My Complete Guide to 5 of the Most Popular Fitness Trackers - adaatude
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My Complete Guide to 5 of the Most Popular Fitness Trackers

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My Complete Guide to 5 of the Most Popular Fitness Trackers

June 3, 2022

 

It's a little embarrassing how long it's taken me to get this review together (think years) as I've gone through almost all the possible devices to track my fitness, sleep and overall health. I'll break them down one by one, but focus in on the Oura Ring because this is final option I have opted for the last few years. In reviewing all the options I've tested and tried over the last decade, I rate 3 factors. Accessibility (how easy it is to find and buy along with affordability of options), usefulness (the value it provides in my life) and detail (metrics and information it provides.) If you have questions about any of these options, please let me know in the comments section and I am able to amend the post and add that detail to make this more helpful for you.

iPhone Health App

This comes with every iPhone these days and helps track overall health. So it's free and you don't need to do anything special besides carry your iPhone with you where ever you go. Which let's be honest, most of you are doing anyway. However it can be bulky and annoying when you're running on the treadmill and need to use an arm brace and don't want to hold in your hand or slip into your bra. You'll definitely need a comfortable effective way to take it with you. Before I became interested in my fitness or sleep, I used this just for the bare bones information. Roughly how much sleep I got based on when I put my phone down, how many steps I took each day, what my trends for the week were. Nothing fancy, but it gave me the most vital information if I even remembered to check. 

Accessibility 5/5 Usefulness 3.5/5 Detail 2/5

 

Garmin

During my marathon (and general long distance) training days, I was a huge fan of Garmin. I had both the Forerunner 255 series watch, as well as the more chic option vívoactive 4S. The vívoactive was a lot more wearable overall because it wasn't such an eyesore with all other outfits. Aesthetics am I right? The watch was focused specifically on my training, how fast I ran, the distance, my time splits and more. It broke all of that down in granular detail but was not helpful in a lot of other avenues (think sleep tracking, resting habits, etc.) The more serious versions, like the Forerunner, are extremely bulky and near impossible to wear 24/7 making it personally quite annoying for me. There were also a lot of bugs I experienced throughout training, and I found it annoying that I always had to begin a workout before it would track anything. It didn't seem very "smart", whereas other devices can see a detectable change in your heart rate and would assume you're doing some kind of physical activity. Because this is an Android option, it connects sparingly to anything related to Apple which again is a major inconvenience. The price point is steep for the lack of connectivity it gives you to other apps, media, and connections you need from your iPhone (if you like myself are the majority with an iPhone.)

Accessibility 3/5 Usefulness 2.5/5 Detail 3/5

 

Apple Watch

The infamous Apple Watch, which the majority of people seem to really love. There are a lot of pros here, and it was hard to overlook the pros. I wanted to be an Apple Watch stan, I really did. Especially since a lot of my friends loved theirs, but what I came to realize through marathon training and then CrossFit training is that the Apple Watch is more of a marketing gimmick and it's not really designed for long term athletes. Sure it will track your runs and your yoga workout, but if you're really looking for a higher level of detail the watch isn't going to be as informative as you need. The biggest downside is how bulky it is, and for the heart rate tracker to really work the watch does need to be somewhat tight on your arm, which gets extremely uncomfortable at night. It is accessible to virtually everything you need, and you can even accept calls and texts without your phone if you choose to do the connection and add it to your phone bill. It's clear why it's an easy option given how easy Apple makes this, but the bulkiness and discomfort of 24/7 wear, along with the lack of detail for the high price point wasn't worth it for me.

Accessibility 4/5 Usefulness 4/5 Detail 3.5/5

 

Whoop

Now if you consider yourself more detail oriented and committed in the fitness space, but you do a lot of different workouts then Whoop has been marking to you. This is the preferred accessory for those in any sort of cross training, like CrossFit and boot camp style training with HIIT, intervals and weight training. You'll see a lot of their marketing dollars go into CrossFit athletes who attend the CrossFit Games each year, but I've see Whoop on a few UFC athletes too. This one focuses on the workout, but also the training aspect (heart rate, oxygen flow, rest needed, etc). This is an extremely effective way of knowing when your body has recovered from your last workout, so you know about how much time you need before you're back to 80%+ to go hard at the gym. It analyzes your rest periods, your heart rate throughout the day, and also your sleep. It is definitely the accessory of those who are tracking everything, and need to make minor changes to their day to day to be even more efficient with their energy. I understand why this is helpful for elite athletes, but this would likely be a lot of information for someone who just wants to do yoga 3 times a week and gets 6-8 hours of sleep a day. Not to mention it does have a subscription cost given the low buy-in value of the watch strap. 

Accessibility 3/5 Usefulness 3.5/5 Detail 4.5/5

Oura Ring

And finally my preferred choice, the Oura Ring. There are two major elements that sold it to me. It is the easiest one to wear throughout the day, and the most comfortable thing to sleep with at night. All watches and hand additions don't give the most accurate heart rate readings (which affects a lot of other stats) due to how you sleep. When the watch isn't tight on your arm, it loses the tracking of your heart rate which happened to me a lot because I am a squirmy worm, plus I like to put my hands under my pillow which then distorts the way the watch lies on the arm. Not to mention if it's on tight, it is super uncomfortable and leaves imprints (and gets warm against the skin.) I wore the Apple Watch and the Oura Ring for weeks together, and got completely different data. I knew Oura Ring was accurate because it is on tight on my finger and there were no issues with it whereas the Apple Watch would lose connection multiple times a night. The sleep tracking for the Oura Ring is unlike any of the other additions, and this is the most important thing I personally wanted to track. It can be used to track all activity (and it is a "smart" device and can detect an activity without you having to start the workout.) It will ask you to clarify later what the workout was, but it knows when the heart rate was elevated. It is one of the pricier options, which isn't ideal (there is an ongoing monthly fee like there is with Whoop now too) which makes it a bit more difficult to access, but this is worth it to me personally. *If you'd like a detailed breakdown of stats and how I analyze my numbers, please let me know as I can do a deep dive in a separate post.

Accessibility 3/5 Usefulness 4.5/5 Detail 4.5/5

Which of these fitness and sleep tracking additions have you tried?

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