When it comes to fitness, the digital age has really made a difference. Whether it's an app that pushes you to get off the couch, a water bottle that reminds you when to drink, or a set of headphones that act as your personal trainer, you can really get into shape with the help of your technology. We sat down to talk about the different ways tech and gadgets have helped us get into, or stay in shape.
Serenity Caldwell: Twelve South's ActionSleeve Armband
Sure, everyone loves their Apple Watch bands, but wrist-worn heart sensors aren't always the best solution when working out. (The TL;DR: When you bend your wrist, the watch's sensors can be less accurate due to the way they measure your heartbeat.) If you're lifting, planking, or worried about hitting your watch against your weights, it's worth considering Twelve South's ActionSleeve Armband: It lets you move your watch casing into an armband, where your watch can more accurately measure your heart rate when performing HIIT activities or weight training.
I've used the $29.99 ActionSleeve on multiple occasions, including playing derby with it; while it takes a little experimentation to find the right fit for the neoprene sleeve — especially if you're performing an exercise that flexes your bicep — once you get the correct fit it's a fantastic protective way to wear your watch.
See at Twelve South (opens in new tab)
Lory Gil: Misfit Shine 2
The Shine 2 is a small disc-like device with 12 little LED lights on its face. Those 12 little lights let you know how you're progressing with your fitness goals for the day. They also act as a notification alert when you get a text message or a phone call, or just to give you a nudge if you've been sitting down for too long. The Shine 2 tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep cycles.
It's also very subtle. It's a simple disc that comes in a variety of colors. You can wear it with the included fitness band, or you could invest in an attractive jewelry accessory that it snaps right into. Misfit even worked with Swarovski on specially designed luxury accessories that fit the Shine 2 perfectly. If you really want to keep it hidden, you could just stick it in your pocket. It's only slightly larger than the size of a U.S. quarter.
The Misfit Shine 2 comes in a variety of disc colors with complimentary fitness bands. It costs around $79.99.
See at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Luke Filipowicz: Withings Body Scale
I have been on a weight loss journey since the beginning of 2017 and I'm proud to say it's going well. I'm down a full 20 pounds, but now I seemed to have reached a plateau. In the beginning, I lost a pound almost every week, but now it's getting much harder to see progress; that's where the Withings Body Scale comes in to play!
I owe the discovery of the Withings Body Scale to Modern Dad and I couldn't believe I never thought of using a smart scale before. The ability to weigh myself as much or as little as I want and see the progress over a long period of time is exactly what I need to stay motivated. No more stepping on the scale and being disappointed that I only lost a minuscule amount of weight since my last weigh in, and no more worrying about the times I go up a pound or two. All the information syncs to the Withings app instantly and I don't have to think about manually uploading information or hand charting it out myself.
It's nice to know that everyone the house can use it as well. The Withings Body Scale can support multiple users, and once you set up the users in the app, the scale will automatically know who everybody is when they weigh in.
See at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Daniel Bader: Nomad Sport Strap
This is going to be boring, but hear me out: Nomad's new Apple Watch Sport Strap is amazing. It's robust and durable, attractive and extremely comfortable, and the best part is that the company made its own lugs so you don't have to deal with the weird hybrid look that most sports bands force you to live with when they use Apple's own lugs. Like Apple's own rubber sports bands, this one latches securely using the "Newson" method, and I can't tell you how many walks, runs, and games of dodgeball I've played with the Sport Strap staying snug.
See at Nomad (opens in new tab)
Mikah Sargent: Misfit Ray
An activity tracker needs to meet a few requirements if it's going to be good at its job: It needs to look good (or, alternatively, be inoffensive or understated), it needs to be comfortable, and it needs to be something you can wear for long periods of time. The Misfit Ray checks all these boxes.
The understated aluminum activity tracker is incredibly versatile and good-looking. Oh, and its replaceable batteries last up to four months. Four. Months. A truly excellent activity tracker needs to be able to track you at all times (or as close to it as possible), and the Ray can do this. It's small and light enough that you can keep it on all day, every day — heck, it's even swim-proof. Save for replacing the batteries once every four months, the Ray can keep tabs on your stats always.
For $49.99 you can track your steps, distance traveled, calories, sleep, and activities. The Bluetooth-connected Ray also includes piezoelectric vibration that you can set to buzz you for alarms and notifications. Thanks to its capacitive touch surface, it can also be configured as a "smart button" that'll let you trigger your camera's shutter button, control music, advance slides in a presentation, and more. The Ray is feature-packed, long lasting, and understated. It makes for a great activity-tracking experience.
See at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Joe Keller: Apple Watch Sport Band
Sometimes the simplest tools are the best for your needs. I don't exercise nearly as much as I should, but when I do, my preferred activity is jogging. Don't use any of the in-depth fitness apps, either. I start an open-ended run in the Apple Watch Workout app and just start going until I can't anymore.
That's why I picked the Apple Watch Sport Band. If there's something I think that Apple really just knocked right out of the park with the first version of the watch, it's the design of this band. It's comfortable when exercising, easy to use, and it isn't irritating when you're exercising with it for a long time. Importantly, I often find that other bands have a little give unless I wear them too tight, making them less than ideal for exercise. Conversely, the Sport Band keeps the Apple Watch firmly in place without any discomfort.
See at Apple (opens in new tab)
Cella Lao Rousseau: iPhone 7 Plus
I'll be honest, I just recently started going to the gym regularly, so I'm slowly learning from my gym and trainer pals what fitness tech is worth checking out. On my own, though, I've discovered that the iPhone 7 Plus is a pretty fantastic tool to use while working on yo' fitness!
For one, the iPhone's water-resistant capabilities make me feel secure that I won't accidentally murder my phone with sweat. Also, the music I play through my Apple Music subscription with my iPhone 7 Plus keeps me pumped up and ready to go at all times — shoutout to Kayla Itsines for her Intense Sweat workout playlist!
Additionally, the health app helps me monitor my physical activity progress day-to-day as I make small changes in my life like parking further away from the entrance of the mall, walking to the grocery store instead of driving, and the like.
I'm not looking to be a body builder or anything — I just want a butt like Nicki Minaj, is that too much to ask for?! — so the iPhone's apps and features are perfect for me as I dip my toe into the fitness world!
Mike Tanasychuk: Nothing... no, really!
Call me a Luddite, but I don't believe in fitness accessories beyond those that help keep your devices in place. I feel like fitness trackers and other connected devices make people focus on the metrics rather than simply listening to their own bodies. Sometimes, true progress can get lost in the numbers. Or, even worse, a culture of "good enough" is bred because you're hitting daily goals, and once you nail that mark, it's "time to stop" when you might have more in you.
While many people use fitness trackers for motivation, I believe they're also slowing many others down and preventing them from truly pushing themselves.
So get into the gym or onto the track, pop in your pump-up music if that's what revs your engine, and push until you can't push anymore — don't let a piece of rubber with Bluetooth tell you differently.
What about you?
Do you have a favorite fitness accessory that you think could help us shed unwanted pounds? Put them in the comments and maybe we'll try them out.
Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books. If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).
Mike T - I'm with you on this for a multitude of reasons. I won't go into them because it will come of as condescending, but the worst metric people have been paying attention to is steps.
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