Whether you’re a fitness noob or an aspiring triathlete, getting in shape is something that has been made easier over the years with advancements in technology. Gone are the days when you would have to hire an expensive personal trainer in order to keep you motivated and on top of your progress.
Wearable tech is the latest fitness trend to sweep the nation, with several new devices and apps making their debut this year. The competition may be getting crowded to say the least, so to keep you ahead of the pack, we came up with our picks of the Top 5 new fitness gadgets of 2013.
1) Fitbit Flex ($99.95)
Since Fitbit Flex was first announced at CES 2013 in May, it has taken the fitness world by storm. In the time after it’s public release, the Fitbit Flex has achieved mainstream popularity as one of the most highly recommended fitness devices to own thanks to it’s simple design and functionality. When compared to it’s competition (Nike Fuelband, Jawbone UP), Fitbit Flex is also reasonably priced at $99.95.
If that number doesn’t deter you, the Flex easily provides the most bang for your healthy buck. The Flex is extremely accurate, can wirelessly sync your data, record your sleeping patterns and is available on iOS and Android platforms. Did we mention it’s also waterproof? Score!
2) Basis Fitness Band ($199)
The Basis Fitness Band is a revolutionary rubber wristband armed with sensors that monitor your every move and syncs directly to your smartphone with Bluetooth. What sets the Basis apart from other fitness bands on the market is it’s heart rate and perspiration sensors that closely monitor your skin temperature and perspiration levels.
For those looking to establish healthier sleeping patterns, the Basis’ blood flow sensors coupled with an accelerometer work together to measure how long and how well you sleep. The Basis also takes the data and uses it to encourage “healthy habits” such as burning more calories by going for more walks throughout the day. At $199, the Basis may be a tad bit on the pricey side, but the long-term benefits you will receive may be enough to outweigh the cost.
3) Withings Pulse ($99)
The Withings Pulse may not receive the same amount of fanfare as these other devices, but it is certainly an item that will soon be on everyone’s radar.The Pulse is a relatively tiny device (about the size of a USB thumb drive) weighing only 8 grams, but packs a surprising punch with its wide array of features.
The Pulse boasts the ability to monitor your heart rate without a chest strap, pairs with your smartphone using Bluetooth, and can track everything from exercise goals to sleeping patterns. If you enjoy a more compact and discreet fitness tracker experience, the Withings Pulse will not let you down.
4) Armour39 ($149.99)
Under Armour’s first foray into wearable fitness tech is a compelling one, albeit an entry that comes with a hefty $150 price tag. Essentially, Armour39 is a fancy heart monitor that wraps around your chest with a yellow strap and branded chest monitor that bears resemblance to a Tony Stark prototype.
The Armour39 system combines a small Bluetooth LE-enabled pod with a distinctive chest strap and an app that tracks your level of exertion, awarding you “WILLpower” points whenever you exercise. These points are used to track your daily progress and motivate you, similar to Nike’s FuelPoint system, which you can then monitor in real-time using the Armour39 mobile app.
The only downside seems to be it’s lack of Android support. But if you happen to be a lucky iPhone owner, the Armour39 is the Lamborghini of wearable heart rate monitors. It would not be surprising to see this fashionable technology gain ground in the near future thanks to Under Armour’s large stable of young, marketable athletes such as Cam Newton, Bryce Harper, Brandon Jennings and Canelo to name a few.
5) Runkeeper App (Free)
A favorite app of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Runkeeper is simple yet comprehensive running app that is beginning to gain separation from the competition. Free to download for iOS and Android, Runkeeper uses your smartphone’s GPS technology to track your exercise habits and provide you with the necessary data to achieve your fitness goals.
Runkeeper also integrates with Facebook to help you and your friends stay motivated and shares data with many of the wearable devices mentioned above, including the Fitbit Flex. The creators of Runkeeper also went the extra mile to help its users get in shape by teaming with personal trainers and coaches to develop 36 in-depth training plans that cover everything from nutrition advice to motivational quotes. With over 20 million users to date since its 2008 launch, Runkeeper is the go to app for serious fitness enthusiasts.