Fitness Gadget Review – Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Nike Fuel Band

I’m going to take a different approach to this week’s Stuff You Should Read and provide some Fitness Gadget Gift Ideas and review the Fitbit, Jawbone Up, and Nike Fuel Band.  ‘Tis the season.  If you know me, you know it takes me an hour to pick out cough medicine at CVS because I have to nitpick and compare every aspect (it’s a curse…).  Well, I just recently did a similar thing to the fitness tracking gadgets that are on the market now.  Since I did all the deliberating in my head, I hope you benefit from my OCD personality.


Inner Circle and Update

I hope everyone had a great holiday and downtime last week.  My next live Inner Circle webinar will be tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM EST.  I will be discussing the system I use to stay current with new thoughts and research, and how you can build your own system too.  You’ll learn how you can quickly and easily build a system online to stay current.  Even if you put just a couple of these techniques into action, you’ll be able to enhance your skills.  Inner Circle members can sign up for the live webinar at the Inner Circle dashboard.  As always, I’ll get a recorded version up to the site sometime next week.  Click here to learn more about my Inner Circle.

For December, I know we all have a crazy month ahead of us.  I am going to talk more in depth about a couple of articles I from this site recently on the qualities we need to succeed and then do a live Q&A sessions via webinar.  I’ll do two live Q&A’s, one during the day and then try my best to do another in the evening during the week.  Come with your questions in hand and we’ll do a nice chat session online in a webinar.  If you have a specific case study or difficult patient you want to discuss, contact me and send me an email describing it and perhaps we’ll discuss.  I’ll let everyone know when these will be scheduled. actually featured a webinar of mine this month, discussing the Scientific and Clinical Rationale Behind Shoulder Exercises.  For those that know me, you know I enjoy this topic.  I discuss some of the latest research on selecting shoulder exercises.  Learn more about


Fitness Gadget Gift Ideas

For those looking for gift ideas for the fitness enthusiast in your life (or wondering what to ask for yourself!), here are three gifts ideas you may want to checkout.  Fitness trackers are hugely popular right now, with the three big names being Fitbit One, Nike Fuel Band, and the new Jawbone Up.

Fitbit One

Fitbit One Fitness Gadget Gift IdeasThe Fitbit brand has a few options, but the newest model, the Fitbit One is worth considering.  The Fitbit One tracks your steps, distance, calories, and stairs climbed in a pedometer that clips to your belt or shoe.  In addition, it has one of the better features to me, the ability to monitor your sleep cycles and wake you up silently using a smart alarm.  What this means is that when you tell it you want to wake up at 7:00 AM, it may notice that you are in a light state of sleep at 6:50 and will vibrate to wake you up before you drift back off into deep sleep, preventing you from waking up groggy.  While the smart alarm is cool, I like tracking my sleep quality just as much.  I have used this to monitor my training and stress levels.  It syncs wirelessly through Bluetooth, works with a bunch of great apps, and has a pretty nice app of it’s own.  Click here to learn more about the Fitbit One, it’s the #1 selling pedometer on Amazon.


Nike Fuel Band

Nike Fuel Band Fitness Gadget Gift IdeasNike brings a similar product to the market in the form of a wrist band.  The Nike Fuel Band looks pretty cool (if you are into the whole wristband thing, I like it better than clipping on a Fitbit) and has a nice colorful display that looks cool (and doubles as a watch if you want).  The Nike Fuel app is OK, though Fitbit’s is better in my opinion.  It does sync wirelessly, but most disappointing to me is that it does not monitor your sleep or offer a smart alarm.  This is the biggest negative to me.  I would love to have all these features in one.  I should also note, the clip on wristband has a couple of drawbacks, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pinched my wrist when putting it on, and I have also had it open up on me while wearing several times.  Nike has also tried to quantify fitness with what they call Nike Fuel.  They don’t tell you how they calculate it, but I have to admit it backfired for me.  I noticed what my Nike Fuel level was on days I didn’t work out and saw that I was still way above average, which encouraged me to take the day off from training.  I guess I’m pretty active at work…  Click here to learn more about the Nike Fuel Band.


Jawbone Up

The Jawbone Up could be the perfect blend between the Fitbit and Nike Fuel Band.  Originally launched last the year, the wristband was pulled from the market as the product was not quite as water resistant as the advertised!  I see that as a positive, they’ve spent months redesigning and have just re-released the product.  I would imagine they wouldn’t risk another disaster (right???)!  The Jawbone Up is another wristband, though it doesn’t snap on the the Nike Fuel Band, which is probably a good thing.  It does monitor your sleep, have a smart alarm, and a cool app.  It also has the ability to track what you eat and your mood, making it a pretty complete package.  However, it does not sync wirelessly.  I personally don’t care about this feature the most.  Unfortunately, you can’t get the Jawbone Up on Amazon yet.  I think you can get it online from Jawbone or at the Apple Store, with Best Buy getting it soon.  Click here to learn more about the Jawbone Up.


