Improving Fitness with Technology
View All Section Pages
Living in a world full of technology can be both useful and overwhelming with countless devices ranging from watches to smartphones and everything in between. Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer Christian Mazur shares how technology can help you reach your fitness goals and different options to invest in.
Why use technology?
Wearable technology can help you track biometrics while exercising if worn correctly. It can give you data to show you where you started, where you’re headed and help you set goals for where you want to be. One biometric measure Mazur recommends tracking is heart rate. “I encourage my clients to track their heart rate while exercising,” says Mazur. “Tracking your heart rate helps you learn what is normal for your body when you’re resting and what your working capacity is. This can help you track the progress of your workouts through intensity and duration.”
A chest monitor is going to be the most accurate when it comes to heart rate monitors. While a watch gives a good reading of your heart rate, the closer you place the device to your heart, the more accurate the reading will be and the less room for error.
Tracking your workouts also helps keep you accountable. Many devices allow you to look back at previous workouts. Having a log of these workouts can help you see the work you’re putting in is making a difference in your health and fitness. “Tracking devices can also be helpful from a trainer’s perspective,” says Mazur. “I can connect with my clients and help them understand the data their device is recording as well as help find ways to motivate them if I see they haven’t exercised in a while.”
No matter the brand, there are various options when it comes to watches that can help track your workouts, including Apple, FitBit®, Garmin and more. “My personal favorite is the Apple watch,” says Mazur. “I can track my workouts, calories burned, steps and even connect with friends to keep each other accountable.”
Many watches now have a GPS built into them, too. This makes it easy to track your run, bike or walk without having to connect to Wi-Fi or keep your phone with you. Many devices allow you to create an account and view your biometrics and workouts on your phone or computer.
Myzone boasts “never training alone.” Users wear a Myzone heart rate monitor which is connected to an app on their phone. The device tracks your heart rate, calories burned, percentage of maximum effort and body metrics. Through MEPs (Myzone Effort Points), you can see how hard your heart is working—the harder you work, the more MEPs you earn. Myzone uses five color-coded Heart Rate Zones to establish the effort you exert based on your maximum heart rate (Max HR). The effort is expressed as a percentage of your Max HR.
- Grey: 50-59% of maximum heart rate
- Blue: 60-69% of maximum heart rate
- Green: 70-79% of maximum heart rate
- Yellow: 80-89% of maximum heart rate
- Red: 90-100% of maximum heart rate
Grey, blue and green are best-suited for warm ups and low-intensity workouts while yellow and red are for high-intensity activity.
“Myzone helps you know and understand your working capacity for different workouts and gives you objective feedback,” says Mazur. “It is also great for those wanting to connect with others while working out.” Myzone allows you to compete with friends, view workout history and build community through leaderboards. Myzone heart rate tracking technology is incorporated into group exercise classes and Small Group Training at Cooper Fitness Center.
For more information about technology for fitness, watch this Exercise Move.
Technology for recovery
Mazur also shares there are new technologies that not only help track your workouts but also aid in recovery. Recovery ranges from cooling down properly after a workout to stretching, hydrating and fueling your body properly. Recovery strategies help decrease the risk of injury, improve flexibility and delay onset of muscle soreness.
Circular is a smart ring that tracks your everyday biometrics and movements—sleep habits, physical activity, body temperature and variation, breathing patterns and more. “What’s cool about Circular is it does more than tracking. It collects metrics on your sleep, energy and overall health and then the app provides solutions on how to make improvements in those areas. This is something unique you don’t see in your standard Apple watch,” says Mazur.
Worn on the wrist and paired with an app, Whoop measures key vital signs, such as blood oxygen levels and skin temperature, and also promotes recovery based on four physiological metrics: heart rate variability, resting heart rate, sleep and respiratory rate. Whoop informs you about how your body is adapting to stress, exercise and other lifestyle factors, which in regard to planning your workouts, can help you determine if you need an active recovery day or if your body needs rest.
Find what works for you
“Your fitness goals are unique to you, so what works for you may not work for your friends,” says Mazur. Technology can be expensive, so working with a professional fitness trainer to help define your fitness goals can be helpful when trying to decide what to invest in. “Remember, technology is a tool you can use to help you track your fitness and improve it, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to achieve those goals. Spend time researching what will work best for you and support your fitness goals,” says Mazur.
For more information on personal training or to schedule a session with a professional fitness trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.