Search This Blog

Friday, December 11, 2015

Can A Fitness Tracker Change Your Life...and Do You Want It To?

Fitness gadgets: help or hinder?
“Fabulous bracelet,” I recently remarked to my best friend while enjoying a mostly healthy lunch. (Sometimes you have to get the mixed berry cobbler or what’s the point of living, right?)

She quickly pointed out it wasn’t just a bracelet; it doubled as her latest fitness device that tracked precisely how many calories she burned, how many steps she took, and whether or not she needed to reapply her lipstick.

OK, I might be slightly exaggerating about that last part, but it certainly seemed to do everything else.

While I fully support optimizing health and getting in better shape, sometimes these gadgets bring with them, a certain
level of neuroticism that can actually derail your best fitness efforts.

The answer lies in finding the balance and what works for you. Don’t spend more time looking at charts and graphs than you sweat and lift. 

Should I Track?

We’ve been tracking workouts for eons. No, hieroglyphics on cave walls didn’t necessarily depict how many gallons of water we consumed daily, yet fitness enthusiasts have long maintained data from their workouts. Whereas even a decade ago we used pen and paper, wearing a cool gadget on your wrist provides a more modern way to track movement, sleep, calories, and all sorts of other fitness-focused monitoring.

With today’s tracking devices, paying attention to whatever information you chose to, becomes far easier. You can monitor the usual suspects like steps per day and calories burned as well as sleep quality and  post-workout recovery.

Now, can we get that gadget that makes breakfast for you and removes the gazillion stressors that permeate our morning frustrations?

What it comes down to is, do you need a fancy gadget to track everything? What if we just had our coffee, maybe a protein shake, and got on with our day? Tracking brings out the OCD in some people and massive neuroticism in others. 

Can tracking devices help you? A big emphatic…maybe. Like I’ve said before, if you can track responsibly, and not become neurotic and miserable – then, go for it.

If you spend all your time obsessing about your steps walked, calories burned, and lattes avoided, it might become more of a drawback than an asset.

At the same time, as my friend JJ Virgin always says, what you track, you can improve.

So ultimately you’ve got to decide if a tracking device could make your fitness goals more attainable or if it just becomes a pretty gadget that complicates things.

Regardless of route, remember tracking your progress is the goal, not becoming overwhelmed or neurotic.

OK, I Want a Gadget… What’s the Best One?

So you’ve decided a device won’t overwhelm your life with useless data and you’re going to utilize it mindfully. How do you determine the best choice?

Do your homework and figure your budget. ($100 seems to be the average gadget budget.)

I spent an afternoon looking at the latest devices. Based on that research, here are the Jinifit-approved devices. Keep in mind these would also make fantastic gifts!

Note: I am not affiliated with any of these manufacturers and simply recommend these because they’re top-rated, affordable, and address my audience needs.

This fab device tracks my sleep and movements throughout the day. Better yet, it connects to my heart-rate monitor and tracks my workouts. It tracks not only the steps but also the quality of my workouts. At about $100, it offers quality at a reasonable price.

Sleek and sexy, the Vivoactive also syncs to my phone so I can decide whether or not I want to stop my workout  to answer my phone or a text. The touch screen is so easy to use and records my daily activities. Besides counting your steps, it also buzzes to remind you to get moving, which is great if you tend to stay seated at your desk too long! At around 200 bucks, it still comes under the Apple watch price-wise.

After an hour of inactivity on this sleek device, a red bar lights up across the top to visually cue you’ve been inactive. Additional bars light up after that every 15 minutes of continued inactivity. Simply getting up and walking around for a couple of minutes resets this feature. A steal at $50 this does a great job of monitoring your activity and keeping you active.

This is the one that my friend wore recently at lunch whose sleek look I loved. It does all the things you would want a fitness tracker to do and looks stylish!  Available in several colors, it provides a stylish and functional device at only about $80.

Turn Your Smartphone into a Tracking Device

Not ready to take the leap into triple-digit fitness gadgets or fear they might overpower your workout? These are among my favorite (FREE!) apps to get your feet wet without taking the full-gadget plunge.

Spring Moves Good upbeat music to work out to guarantees we push ourselves harder. And Spring Moves guarantee DJ-curated playlists with similar beats per minute to keep you moving and discover some new favorite tunes.

My Fitness Pal  Logging your food has never been easier! You can log most meals in under a minute by searching their extensive database of brand name foods. If you make something from scratch, you can input the recipe, and the app will estimate its nutritional information for you.

Headspace  An app for meditation skeptics. Get in the habit with the Headspace free 10-day challenge where the app’s founder (and Greatist expert) British-accented Andy Puddicombe guides you through 10-minute meditations. The accent’s sexy, but the app's awesome animations and engaging community also become selling points (even if they’re free).

Your Turn
Fitness devices change rapidly and I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. What device would YOU add to this list? Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook page

You have permission to do so, free of charge, as long as the byline and
the article is included in its entirety:
Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!
© 2015 Jinifit, Inc.

If you use the article you are required to activate any links found in the article and the by-line. Please do not use this article in any publication that is not opt-in (spam).


Post a Comment