If you exercise hard when your trainer is urging you on, but stall when you’re on your own, then you may need a new kind of accountability – one you can wear on your wrist.
The latest generation of wearable technology although no substitute for a personal trainer, can help you stay on the straight and narrow when you’re away from the gym, giving you the inspiration and motivation you need to keep moving.
Smartwatches such as the Apple Watch and dedicated fitness trackers such as those by Garmin, Fitbit and TomTom have become the hot accessory for an increasingly health conscious generation.
So what’s so good about them? We round it up for you.
Walk the walk
You’ve probably heard that we should all be walking about 10,000 steps per day, but how many of us are actually doing it? Unsurprisingly, very few. So how do we ensure we hit those heady footfall highs?
A fitness watch will usually set you a goal, both in terms of steps and storeys. It will remind you to move during the day to ensure you hit your target, and makes a pretty big buzzy deal when you do.
The basic rule of trimming down is that your energy out must exceed your energy in. That means you need to be burning more calories than you are consuming. So how can you know?
A fitness tracker that measures your heart rate will keep track of how much energy you are using over the course of the day. OK, it won’t be 100% accurate, but at least it’s a ball park figure, something for you to work with.
Use a food tracker such as Vision Virtual Training at the same time to keep a gauge on your calorific intake and you’ll be hitting those goals in no time.
Get in the zone
Working in different heart rate zones means different things for your body. Ideally, to burn fat you want to be working somewhere between 50% and 70%. If improving your cardio fitness is your main aim, then you should be shooting in the range of 70 to 85%.
So how the heck do you know where you are tracking? The Perceived Rate of Exertion system is one way – thinking on a scale of 1 to 10. But a more accurate way that requires less thought is to use a heart rate monitor.
Fortunately, many fitness trackers can measure your beats per minute using a chest strap with the latest models able to take it at the wrist.
Sleep is so important for your body’s recovery. It’s during those nightly hours of shut-eye that your body does its thing – repairing, growing, recovering. But the benefits don’t stop there. Getting a good amount of sleep can reduce your chances of heart disease, can reduce stress and boost your mood.
Furthermore, if you’re trying to shed a few kilos, it’s important to note the link between sleep and your metabolism. When you are sleepy, the levels of certain hormones in your blood spike, driving up your appetite.
So how does a fitness watch help? It keeps an eye on your sleeping habits – how much deep sleep versus how much light sleep, movements during the night. If the picture’s not looking too good, you can start working to fix it.
Keeping track of your weight
Many of the latest fitness watches can partner with a new breed of “smart scales” which not only measure your weight, but also your body fat, hydration levels and much more.
It signals a refreshing change from the days when we were obsessed with shedding kilos, instead encouraging us to look at our body composition as a whole, and better understand how our bodies work in order to achieve great and long-lasting results.