A week with the Nike+ Fuelband

Thanks to technology we have the power to know more about ourselves today through wearable bands. Fascinated, I have been researching three fitness products - Jawbone Up, Fitbit Flex and Nike+ Fuelband. So, last Saturday, after reading every blog post ever written on these activity trackers I settled on the Nike+ FuelBand - a three-axis accelerometer that tracks your daily activity including running, walking etc. It also tracks each step taken and calorie burned.

I have used it for a week and racked up 21,000 fuel points. I set my daily goal, wear the band, see my progress (syncs with the iPhone app) and stay motivated.

I wear it first thing in the morning and take it out before bed. It is with me all day tracking my activity and converting that into Nike Fuel - Nike’s universal currency that converts movement (taking into account oxygen kinetics) into points.

The ergonomic Nike+ FuelBand captures and displays four different metrics: time, calories, steps and NikeFuel – a new metric that will be the ultimate measure of your athletic activity. NikeFuel is a proprietary technology that measures your activity through the movement of your wrist. NikeFuel motivates athletes to do more with a NikeFuel score that makes movement fun, meaningful and comparable, letting you compete with athletes of all levels in most activities. The more you move, the more NikeFuel you earn, whether you’re playing basketball, throwing a Frisbee or going for a run.

Nike worked with some of the world’s top experts in science and sports to engineer NikeFuel algorithms based on oxygen kinetics. Unlike calorie counts — which vary based on someone’s gender and body type — NikeFuel is a normalized score that awards all participants equal scoring for the same activity regardless of their physical makeup. A user can also choose to also receive a calorie count to understand how many calories are burned versus how much NikeFuel is earned.

With the gamification built into Nike’s website we all can compete with ourselves, friends & family by using Nike Fuel as the primary metric. This is to me is pure marketing genius.

Even though the other two had sleep monitoring, I chose the Fuelband for one main reason - it gives me a real-time update on my progress on a sleek looking LED display right on my hand.

So, what have I gained in the last week?

Being active, motivated and aware. I check my goal for the day and plan to beat it before midnight. With the FuelBand on my arm I am now aware of what I do daily. I climb stairs instead of taking the elevator. I make it a point to head out for my morning jog so I can complete my goal for the day. After dinner, I take a quick walk if I am short of NikeFuel points. I compete with myself everyday. The primary purpose of these fitness trackers is simple - to get you moving.

In the coming years I am pretty certain that we’ll see a band or even a watch (Apple?) that has much more built into it for personal analytics, fitness tracking and health - accelerometer, altimeter, heart rate monitor, calorie monitor, sleep monitor etc. Until then, I’ll just keep on my fuelband and make every step count.