Hey Rabbi Fitness,
My wife asked me if I want a Fitbit for my birthday present. What’s your take on wearables and all this high-tech fitness tracking?
Ari, thanks for the question. Wearables are definitely popular; the global wearable technology market size was valued at $32.63 billion in 2019 and just last week Google completed its $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit.
Activity-tracker technology allows you to monitor every step, heartbeat, minute of sleep, and in some cases, calories consumed or expended.
But just because you can track fancy readiness metrics like heart-rate variability, does that mean you should? Or should you ditch the expensive gadgets and just base training decisions on how you feel?
For elite athletes, high-tech monitoring strategies can provide a competitive edge. But for the average gymgoer, these devices may paradoxically provide too much data.
The biggest benefit to my knowledge is the heartrate tracking component. This may be useful but isn’t absolutely necessary. What did people do before wearables? A couple of solid options: the talk-test and perceived rate of exertion. Both decent ways to gauge your level of intensity/heartrate depending on what your goals are. See the chart below.
Verdict: A device isn’t needed to keep track of your intensity; you can use either the talk-test or perceived rate of exertion can sufficiently gauge your intensity. If you really want a wearable, smart device, a simple device that measures heart rate is a happy medium for most of the general population.
styThe information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Rabbi Fitness LLC is not a doctor. The contents of this article should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any health problem– nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health and/or engagement in physical activity, especially if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity, smoke, have high cholesterol, are obese, or have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity.