One of the biggest challenges of any fitness regime is just staying motivated and on target with your goals. Most people don’t have a personal trainer to track their progress and if you fall into that category, then a fitness tracker is vital to your long term fitness success.
Here is a rundown of the nine best fitness trackers around. You’re sure to find one that fits your budget and workout regime.
It looks a bit like a traditional plastic watch and it does the tracking of your steps, distance and calorie output that is standard for a fitness tracker. But what makes it special is that it also offers a personalized coaching system that can send words of encouragement and motivation to your email and smartphone. The Fitbug Orb is an affordable $49.95.
Nike+ Fuelband SE
The latest upgrade to this popular line of fitness trackers is waterproof and includes reminders that lets you know when you’ve spent too much time sitting in that chair. You can also link up the device with ones owned by friends to create workout groups that will increase the motivation level of all the participants. You can pre-order the Nike+ Fuelband for $149.
Fitbit Wireless Fitness Trackers
Studies show that the one statistic that has the most impact on fitness is the number of steps taken each day. This fitness tracker clips on to your belt and tracks the steps taken and stairs climbed. While this tracker is a lot less complex than the others on this list, it’s also cheaper and is ideal for someone who wants their fitness regimen to focus on walking. The Zip Wireless Activity Tracker starts at $59.99 and the priciest version, Force, retails for $129. That option allows you to monitor your sleeping habits.
This is a great choice if your workout contains a water regimen, since the device is waterproof. Shaped like a rubber bracelet, it tracks a number of stats, ranging from calorie output to sleep cycles and even daily mood. It’s an ideal tracker for triathletes or swimmers. The Jawbone Up bands start at $129.99.
Compared to some of the other leading fitness trackers, at first glance the Larklife might seem a bit clunky. Wider than most other fitness bracelets, it looks a bit like a colorful device worn by prisoners being tracked electronically. But the device also tracks a comprehensive set of stats and an accompanying iPad app allows you to download and track your progress. If you can get past the somewhat large size, the Larklife is one of the best trackers on the market and retails for $149.99.
BodyMedia FIT BW Armband
Popularized by the hit show Biggest Loser, it’s difficult to hide this armband, which fits around the bicep and has a look a bit like something from the aerobics era of the 80s. You can sync the device with your iPhone and download the data to your computer for easy tracking. If you can get past the retro look of the band, it collects a lot of data and is very easy to use. The Wireless LINK Armband can be bought for $119 with an additional $6.96 per month for the online activity manager.
Polar RCX 5
This expensive tracker isn’t for the weekend warrior. But if you’re a serious athlete looking to push yourself to the next level, this might be a good choice. It doesn’t collect a lot of data points. What it does is track your workout in real time and then displays it in an easy-to-read format. It gives you the data to adjust your workout on the go, but if you need more tracking and advice, this might not be the best fitness tracker for you. The Polar RCX 5 is the priciest option on this list at $349.95.
This attractive device looks like any normal digital wristwatch and it collects data via some sensors on the backside of the watch. It mines a lot data points and in particular the heart rate monitor is very useful in workouts. The one downside is that sensors are extremely sensitive and can be sometimes set off by something as simple as a shirt sleeve. The Basis B1 costs $199.
This tracker collects workout data for you, but it also tries to make your workout fun with mini-games and personal challenges. It doesn’t offer all the bells-and-whistles of some of the trackers, but it’s also the least expensive, making it a good starter fitness tracker for the new budding weekend warrior. This smart pedometer is an affordable $69.