Blood, sweat and tears is what you need to get the most out of weight training, but you want everything moving and pumping in the right direction.
A good activity tracker can help you focus your exertion.
So we'll look at five of the best models.
top 5 picks
We'll check out each devices' pros and cons, and decide which is the better product, and help you pick the right one for you.
How Does An Activity Tracker Help With Weight Training?
Heart rate information can assist greatly with resistance training.
Every exercise regimen starts with the premise that you be in good enough shape to proceed.
This requires self-evaluation, and medical advice if necessary.
Having reliable body monitoring while you work out only increases the likelihood you'll progress safely.
That progression is easy enough to track in terms of power metrics (e.g. weight lifted).
Several trackers have apps that collect strength data with heart rates, caloric intake, and other activity information.
Knowing your heart rate and tracking your workout will give you key information which will help you progress.
For example, intensity.
If you see that you are constantly working at a heart rate level which is below the intensity level you desire you'll know to give more effort.
Likewise, you'll know your fitness level is increasing if you are able to sustain a higher intensity than before.
When I first entered college I had a really low resting heart rate (which is a good thing).
I started slacking off and immediately noticed it started to rise.
Knowing this information I started to increase intensity in my workouts to get the results I was after.
Are there Drawbacks or Dangers of Using These Devices?
As with any device, there are some disadvantages or dangers associated with activity trackers.
These problems revolve around two basic areas, Long-Term Use, and Operational Misuse.
Operational Misuse: Activity trackers are good monitoring devices, but are not meant to substitute medical tests, such as EKG, stress protocols or blood glucose tests.
You might also get false readings from these devices from time to time.
Sometimes even a low battery can account for this.
It's best to keep in mind that these devices aren't perfect.
It's best practice getting real medical tests done on a regular basis and using an activity tracker to monitor stats.
Long-Term Use: Most wrist trackers use direct skin contact to obtain their information.
Almost all of them employ rapid LED flashing to map the heart rate of the user.
The effects of this method are still unknown.
The devices are too new, and haven't been around long enough for there to be definitive proof of damage to their users.
Since they must be worn continuously to give accurate and useful information about sleep patterns or long-term cardiovascular habits, there is some possibility of danger from prolonged exposure.
Due to inconclusive evidence, users should be cautious but not fearful.
Picking Your Activity Tracker
Choosing the right activity tracker requires answering three important questions.
1. How Will You Use It?
Will your activity tracker be a standalone component to your weight training, or will it be integrated with another device as you exercise?
All trackers synchronize to an app on another device (tablet, phone, etc.).
You can coordinate with the tracker's many functions, using that device, or simply use the limited features exhibited on the tracker itself.
2. What Functions Do You Need?
Trackers fit on the wrist, where most of them come in contact with the skin to measure heart rate and respiration.
Many trackers compile your data and give advice about your exercise routine, as well as monitor your sleep patterns and 'at rest' heart function.
Are you looking for something to track just heart rate or do you want a comprehensive examination of your overall health?
Asking this question will help pick the right tracker for you.
3. Does Style Matter At All To You?
This seemingly like an innocuous question but it's more important than it seems.
Despite our changing mores, most men would probably balk at wearing a hot-pink wristband when they workout.
Women don't usually like items that are too bulky (like over the ear headphones).
The average person exercises better when they feel comfortable with their appearance.
Fitness trackers come in all types of styles, sizes and colors asking this question will help you pick the right model.
It Should Be Of Practical Use To You
Good activity trackers provide accurate information both while you're at rest, as well as during the most strenuous exercising.
The more passive times, such as sitting or sleeping, gives you a good baseline, that lets you judge whether you're improving, declining, or just holding steady.
So long as they're worn properly, a good tracker gives feedback during warm-up routines, heavy-resistance reps, all the way through cool-down periods and stopping.
You should pick a tracker that gives you the info you need on a daily basis.
It makes no sense spending money on gym gear you barely use.
A good tracker should have GPS capabilities for motion tracking.
Motion tracking elements can provide information about the number of steps, the speed of activity, as well as environmental conditions.
What Features Should You Look For?
