Ah leap year! It only comes along every four years and this year I saw lots of chatter on Facebook and Twitter that you whatever you did this past Wednesday “didn’t count” because it was February 29th.
Nike had other ideas. To make Leap Day count, they held an event for people to test their new Nike+ FuelBand and had challenges to make this day worth having on the calendar.
I was fortunate enough to attend this event and it was so much fun. Before I get to details of the day, I have to first tell you about a new gadget that I CANNOT WAIT to get my hands on to use all the time rather than just for a couple of hours.
The Nike+ FuelBand is a handy little bracelet you wear (it also functions as a watch) that tracks all of your movements in a 24-hour period and gives you feedback on how active you are. The concept is that it takes into account your movements as well as oxygen used to determine your fuel level.
You may have heard of gadgets that already do this sort of thing. However, the FuelBand is more focused on sport activities. Some of you may use Nike+ to track your runs. If you aren’t familiar with Nike+, it is a sensor you put in your Nike shoes (or a pouch that you can attach to any brand shoe you wear – something that I do) that then connects with your iPod Nano, iPod Touch or iPhone to provide feedback on your runs, such as distance, calories, and pace.
When Nike+ came out, it was great for runners and walkers, but it didn’t provide information for people who worked out in other ways. What if you played basketball or rode a bike for exercise? It would have been really nice to have something like Nike+ that worked for whatever sport you were engaged in.
Now, think about how it would be to have a device that could tell you how your run compared to a bike ride or a game of two-on-two basketball.
After a few years of development, there is such a thing and it’s called the Nike+ FuelBand.
So what do you do with a FuelBand? Nike’s website says that it starts with a goal:
How active do you want to be? Set your Daily Goal and Nike+ FuelBand tracks your progress, lighting up from red to green throughout the day. Get to green and you’ve hit your goal. With the touch of a button you can cycle through time, NikeFuel earned, steps taken, and calories burned.
Nike’s site for the FuelBand features a video that explains what what NikeFuel is.
As an example, the presenter at Nike’s Make It Count event explained how he doesn’t really enjoy going shopping with his girlfriend on the weekend. He always felt it was draining. One weekend, he wore the FuelBand and found out that shopping was exhausting because he was actually doing a ton of walking around at the stores and in the mall.
But we didn’t just hear about how the FuelBand works, we got to try it out.
What better place to do this than the home of the Chicago Bears, Soldier Field? I found this to be quite the kick, considering I am a Packers fan. (Go ahead, hate me Bears fans!)
When we got to Soldier Field, we made a stop at the visitors locker room. There was a Steelers helmet and a Packers helmet in a couple of the lockers. Seeing Green Bay represented brought a smile to my face.
After that, we lined up to head out onto the field where we were introduced as if we were football players taking the field. Then everyone broke into groups.
In our groups, we did some workout stations of touchdown pass catching, field goal kicking and foot work drills to see how much fuel we were earning.
My group did pretty well with this stuff. A few people even caught touchdown passes. In the field goal kicking, we got instruction from Robbie Gould, kicker for the Chicago Bears. I actually wasn’t too bad at this. I got elevation on the ball, but not quite enough force behind my kick to get the ball over the uprights. Kicking a field goal is a LOT harder than it looks. The footwork drills were fun to do as well.
After playing around at Soldier Field, we went back to the main event site and had the opportunity to continue testing the FuelBand at a dance party. This was to demonstrate that you can earn fuel points even if you’re not engaged in a formal workout. Unfortunately, I was unable to stay for that dance party, but I have no doubt it was a blast.
Before leaving I saw that over the course of about two hours, I had earned about 660 fuel points. I can only imagine what the number would be if I were having a day where I had an easy run planned and then continued to run around doing errands and such.
If you are a person who likes to have data feedback on your workouts, I think the FuelBand could be a great addition to your arsenal. Currently, I use a heart rate monitor when I go to spin class to make sure I am working hard enough while bike riding as well as getting feedback on whether I might need additional rest if a ride is particularly challenging.
The Nike+ FuelBand provides information on how much distance you have gone, steps taken, calories burned as well as how much fuel you have earned toward the goal you have pre-set it to track.
Right now, the FuelBand is only being sold in New York. You can order them online or you can follow on twitter as well as sign up to receive email notifications as to when more are available so you can order one.
Personally, I cannot wait to get my hands on one to use. I am curious to find out what a normal activity day, lazy activity day and a hard-core training day will look like for me. Some days I do feel like I am not doing much, so I’d like to use a FuelBand to know if my perception matches reality.
For more information on the Fuel Band, you can read up on it here. If you have any questions about how it worked out for me, just leave them in the comments and I will answer to my best ability.
Note from the Author: I own a TON of Nike gear. I am not currently using Nike running shoes, but I still use the Nike+ app for tracking my runs. People who were invited to the Nike event in Chicago on Wednesday received free items from Nike (including shoes and a complete outfit.) The opinions expressed below are my own and I would hope they are not influenced by the merchandise that I received.
Cheryl is the senior White Sox Reporter. When she isn’t watching the White Sox, she is slowly becoming an avid runner. You can read about the White Sox at South Side Hit Girl and follow Cheryl on Twitter for snark on the Sox, music, television, the occasional poking at Bears fans and whatever else comes to mind that she feels needs commentary.