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Under Armour Creates High-Performance Fitness Tracker

Under Armour has created a new fitness tracker designed for the serious athlete. Is it enough to compete with the Nike+ FuelBand and Fitbit?
Under Armour Creates High-Performance Fitness Tracker
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Photo: Under Armour 

Tracking a daily fitness and diet routine, no matter what the means or method, largely amounts to the same finite data: calories eaten, steps walked, minutes exercised, heart rate... and very little else. While all this data certainly has a place in better understanding how a unique body responds and reacts to different factors, it can be difficult to convert this endless string of numbers into a practical and usable interface that not only shows how your regime is working, but why it’s working. Apparel and footwear company Under Armour is answering that call with their new product, Armour39. The system, a synergistic combination of wearable chest monitor and iPhone app (with a display watch available as an option), is designed to track the users’ “WILLPower”— a proprietary algorithm that, using a scale from zero to 10, measures how efficiently and effectively the body works during a single workout.

What's the Deal?

Think of the system as a traditional heart monitor, but with tons of extra data built right in. Strap it across your chest before a workout and the system will track your heart rate and calories burned while also assessing your effort levels as you move. In an ideal use case, this system can tell the difference between those “killing it” workout days and the  “not so much” days by analyzing heart rate, body positioning, and workout duration. In the grand scheme of fitness-monitoring gadgets, the Armour39 is closer to a traditional workout device than a wearable monitor like the Fitbit or the JAWBONE UP. In terms of specs, its closest comparison is the Nike+ FuelBand, especially with its similar iPhone app offerings. However, Under Armour’s product has a much stronger focus on high-performance and aspirational athletes rather than more passive, casual users. Sneak a peek at the system in this teaser trailer below (featuring MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre):

 

Why It Matters

In addition to keeping tabs on your biometric information, the system also helps you tweak your workout in real time by broadcasting up-to-the-minute data through your smartphone. So, while using the system, users know when it’s time to kick a workout up from a 4.5 to a 7.0. The system can also adjust to your fitness level and habits. For example, it's not possible to "max out" the device, instead the scores are relative and will continually adjust up or down to provide a challenge for each individual user. The system, which retails for $150, will go on sale at UA.com in March and is available now for preorder.  

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