Pump up your workout with new high-tech fitness gadgets



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Posted on March 30, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:45 AM

Nat Jones made a resolution to shed some unwanted pounds.

"I wanted to be around for my kids and I wanted to start looking better and feeling better," he said.

After a few months, Nat was feeling like he hit a wall.

"I was losing weight, but I wasn't getting any definition, so I kind of got frustrated with that," he said.

He needed a pick-me-up.

You can now find high-tech gadgets to help kick your workout into high gear.

They promise to do everything from track your miles to plan your gym routine. Dr. Michael Bracko with the American College of Sports Medicine says these days, people like getting feedback from their fitness.

"Electronic gadgets are hot now, and people who are exercising are embracing that technology to help them improve their fitness, or help them get involved in an exercise program," said Dr. Bracko.

Looking to pump some muscle? Dan Ackerman with CNET.com recommends the upcoming Riiflex, an accessory for Wii Fit.

"It's a two-pound dumbbell that you put onto your Wii remote and your nun chuck, so when you're doing those traditional workout moves, you're actually getting some resistance training," said Ackerman.

Have a smart phone? Put a personal trainer in your pocket by downloading a fitness application.  Some count calories, while others track things like distance, or workout progress. To help stay slim, Nat uses a program called Fitness-Builder on his iPhone. It's a database of custom exercises and workouts.

"There's a nice clear picture of the workout, so there's no guesswork of how it gets done. If the picture is not good enough, you can actually press on the video," said Nat.

For those who want to take a step in the right direction, there's the Haier America Trainer, a pedometer and MP3 player all rolled into one. You can also stay in tune with the Nike Sportsband.

"It also has a very small, flat device that you put in the bottom of your shoe. These two devices connect wirelessly and it keeps track of your pace, how fast you're running, how far you've gone, and it lets you gather all this information, which then later, you can upload to your computer," said Ackerman.

Or, send your stats wirelessly with the wristwatch, the Garmin Forerunner 405 CX.

"It also has a heart rate monitor that you can strap around your chest, under your shirt, that keeps track of your heart rate," said Ackerman.

Another wireless wonder is the Withings WiFi scale. It transmits info like fat mass and BMI to a Web site.

"If you set up the site with them, it will keep track of your weight and its there for you to see. It's kind of a strong motivator," said Ackerman.

These gadgets vary in difficulty and price, so Dr. Bracko says it's important to do your homework.

By combining his smart phone with a smart diet, Nat dropped 16 pounds in 60 days and says his six pack is back in action.

"I'm feeling great, too! I'm really happy with the results," he said.

Wrap up the day with the cordless heat therapy wrap. Ackerman says it runs on re-chargeable batteries.

More information

Riiflex dumbells for Wii (about $25 per set of 2)
My Net Diary (free membership with limited features to maximum membership starting at $5 a month)
Lose It! (free)
RunKeeper (free membership with limited features to maximum membership for $9.99)
iTreadmill ($.99)
AllSport GPS (from $4.99/month)
Gym Technik (basic account is free, premium account costs $15/quarter or $48/year)
FitDeck Mobile ($7.95)
iPump Fitness Builder (from $9.99)
Haier America Trainer($51.95)
Nike Sportsband ($59.00)
Garmin Forerunner 405CX ($369.99)
Withings WiFi Body Scale ($159)
The Six Hour Cordless Heat Therapy Wrap ($129.95)