little bit in your next purchase or hobby selection. None of these will be sponsored in any way and I will have paid full price for each item. I’ve also changed my Instagram handle to, @TheHobbiestDad which only seems appropriate.

garmin vivoactive 3 music review

The first item that I wanted to share with you guys is my Garmin vívoactive 3 Music watch. I had a Forerunner 235 that I loved but it was stolen from my truck about a year ago. I never really used that watch for what it was meant for but I loved it for what it was. After about six months without a watch, I dove back into my research to find my next watch. Garmin was always top of my list because I was already plugged into the environment (which I’ll get to later) and the price was right. I tried on a couple and the vivoactive was perfect for me. It weighs in at about 39.8 grams, based on my measurements, whereas Sarah’s iWatch clocks about 55.5 grams. For an activity tracker, this extra weight is noticeable. There aren’t as many features, even compared to some of the higher end Garmin watches, but it fits my needs perfectly.

garmin vivoactive 3 music review

When I was needing to get back into shape, I was looking for some motivation. The first sign that the universe sent me was running over a bump in the road and feeling a little too much jiggle. I am a person that is easily motivated by gamification. If I can win a badge or even just a green check mark, I will work towards it. Garmin sucked me in with loads of challenges and weekly competitions to keep me reaching for something more. Every day, I strive to feel the vibration on my wrist and see that I have met my step goal or climbed my stairs goal. These daily achievable goals keep me perfectly motivated to keep my fitness journey going.

garmin vivoactive 3 music gps watch review

I mentioned the Garmin environment before and that is one of my favorite aspects of the watch. You can get into Garmin’s Connect application with any of their watches, and I highly suggest if you get one, you get involved. You can join weekly step challenges, get badges for all kinds of crazy milestones, or just keep track of each of your activities to see how you have progressed over time. Before I run at a new area, I will go into Garmin Connect and map it so I know roughly where my mile markers will be. All the challenges are great, but nothing compares to seeing your run times go down as distances go up.

As far as the battery life goes, depending on how many runs I do, I usually only charge it once every 4-5 days. This is pretty impressive considering Sarah finds herself charging her Apple watch every other day, at least. Even on run days when I plug it into my computer to transfer music, it will acquire quite a bit of charge just in the small amount of time it takes to download a few songs.

garmin vivoactive 3 music

The watch itself is not without some faults. My main gripe with the Music model is you have to connect to a computer in order to transfer music or podcasts to it. The interfaces are nice and customizable, but if you have a lot, it could take some time to go through. Another complaint I have heard about this model is the GPS acquisition time. It usually takes my watch about 10-15 seconds to acquire GPS signal, but I usually spend a couple minutes stretching after I click the run icon, so I have never had a problem with it.

Overall, I would not be at my current position in my fitness journey without this watch. Yesterday, I ran my first 6 mile run of my adult life and it felt great to watch those miles tick by.

Do you run with a watch? What kind do you have and why did you choose it?


  • Reply
    February 21, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    I enjoyed your post. I can relate to your passion for hobbies and hobby hardware. My wife used to chip at me about all my hobbies. Running is by far my favorite form of exercise. In my Adam-eskque era, I once had a thirteen year streak of running at least once every 24 hours. On sick days it might have only been for a mile, but it was a mile. I found over time that it was much safer albeit boring to leave the music and podcasts at home because I needed to hear stuff like cars coming up, dogs charging from behind and other runners approaching. But, like you, I am motivated by adding up miles and watching the lapsed time.

    At annual physical time, my doctor would sometimes tell me that his orthopedic surgeon friend called runners “boat payments.” I still have a theoretical love for running but I am now covering some of the checks that I wrote on my knee joints and spine. I still miss the sport and exillerating feeling that running brought.

    • Reply
      Adam Ingle
      February 21, 2019 at 1:48 pm

      You need to come back next week and check out my post on bone inductions headphones. I ran 6 miles with them yesterday and could clearly hear people running behind me.

      One of the reasons I’m trying to cut weight before going on longer runs is to keep as much strain off of my knees as possible.

  • Reply
    February 21, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    I was considering a Garmin before I went with the Fitbit. I was a watch person, so even going to something like this was a big change ! I did it because I wanted to track my steps and my workouts. It’s motivating!
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    • Reply
      Adam Ingle
      February 22, 2019 at 8:50 am

      Tracking steps and workout times are some of my biggest motivators. There was a badge in Garmin Connect that was “7 Days of Step Goal” which had me moving much more than average.

  • Reply
    Rikki Ridgeway
    February 22, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    There are so many devices’s out there to choose from. I absolutely love my fitness tracker! It helps to motivate and keep me going!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Great news! I wish more watches would add this feature!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    I recently got a Fitbit. It has some neat features that attracted me too it. Now this Garmin sounds like the better of the two. 🙁

    • Reply
      February 27, 2019 at 10:27 am

      I think they both probably have great pro’s and con’s – which Fitbit did you get?

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