If you read my last article, you know that I am a huge fan of wearable technology and the data these devices can collect for us to optimize our workouts and training plans. I firmly believe that anyone who is serious about his or her performance or well-being should own at least one wearable device. With Christmas quickly approaching, it is a great time to be watching for deals on these devices in anticipation of the Apple watch, the next generation of wearable devices. Here is my list of must-own wearable devices for the fitness enthusiast in your life.
GPS Devices for Serious Endurance Athletes
- Basis Carbon Steel Edition: This is by far my most recommended wearable this holiday season. It is fairly expensive at $149 to $199 but it has a set of unique features that separate it from the competition. This is a wrist-worn watch that can automatically determine if you are walking, running or cycling. It measures steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, pulse, skin temperature, perspiration and sleep patterns. The only con is that it does not have GPS capability and cannot detect distances. Pair the Basis Carbon Steel Edition with a free app on your smartphone for tracking distances.
- Jawbone UP24: The Jawbone UP24 is a wristband that is a stylish approach to the classic design. It tracks your daily activity including calories burned, steps taken, distance traveled, idle time versus active time, and sleep quality. It syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth technology to your smartphone. The accompanying app shows you all these metrics in a well-designed interface and allows you to add metrics like mood and meals. The Jawbone UP24 costs $109 to $149 depending on the retailer.
- Fitbit One or Flex: These are two similar options from Fitbit, costing between $79 and $99. Both of these devices are very accurate activity trackers that monitor steps taken, exercise duration, calories burned, and sleep patterns. It does not have a GPS function and is unable to track and record distance, but like the Basis Carbon Steel Edition you can remedy that with a free app on your smartphone to get the best of both worlds. Although I would recommend these products to anyone, it may be best to wait for the latest version to be released. The Fitbit Force was the best option available, but it has been recalled due to some wearers reporting allergic reactions and skin rashes. The company will have a new model coming out in a few months, and you may want to wait until then before making this purchase.
- TomTom Runner Cardio: This is a GPS watch that no longer requires the user to wear a chest strap. TomTom took its already excellent GPS watch and added an embedded heart rate monitor, freeing endurance athletes from having to attach a second device to their bodies when training. This watch can track your heart rate zones, plot your runs on a map, and record your altitude, pace and lap times. These features allow for a much more efficient training experience. The watches’ Android and iOS apps also let you upload your data to the cloud on the fly. It costs $269, but is well worth the price.
For those who want a more in-depth piece of technology that has the power to revolutionize the wearable market, you should wait to purchase the anticipated watch from Apple or a competitor from Google, Samsung or Microsoft. Each of these companies is developing devices that can track all of the metrics from the current fitness tracker market, but they are striving to sync that data to an online health portal. This portal can be shared and can be interactive for your health care providers, coaches and trainers. It will offer insights into your unique physiology, and will be able to interpret your data to provide actionable info. I myself will wait to purchase one of these devices in 2015, even though the costs will be much higher.
Chris McAbee is the founder and co-owner of Wilmington Performance Lab, a state-of-the-art personal training facility that offers a full range of services including nutritional counseling and corporate wellness. Wilmington Performance Lab was founded on the belief that personal training is not only about making physical improvements, but also building long lasting, quality relationships with partners you can trust. For more information, visit http://wilmingtonperformancelab.com or call 910-399-5441.