Using the Nike FuelBand to Get Fit - dummies

Using the Nike FuelBand to Get Fit

By James T. Cains

Modern fitness activity trackers go beyond the pedometers of old. Many trackers not only count your steps and calories, but they also track your sleep habits, heart rate, and sync to your smartphone or the Internet. Nike’s FuelBand can’t do all of the things that some other activity trackers can, but it takes a different approach to measuring your progress.

For general information on wearable fitness trackers, see What Is Wearable Fitness Technology and How Can It Help You?

Exploring Nike FuelBand’s features

The Nike FuelBand has been around since 2012 and costs about $100. It is a wristband activity tracker and comes in four different colors. What sets it apart from other activity trackers is how it measures your overall fitness progress. Nike created the concept of NikeFuel, which Nike calls “a simple universal way to measure how you move.” What that means is that Nike created an algorithm that takes your number of steps, height, weight, movement, and calories burned and calculates an overall score, which you can use to track your progress and compete against others. The “universal” part is that the NikeFuel score is “normalized” for everyone, regardless of physical makeup, putting everyone on equal footing.

Here are the main features of the Nike FuelBand:

  • Movement tracker: Using an accelerometer, the FuelBand tracks the type of movements you make, whether you’re walking, running, or climbing stairs.

  • Calorie counter: Based on your movements, the FuelBand calculates how many calories you’ve burned.

  • LED display: You can view the time, NikeFuel points, calories burned, and steps taken. A red-to-yellow-to-green progress meter shows your progress toward your daily goal.

  • Reminders: You can set hourly reminders to get yourself moving again.

  • Mobile app syncing: You can wirelessly sync your data to the Nike+ mobile app for long-term tracking of your progress.

  • Nike+ mobile app: The mobile app is available for both iOS and Android. With it, you can set goals, get insights into your activity goals, and interact with other FuelBand users.

What the FuelBand doesn’t do

The FuelBand does a lot of the typical things other activity trackers do, and the NikeFuel measurement does set it apart. However, you may find the FuelBand lacking in some areas:

  • No heart rate tracking: Without heart rate tracking, the tracking of how many calories you burn may not be as accurate as other trackers that do track heart rate.

  • No sleep tracking: If you’re interested in understanding the quality of your sleep cycles (and improving them), the FuelBand won’t help you.

  • Not waterproof: The FuelBand won’t track your swimming activity. It is water resistant, but not waterproof, which means you can’t wear it while swimming.

Getting the most from your Nike FuelBand

Using the Nike FuelBand by itself is fine for casual use, but to get the most out of it, you should use it with the Nike+ mobile app. The FuelBand stores data for only a short time, but it can automatically sync with your smartphone to transfer your data so that you can see your long-term progress toward your fitness goals.

Here’s are some tips for using the Nike FuelBand and app to achieve your fitness and health goals:

  • Set goals: Using the NikeFuel Daily Goal function, you can set daily goals and track your progress over time. Set reminders to push you toward your goal of “Winning the Hour.”

  • Log your exercise workouts: Using the Sessions function, you can track the intensity of your workouts. Also, you can receive insight into which activities benefit you the most, so that you can do those more often.

  • View progress reports: You can evaluate your activity trends. Are there certain days when you slack off? If so, break those habits.

  • Use the built-in motivational tools: You can receive virtual trophies when reaching goals and even unlock special celebrations.

  • Connect with your friends: You can reach out to other FuelBand users and cheer each other on. You can join a group to try to achieve a goal together. You can also challenge others and compete for position on the NikeFuel leaderboard.

    The Nike+ app dashboard.
    The Nike+ app dashboard.