A long-awaited new breed of wearables (aka smartwatches, heart straps, etc.) has finally arrived. We’re talking trackers that not only record workouts, sleep quality, and activity but also advise you in all aspects of your physical life: You don’t just see metrics, you learn what to do next. This new kind of wearable can even warn you when you should back off a bit to prevent an injury that might stall you in your drive toward your fitness goals. How brilliant is that?
1. Under Armour SpeedForm Record Equipped Sneakers
What they are: A trio of new running kicks with embedded tracking sensors.
What they do: Test stamina before you run to make sure you’re rested so you don’t overtrain; and, during runs, capture pace, distance, and stride rate. Eyeball the latter (on the paired MapMyRun app) to be sure your form is fluid—that way you won’t stress your knees, ankles, and feet by pounding the pavement. ($140-$160, underarmour.com)
2. Fitbit Alta HR
What it is: The world’s thinnest heart-rate-sensing fitness band.
What it does: Fitbit already has activity tracking dialed—counting steps, prompting you to move, etc. The new Alta HR goes further, tracking if you’re in fat-burn mode during workouts, and, crucially, teaching you to sleep better: It studies your sleep and twigs you to, say, hit the hay before 11 p.m., as that yields deeper recovery, or not work out too late, because that makes you wired, and so on. All of which yields a stronger, better-performing you while you’re awake. Check out our review of the Alta HR's sleep features here. ($150, fitbit.com)
3. Moov HR Burn Chest Strap; HR Sweat Headband
What they are: Affordable heart rate strap and headband with live voice coaching.
What they do: Provide coaching and track HR during runs, rides, and circuit training. Get the headband if you find chest straps annoying; both offer voice coaching via Bluetooth earbuds and the Moov app, with multiple bodyweight regimes and varying intensity. The app’s clever, too, firing off insights (e.g., keep abs tight during lunges) so your form stays perfect. (Burn, $60; Sweat, $100; store.moov.cc)