You’ve tracked countless steps and picked apart numerous hours of sleep (or lack thereof). Now it’s time to take your exercise data to the next level. These eight fitness trackers motivate you to go way beyond logging 10,000 steps or snagging eight hours of shut-eye. They provide coaching and feedback on strength exercises, boxing basics and triathlon training — heck, they might even help you get to a finish line faster.
Welcome the new age of sports watches! We bet they’ll be your best workout buds in no time.
8 Tricked Out Fitness Trackers
1. Moov Now
Best for: Training day
Anyone who’s tried Wii Fit knows how fun it can be to turn a workout into a video game, complete with a little competition (at least against yourself). That’s what the Moov wristband and app does for exercise on the go. Choose a workout routine in the app, and the wristband’s 3D motion sensor analyzes your movements. As you exercise, a coach will count reps, encourage you to keep pushing and even provide tips on form, like keeping your upper body stable in a plank.
Moov’s real-time feedback goes beyond strength training, too. If you’re running, it might tell you to land softer or lengthen your stride. And while cycling, it’ll offer advice on when to switch gears on your bike, so you can power up a steep incline. The best part about the band, though, is the cardio boxing feature. You’ll see a sequence on screen (think different pop-up combos similar to Guitar Hero) that’ll lead you to jab, uppercut and hook your way to a high calorie burn. Start at “basic training” and work your way to “champion” level. Gigi Hadid and the model gang will have nothing on you. ($60, moov.cc)
Best for: Running this town
Consider the Apple Watch Nike+ an all-in-one smartwatch built specifically for athletes. It’s also one you’ll want to wear all day long. With the same trusted features as the Apple Watch Series 2, the Nike+ iteration also boasts built-in GPS (no iPhone required on runs), but with a brighter display, sportier strap and water resistance up to 50 meters.
Nike doesn’t just bring the cool factor, either. Ease of use and community are baked right in. Start a run with one click to the home screen or schedule one for later in the day. See real-time stats big and bold. Get audio updates from NRC coaches as you pick up the pace. And when you’re done with your run, challenge Nike+ friends to match it. When your watch asks, “Are we running today?” we think we know the answer… ($369 for 38 mm, $399 for 42 mm; nike.com and apple.com) —Jordan Shakeshaft
Best for: Heavy lifting
Let’s be real: Most of us could use a little help when it comes to mastering proper form during strength sessions. Enter, Strenx by GymWatch. The wearable band wraps around your arm or leg and (with the help of an app) gives audio and visual cues on how to make your lifting routine more efficient.
Thanks to a sensor that includes an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, the band analyzes your movements around all axis and tells just how long your muscles tense up during an exercise. That means it can read your range of motion, starting and max strength, power, force, volume, the number of partial and full reps and more. Choose an entire workout sequence from the app or put together your own line-up by pulling from the library of 900 moves. Then prepare for some serious strength gains. ($149, store.gymwatch.com)
Best for: Hitting the slopes
If winter sports are your thing, then you’ll want the TomTom Adventurer on your wrist. In one rugged wearable, you’ll get built-in GPS, a compass and heart-rate monitor, plus 3GB of music storage. But what really sets this arm candy apart is the addition of a newly minted barometer to enable fresh new sports modes: skiing, snowboarding, hiking and trail running. Even fancier: Lift detection mode, so you can kick back on the ride up the mountain to check out some quick real-time stats. Apres-ski, connect to the MySports app to pour over the day’s runs in more detail, including distance, elevation, ascent, descent, max speed and max hill gradient.
Hiking more your scene? Expect up to 24 hours of continuous use (GPS is sampled every two seconds, favoring battery life over pin-point accuracy). Still, hikers will come away with a pretty detailed report card, including ascent, descent, splits and a topographical map of your route — all via the MySports app. ($349, tomtom.com) —J.S.
Best for: Scoring that PR
Got your eye on the finish line of your first half-marathon or a new race day record? This Garmin Forerunner will help get you there. Besides providing pace, distance, total time, heart rate, training zones and calories burned, you can also set your goal pace, opt to follow intervals or choose the run/walk function and it’ll notify you when to speed up or slow down. You control your hype-me-up playlist right from your wrist for an extra boost, too. And by signing up on GarminConnect.com, you can also choose a training plan, see your monthly progress, find a new route or join challenges.
It won’t let you just sit back and relax after pounding the pavement, either. The watch will buzz if you’ve been sitting too long. Even better, it’ll tell you if you’ve hit the recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week (or 75 minutes in the vigorous range), guidelines set by the American Heart Association. In other words, you can’t just phone in your workouts — how hard you work really matters. ($200, shop.garmin.com)
Best for: Nutrition tracking
One thing most trackers neglect to keep tabs on: your H2O levels… until LVL came along. In addition to the typical steps, sleep and heart rate monitor, this wristband uses medical-grade infrared light to tell you how hydrated you are (or aren’t). It also tells you exactly how much more liquid you need to improve physical performance levels, and how that’ll enhance your sleep and your mood. Created by an MD who suffered a stroke due to dehydration and based on more than four years’ worth of research, it’s the first consumer product to provide info on hydration in real-time. Anyone else reaching for their water bottle already? ($150, available for pre-order now at onelvl.com, ships August 2017)
7. Huawei Fit
Best for: Triathlon training
The sleek Huawei Fit watch is so lightweight you’ll hardly notice it’s on your wrist — an attribute you’ll hold high if you’re trying to swim, bike and run your way to the finish line. Within the Huawei Wear app, you’ll find how much time you spent walking, running, biking, swimming and climbing stairs throughout the day. Plus, for each workout you complete, it breaks down each minute you spent in the various heart rate training zones, from fat burn to aerobic to anaerobic.
It’ll also give live updates on your heart rate while you work out. (Just tap for data when you’re at rest.) You have the option of choosing a training plan within the app, which syncs with your watch to coach you through each exercise session. And you can opt to get text notifications as soon as someone pings you, too, so you don’t miss a beat while working out. ($129, huawei.com)
8. Polar M600
Best for: Goal getting
Sure, most trackers tell you how many minutes you’ve been active, but not many point out how much time you spent in your seat in a day — and that can yield some surprising stats. If that doesn’t inspire you to get moving more, the Polar M600 also allows you to set a goal (like running for 30 minutes or burning 500 calories during a bike ride) and will give you updates on your progress or whether you need to push harder along the way. When you’re done, it’ll provide instant feedback on the benefits of your workout, including the zones you reached (for example, fat burning) or how you improved your aerobic capacity.
The coolest feature of the M600 comes from its Siri-like assistance. Don’t want to forget your sneakers for your morning workout or need to add a run to tomorrow’s schedule? Simply say, “OK, Google,” and give it the command. It’ll remind you at the time you requested, so you’re set for success. ($330, polar.com)
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