The Fitness Zone
When the Top Fitness Trends For 2017 were announced, we were not surprised that wearable technology took the number one place, for the second year running. BUT, while a huge number of gym and fitness fanatics own some form of fitness tracker, there is question as to whether we are making the most out of this awesome technology. So, we spoke with Saskia Kinene, Fitness and Nutrition Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness, NSW, to get her top five tips for getting the most of YOUR fitness tracker, to ensure you are reaping all of the benefits they can offer.
#1 Know And Understand The Features
Does your fitness tracker tell the time, test your heart rate, give you activity reminders, and of course, make you look the part?! The first thing you need to know is what kind of accountability, or information you can expect from that little band around your wrist. It’s certainly no replacement for a Personal Trainer but think of it as your fitness buddy that motivates you each time you glance at it. My number 1 tip: READ THE MANUAL! We all want to jump in and start playing with any new toy, but by reading the manual you won’t miss out on any features, PLUS, you can set your expectations for your tracker, and then have a good play around with the watch, all of its features and sync any other partnered apps.
#2 Get Savvy With Heart Rate Zones
If your tracker is really smart it’ll be able to calculate your Heart Rate (HR) for you. Firstly you need to know your Max HR. You can calculate this by simply subtracting 220 – your age. Then for best results in your workouts you want to be exercising at 70% or higher which is a moderate intensity. Let’s take a look for a 25 year old, their MAX HR would be 220 - 25 = 175bpm (beats per min). Then to work out their moderate intensity you want to be working at 70% x 175 = 122.5bpm. This means our tracker needs to show 122 or higher to be working at an ideal intensity in the gym! It’s time to kick things into high gear!
#3 If You Want Gains, You’ve Gotta Set Goals
There’s no doubt that if you set a smart goal you’ll achieve the gains you want sooner than if you just wish it to happen. Fitness trackers all come with goals that you can strive for on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. Try setting your steps to 10,000 a day for good health - this might mean taking the stairs, getting friendly with the water fountain or printer at your work or even saying yes to a lunchtime walk. You can also track your workouts, active minutes of exercise, sleep, nutrition, weight AND water intake!
#4 Set Your Tracker To Send You Activity Reminders
Persistency is key, so set your tracker up to give you activity reminders to keep you on your toes during the day. All you need to do is choose how many hours of the day you’d like to keep active for, and then let your tracker do the rest. By getting regular reminders with motivation and encouragement from your tracker, you’ll be surprised how much more conscious and aware you become to hitting your goals!
#5 Track Your Sleep
While Bon Jovi had a point when he said “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” let’s get real. We need sleep for our bodies to rest and recover. If we don’t allow our central nervous systems to recalibrate for the next day of excitement and training how do we expect to maintain the high levels of alertness and energy? So, where does a fitness tracker come into this you ask? If you don’t mind taking your tracker to bed with you, a lot of trackers can actually track your sleep, and tell you how well (or not so well) you dive into the clouds each night. It can be really eye opening seeing how much sleep you are actually having. So, aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night to allow your body to keep on that pathway to being the best it can be physically, mentally and emotionally!