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Review of iFit Coach & The Trackers

Fitness tracking appsHeard of “iFit Coach and The Trackers?” They’re no rock band, but they’ll get you moving! Here we review how the iFit Coach app and different wearable activity trackers can work together for physical fitness.

A free wearable tracker called iFit Vue is included with Fit Coach app membership. Here we compare iFit Vue with iFit Axis HR ($149), Classic ($199) and Link ($49).

About iFit Coach and Trackers

If you’re new to iFit Coach, or don’t understand the point of trackers, this section’s for you! Otherwise skip ahead to “Comparing iFit Trackers.”

What’s iFit Coach?

iFit Coach is personal training software on home gym equipment from NordicTrack and ProForm. Activated for $9/month it offers unlimited customized exercise programs that control a fitness machine’s speed and resistance. Besides that, iFit Coach is a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. In this way it can be a 24/7 personal trainer.

Here are highlights for iFit Coach subscribers:

  • Unlimited personalized workout programs on-demand
  • Tracking for fitness statistics and calorie consumption
  • Customized calorie advice and recipes
  • Sleep time recommendations
  • Social features such as messaging and online competitions
  • Four user profiles

The Coach can work alone, but wearable activity trackers are valuable sidekicks.

Why Wear an Activity Tracker?

When you exercise on iFit Coach equipment, your workout info is automatically stored. But what about your other exercise… and your calorie intake? That’s where iFit Trackers work as backup.

Three big benefits of an iFit wearable tracker:

  1. It automates data collection. For example, the tracker can count your daily steps.
  2. It literally keeps your data at hand, which can inspire you to keep active.
  3. It automatically updates your iFit Coach account over Bluetooth.

The more activity you can share with iFit Coach, the better it will tailor its personal training suggestions. Without a tracker you can manually add data… but that would be time-consuming, and people tend to forget.

Comparing iFit Trackers

Previewed here are four iFit wearables featured in the iFit shop. Each is sold with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty. The contenders:

  1. iFIt Vue: Free with iFit Coach membership, this popular multifunction tracker retails for $129
  2. Axis HR: A step up from Vue, Axis HR adds the convenience of a built-in heart rate monitor ($149)
  3. Classic: The most elite tracker in this lineup, iFit Classic is waterproof and can run iOS and Android apps ($199)
  4. Link: The lowest-priced iFit tracker in this review, Link is the only device to show progress with lights instead of an LED screen ($49)

Free iFit Vue ($129 Full Price)

1 Black and 1 Dark Orange iFit Wearable TrackerVue is iFit’s most widely used activity tracker. That’s not surprising since it’s free with iFit Coach sign-up. The free set consists of a tracking pod, a charger and two wristbands (small/medium and large/extra large). You can pop the tracking pod into a wristband or carry it in your pocket. Vue wristbands in different colors and styles are sold separately.

The Vue has a small rectangular data screen. Like a digital watch it shows the date and time by default. By tapping the screen you can access different menus and make selections. For example, one tap will bring up the calorie menu. Four taps will bring the step count menu.

Some highlights:

  • Activity detection – iFit Vue can detect when you’re swimming, walking, cycling or sleeping and will estimate your calorie burn accordingly.
  • Heart Rate – Vue can show heart rate when it’s paired with a Bluetooth Smart wireless chest strap.
  • Calorie Logging – The tracker lets you tap to enter calorie consumption in increments in 50.
  • Vibration – Vue tracking pods can vibrate to send wake-up alarms, “get moving” reminders and social text notifications.  
  • Water Resistant – You can run in the rain, or get very sweaty, without damaging the tracking pod or wristband.

In our review this tracker’s tap-tap-tap system isn’t intuitive to use. Scrolling through menus involves tapping, double-tapping, or pressing the screen for a certain number of seconds. You might get frustrated if you don’t look at the manual before getting started! But once you understand the system, you could be impressed by its potential.

iFit Axis HR ($149)

iFitAxis HRThe “HR” in Axis HR stands for heart rate. While the Vue can receive heart rate data from a wireless chest strap, the Axis HR itself is a heart rate reader. LED lights can read the blood flow in your wrist to give a constant heart rate readout. You can also see your total steps, distance, calories in, calories out, and time elapsed for workouts.

Compared with Vue this model is easier to navigate. Just tap the right side of the screen to move forward in a menu; or tap the left side of the screen to move backward. To return to the home screen, double tap.  

Some other features to note:

  • Activity Detection – The tracker has MoveReady activity detection. The technology adapts quickly when you change activities, so you don’t need to manually change the mode.
  • Vibration – Axis HR can vibrate to send wake-up alarms and reminders to move after periods of inactivity.
  • Water Resistant – Axis HR is water resistant. However, it shouldn’t be submerged.

Like a Vue tracking pod, an Axis HR tracking pod can be worn with wristbands of different colors. We prefer Axis HR over the Vue for its heart rate reader and the easier menu setup, and it only costs $20 more.

iFit Classic ($299 $199)

Masquerading as a classic wristwatch, iFit Classic has an analog watchface and three round windows to indicate net calories, steps and distance. In a glance you can see your progress, which helps you make healthier choices.

Main features:

  • Activity Detection – This tracker has automatic activity detection, so you won’t need to manually log a change from walking to swimming, for example.
  • Vibration – The Classic has a vibration feature for sending inactivity alerts during the day, reminding you to stay physically active. A silent vibrating alarm can also be set as your wake-up alarm.  
  • Waterproof – Compared with the other iFit wearables, this model is best for swimming. It’s waterproof down to 50 meters whereas the others are only water resistant.

Given the above, the Classic is the best option if you’re into watersports or want an iFit tracker that looks like an analog watch. It’s also a great option if you’d rather not scroll through menus. This activity tracker is made in black and white.

iFit Link ($100 $49.99)

iFit Link; lights up baby blueFormerly about $100, iFit Link now sells for $49.99. This wearable tracker uses four lights to indicate your progress: Each illuminated light represents 25 percent of a daily goal completion. You can scroll through goal completion readouts by pressing a button, sort of like tapping the screen on an iFit Vue.

Here are some main functions:

  • Heart Rate – iFit Link can record your heart rate data when it’s paired with a Bluetooth wireless chest strap.
  • Activity Detection – Link can detect your different activity modes such as walking, running and sleeping.
  • Vibration – When a daily goal is achieved, the tracker will vibrate eight times and the lights will flash five times. The tracker can also vibrate with a different pattern as a “move time” notification.

The main disadvantage is that Link gives you less feedback on-the-go. (To see data, you need to sync the trainer with the app.) You might also dislike the literal flashiness of this tracker if you’re sensitive to blinking lights.

Its main selling point? Link is the cheapest way to send 24/7 data to iFit Coach outside of a free Vue. Neutral and colorful wristbands for the tracking pod are for sale in the iFit online shop.

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