These products all claim to help you get healthier. Woman’s Weekly staff put them through their paces
Three members of the Woman’s Weekly trial a selection of popular health gadgets over a four-week period. Here’s what happened…
The fitness tracker
Editor Diane tries the Jawbone UP3 fitness tracker (£129.99)
I’m naturally quite a sporty, active person. But I’m also aware that I spend too much time during my working days sitting down.
So wearing a device that tracks my step count, heart rate, exercise and sleep should be a useful way to keep my fitness on track.
The bracelet I’m trying comes in various colours. Mine is navy blue and the strap is quite slim, so it feels less industrial than some other fitness trackers on the market.
Pairing it with my phone, which is where all the data it collects is shown, is simple and only takes a few minutes. It says it’s water resistant in the shower, but I take it off just to be safe and then forget to put it back on again.
Not the best start!
I set my step target to what I think is a relatively unambitious 10,000 per day.
Do my usual Pilates class and a run at the weekend, and check into my phone to see what the tracker makes of that, only to discover that, although the bracelet has logged my step count, I have to manually enter any exercise I do (type, length of time spent exercising and intensity).
In spite of my concerns about the time I spend sitting, I achieve the step count easily on my working days – it turns out it’s actually the weekend when my levels drop off.
The whole Woman’s Weekly team started a trial working at home two days a week this week and it’s alarming how my step count plummets on the days I’m at home.
I’m going to have to pay attention to my exercise regime and make sure I take computer screen breaks and use them to move around.
I am finding the information about my sleep pattern instructive and realise I’m not getting enough sleep during the week.
Vow to try and get to bed earlier.
There’s a report in the papers on a study that has shown that fitness trackers can make people put on weight because they think that, as they’re exercising more, they can eat more.
It’s a timely reminder that however much you move around, you still need to think about your food intake. Am also getting used to checking my stats and trying to adjust my activity accordingly – got to be a good thing!
It’s easy to get used to having the tracker on and to logging and checking your stats. If you’re someone who’s not naturally inclined to exercise, having the bracelet on is a gentle but constant reminder to move more.
And the motivational messaging really can encourage you to take the steps you need (literally!) to get yourself fitter.
The food blender
Senior Writer Natasha tries the NutriBullet (from £69.99)
I buy green juices and smoothies fairly regularly, but they can cost almost £4 a pop! I’m also trying to cut down on coffee, so I wonder if the NutriBullet will save me money, as well as provide me with nutritious drinks that will give me energy without resorting to caffeine.
At first, the device seems confusing, but within half an hour I’m blending a banana with almond milk, frozen berries and honey, which mix in seconds and tastes delicious.
A couple of friends are coming over for dinner, and I wonder if I can use the NutriBullet to help make a main course.
A quick Google search online throws up a recipe for basil pesto. I mix together basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper using the extractor blade and have a tasty, homemade topping for pasta in under 30 seconds – so easy!
And healthy, too.
I find a recipe to help beat my coffee cravings.
I have some matcha green tea powder sitting unused in my kitchen, so I blend the powder with spinach, a banana, a tablespoon of honey, a pinch of cinnamon and almond milk.
I drink this for breakfast throughout the week and it keeps me full until lunchtime, as well as alert, bright and energetic.
This becomes a week of experimenting – with mixed results. I try some supergreens powder of my fiancé’s in the berry smoothie I’d made in Week 1, but it turns into a jelly-like sludge.
I put this down to getting the measurements wrong – many of the recipes online use US measures, which can be confusing to convert.
I have some avocado left over from dinner, so I swap it for the banana in the matcha drink. This makes it even tastier.
At first, the choice of two blades made the NutriBullet seemed daunting, but it’s actually very simple to use.
Some of the harder-to-find ingredients for smoothies, such as the matcha, can be pricey, but you can use fruit and veg you’d ordinarily buy, as well as any leftovers. I’ve also consumed more fruit and veg and feel more energetic for it.
The smart scales
Health Editor Tanya tries the Tanita Innerscan Body Composition Monitor (£36)
I stand naked on the scales, aligning my heels with the back electrodes and the balls of my feet on the front ones and record my scores – weight, body and abdominal fat, water percentage, bone and muscle mass.
I’m pleased to see they’re all in the healthy range, according to the accompanying chart.
I’ve gained a kilo – most of it around my tummy! I think having all ‘healthy’ measurements has made me relax too much.
But I know from my clothes being slightly too tight that toning up wouldn’t be a bad idea so I’m making sure I get the recommended half hour of activity a day.
During the week I do some walking, play tennis, squash and do an exercise class.
I have put on another kilo! But I’ve increased my muscle mass, while my body fat percentage has remained constant – maybe the extra exercise is paying off.
My mind is getting a workout, too, while I try to record my measurements. The scales come with a tracking chart into which you can write your scores but they flash up so quickly on the scales, and in a different order to the chart, that it’s tricky to record them.
My weight has stayed the same so I’ve decided life is just too short not to eat cake, but that maintaining my daily exercise is key. My body fat has fallen while my muscle mass has increased, so I really think the added exercise is making a difference.
Seeing the change in my body composition has helped keep me motivated.
This is a great device for monitoring your body composition and weight. While it’s easy to use once you’ve set it up, you need to be fast to record the scores because they flash up so quickly.
All in all, though, this is a useful gadget at an affordable price. I’d recommend one if you’re looking to lose weight or shape up.