Fitness Gadgets 2014: What's Hot, What's Not?

By Kim Fischer

Published 05/12 2014 08:00PM

Updated 09/16 2014 10:34AM

Want to track your work out? Your diet? Your sleeping patterns? There's an app, or a gadget for that. In fact, there are dozens. We're looking into the latest fitness gadgets to let you know what works for different lifestyles and what may help you reach your goals.

Whether you like to run, bike, work out, or you just want to know what's going into your body, some really smart people are working hard to make those tasks easier.

Kim Thomas has been working out since she was a teenager. Right now she's using the app my fitness pal.

"I saw that my body fat was creeping up every year, and yet I was still running just as much, eating the same," Thomas said.

So she began tracking her food then got her husband, Kyle on the bandwagon.

"I went from eating a snack and dinner to eating 6-8 times per day, and using my fitness pal to track all that made a big difference," he said.

Kyle also tried out the "fit bit" bracelet and the" map my run" app.

"Just being able to look and see how far I was running, how fast I was running and starting to count the food that I was eating made a big difference," he said.

Using all those gadgets helped Kyle lose 50 pounds. We wanted to find out more about these devices so we went to Scheels to talk with gadget guru, Jonathan Haag.

"things like the Nike fuel band, the Fitbit, the Garmin Vevofit, polar loop, anything where someone can track their daily activity, steps and how many calories they're burning that's very popular right now," he said.

Most of these devices strap on to your wrist and track things like your steps, your calories, your work outs, even your sleeping patterns.

We did some research online and according to each of the most popular bands rate fairly well. The best rated was the Garmin Vevofit and the Fitbit flex both had 14 of 20 stars. The lowest rated was the Nike fuel band with 12 of 20. These bands can cost anywhere from $100-$150.

All of these devices pass the information they track to an app on your phone. Not only are these devices coming out with apps other fitness companies are getting into the game too. The most popular tracking app right now is my fitness pal with 40-million users and counting.

"you want to complete the trio of cardio, resistance training and nutrition, nutrition is where my fitness pal kind of comes in," Haag said.

You can find the nutrition facts for almost any food you can think of on this app.

Wes Barney of total health and fitness said these tracking devices can be very helpful if you're looking to improve your overall health.

"I think they're great, I think the benefit of it is when people can track what they're doing it keeps them more accountable especially when it comes to food intake," he said.

But Barney said the biggest mistake most people make is not consulting a professional before they begin tracking.

"There’s definitely a benefit to meeting with a professional, having them analyze what your body composition is what you body fat is what your weight is," he said.

Barney said every person's body is different and burns a different amount of calories every day. Without knowing how much your body burns you could end up depriving yourself of calories.

"Food is really the biggest key to what they're doing. What we find is people tend to go off of, oh it says I should eat 1200 calories when really they should probably be eating 14, 15, 1600 calories," he said.

At that point I realized I didn't know how many calories my body burned either. Wes did a body composition analysis on me and as he thought I was not eating enough. He said I’m likely not burning fat, but muscle and water.

"Sometimes when people lose 5 pounds it could be 5 pounds of water," he said.

It's a shocking thought. Are millions of people spinning their wheels hiking, running, biking and not really burning? I'm giving myself the task of finding out.

If you know your body composition Barney said you'll really benefit from these devices. If you’re like me, and don’t know your starting point, I’m going to find out what happens when a person gains that knowledge. Over the next 2 months I’m going to track my progress with total health and fitness and in July, I’ll let you know what happens.

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