Tracking your daily activities used to mean logging in your activities—including exercise, sleep and their corresponding times—in a small notebook. Your consultant, a certified personal trainer or weight-management coach, would then give you a rough estimate of calories burned based on your activities.
Technology has afforded the more serious gym rat or athlete with heart rate monitors with chest straps for accurate readings on calories burned, targeting heart zones for maximum fat burn, and more.
But what happens to your body pre- and post-exercise remain a mystery, subjected to rough approximates by fitness professionals—until last year. Activity trackers (or fitness bands) were all the rage when they were launched at the recent 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show.
Today, fitness trackers—inconspicuous, slim bands worn around the wrists—are so hot that even people who have never set foot in a gym wear one. And it’s easy to see why. The slim bands track your daily activities, measuring your calorie burn, steps, sleep and exercise 24/7.
The most recent release is Soleus GO! by the Texas-based sports and fitness tracking company Soleus.
“Our goal is to make people realize they achieved something. Activity tracker changes your lifestyle. It makes you aware of your activities,” said Soleus founder and CEO David Arnold.
We took the activity tracker for a weeklong spin to see what the fuss is all about. Soleus GO! is equipped with a 3D accelerometer function, a sensor with three axes—two of which determine your vertical and horizontal movement while the third measures your 3D positioning. That means minimal error when measuring steps, for instance.
One of the glaring flaws of activity trackers is when the gadget, by mistake, reads your hand movement as walking. Most people swing their arms when walking. The 3D accelerometer on Soleus GO! corrects that mistake.
“Based on the way the 3D sensor works, the device must sense motion on both a vertical and horizontal basis to measure it as movement. The movement and positioning along with the user’s settings is calculated as a unit of measure that the device labels as a ‘step.’ The ‘step’ unit of measure is the basis for the device’s calorie, distance, speed and pace information,” said Jason Johnson, Soleus product manager.
The gadget has a Daily Activity Tracking function where you can set your goals and track your progress. You can also set the Move notification every few hours, a reminder to get up and move via a gentle vibration from the band.
There’s a built-in Exercise Mode, so you can track your speed, distance and pace separately from the Daily Activity Tracking. The device, however, is not designed to be a training gadget. There’s the Soleus PULSE! for that.
“If you take walks during breaks at work, maybe you need to work a little more to reach your 10,000-steps quota a day. That’s the time to turn on the Exercise Mode. This is an excellent gadget to enhance your fitness when you’re not training,” Arnold said.
Good night’s sleep
Sleep timer tracks your sleep—length, deep sleep (REM), light sleep and even measures the times when you’ve been awake in bed.
For fitness buffs, this is important information. A good night’s sleep will determine your recovery and performance for the next day’s training.
But that’s not all. Soleus GO! also notifies you when you have incoming calls, text messages, Twitter replies and retweets, Facebook notifications, and even shows you the daily weather and temperature updates. If that’s not your thing, you can switch off notifications in the app. (You will need to download and install the free Soleus GO! app, for iOS and Android.)
Battery life, rechargeable via USB, is up to seven days, depending on usage.
Soleus also launched a strapless heart rate (pulse) monitor. Called Soleus PULSE!, it has a built-in 3D accelerometer that measures calories, steps, pace and distance, and has training zones for your exercises. It also features interval timers, 1/100 sec chronograph and 30 run/100 lap data storage.
“Many people complain how chest straps can be uncomfortable, or how it hurts after long periods. We solved that by coming out with possibly the world’s first strapless heart rate monitors,” Johnson said.
Soleus PULSE! can be 100 percent as accurate as traditional chest straps. But due to distance from the heart, there can sometimes be a five- to 15-percent variance. Johnson said the variances typically are self-corrected quickly as the watch is constantly taking readings.
Soleus GO! is available at L Timestudio and Timegear boutiques at P7,450; Soleus PULSE! is priced at P7,950.