Don’t get us wrong, getting up and active is always a good thing. Whether that’s by lifting weights, going mountain biking, or pounding the pavement for a few miles, a solid workout delivers more health benefits than we can list. But it can be even more rewarding when you can actually see the calories you’ve burned, track the altitude of those hills you biked, or log how many training miles you’ve run. GPS and heart rate watches allow you to do just that.
“These devices are all the rage because they take the guessing out of the effectiveness of your workout,” says Anja Garcia, DailyBurn trainer and creator of the new Inferno HR program (launching early next year), which places an emphasis on heart rate training. “From endurance runs, to HIIT workouts on DailyBurn, different watches can help you track and analyze your progress so you can make any needed changes to your workout in order to reach your goals faster.” Here are some of the best new watches on the market. Hint: They make great holiday gifts for fitness lovers!
2. Compete Package
Calling all stat lovers! Dissect your fitness performance with the Garmin Forerunner 620. Not only does this watch track basics like time, distance, calories burned and pace, when you use the heart rate monitor version, the device is smart enough to record ground contact, cadence and VO2 max. Be sure to check the recovery tool after a run — it will tell you how long you should wait until your next workout. ($400; garmin.com)
3. Built Strong
Tracking your heart rate can tell you a lot about the effectiveness of your workout. Set HR zones for yourself and continuously track heart rate (and activity!) with the MIO Alpha Heart Rate Sports Watch. The best part is you don’t even need a HR strap — the watch picks up your stats right from your wrist. Bonus: It’s water resistant up to 30 meters. ($200; mioglobal.com)
4. Personal Performance
Customize this New Balance NX950 GPS Runner display, which includes a clock, calories burned, distance, pace, average pace, speed, average speed, workout timer, lap number, lap time and lap distance. Not only is this GPS watch more affordable than most, it’s perfect for both beginners and advanced fitness aficionados alike. So go ahead and guess how many steps you take a day and use this tool to see if you’re right. ($100; newbalance.com)
5. Higher Ground
Want to know how much you climb when you're out on your mountain bike? It doesn’t have to be a mystery anymore — the Polar RC3 GPS watch can track your altitude as well as pace. The “Training Benefit” allows you to review your exercise and receive feedback. Charge it up via the computer while you look over your sweat session. The watch can hold its juice for up to 12 hours when in full GPS mode. ($300; polar.com)
6. Large Display
The Suunto Ambit2 S is made for the outdoors. This durable, circular watch has GPS technology so you can record your route, then connect the watch to your computer to review your course. The watch is compatible with more than 1,000 apps to help personalize the experience. Though it may seem a bit confusing with so many buttons and menus, you’ll quickly learn to navigate with ease. This wristband can also track bike power support. ($400; suunto.com)
7. In Good Time
Tired of getting to the gym, only to realize your watch is dead because you forgot to charge it? The Sync GPS watch doesn’t need to be recharged — its battery lasts at least a year. A perfect option for someone looking for something more basic, this sports watch keeps time and tracks speed, distance, pace and calories burned. ($80; syncactive.com)
8. Face Lift
Interval training can be an effective, efficient workout — especially with a helpful tool to guide you. Keep your active periods the correct length using the interval timer on this Timex Ironman Easy Trainer GPS. The watch can also track laps on top of distance, pace, speed and calories burned. Store up to 30 workouts, then upload them via Bluetooth. ($100; timex.com)
9. Quick Find
Say goodbye to all the complications with the one-button TomTom Multi-Sport GPS watch. Simply push down the right side of the button, choose your sport — running, cycling or swimming — and click right again to begin your workout. This device can find a GPS signal just about everywhere, even in places other devices have trouble picking up location. Plus, it allows you to set a goal — 5 miles, 30 minutes or 7 laps — and will vibrate on your wrist when you’ve hit 50, 90 and 100 percent of it. ($200; tomtom.com)
A watch that can store music and transmit it sans wires? It does exist! The hefty adidas miCoach Smart Run features a colored touch screen that can display your heart rate, which it tracks directly from your wrist. Customize your data screens, choose a strength or flexibility instructional video (you can just choose to do your own as well), and the Bluetooth audio transmits tunes and real time coaching directly to your wireless headphones. ($400; adidas.com)
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