By Sean Barker, CPT (@SeanBarker)
We’ve all seen them; you’re probably wearing one right now. If not, that’s cool, people still got fit way before there were any bits or bytes. But if you’re in the market for a fitness tracker or are wondering if they’re right for you, read on.
Fitbit, Apple, Garmin, and Polar are just some of the big brands sporting many models of monitors and fitness performance trackers you can wear to help keep you on track with your activity levels. Some monitor steps taken, running distance, heart rate and/or calories burned, while others – depending on the model and price – track your workout intensity and even sleep patterns, but is all this really necessary? In a recent study published in The Journal of The American Medical Association, researchers found that fitness trackers have the potential to help you lead a healthier lifestyle, but you cannot rely on them alone. There is plenty of technology out there – wearable or not – that has been designed to help you achieve your fitness goals, but they all still require the user to put in the effort and take an active role when tracking activity.
So, if you are a fitness enthusiast who needs to see visual metrics of your performance and progress and you love to crunch numbers as much as your abs, then fitness trackers can certainly help keep you motivated and accountable with your exercise and eating. If you are more old school or instinctive with your training, and a pen and paper are as technologically advanced as your tracking gets, that’s fine too; this can still keep your eye on the prize.
Before you begin using the latest technology, you should ask yourself if you really need it or if you just want it because it’s innovative and interesting, and decide if it matches your personality and is necessary to keep you motivated and consistent. No matter how cool some of these training technologies get, remember to make sure your fitness is on track with the foundations that never go out of style, like consistent work in the gym and in the kitchen – that’s the biggest bit of being fit.
If you’re looking for a fitness tracker to suit your needs, check out our top picks.