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Science or Expensive Gimmick: Fitness Trackers (Do They REALLY Work?)

– Hi guys, actually here from Performance Ground. And today we’re gonna talk about activity trackers. Why their beneficial for your training and why you might what to leave it at home on your next run. The technology in the fitness industry is relatively new concept. Cyclist, tri-athletes, runners, endurance athletes, have been using heart rate monitors for decades and that technology has kind of developed, but with the likes of say Fitbit and Apple and Garmin, they’ve took this technology and brought it to the mass market, brought it to the general public. And now we can track all sorts of things.

Calories burned, our footsteps throughout the day, our heart rate, our sleep quality, and loads of other different things. So this could be good for our training if you’re an athlete or it can also hinder your progress. So we’re gonna talk about why. So what do these fitness trackers do? So essentially, it’s a little wearable device that you can put on your wrist or some go in a pocket, that kind of thing. And they measure your footsteps throughout the day, your calories burned, your heart rate, some of them do heart rate, your sleep quality if you wear it to bed. Some of them actually have a GPS unit built in, so they track your mileage and your speed. So how can this data benefit your training and your activity? Having a fitness tracker or some kind of activity tracker on your wrist is almost acting like a source of surveillance.

It’s keeping an eye on how much you do throughout the day and where your kind of like high and low peaks are. So on average a person will do 20% more steps during a day if they’re wearing one of these fitness trackers. And that’s because you’ve actually got a number, a quantitative number, to progress with or to keep track of your activity, your steps. And then with this you also get things like calories burnt throughout the day. Your heart rate throughout the day. And you can actually see the number, so you can try and progress and improve on these numbers. So burning more calories throughout the day or even checking your heart rate and almost seeing the progress of your resting heart rate dropping, or when you’re training, see how high your heart rate is getting during your training.

Previously POLO developed these heart rate zones so on a scale of one to six, six being absolute maximum heart rate and then one being completely rested and sedentary. So what you can do is monitor these zones and guide your training depending on the zones that you want to hit during your training. One other thing that some of the more advanced activity trackers can do is monitor your mileage. So they use a GPS unit within the watch or whatever device you have and they can monitor your mileage throughout your training. This is really beneficial for endurance athletes like runners, cyclist, and swimmers. These are some of the good things that come from activity trackers, but their strengths can also be their Achilles’ heel. Now people are becoming really reliant on the data from the activity trackers and this can really throw off your senses. And at the end of the day you should go on how your body feels.

So these activity trackers, they give you reams and reams of data, but what does the data actually mean? If you hit ten thousand steps in a day, or if you burn 3,000 calories, what does it mean? You need to analyze it for yourself and that’s something that this technology doesn’t really do. It’s still in its early stages. One other thing is that you need to take this data with a pinch of salt. So the technology is still relatively new, within the last five to ten years. So the accuracy of some of this data can be thrown off by about 40%. And if you think of it, that’s absolutely massive. So, if you do leave your activity trackers at home when you go out for your next workout or your next run, whatever you’re gonna do.

What are the alternatives? What else can you do to monitor your training if you must. So obviously, just pen and paper. Write down your sets and reps or your miles, your speed, those kind of things. Or your times whilst you’re running. But if you really must give it an intensity, you can use an RPE scale. So from one to ten, how intense was it. Ten being absolute maximum and one being like a walk for the dog. Another alternative, it’s just the oldest one in the book, and just how do you feel. If you feel really tired and fatigued, you probably want to try and also regulate your training a little bit and bring back the intensity. But sometimes you need to push this to get the adductions we need. If we’re coming close to a competition, we’re gonna feel tired, we’re gonna feel fatigued, but you need to push through your training. At the end of the day, you should know your own body better than little piece of technology does.

As found on Youtube

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