Happy New Year!

With the start of a new year, large numbers of people people make resolutions to lose weight or to get fit. This is admirable sentiment and one which I fully support. I personally have made this resolution many times throughout my life and have only been able to accomplish it in the past year and a half. In this time I have lost over a 130 lbs. It was a lot of work learning how to eat differently and starting to exercise. Now that I am closing in on normal Body Mass Index, I am realizing that getting fit is now more of priority. To this end I researched a tool that would aid me in this quest. It had to be something that was tough as I am rough on electronics, hard to forget when being out and about, and somewhat motivational as I do most of my exercise alone. The thing that I found that I geeked out about the most was Nike+ Fuelband.

This tool is actually composed of two separate things, the Nike + website and the Fuelband itself. The Fuelband is a bracelet built along the lines of the charity bracelets like Lance Armstrong’s Strength. It is just a little bit chunkier than these and comes in three different style. I went with basic black. It houses an accelerometer  which records the activity that you engage in through out the day. On the front of the Fuelband there is a button that activates the display and toggles between the data that the device can display. It will show when you have reached the goal that you have set for the day, the fuel points that you have earned, steps taken, calories burned, and the time. the button also allows you to sync the device via bluetooth to your smartphone and upload data to the Nike + website.

The Nike + website collects the data from the Fuelband and provides a social media type of interface. It allows you to track the many types of goals that you are able to set. It has achievements built in to provide multimedia reinforcement for achieving the goals that you set and little things that you accomplish that you were not aware of doing. My favorite so far has been the achievement you get for surpassing your goal by half. It gives you a little animation and sound of waves as you wash your goal for the day. It is kind of addicting and there are points when I check my progress and realize I am close to getting that and will push on for 10 minutes more at the gym. In addition to this it provides a means of tracking your mood for the day and attaching it to your progress so you can see what types of emotions may be making it more difficult to achieve your fitness goals. As with any social media interface, you’re able to invite friends to your page and keep in touch and set up competitions or other events. It also allows you to share your accomplishments via Twitter and Facebook as one does.

This has been one handy tool for me. It is easy to remember as I just put it on in the morning and forget it for the most part. It is tough as I sometimes just drop it or bang it against equipment and it has not had any issues or shown any marks yet. In addition to providing me with a useful tool for tracking my activity, it is pretty nice to have a watch again. I no longer have to dig for my phone when I want to know the time. I also thinks it is pretty cool looking. I have only two quibbles with the Fuelband itself. The price point of $149 is a little bit high. It was my main stumbling block when trying to decide on a tool for this particular task but it ends up being well worth if for me. The other issues is why not add some additional functionality to the band. It would seem easy to add a few gigs of memory for music storage and allow it to connect to bluetooth headphones. Not being an designer, I’m not sure how east that might have been but it does seem possible.

If you are looking for a tool to help you succeed at your New Year’s resolution, the Nike + Fuelband is a good investment.

On a side note, I want you to succeed at this goal. If you have questions about getting started feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line on twitter.