By Lori Okami
About 2 months ago, I made a purchase that has changed the way I go about my daily training and how I manage my fitness goals. The Nike+ Fuel Band is a new fitness tool developed by Nike. Before this, they already had a plethora of Nike+ tools which included sensors to place in your shoe that counts your steps and distance traveled, GPS tracking, a sports watch with similar capabilities, and also apps for most mobile devices and iPods. However, the Fuel Band is something entirely different. It has helped immensely in my daily struggles to maintain a highly active lifestyle.
When purchased, the band comes with extension attachments to fit any wrist size, the tool needed to do this, a charging dock, and necessary pamphlets. This tiny device uses a 3-axis accelerometer to measure your movement, from hiking, to running, to tennis, to basketball, etc. Any and all movement is recorded by this device and converted into Nike’s own unit of measurement known as Nike Fuel.
On the outside, the band looks like a thicker version of a Livestrong bracelet. Upon closer inspection, you will see the metal attachment with the signature Nike+ logo on it, and a small button on the opposite side. Pressing the button, you are shown the time and also a gauge which indicates how far you are from your Nike Fuel goal (which you set online when you install the Fuel Band). The entire display is shown using LED lights which get brighter or dimmer depending on the environmental light. Pressing the button again, you are shown the exact amount of fuel burned, followed by how many calories you’ve burned, and finally how many steps you’ve taken.
One of the major benefits of this device is that it can wirelessly sync to your iPhone using Bluetooth. It will send all stored data to your iPhone whenever you choose to sync it. Each day, the Fuel, calorie, and step counter are reset to zero at midnight. However, all previous data is saved. If you don’t have an iPhone, it’s still easy to sync. Just take off the Fuel Band, and you’ll notice that the connecting part of the band is actually a USB plug-in. This is how you sync all your data to the computer and also charge the Fuel Band. Ingenious, huh! FYI, it claims to hold a charge for about 4 days, but I’ve had mine on for over 6 days without needing a charge…all depends on how many times you press the display button or sync it with Bluetooth.
So those are the features of the Fuel Band, but does it really work? My answer is, “Yes!” I’m not saying that the actual calories burned or steps taken are exact, but it does give a great approximation. Using a pedometer while running, I found that the Fuel Band was only 40 steps off. Can it measure intensity and movement? It certainly can. I found myself on two separate occasions burning the exact same amount of Nike Fuel, traveling the exact same distance once, but my calories burned were totally different for the two days. The day I burned more was when I did high intensity interval training, compared to the other day when I just walked and ran a bit. The same amount of movement was involved on both days, yet one day composed of more intense movements. Chalk that one up to the accelerometer! (I should mention that as far as weightlifting or biking go, the Fuel Band will not help with measuring these effectively, mainly because weightlifting depends on the weights being used, and biking involves mainly leg movement. You could, however, attach the band to your ankle if you so choose.)
If you are wondering who can this benefit, I believe anyone who appreciates having a convenient source of motivation on them at all times. I should mention that when you reach your Nike Fuel goal for the day, the band displays a little celebratory LED show. That being said, at the end of the day, if you’re only 200 Fuel units away from your goal, you may find yourself quickly motivated to do a light jog or some jumping jacks to hit your goal. All your accomplishments are stored on the device and then uploaded to your profile online. You can also view at what times throughout the day are most active, what your personal records are, and a bunch of other useful data. Not only that, but the Fuel Band recognizes you for Achievements along the way and progression on weekly goals which you can set for yourself. It’s fantastic!
I would highly recommend this device for anyone who could use a little extra motivation to stay fit or for anyone who likes to track their fitness in general. It’s a great tool! Go online and see for yourself what the Fuel Band is like (http://nikeplus.nike.com/plus/products/fuelband). Unfortunately, since we don’t have any Nike stores here in Hawaii anymore, you’ll have to order it online. Being that it is a new product on the market, I’m sure in the near future there will be more styles and colors made available, along with added technology. I’m really hoping for a heart rate monitor next. That would just take this product to the next level.
Overall, Nike+ Fuel Band gets a BIG THUMBS UP!
Contributed by Casey Okami-Watanabe
*** I invite you to visit my website www.lifefitnet.com and participate in a short online survey that should take only 2-3 minutes to complete. No one’s personal, individual data is ever shared and the aggregated information is used to Build a Healthy Hawaii and better understand individual needs and preferences related to establishing healthy lifestyle habits. Mahalo for your support! Lori