Motivation is a rare mineral. After college, the old go-tos fear or even shame don't seem to hold the weight they once did. I have no trouble gluing myself to a level of "Angry Birds" until I smash it into a three-star submission. Why can't this type of enthusiasm and motivation be maneuvered towards staying active or, god forbid, working out? High-tech fitness bands hope to turn your active life (or attempt at one) into a goal-oriented, data-tracking, achievement-earning adventure.
Two of the more popular data-gathering fitness bands are the Nike+ FuelBand ($149) and the Up by Jawbone ($130). Both bands track your activity, allow you to set a daily goal and offer handy mobile apps so you can look at your progress.
The FuelBand reminds me of something you would lojack The Rock or Vin Diesel with before sending them off on a mission to save the world. The band has a bright, flashy screen that helps you track your goal, and the inside is packed with Bluetooth connectivity for syncing your data wirelessly to the app. Your activity is tracked using Nike's unit of measurement 'Nike Fuel'-- activity points based on movement. The use of Nike Fuel across all Nike+ devices gives users (once you link it to your social accounts) the ability to compare and compete against other friends and family using Nike+ devices.
17 days in a row, no big...
The companion app experience is similar to hitting an achievement on your Xbox. A crazy mascot cheers you on for locking down a three-day streak of hitting your goal and presents banners marking your best days and weeks. The more activity, the more achievements you earn.
The Up by Jawbone is a stylish option to track your activity. Available in eight colors, this super-strong, rubberband-like, wearable computer is packed with some fun and very useful features. For example: Feeling sluggish and can't get off the couch? Up has an Idle Alert option that will buzz you when you are doing your best sloth impression for too long.
On top of tracking your movement/activity, Up helps you observe your sleep patterns and has a Smart Alarm option that will wake you calmly at the optimal time in your sleep pattern. Take a walk, obnoxious alarm clock.
I sleep like a champ!
Up's companion app is very robust. It offers advice, multiple ways to look at your data and a place to keep daily notes and a food journal. Something very forward-thinking about Up is that it also works with additional apps. If you like running, your data is compatible with RunKeeper; track your workouts with MapMyFitness; and if you want more in-depth look at your sleep, you can use Sleepio.
Level Up Stats
- +7 in making working out/being active seem like a video game
- +3 in giving another opportunity to beat your friends at something -- SCOREBOARD!
- -3 not a great addition to a dress up wardrobe
- +.5 it can double as futuristic looking watch
Up by Jawbone
- +8 in versatility -- being compatible with additional apps allows for this band to take on many forms.
- +4 in anti-lazyness technology
- -3 for no screen or wireless syncing
- +4 for style
Casual: Both bands are very easy to set up. Charge up and follow the directions on the package. As long as you know how to use a cell phone, the set up process and companion apps will come easy.
If you hand talk, fidget or fist pump your way through your day -- you might find yourself reaching your goal a little faster. Account for this by giving your goal a little bump. This makes sure you're getting the full experience and not cheating the situation.
- Those who still need gold stars when they accomplish something -- looking at you, millennials!
- Those who are very competitive with their friends
- For someone who wants to conduct a life audit on themselves
- People who need something to make working out fun and different