When you choose an activity tracker, you must first decide which features are a 'must have'.
What can't you do without?
Is accurate heart rate the most important?
What about calorie counting?
Perhaps it's important to you that the tracker has easy to use software for smooth setup and operation.
For some users, the way a tracker syncs to their phone or tablet is the most vital feature.
Some trackers can mimic the functions of smartphones themselves, while some only display that phone's results.
Still, others do neither job particularly well (if at all).
The important thing is to know which set of features you value most, then choose accordingly.
Reviewing the Best Trackers For Weight Training
Let's look at the five trackers themselves.
We'll list their features, then talk about their pros and cons.
The Fitbit Blaze is very reliable and has widespread usage, making apps and support for it easy to locate.
The device's heart rate monitoring is very accurate, though like most wrist devices, it shows some inaccuracy with high-impact movement and extreme stress.
The software is easy to use and reliable.
The device synchronizes well with other mobile devices, such as phones and tablets.
Device is very dedicated to sports monitoring.
Sleep and at rest monitoring works very favorably in relationship to stress monitoring.
Records workouts for later review and duplication.
Next up on our list is the oh so famous Apple Watch.
Known for its sleek design and seamless connectivity this watch has a ton of features for fitness enthusiasts.
This watch is capable of heart rate monitoring, tracking steps, calories, streaming audio, and even making calls.
The style and durability of this product is very noticeable.
The base is very solid, though the crystal is perhaps more fragile than desired.
It's also very reliable and doesn't malfunction as other activity trackers tend to do.
Looks really good on the arm and has many different bands to choose from.
Connecting this product to your phone or tablet is a breeze. Apple is known for their seamless integration and funcuality.
However, is the Apple Watch the best activity tracker per say?
No sleep evaluation, personal tips or training leaves more to be desired.
Getting calls and checking emails is cool but is that what you really desire in an activity tracker?
It's your call.
The Garmin Vivosmart HR activity tracker is an amazing product.
It tracks heart rate really well with 24/7 heart rate monitoring.
With GPS capabilities this is an excellent tracker for monitoring steps and distances.
Good durability and water proof features makes this activity tracker a must for swimmers and runners alike.
Despite its many great features it does have two noticible downsides.
For one, the software and mobile app isn't the greatest.
Lastly, the design isn't quite pleasing to the eye.
It's bulking and has a strange shape compared to other trackers.
Looks weird and bulky with formal attire and isn't something you'd normally wear to the office.
Due to the high functionality of the device and at its current price point, I think those downsides could be overlooked.
Don't let the price point fool you, the Coffea H7 Activity Tracker is a wonderful device.
USB charging tops the list of things this tracker can do.
However, cordless connectivity to your computer is just one of its unique features.
With multiple sports modes, it's the type of band many different athletes can appreciate.
This tracker has a lot of good standard uses. It monitors sleep, heart rate, steps, distance, calories and speed.
It's also durable and stays charged for a very long time.
On a full battery one can chug along for upto 7 days.
However, it does have its weaknesses.
For one, some of the functioning can become 'buggy' and the accuracy is off at times.
If you're looking for a more polished UI look elsewhere.
Secondly, many users claim poor customer service.
Lastly, we'll mention that the screen is hard to see in some instances.
Our final pick is the Lintelek Customized Activity Tracker.
This tracker places importance on sleep analyzation with advanced sleep monitoring features.
A good heart rate monitor, multisport functions and an above average battery life it's well suited to meet the demands of many athletes.
An easy to use interface and good mobile connectivity makes this tracker super easy to use for those less technically advanced.
The device is also waterproof, making it a great choice for athletes involved in water sports.
The one thing we weren't too impressed with is the software.
It's sometimes glitchy and unreliable.
After all is said and done, our conclusion here is that the Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch is the best tracker we saw.
Following closely at second were the Apple Watch and the Garmin Vívosmart HR in a tie.
The Fitbit Blaze has the versatility of use and durability that make it a good choice when you're looking for a reliable tracker with a lot of options.
It's robust enough to operate during weight training and performs well during actual exercise routines, and less strenuous activities, such as sitting or sleep.