Here are few key points of each to help you decide.  The Fitbit probably makes sense for the greatest majority of people, the Nike Fuel Band is potentially the coolest, and the Jawbone Up has the best features if your like the wristband thing.  I would go with the Fitbit, but I think I like the wristband better, so I am going Jawbone Up.

  • Fitbit One – Sleep monitor, wireless, clips onto belt, works with a bunch of other apps
  • Nike Fuel Band – Has clock, wireless, wristband – does not have sleep monitor
  • Jawbone Up – Sleep monitor, wristband – does not wirelessly sync


These all seem like quick and easy gift ideas for a wide variety of people.  I’m a fan of these new fitness tracking gadgets so thought this was all worth sharing.  Which one are you getting???  Happy shopping, hope these fitness gadget gift ideas come in handy!




Subscapularis Testing, Balance Drill for Runners, and the Subjective Examination

This week’s stiff you should read includes some great articles by Sports Medicine Research, Chris Johnson, and Charlie Weingroff.

Subscapularis Testing Positions

Sports Medicine Research looks at a recent article assessing the various test positions for subscapularis dysfunction.

Simple Balance Drill for Runners Who Pronate

Chris Johnson has a great video demonstration of a simple balance drill he uses to assess runners who over-pronate.

Examining the Subjective Examination

CHarlie Weingroff challenges the subjective examination and offers some tips on how to get more out of it.

Is Barefoot Running Good or Bad for You?

barefoot runningThe concept of barefoot running is getting a lot of interest lately, as well as a lot of debate on running and medical forums, with the question “is barefoot running good or bad for you?” It is certainly not a new concept and running shoe companies have been catering for the so called minimalist runners for many years. The recent publication of the book, Born to Run ignited a lot of interest in it.  In this post, Craig Payne shares some thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of barefoot running.  What do you think?

The Barefoot Running Controversy

The benefits that are claimed for barefoot running include increased foot strength, which is based on the claim that running shoes weaken muscles, that no research has shown; improved running biomechanics, which the research has not shown despite claims by barefoot runners (all the research has shown is that barefoot running is different to shoe running, not better); reduced injuries, which has not been shown by the research and a quick look at barefoot running blogs and running forums show a lot of runners seeking advice for the inquires they got while running barefoot.

barefoot running Particularly common in barefoot runners is what has become known as ‘top of foot pain’ and metatarsal stress fractures. None of this means that barefoot running is not good, it’s just the claims made for it are not supported by the research in the way that those who make the claims like to think.

Many in the barefoot running community also claim that running shoes are evil and are the cause of many of the running overuse injuries that occur. Again, there is no evidence that this is actually the case, yet you can often see research quoted that they claim shows this. On closer inspection, the research does not actually show what is claimed. There is no research that running shoes help either. That does not mean they are bad, it just means that no one has yet done the research.

Elite runners and elite triathletes look for every edge that they can get and none of them run barefoot. Some do incorporate barefoot drills into their training, but do distance themselves from many of the claims for barefoot running. Even the elite African runners who grow up barefoot, choose to use running shoes. You often see statements about Abebe Bikala winning the 1960 Olympic marathon barefoot, but he went on to break a world record wearing running shoes in the 1964 Olympics. You often see statements about Zola Budd competing in the Olympic 1500 meter barefoot, but she started to get a number of injuries and had to resort to running shoes to prevent the injuries.

Bottom Line is that We Need More Research on Barefoot Running

Personally, I don’t have a problem with the concept of barefoot running. What I have a problem with is the somewhat religious fanaticism that some in the barefoot running go about with the claims they make and the misuse, misquoting and misrepresentation of the research that they make use of to claim to support their cause. Barefoot runners are not unique in this approach and others such as Pose and Chi runners make similar nonsensical claims.

My belief is that there is not one running style, technique or method that suits all runners and it’s up to the individual. Claims for the benefits of any running approach need to be carefully evaluated and not taken at face value and the research checked to see if it actually show what is being claimed. There is even an anti-barefoot running website that critically analyses all the claims made by barefoot runners.

PayneAbout the author: Craig Payne is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Podiatry at LaTrobe University in Australia and a moderator on Podiatry Arena where a lot of barefoot running topics get discussed.

Photos from istockphoto and wikipedia

vibram fivefinger barefoot running

Comments from Mike: Sounds like there are definitely pros and cons to barefoot running, but until the evidence shows us otherwise, I’d lean towards running shoes.  Especially if this is something you are not used to doing and you run for long distances, your foot may not be ready for it!  What do you think?  Have you had an experience with barefoot running, either good or bad?  I know that I have seen a large increase in the amount of barefoot runners wearing the Vibram FiveFinger product, any experience with this product or others for barefoot running?

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