Product Review: Nike+ FuelBand
There are 3 basic keys to becoming a better athlete: proper nutrition, appropriate shoes, and constant motivation. Keeping your mind and body healthy will allow you to train more consistently and effectively, which makes you better. These weekly reviews aim to educate readers on product available to fulfill their key requirements.
Last week Nike released their 'next big thing' in sport tracking. The FuelBand makes use of Nike+ to monitor your total activity throughout the day. While this is only mildly useful for runners in terms of training it does provide an opportunity to address two larger issues. First, if you do not take in enough calories throughout the day you won't run well. Second, if you take in too many calories you won't run well.
The band uses an internal accelerometer to track the frequency and amplitude of your movements during any physical exertion. This means it can measure how often and with what effort level you're moving. A slow walk incurrs only small accelerations on the body while SnowboardX would impart great accelerations. Obviously one of these activities is more physically demanding than the other. So using the accelerometer the band estimates how hard you're working and gives you a calorie expenditure estimate.
If you use the app all day and find you've burned 3500 calories between running, school, etc then you know you should eat roughly 3500 calories to maintain your glycogen stores and properly fuel the recovery of muscle tissues. If you eat too much or too little there is the potential your training could suffer. Going several days consuming too few calories will make you very tired, inhibit recovery after workouts, and lead to over-training. Eating too much, makes you fat, which most runners are trying to avoid.
This band is designed to motivate a sedentary nation to exercise more often. And that's a good thing. But that means that it wasn't designed with competitive runners in mind. The Nike+ FuelBand can be useful if you are keeping a tight grasp on your diet and nutrition, but that's really all it's intended to do for you.
Some specifics: it comes in three sizes to accomodate people with small to large wrists, it weight about an ounce, and uses LED's around the band to indicate your activities. You can program daily goals in the Nike+ app and let it guide you in managing your nutrition, or you can simply check your calorie expenditure throughout the day by hitting a button on the band. So you can get instant information, or go to the app and get a lot more information.
Check out nike.com for more information!