Four Ways Technology Can Get You Fit This Summer

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Summer is only days a way. It might be too late to carve your beach body but it’s never too late to start living a healthier lifestyle.

Fortunately, today’s technology can help. Here are four ways tech-based solutions can improve your ability to get and stay fit.

1. Quantifying your self.

We can workout, and we can know we are generating benefits, but can we quantify them? For a long time—all of human history, really—we could not. Recently, however, that’s changed. What was once only possible in a laboratory can now be achieved from our wrists.

Wearable technology spams the consumer gamut now, from basic wristbands to complex smartwatches, from cheap to expensive, and everything in between. We can track simple things like our daily steps, or we can log many layers of exercise and health data, including heart rate, sleep quality, and calories burned.

Granted, a lot of this data is not perfectly accurate—but reasonably accurate data is still better than no data at all. And when combined with software, we can use these activity trackers to create histories of our fitness endeavours, monitoring progress and optimizing our exercise routines to be as efficient and effective as possible.

Where to start? Trackers on the affordable end of the spectrum include Jawbone ($50 to $150) and Fitbit ($120 to $250), while fancier options include the Apple Watch Sport ($400+) and Garmin smartwatches ($300+).

2. Leveraging the latest software.

Having hardware track your movements is only part of the equation. Without visualization of this data, it’s pretty useless. That’s where software comes in.

Most activity trackers connect to apps on your smartphone, breaking down your data in real-time and also showing your history. This is where you can make sure you’re meeting your own goals and look for areas of improvement.

Most activity trackers have their own apps, such as Nike+, UP for Jawbone, and Fitbit. You can also track many movements, such as running and cycling, with just your phone, using apps like Human and Strava. Apps paired with hardware are typically free, while the rest employ the “freemium” model—free to download, but you’ll have to pay for their premium features.

3. Wearing technical apparel.

You can wear almost anything to the gym. But training in sweatpants and a cotton tee is not going to offer you the best experience. Today, a vast array of technical apparel exists to help you optimize performance. They’re breathable, stretchy, moisture-wicking, and sometimes even odor-resistant. So after sweating it out in the gym, your clothes dry themselves, and they don’t even small bad. How cool is that?

Examples include Lululemon’s “Silverescent” line and garments from Strongbody Apparel, two Vancouver companies innovating in the gym-fashion space.

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Wearable technology has woven its way into clothing as well. Hexoskin and OMsignal, both out of Montreal, craft smart garments which track movements and relay data to your mobile device.

4. Gathering inspiration from peers and idols.

The gym is a chore for many. Even for those who treat it as a hobby—one which they genuinely enjoy—it can sometimes be difficult to hit the gym with vigor. Fortunately, there are several sources to which one can go for a little boost of motivation.

For people who are inclined to skip a gym day or two when they’re feeling lazy, PumpUp can keep you going. Using the same sort of motivational power that a gym buddy might give you, the app acts as a social community for workout enthusiasts and encourages them to follow other users, upload pictures after workouts, and create custom exercise regimes.

Gymnut is an “iTunes of fitness” app that targets gym trainers and fitness enthusiasts. Users can follow trainers that inspire them and go to their “workout store” where they can purchase published workouts and meal plans based on individual goals.

And OneSet, which functions similar to Instagram, allows users to explore workouts based on categories like muscle groups, activities, and fitness goals.

So there you have it. From free to expensive, basic to complex, and hardware to software, getting fit is easier than ever with modern tech at your side.

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