When it comes to activity trackers, there has always been something missing. Sure, we get lots of data, and trackers are getting better at churning out these statistics. But then what?
The market is now awash with manufacturers each fighting for a slice of the wearable pie. A flood of statistics is churned out by these devices but, for the most part, it is left down to the users to sift through this data and draw meaningful conclusions. Apart from notifications to prompt you to stand up when you have been stationary for too long, there is little else in terms of real-time analysis or coaching.
Essential reading: Smart shoes: tracking fitness through your feet
In an ever-expanding market, wearables manufactures will need to go beyond just displaying health metrics and look to provide much more meaningful analysis of our vitals data. Not just after, but also during exercise. Ideally in real time, so we can optimize our fitness data into action.
So which devices are leading the way in taking fitness tracking to the next level? Here are a few examples.
Moov has carved out a niche for itself in the crowded fitness tracker market. This is a one of a kind wearable fitness coach that actively monitors your activity and talks to you as you work out.
The device essentially translates your exact movement into real-time coaching, both through audio and on screen, and advises you whether you are performing your exercises correctly. It does this through use of the 9 axis motion sensing system – including an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer to learn the wearer’s form and correct any issues that may lead to injury.
Moov pairs with an app to train users on five sports — running, cycling, swimming, cardio boxing, and a seven-minute bodyweight workout which you can perform at home as it doesn’t require the use of any weights. The tracker has been tailored to each individual activity, so offers separate exercise programs.
You can take this a step further by adding an optical sensor technology to monitor your heart rate. Released late last year, Moov HR is embedded in a sweatband or swim cap to get a more accurate pulse reading than from your wrist or chest. The information is then relayed to the smartphone app which provides real time feedback and coaching based on your heart rate.
Atlas is an innovative wearable that tracks and identifies your different activities, evaluates your form, counts your reps and sets and calculates the calories you burned. The company originally raised $629k on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to fund development. It is now on version 2 of the device, with version 3 in the making.
Atlas can monitor your body in 3D. It can tell the difference between push-ups and triangle push-ups, bicep curls and alternating bicep curls and squats versus dead lifts. The tracker has the ability to automatically detect and count over 70 of the most popular exercises. Not to worry if your favourite exercise is not in the database. You can teach the tracker to recognise new exercises.
The device is water resistant and can keep tabs on strokes when you take to the pool. You can also see how rest affects each exercise, how quickly your heart recovers, the quality of your form and more.
The wearable logs your workouts with very little user action and keeps track of your heart rate so you can see how each movement affects your body. The on-wrist display gives you live feedback on the type, speed and quality of your exercises as you’re working out which means you can leave your smartphone in the locker.
The idea behind the Beast Sensor is a wearable that can help you optimize your workout training cycle. The magnetic device attaches a number of different ways and shows you in real time how much you are pushing, rep by rep, whether you are lifting weights, using a machine or performing bodyweight exercises.
You can chose to visualize speed, power or strength and monitor your performance live while working out. Use the time while resting between each set to understand how to make your training more effective. For example the information in the Beast app will allow you to determine the optimal weight to lift and the number of reps to perform to reach your training goal faster.
The innovative wearable uses something called Velocity Based Training. By measuring the speed of your lift, the sensor can optimise your training to target specific qualities that you wish to see developed, whether this is more strength, speed or explosiveness. It can also lead to less injury due to overtraining.
This is a tool that trainers and coaches could easily use to track their clients’ progress and make training routines more efficient. It can also be a very powerful aid for those who frequent the gym regularly.
XMetrics is an activity tracker designed by an Italian wearable manufacturer to improve your swim performance. The product is unique in its ability to support the real needs of swimmers, thanks to a number of unique features.
The wearable is fixed at your goggles, just on the back of your head. During your swim sessions you’ll hear real-time audio feedback such as lap splits, strokes per lap and quality of turns.
Essential reading: Head off to the pool with one of these gadgets
After the swim, head off to the XMetric’s tracking site for much more advanced qualitative data analysis. You can, for example, view the number of kicks you performed coming off a wall or how your speed slows every time you turn your head to take a breath.
The device is able to track the efficiency of your workout, providing you not just quantitative, but also qualitative data. You can then share all this with a coach or use it for bragging rights on social media.
This is a great all-in-one training solution for sports, which features a built-in heart rate monitor. The buds are built to provide high quality audio via Dolby enhanced sound and take a beating because they’re sweat and weather-proof towards US Military Standards.
This is one of a select few headphones that automatically measure your VO2 Max. A useful metric for runners, VO2 Max describes the maximum rate of oxygen that your body consumes during exercise and helps determine your endurance level. Analyzing your levels can be used to enhance your performance. For instance, a 5% improvement in your VO2 Max score would typically cut 5 minutes off of your 10k run time.
The accompanying smartphone app provides real-time audio coaching and lets you control your music and your training from a single source. With no wires, you can enjoy true freedom of movement.
Lumo Run is a small and discreet sensor that measures and coaches you on your running form to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. This standalone sensor, which measures only 25 grams, clips onto the back of the waistband and works with any pair of running shorts.
The device can measure a whole host of metrics including cadence, bounce, ground contact time, braking, pelvic rotation and stride length. Using these metrics, Lumo Run offers run summaries for each run through the Lumo Run app, auditory coaching via headphones during the run, and personalized coaching tips to help the runner improve form for better performance and injury prevention.
Like this article? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss out!
*Disclosure: We are a review site that receives a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. We are independently owned and all opinions expressed here are our own. See our affiliate disclosure page for more details.