Whether you’ve always been a gym rat or are just starting to jump on the fitness bandwagon, this is the best time to get in on the latest innovations in fitness technology. If you take a glance at the fitness trackers on Amazon or Best Buy, you’ll be overwhelmed with the selection. It’s hard to imagine that only 12 years ago, the coolest sports watch we could find was one that both glowed in the dark and was waterproof. But those days are long gone. Fitness trackers are capable of measuring heart rate, step count, calories burned, and so much more, including how we sleep! And with so many options out there, it’s easy to find a fitness tracker that can be tailored specifically to an individual’s fitness wants and needs. So, without further ado, we would like to present you with the hottest fitness trackers about to hit the shelves.
FitBit: FitBit Blaze & FitBit Alta
First and foremost, we should start with the fitness tracker brand that has rapidly become a household name. That is, of course, the FitBit. The FitBit brand offers 9 fitness tracking devices in total, including a standard pedometer (FitBit Zip) on the lower end and a fitness tracker smart scale on the other (FitBit Aria). They literally have something for every fitness level and goal. Below is a side by side comparison of two of the midlevel-to-higher end options, FitBit Blaze and the FitBit Alta.
Wearable: FitBit Blaze
Release Date: announced January 2016
Buy because: FitStar functionality: allows you to do guided workouts, complete with instructional animations; acts and runs like an app on the Fitbit Blaze, so it has its own little section that you swipe to.
FitBit Blaze Specs here
As you can see FitBit offers a lot between these two watches comes in a variety of colors, including: black, blue and plum. If you’re an avid walker and your step count is the main focus, we would suggest leaning more towards the Alta. There is no heart rate monitor built in but it does have a three way accelerometer so you will get an accurate synopsis of your workout without paying extra for features you don’t need. Its battery life is also a little longer than the Blaze lasting 8 days, where the Blaze only lasts for 5. If you’re more of a runner (with some biking thrown in for good measure), we recommend going with the Blaze. It’s better able to track varied activity throughout your workouts. Another thing to keep in mind with FitBit is the community the company is seeking to build. You can easily join in groups, walk for charity, head to local FitBit events and challenge your FitBit wearing friends to competitions. This may not seem like something one would normally consider when thinking about buying a fitness tracker, but we believe it really does add another level to the recent fitness movement and motivates some people to reach their goals.
Garmin: Garmin VivoActive HR
When you hear the name Garmin, you automatically think GPS. However, Garmin has joined in the fitness tracker watch movement and come up with their own take with 9 different options (in the Vivo series) depending on how intensely you train. With prices ranging from $69.99 to $249.99, there’s something for everyone. Even the most basic fitness tracker, the Vivofit, can help you reach your goals by counting steps, calories burned and will monitor your sleep. Each watch also helps track your fitness level and will set new goals each day. So with Garmin, it seems like you can’t really go wrong. However if you’re in the market for a fitness tracker that has a wider variety of specifications, you should check out the VivoActive HR.
Wearable: Garmin VivoActive HR
Release Date: May 2016
Buy because: Great for the active adventurer. Heartrate monitor and GPS included. And it’s waterproof!
For the full list of Specs click here.
The Garmin Vivoactive HR is truly every cross trainer’s dream watch. You can use it biking, swimming (it’s totally waterproof), running and more. The heart-rate monitor is on the wrist so no extra bulky straps are needed and it includes a GPS so you can map your outdoor workouts. Perhaps buying this watch will be the first step towards training for your first Ironman. Regardless of your activity of choice, you will not be disappointed with the Garmin VivoActive HR.
Samsung: Samsung Gear Fit2
When we say Samsung, you say Galaxy! Oh wait… no… it turns out that the Samsung Galaxy 50.0 is no longer the greatest device this company has made. That title now belongs to its fitness tracking watch called the Gear Fit 2. As you can probably tell from the name, this is the second edition of the Gear Fit that Samsung has released but when you check out the specs you will be glad that they gave it another go. Both versions are compatible with Android devices but the Gear Fit 2 is at least twice as rad.
The Samsung Gear Fit 2 is a little on the pricier side ($179.99 before taxes) but as far as fitness trackers go, it definitely gives you the bang for your buck. The GPS can easily track your route as you go and it can track many various activities which is ideal for people who like to change up their workout routine. The heart rate monitor is built in so you won’t have to worry about adjusting a strap around your chest or arm. The display is a 1.5-inch, color screen covered with gorilla glass so you don’t need to worry about getting it banged up in the gym. It comes in two strap sizes: small: wrist size 125-170mm and large: wrist size of 155-210mm so it will be comfortable for people of all sizes. It also connects easily to your Android phone so you won’t miss calls, texts or emails. Other nice additions to this watch are music playing capabilities which works in partner with Spotify and is Bluetooth connected. And, of course, what tracker would be complete without sleep monitoring? This watch is especially appealing for hikers and mountain bikers because it automatically tracks your altitude changes, something most other trackers we have seen often lack. Overall, this fitness tracker is perfect for the busy gym rat who wants to stay connected and get the most efficient workouts in.
Under Armour: SpeedForm Gemini 2 RE
Up to this point we’ve been getting glances of fitness tracker watches. But, Under Armour is not afraid to stray from the crowd and has designed a fitness tracking shoe. Yup, a shoe. Priced at $149.99, these shoes come in few trendy designs but the real magic is what they do. Built into the shoe is a running tracker that measures distance run, time, cadence and splits (for those who like to do interval workouts). This fitness tracker is currently only geared towards runners and will not track other activities like walking or hiking. However, if you’re a runner, you really should check these out.
