Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fitness Tracking Gadgets and Apps

As a fitness enthusiast and professional, I've tried and tested my fair share or gadgets and apps to help me become more fit and active. Some I love, some I like and some I don't even know who would really use them. Instead of bashing some of the less used and liked gadgets and phone apps, I thought I'd brag about my favorite products for activity tracking to boost fitness levels.

**Obligatory blogger side note: I am not being paid to review these items, nor did I receive any for free. I just really like these products and want to share with everyone in case you're in the market for one of these gadgets and needing advice on what to purchase!**

Gadgets I love:
Polar Loop
I've been using my Polar Loop for two years now and I'm obsessed! I started using the FitBit back in 2011 when it was just a little machine that clipped onto my shorts or bra. In December 2013, I decided to try the Polar Loop because I liked my Polar FT4 heart rate monitor watch and the Polar Loop would sync to my heart rate monitor chest strap.

It's been a great product! I counts my steps and gives me an accurate calorie count based on my height, weight and daily activity. It also tracks my activity level based on laying, sitting, standing and running. Using the heart rate monitor chest strap, it can track your heart rate, analyze your training and put your training into your daily activity. I personally love it because it helps me to get up and moving on less active days and it really motivates me to push harder during my workouts. The Polar Loop also syncs to your computer and mobile phone with the Polar Flow app. You can see your activity at each part of the day and even how well you're sleeping!

Check out my Garmin Watch and Polar Loop (and my favorite Mizunos) from a training run last fall!


Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS
JP got my Garmin for me as a Valentine's gift back in 2011. I still run with the same exact watch to this day. That's over 4 years old with just one issue; my charger died so I had to get a new cable. That's it! This version of the watch is no longer produced by the manufacturer, but I'm sure the newer Garmin Forerunner models are equally as effective and efficient.

I love that with my watch I can see how long I've been running, how far and what pace I'm running at. This is incredibly helpful when training for races and you need to make sure you're running faster on your tempo days and slower on your long run days! You can also change the different stats that you see on the face of your watch. It also accurately tracks your calories based on height, weight, heart race and pace at which you're walking or running. The watch holds months worth of data from past activities, so you can go back and see if you're improving. It also syncs up to your computer for easy data storage.

Since this watch is discontinued, here are some great options for those of you interested in Garmin products:
Basic watch: Forerunner 10
Intermediate: Forerunner 210 or 220{similar to mine}
Advance: Forerunner 620

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Spotify
I started using Spotify when I began a full time career as a trainer and fitness instructor. I originally used my iTunes, but since I was constantly creating new play lists and trying to keep up with the latest and greatest music, I was spending more money than I wanted to a month on music. I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for Spotify for $10/month. It has been a lifesaver! I can create playlists for all of my classes and leave them on my phone in offline mode without taking up tons of memory space. As long as I'm connected to Wifi, I can access those playlists. If I know I won't have access to the internet, I can download them to my phone for however long I want. This is particularly great for when I'm running or walking outside and want to jam a little! You can also listen to radio stations, similar to Pandora, without any commercials with the paid subscription. I've been using Spotify for about 2 years now and love it!


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RunKeeper
Sometimes I don't feeling like wearing my Garmin watch. I may not necessarily care about my pace, but I still want to know my distance. In these instances I use the RunKeeper app on my iPhone! It links up to GPS and tracks your distance, pace and calories. It doesn't only track running workouts, but walking, cycling, swimming, hiking, etc. Once you've completed your workout, it stores in on the app and notifies you if you've hit new records like fastest time, farthest distance, most workouts recorded in a month and so on. You can also connect with friends who use the app and check out each other's progress. If you aren't ready to commit to spending a couple hundred dollars for a GPS watch, this app has everything you need...and it's free! There is now an upgraded pay version that also includes training plans and more if you're interested. One more thing, it now connects to My Fitness Pal and automatically adds your workouts to MFP for you! Just one less thing you have to add to your nutrition tracker each day!

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Gadgets I want to get my hands on:
Polar A300
This is Polar's new activity tracker. It's more like a watch then the Polar Loop, but it has very similar functionality including tracking steps, calories, distance and activity level, but now it will give you a slight vibration if you've been sitting for too long! It also connects to your Polar heart rate monitor and the Polar Flow app. The A300 seems to have a better interface. You can always see the time as well as some of your activity stats without having to constantly press the button to slide through your info. It seems to be a neat product and a great one up on the Polar Loop. It's something I want to check out a little more!

Polar M400
Most of the specs for the M400 seem similar to the A300, but with even more functionality. The M400 is also a GPS watch for multi-sport use! This would be a great upgrade for me from my Polar Loop and Garmin. One watch for both uses! It also has a sleeker design then my current Garmin watch and would probably fit my tiny wrist much better!

Apple Watch
Because it's an Apple product and I'm sure it's awesome, but let's be honest, I'm going to wait until the next version comes out. It seems that it's usually best to wait for version 2 of Apple products.

Fitbit
While I'm not necessary interested in getting a Fitbit product, I know plenty of people that use them and love them, my husband and clients included! Fitbit products are great and would be a good alternative brand of activity tracker for those of you that are interested. There are several different options to choose from based on how much you want to track and how much money you're willing to spend!

We definitely live in the age of technology and we all want the latest and greatest! I hope that this helps anyone looking for some new fitness activity gear! Happy hump day...now get out there and get moving!

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