10 Tips for Using Fitness Gadgets to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
It's easy to gain weight during the holidays but tough to lose it. Over the years, that weight adds up. Here 10 fitness experts discuss how apps, wristbands, monitors and other technology can help you set and achieve fitness goals during the holiday season -- and far beyond.
Tue, November 12, 2013
CIO — During the holidays, you'll likely gain at least one pound, according to a study that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. While that doesn't sound like much, you probably won't lose that pound, either. As the years go by, those accumulated pounds become harder to shed. "This extra weight accumulates through the years and may be a major contributor to obesity later in life," the study says.
Not convinced? Just ask John Hennigan, also known as Johnny Nitro of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fame. "It's way easier to keep weight off than to take it off," says the former wrestler, who has co-developed the Out of Your Mind Fitness training program. "Think about how much it takes to burn off a single Christmas cookie. Everyone who goes to the gym knows how much work they have put in, so why put it to waste in one weekend of gorging?"
Avoiding holiday weight gain, in theory, is as simple as setting realistic diet and exercise goals and sticking to them. But that's not so easy when, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, you're perpetually teased by ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie, eggnog, wine, cookies, cakes, you name it.
Fortunately, there's no shortage of affordable consumer tech to help: Activity trackers such as Fitbit; mobile apps for counting calories, such as MyFitnessPal; Nintendo Wii fitness games; heart-rate monitors, and Wi-Fi-enabled bathroom scales, such as the Withings Smart Body Analyzer, which sync your weight and other stats with diet and fitness apps.
To help you stay fit during the holidays, we asked 10 tech-savvy health and fitness experts about the technology they use for diet and exercise — as well as their strategies for staying fit.
10 Tips for Picking the Right Health and Fitness Technology
1. Choose tech that best matches your goals. "For technology to be effective, you need to start with strong, well-thought-out goals and determine your tactics to achieve them," says Michael Rucker, director of digital products at Club One fitness centers in the San Francisco Bay Area. "This might seem fairly straightforward, but I can't tell you how many indoor cyclists I've seen [who've] purchase a popular accelerometer, like a Fitbit or Jawbone UP, and then quickly become frustrated because, given their fitness affinity, they'd have been better off with a heart-rate monitor."
Fitness consultant and personal trainer Amie Hoff of FitKit.com recommends that you first decide which activity you like doing and want to track. Also, determine your top health priority, whether it's elevating your heart rate, losing weight or toning your body. Finally, take into account where you would want to wear a device: Wrist, belt or chest.
2. Do your homework. Read reviews of activity trackers, heart-rate monitors and other gear before you buy, says Ted Vickey, senior consultant for technology at the American Council on Exercise. In addition to checking out professional reviews on tech sites, look at user reviews on Amazon.com, REI.com and other ecommerce sites.