Nowadays we are constantly switched on with personal technology being all around us.From social media luring us into keep upto date with people we follow,personal Netflix accounts keeping tabs on us recommending this or that series to watch next to even the constant beeps of messaging devices ensuring we get back to people.
Being switched is now all over the health and fitness industry too and we can see this with all the current trends that now really dominate the market.From phones that keep tabs of that 10,000 step count,apps to log your calories going in,workout classes that log your calories going out,watches that track our sleep,when to get up and move,devices that keep tabs of our heart rate to social media apps that allow you to share your workouts.
For some of you it might feel you need a little bit more extras than just some workout clothes and trainers to just get started with your training.This is something that constantly pops up in conversations when I am working with new clients.So today I am going to look at whether or not you really need to be investing in a fitness watch,tracker or device to get you started on your fitness journey whats the benefits.
A quote I use quite regularly in this column is “If you are not assessing then you are really only guessing” and this is something that can fit in well here.
I am all for certain trends that have come into the fitness industry.I have found myself using different approaches that have helped me bring my training to the next level both with myself and my clients and there are certainly plenty of useful tools out there to help you with your health and fitness goals.I have seen many from apps,watches and lots of others health and fitness devices enter the market.Some are really useful while others have just been a total waste of money.The ones that are useful really can compliment your overall training once that are used in the right manner and used at right stage of your own personal journey.For others there is no need to wasting your money on something that might look cool but really will only end up gathering dust 6 months later.
Lets look at a few options.
The 10,000 step feature
This really is one of the basics to work on before you start to get a little more specific with your training devices.This is the recommended steps target to be hitting on a daily basis.For the Monday to Friday busy office worker this number might seem a challenge some days but simple devices like your smartphone can track this and will help you be more conscious of getting nearer to that target-you don’t need to be splashing out on the latest fitness watch just yet,the app on your phone will do for now.Having said that,remember the goal is just to move a little more and enjoy getting outside into the elements.Like I mention in many articles getting outside to some of the many parks or hills around and forgetting about the devices is a big win every now and then.Switch off,get the steps in and overall just clear the head-if you did want to get a little more specific with your training then you can go a little further monitoring your heart rate,workouts,steps then looking at a entry level fitness watch can be a good option.
Year after year the rapid change in technology is incredible with these watches as they seem to get better and better as time goes on. The choice is now endless at this stage with different brands, specs and even colors at this stage.My advice with these watches to people beginning their fitness journey is to commit to yourself first and prove that you can be a little more active on your own accord first before going down this route and once you have stuck with it and want to get a little more specific then look at getting an entry level fitness watch if you feel its going to help a little more.Rather than the phone telling you to take 10,000 steps,watches like the Garmin Insights feature will nudge you if it senses you’re moving less than you usually do on a given day of the week. Fitbit watches allows users to set and track personalized goals related to things like weight and cardiovascular fitness.Overall a fitness watch is great for logging and keeping track of your training and recovery data.It can pick up holes in your training like disturbed sleep to even positives in your training like an improved running time.Whether you’re training for a specific race or just looking to be more active in general, a fitness watch can help you closely monitor your activity and training.-Track your daily steps, heart rate, map routes, and even receive smartphone alerts on some of these devices. My top brands to consider are Garmin and Polar or Fitbit.
Heart rate monitors
Monitoring your heart rate has really been around the fitness industry a long time but it was perhaps really only seen as one of those features that athletes were using.With the influx of new technology it really is quite easy to monitor your heart rate during a session using your watch or device.One of my favorites is the polar heart rate strap that connects upto your watch and most cardiovascular equipment.For a lot of us it seems that the higher we can get the heart rate the better the workout.Yes,in the odd workout this can be useful but in my opinion the more smarter approach is actually trying to find the right heart zone you need to stay in and monitoring that.For a lot of my weight loss clients in some of our workout sessions we use a simple heart rate monitor in fact to actually control their intensity better giving them the right stimulus they need for that particular day-Remember the higher the intensity is not always the right answer and is something I have wrote in a previous article.Again,for total beginners tracking heart rate isn’t the most important step first but can be something you can look at every now and then down the line.It can be a little tricky to understand what zone you need to be targeting for your particular goal so my best tip is to seek some advice from a trainer who knows what is the best approach for you.
Apps to track nutrition goals
Its not just your activity and workouts that can be logged and monitored.There are endless options nowadays to keep tabs on your nutrition end of things too and this really is quite important if your goals are looking to improve performance or body composition.At the end of the day calories matter and the right amount of macro-nutrients should be monitored to get a guideline of where you are.One of the biggest common mistakes I see with clients is playing the guessing game here and not really knowing where to work off.The best advice for total beginners is to hon in on the basics first and get them right before starting to look a little further into apps to monitor your nutrition requirements.Drink enough water,quit the junk food and have a balanced 80/20 realistic approach with your nutritional lifestyle first then go delve into the numbers using an app like MyfitnessPal to see where you can brush up a little.
Overall I feel the overall landscape of fitness in Ireland has drastically changed the last 10 years with the influx of all these watches,devices and apps.There are a lot more positives than negatives in my opinion with them and they certainly have a place.However you don’t need to get bogged down with them if you are just starting out-Sure if you want to get a little more specific with your training eventually then absolutely some of these tips above should help you out.Keep it simple first and get a little consistency into your overall lifestyle then find what works for you,have fun and stick with it.
You can also see some of his previous articles here