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Fitness gadgets and apps want to be your personal trainer—two new standouts


Your smart phone is already your restaurant critic, navigation system, and DJ. Now, it wants to be your personal trainer, too.

In the past few months, more and more tech companies are turning their attention to fitness, and as a result, there are a slew of new websites, gadgets, and apps that deliver personalized workouts, weight-loss plans, and more.

Sam Grobart, the personal technology editor for The New York Times, says that the trend is only going go grow in the coming year. “Is there anything more basic, more elemental, than the promise of a technology that will help you look better and live longer?” asks Grobart. “I mean, it’s great—truly great—to be able to identify a song playing on the radio with an app, for example, but that doesn’t hold a candle to something that’s going to help me drop 15 pounds.”

Most of the gadgets and apps in the crowded market include some system of tracking and measurement and then expand on that using videos, meal plans, playlists, and more.  Here are two of splashiest new products we found:

daily burnDAILYBURN

Best for: The independent, self-motivated living room-workout lover

DailyBurn’s new website (and accompanying apps) creates detailed, personalized fitness plans. After filling out an initial questionnaire,  it sets you up with a custom mix of video workouts, meal plans, and challenges.

Then, once you’re off and running, the program (powered by trademarked technology they call IntelliBurn) collects feedback and learns your preferences and what motivates you, changing what it recommends based on your progress (which is determined by self-reporting, so you have to be honest and consistent!).

“You don’t need to go to the gym, you don’t need a personal trainer,” says CEO Andy Smith. “You just need to turn on Daily Burn and do it.”

Another benefit, Smith says, is that most people only have access to mediocre trainers in person, while DailyBurn gives them access to six high-profile quality trainers from around the country round the clock, for just $9.99 per month.



Best for: The detail-obsessed tech-loving runner or spinner

Motorola’s new MOTOACTV fitness tracker is a arm-band gadget that does everything but tie your laces for you. It tracks time, distance, speed, heart rate, and calories burned while you work out.

Later, you upload your results and analyze them on the companion website (or on your Android phone), where you can also get tips and training plans from fitness experts.

The clincher? Your trainer is also a DJ: The program learns which songs motivate you while you sweat and creates personalized workout playlists to help you progress.

The device is priced like a handful of personal training sessions, but lasts much longer: the 8GB model costs $249.99, plus arm band at $29.99 (they couldn’t have thrown that in?). Heart-rate monitors, headphones, and other accessories are sold separately.

Of course, no matter which digital personal trainer you go for, it won’t be able to correct improper form or perfect your running stride. And don’t expect a friendly joke as you suffer through burpees. –Lisa Elaine Held