Turbo-Charge Your Fitness with Gadgets, Monitors and Apps in 2016
Over the last few years the number of gadgets and apps to help you hit those fitness goals has exploded. It is hard to imagine running without seeing your route, distance and calories burned on a phone screen at the end. Many people are synching still different apps with gym equipment.
With so many products competing for your attention, it can be difficult to know where the sweet spot between being useful and good value lies.
This section of Fitness Review is all about helping you cut through the noise and find the right fitness electronics for your needs.
Different Types of Fitness Apps and Gadgets
While they could be split into many different categories, I have gone with the following to keep things simple:
- Trackers: This includes the simple pedometers and on-body sensor equipment like belts.
- Fitness Watches: broad scope here, ranging from simple bands without displays (some crossover with trackers of course) to the fully spec’d smart watches.
- Scales and Measurements: Scales do a lot more than just measure your weight these days, body fat and other data all covered here.
- Apps and Software: Smartphone apps and the communities where you can share your data are covered in this section.
There is also a lot of innovation in the electronics which comes with many of the exercise machines you can buy these days. The buzzword is compatibility, with the ability to connect (wirelessly in many cases) to your machine and track your progress via your apps. While POLAR already provided monitoring in this way for several years – the additional functionality these days is amazing. I still remember the time when keeping track was a strictly manual exercise.
Apps can help you manage the diet aspect of your fitness as well as the active part. There are several variations here, though the basic idea is that you input your food consumption as it happens – and the app estimates the components and calories contained. This can help with weight gain and for weight loss programs. There was recently even a new gadget announced that can scan food and work out its exact composition.
Watches and Trackers – The Big Innovations
Smart watches like the Apple Watch and Android variations can do a lot of the things which were once covered only by specialists like Garmin and Polar. Whether you need a fully-spec’d smart watch is a key decision. The top end products are very expensive (and in the case of the Apple watch they require an iPhone too).
What you will find is that many of the companies which started out with relatively simple products are now making inroads into the smart watch market. FitBit started off with their famous bands, and are now offering color screened smart watches. Garmin continue to produce some amazing watches, with GPS and sharing functionality to go with their monitoring capabilities.
Here are Fitness Review I have produced a page which explains the different options from several leading manufacturers. Once you understand what the strengths of each of these are, you will be in a much better position to narrow your search for the perfect tracker or watch.
Here is an overview of the most popular manufacturers, along with a link to the review of their best selling item:
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Most Popular Fitness Apps 2016
New apps are being released (literally) every week on the various app stores. Some are niche, some connect to social networks new and old and still others attempt to gamify fitness in different ways. While it is hard for an individual app to reach the critical mass needed to really hit the headlines, there are a number of apps which have done exactly that. You will find more information on my Fitness Apps 2016 page. Below is a quick summary of the most popular of all:
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