You work hard all week, and when the weekend rolls around, you want to devote just as much energy to your workout. Because you give fitness your all on those two days, you need technology that can keep up with you. Today, you’ll find dozens of fitness trackers and other wearables that will monitor your progress, coach you through your session, and let you know if you’re working too hard — or not hard enough.
Here’s a look at some of the top fitness devices to suit every weekend warrior — no matter what your sport of choice.
Whether you’re training for a triathlon or you’re just really serious about your runs, cycles, and swims, this watch has you covered. It tracks just about every data point you’d need for these three activities — and probably a few you don’t need. In the pool, the Forerunner charts your distance, pace, stroke count, and number of laps. On the track, it figures out your pace, cadence, and heart rate. The biking feature uses GPS to analyze your speed and distance. The large face is easy to read, and it packs in a lot of useful information. This tracker will even let you see how your performance improves over time. Having so many features doesn’t come cheap — this is one of the priciest multi-sport trackers on the market.
Microsoft’s entry into the fitness tracking market is an able multitasker. It’s full of sensors that record everything from pace to skin temperature to ambient UV light. So whether you’re working out too hard or it’s time to apply sunscreen, the Band will let you know. Its guided workout feature is like having a personal trainer on your wrist. Pre-programmed workouts steer you through each exercise, tell you when to rest, and alert you when it’s time to move on to the next set. At the end of your workout, you’ll see how many reps you did and how many calories you burned.
Moov not only tracks your workouts, it also trains you, with real-time feedback to help you improve your performance. Three sensors in the band record your motion, and use those measurements to give you continuous advice, both through a talking voice and live charts on the app. Just like a human trainer, Moov will tell you if your form is poor or your stride is too short, and then give you tips to improve your performance and prevent injuries. Its built-in coach also motivates and pushes you toward your fitness goals. Moov has apps for running, fitness walking, swimming, cycling, cardio boxing, and the 7-minute workout, and the company plans to expand into other sports.
Newer heart rate monitors strap around your wrist, but the Wahoo Tickr X stays old school with a band that goes around your chest. When paired with a smartphone app, the Tickr X measures run variables like cadence, ground contact time, run smoothness, and vertical oscillation (the bounce in your step). What makes this monitor so unique is that it lets you set target heart rate zones, so you’ll know exactly when you hit the fat-burning or speed and endurance sweet spots in your workout.
Remember when fitness wear was little more than lightweight, flexible clothing you weren’t afraid to get sweaty in? Enter companies like Athos, and your t-shirt and workout pants are now imbued with a brain that can tell you exactly how hard your muscles are firing with every rep. A British company, SmartLife, sews sensors into its clothes that track heart rate, breathing, and other vitals and send the info to a smartphone app. Don’t want to wear the whole sensor-filled ensemble? Sensoria has built its technology right into a pair of socks. With each footfall, you’ll get a reading on your pace, calories, distance, and cadence (number of steps per minute). This high-tech gear is for serious trainers with deep pockets, and for those who are willing to exchange some discomfort (the sensors make the clothing more cumbersome to wear than normal workout clothes) for better performance insight.
This crowdfunding success story takes your workouts to a whole new level. Its high-tech sensors map your body motion on the X-, Y-, and Z- axes to automatically detect which exercise you’re doing — whether you’re jumping rope or doing biceps curls. This first-of-its-kind fitness tracker can even differentiate a sit-up you do with your arms across your chest from one you do with hands behind your head. It’s like having a digital coach on the mat with you, counting your reps, correcting your form, and letting you know how many calories you’ve burned.
If you’re serious about your runs, this is the do-it-all gadget for you. The Adidas miCoach packs the features of a fitness tracker, heart rate monitor, and music player in one. It has just about every sensor you’d ever want — including GPS, accelerometer, and heart rate monitor. The miCoach will create a run for you, supply the musical soundtrack, keep track of your pace and heart rate, and coach you through it, letting you know whenever you need to speed up or slow down. Two downsides to having so many features are the steep price, and the paltry battery life. Don’t expect to get more than a day’s worth of runs in before having to recharge.
Can’t afford a personal trainer? The Pear Mobile Intelligence System brings the same one-on-one advice to your workouts, without the pricey monthly charge. It comes with a heart rate monitor and foot pod, which transmit data to your smartphone during workouts. Through the included ear buds, a real coach — not a synthesized computer voice — talks you through your routine in real time. Pear comes with hundreds of different training plans to help you reach your goal, whether that’s to lose 10 pounds for your reunion, or train for a marathon. During your workout, the coach will tell you whether you need to speed up or slow down to stay within your target heart rate zone. Afterward, you can review your data to tweak your performance and improve your efficiency.
Several fitness trackers include a swimming feature, but for serious swimmers, PoolMate does it more comprehensively — and at a more reasonable price. It automatically tracks not only your number of laps and strokes per lap, but also your speed, efficiency, and the number of calories you’ve burned in the pool. The large, bright display is easy to read, even underwater. Once you’ve finished a set number of laps, the watch will give your wrist a buzz to let you know your workout’s done.
December 01, 2015