How can you up for your fitness game when the weather's so hot? Here's the new fitness tech you need on your wrist, along with some top tips...
The sun’s been out in force of late, which is great news for sunbathers, but not so joyous for anyone trying to stick to their fitness goals. When the temperatures soar, it only ever gets harder to lace up and pound the pavement. So what’s the answer?
Well, as ever, the right tech might be just what you’re looking for! So, to get a handle on what’s new in the world of fitness wearables, we’ve been catching up with Wareable.com editor Michael Sawh…
This summer’s fitness trends
As an avid runner and professional tech reviewer, Michael’s wrists see more than their fare share of fitness devices on a weekly – and even daily – basis. But before we get to talking about specific devices, it’s worth looking a bit broader: what overall trends are shaping the future of wearable tech right now?
“All the devices I test generally do a really nice job these days,” Michael says, “but its adaptive training plans that I’m most pleased to see come through now.”
By that, Michael means devices that offer up real, tangible advice about the kinds of workouts you should be doing – ones that are tailored to you, and change based on how you progress:
“People always want to make sure they’re working hard in what little free time that they have, but we all also want to know that we’re doing the right workouts. It’s the difference between ‘should I go out running for half an hour, or should I do 20 minutes with intervals?’”
And, with software getting smarter and hardware measuring our movements more precisely, that’s only getting better. Thankfully, Michael tells us that the ‘adaptive training’ trend is now extending to plans that change on a day-by-day basis, to accommodate for those times you just can’t face it:
“The best bit with these kinds of plans is that if you miss a session, it’ll adapt the schedule to either take away a rest day, or make the next workout more intensive. There’s definitely a theme here,” he says. “So I’m intrigued to see what the other players eventually do in that space. Adaptive plans from the likes of Apple and Garmin would be cool to try out, for instance.”
Summer 2018’s best fitness tech
And so, on to the tech. Which wearables deserve a spot on your wrist this summer, and which ones are the most innovative? Here are three of Michael’s recent favourites…
Suunto 3 Fitness | £169
“This is the first of the big sports watch companies to do something really designed for the average person,” Michael says, “not for people who regularly do triathlons. And, as we’ve talked about with this year’s trends, this watch is all about coaching you with smart training plans ¬– when you first head out and do some training with it, it’ll start building a plan for you for the week.
“That plan is heart rate-based,” he adds, “so it knows how hard you’re pushing yourself and what you’re capable of. It’ll then say something like ‘on Tuesday you need to do 30 minutes of something heart rate-intensive’ and then it’ll tell you if you’re not working hard enough. All of which makes this great for the kind of people who do want to track what they’re doing, but don’t want to be overwhelmed by data.”
Fitbit Versa | £199.99
“Fitbit’s latest smartwatch, the Versa, is much more accessible than last year’s Ionic, not least because it’s at a better price point. But what’s most interesting about it for me,” Michael explains, “is that it’s smaller and looks much nicer – which means you’re more likely to wear it all day long.
“It’s also got all the good fitness software stuff you get in the Ionic – including coaching and training features – which I think makes it a great all-rounder for a lot of people. You have to pay for the best workout plans, but the platform itself has really evolved in the sense that there are workouts targeted towards different kinds of activities now, rather than just running.”
Healbe GoBe 2 | £165
“The GoBe 2 is the first device I’ve used that has that automatic calorie measuring – it’s got sensors that are able to automatically track your calorie intake throughout the day. So the idea is that it figures out what you’ve eaten, tracks hydration and exercise, and then adapts your calorie allowance for the day on the fly.
“The hydration monitoring is especially handy, because I went out for a run with it on and it alerted me to the fact that I needed to take on more water afterwards – but did so in an accurate way.
The science stuff behind it is pretty complex,” he adds, “but Healbe think they’ve got it nailed. Personally, I just think it’s cool that there’s something out there attempting this kind of automated tracking. There’s definitely room for improvement, but there’s also huge potential.”
“It can be dangerous at this time of year to just head out and run,” Michael says when we ask for his top fitness tips. “So I think keeping a close eye on your heart rate, and not over exerting yourself, is key.
“Don’t be ashamed to take water out with you; get a bag that lets you carry water on your back if you don’t want to have to hold a bottle, but hydration is so important in hot weather.
The best phones for fitness
– Check out our top fitness-friendly smartphones
“Don’t overdo your sessions,” he says in closing, “but remember that nice weather is also a good opportunity to get out there – and get out of the gym. So put some sun cream on, get out there, and just try enjoy it while you can.”
Must-have apps… Check out our roundup of this month’s essential mobile downloads.