Before you pull the trigger on a hot new gadget or give in to a new fitness craze, think about whether it will really push you to realize your goals
By Migie Felizardo, CSCS,CPT, Pn1 | Photo by Jane Sundried /Unsplash
With the tech advancements in sports and fitness, athletes and active enthusiasts are now able to reach their goals better and faster. From wearable fitness devices, trackers, special exercise equipment, and recovery massage guns to fancy slim suits, waist trimmers, and home ab chair machines, every year sees more and more new inventions arriving in the fitness market.
But how do you know if a gadget is beneficial and true to its claim or if it’s really just a gimmick? Luckily, principles of sports science, fitness training, and strength and conditioning remain the same regardless of how basic or advanced the available technology is.
Basically, proper training and recovery still allow the body to adapt and get stronger. What I’m going to share with you are questions to ask yourself if the gadget you’re thinking of purchasing will help you achieve your goals or if it’s just going to add up to your expense with little to no benefit. If you’re an advanced athlete, you might need more advanced tools to get to the next level or stay at your peak. This article is intended for the general population and the average gym goer.
1. Will It Improve Training Quality and Consistency?
The main components of general fitness are strength, flexibility, overall endurance, and body composition. When these are addressed, it means you are definitely improving your level of physical fitness.
The goal of training is to apply a stimulus so the body will adapt and recover to get stronger. Fitness trackers and mobile training apps can help set a good training plan you can follow and remind you when to progress and even adjust your sets, reps, and load. Heart rate monitors can also help if you are training at your desired intensity for HIIT or other forms of aerobic training.
Now there are even wearable Push Bands for velocity-based training, which are straps you wear or attach to a bar that can help monitor power output during training or exercise. With all these tools, I suggest you look for those that can measure variables (like heart rate, distance covered, workout type/intensity) related to your training goal. Lastly, ask yourself if the item will help you train consistently with the right effort and intensity. Sometimes having too many fitness gadgets can make you slack off and not focus on the workout at all.
2. Will It Help Me Stay on Track with My Nutrition and Hydration Plan?
You now have calorie counters like MyFitnessPal, Calorie King, Lose It, and Fat Secret to name a few. And there are even special water bottles that you can schedule reminders for when you need to hydrate. Trying these can be a good start to let you be more conscious of your food intake but it’s better for you to educate yourself on exercise nutrition to achieve and sustain results.
Learn about food quality, portion control, macronutrients, nutrient timing, basic supplementation, and better eating habits. Wearable fitness tech can also be synced with these websites and apps. So, maximize what you can get and have to stay on track with your nutrition plan.
3. Will It Help Optimize Recovery and Minimize Overtraining or Injury Risk?
Specialized foam rollers, massage tools, massage guns, cold ball therapy, stretch bands and tools, and heart rate and sleep monitors are some tools that can help you after hard training sessions. You can also check a sleep calculator website to see when is the best time to set your alarm to complete your sleep cycles. Improving your breathing will also affect your body’s ability to recover. Apps to help maximize breathing exercises include Prana Breath, Breathing Zone, Breathe2Relax, and Paced Breathing. Remember that recovery is crucial to help you get results in fitness and sports so ask yourself if the product can help make it easier to recover.
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