You can also track your progress and your routes with its Built-in chip that syncs with Under Armour’s MapMyRun application. The shoes will also notify you at 400 miles when you need to get a new pair, but you won’t lose your data because it’s saved for you. And of course, there’s no need to worry about battery life with these shoes. The only thing that needs power is the chip tracker which is designed to outlast the shoe.
Here are some fitness trackers to look out for in the coming months:
Apple: Apple Watch 2
The Apple Watch 2 release date has been a bit of a mystery but with the details that have been released, it seems that apple users will be very pleased. It is going to be thinner than the original and have a front facing camera for facetime capabilities. It will also include GPS which the first Apple Watch did not. Both monitor your heart rate with a sensor on the watch itself. Both Apple Watches are able to track various activities including running, biking, walking, etc.
Brand Name: Apple
Product Name: Apple Watch 2
Release Date: September, 2016…possibly
Price: Expected price for the Apple Watch 2 ranges from as low as $399 to as high as $18,620.
Buy because: Thinner than the first model and is more independent from the iPhone.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Apple Watch 2 is not exclusively a fitness tracker. It appears as though Apple is trying to make the watch more independent from the iPhone and therefore the watch has many features, one of which being fitness tracking. However, it does include GPS which is a huge bonus. For the diehard Apple fans, that might sound like the heavens opening above you. But for Android users or people who want a watch solely devoted to their fitness goals, this might not be the watch you are looking for, especially when you consider the projected price.
Emiota: Belty Good Vibes
Another upcoming release in the health and wellness world is the Belty Good Vibes by Emiota. The first thing you should know is that this belt is not something you would wear while doing intense exercise. It’s beautifully crafted from black or brown leather and hand stitched to give it a very elegant look. That being said, this belt is better used as an accessory with your business casual attire at the office or when you are dressing a little fancier in your down time. Even though it isn’t geared towards sweat-filled hours in the gym, it is not something to brush off quickly. The technology in the Belty Good Vibes is actually pretty incredible. It’s the first use of artificial intelligence in a belt and the technology is focused on healthier life choices through day to day activities. By using a companion app, it can help you set a quicker pace while you walk by setting a fast rhythm. It’ll also tell you to drink more water, improve your posture and more. And because it is infused with AI, the belt will learn from you. How? By talking to it. Yes, you can talk to it.
Brand Name: Emiota
Product Name: Belty Good Vibes
Release Date: December, 2016
Price: starting at $395
Buy because: It will help you make healthier choices all day, not just when you work out.
Check out more information here.
This belt could be a great addition to your fitness goals toolbox but is not exactly the traditional fitness tracker that FitBit fans are used to. However, the smart technology is something to keep your eye on as we are sure other companies will follow suit with their own AI fitness tracking devices. And if you are someone who is ready for a complete overhaul of your unhealthy lifestyle choices, this belt could really be of service.
Wearable Experiments: Nadi X: The Form Enhancing Tights
Keeping with the theme of wearable fitness aides, we move onto Wearable Experiments who have come up with Nadi: The Form Enhancing Tights. They are exactly as they sound but if you are having trouble imagining what they do or how they do it, you’re not alone. This technology is so advanced, it is a little hard to wrap your mind around. The people at Wearable Experiments have found a way to infuse pairs of tights (leggings) with sensors which vibrate at different frequencies to inform the wearer to adjust their form. It comes paired with an app, available on Android and Apple devices, that allows you to interpret and monitor your form and flow to improve your stances.
So far, these smart tights are only used for yoga workouts but the inventors seem to be planning to expand into other areas such as boxing, cycling and weightlifting. They’re good for up to 25 washes and the creators are trying to create a recharging basket that you can simply toss them in. Some are concerned that technology focus of the tights could take away from the meditative part of yoga, but it could be a great tool for someone who is very focused on form. Unless you consider yourself a yogi, these might need to be shelved for the time being. If you are a Yogi and/or instructor, these might be the perfect thing for you.
Nixon: The Mission
Last but not least we have a watch for all the extreme sports readers. Do you surf? Snowboard? Are you drawn to the rough and rugged? Well then, here comes your dream watch. It’s the Nixon: The Mission. Built on Android Wear, this watch is not only smart but pretty much indestructible, made with a 316L stainless-steel body. It’s also the first watch we have seen that you can use while scuba diving (up to 100m) and gives current surf and snow conditions based on your GPS. Plus, it’s fully customizable – they even offer engraving!
Looking at the Nixon website, it appears that The Mission watch is geared mainly towards men given its size. Using Nixon Trace technology you can track workout sessions and view the stats easily while working out. Check out the list of sensors it has: Altimeter, barometer, thermometer, compass, gyrometer, accelerometer and humidity sensors. The only drawbacks are: the short battery life which is about 24 hours (the shortest of all of the watches in this article), and the fact that it doesn’t include a heart-rate monitor which is quite the deal breaker!
Now that you have more than enough options to choose from, it’s time for you to start evaluating for yourself. Each device offers something slightly unique, geared towards different types of sports and abilities. Check out their counterparts and start making a checklist of features you need your fitness tracker to have to help you meet your goals. We are positive that this list, though not comprehensive, will at least help you to hone in on what you need.