First of all I have to point out that all of the opinions you are about to read are my own, each of the devices I have all purchased myself/received as gifts.
So a few days ago, I discussed fitness motivation in general, and how to make your health and specifically fitness goals more of a priority.
In this post I want to discuss apps and devices that help this.
Granted apps and devices are NOT NECESSARY for fitness, but I think they can be helpful, good motivators, and great for positive reinforcement.
This is an app I have talked about before – it’s available for iOs, and android, and it’s a free download (or it was when I downloaded it). Basically all it is, is you committing to making a certain number of healthy activities each week (a pact).
You also set your stakes – meaning you say “I’ll do four healthy activities (workouts) this week”, your stakes tell you how much you will be CHARGED for every workout you miss.
I have mine set at 6 workouts per week. Any missed workout is a $5 fee deducted from my paypal account. HOWEVER if I do all 6 activities – I GET money. Yeah.
This is perfect for the cheapies out there who are REALLY ready to get those workouts in -but need that motivation.
It also allows you to make pacts for food diaries, and fruit/vegetable pacts that work the same way.
The app for workouts allows you to get your workouts in 1 of 3 ways:
1) using gps to “check in” to a gym through the app
2) the motion sensor in smart phones that detects movement while you workout
3) connect with other apps (fit bit, map my run, jawbone, moves, etc) to easier complete healthy activities.
For instance before I got my fit bit, I used the moves app – if I walked 10,000 steps/day I would complete my pact – for the day.
Now for devices:
1) Fitbit Flex
2) Polar FT4
3) Nike Sportwatch
These are all devices I use for one reason or another.
I love my fitbit – the more I use it, the more I love it. I keep it on all the time, until I need to charge it.
Pros: it’s waterproof, it’s comfortable and easy for me to keep on, there are a variety of colored bands I can purchase should I want to”change it up”. It is easy to sync with MyFitnessPal, the app is easy to use, as is the website. The more information you put in, the better (and more accurately) it works with your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – so it’s more accurate in telling you how many calories you have burned. You can set silent alarms (which are amazing) the band vibrates silently, and there is also a sleep mode you can set to track the quality of your sleep.
Cons: at the beginning you have to put a lot of info in – so it can “get to know you” – or rather your BMR. It is really designed to use gps to measure steps – versus other activities like swimming and weight lifting – but again – as it adapts to you and adjusts to your BMR it will very accurately give you how many calories you expend – there is just some work to do up-front.
The Flex Retails for $99.99, I got mine from Target because my mom sent me a Target gift card – so I put that towards the Flex.
The Polar FT4
This is the newest member of my arsenal – I got this because I am doing more lifting and resistance training – and I wanted to better measure how many calories I am expending (then I enter it into my fitbit app – to calibrate it). This is one of the more basic models of these watches – but it does what I need it to do.
Pros: It is water proof – so I can use it when I swim, it comes with a heart rate monitor therefore helping getting a pretty good measure of how many calories you’re expending. It is easy to set up in terms of entering your age, weight etc In general it is user friendly
Cons: As I said – this is a very basic model, but it does what I need it to do, if you want a watch that will measure fat-burning, with more bells and whistles you may want the FT7 or a more advanced model. It is not a GPS watch
I bought mine on amazon for $60
The Nike Sportwatch
I have been using the Nike watch for almost 2 years now, and I do love it! This is what I use as my GPS device- to gauge my distance and speed.
Pros: It comes with a sensor to put in/on your shoe to make your run more accurate, it shows a variety of factors such as calories burned, elapsed time, pace, average pace etc. It has a good price point for GPS watches. I also like that there is a small social component involved with Nike + – in that I can be invited to challenges for my run club. It is also very user friendly. Nike has PHENOMENAL customer service. Two weeks before the marathon my watch wasn’t working. I had been getting help from their online support, and eventually they told me there was nothing more they could do online – and gave me a number and told me to call it. Apparently my watch was still under warranty because they called a local store – put one on hold for- all I had to do was go in, return the old watch and pick up the new one. NO CHARGE. And everyone was super nice, and returned my emails within 24 hours.
Cons: I have noticed that in very large races, and even using the foot pod – that my time/distance are off – this happened during the marathon and it really upset me. Additionally I anxiously await the day gympact and nike will strike a deal so that I can sync my nike running app/watch and meet my pacts that way.
Again NONE of these are necessary for fitness or health. But they are nice, and especially helpful in terms of meeting goals and giving positive feedback.