Hey, experts, which tools are most important for you?

Feb 15 2011 - 3:00am


Julie Hansen
Julie Knighton
Justin Mingo
Lora Erickson
Julie Hansen
Julie Knighton
Justin Mingo
Lora Erickson

Lora Erickson

Triathlete, certified running and fitness coach, Bountiful

* Favorite tool -- Garmin 305 GPS watch

Erickson, who runs The Blonde Runner running and fitness classes in Bountiful, can be found wearing her watch while training.

"What I like is that it gives me immediate feedback," she said. "You can download it onto your computer. It maps your route as you are going, so it's really useful."

She is a sponsored triathlete, so she needs to utilize any information to try to better her finishing times. It's about running at her optimal best, whether biking, swimming or running.

"It will tell me what pace I am going, in terms of minutes per mile," Erickson said. "It will tell me percent incline. It will tell me the distance I have gone, how long it has taken me. It has a heart-rate monitor so I can look at my heart rate all the time."

Erickson said pedometers and heart-rate monitors can provide valuable information for weight loss.

"I have found, anytime there is immediate feedback or it gives you a goal ... it seems more manageable than, 'OK, what can I handle today?'

"Really, for the feedback you get, it's like an investment in your health."


Julie Hansen

Runner, dietitian and nutrition professor, Ogden

* Favorite tool -- Nike + iPod

Hansen found a way to compete in a San Francisco half-marathon without leaving Weber County. She used her Nike + iPod, ran a 13.1 mile route around town, and her T-shirt for completing the race came in the mail.

"So it connects to your iPod and then there is a sensor that connects to your shoe," said Hansen. "You can pick if you want a male or female voice talking to you."

The voice -- all-stars like Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and marathoner Joan Benoit are among the choices -- will give information on distance, pace and calories burned, and will also give encouragement.

"It is really motivational that way. It was really fun," Hansen said.

There's also a social media aspect; it allows you to post updates to Facebook or Twitter with your training results. Challenges can also be set up among friends to see who can accomplish certain goals first.


Justin Mingo

Personal trainer, Ogden

* Favorite tool -- Livestrong.com

Mingo prefers to track his information online.

"I've been using Livestrong.com for the calorie counter and fitness tracker," wrote Mingo in an e-mail. "Absolutely love it. I use the Blackberry app for Livestrong, too. It easily syncs with the website."

The website allows users to set up their weight-loss goals, track their food intake, weight, calories burned, and even map training routes -- all for free. There is a paid portion for added features.

Mingo also uses GPS technology to track the path and distance of his runs for free from his smartphone.

"I have apps for Blackberry, both for Endomondo and Map My Run," Mingo said. "Map My Run seems to be a little more accurate in tracking distance and course. Both can be synced with the website to track your runs."

Though he has used GPS watches, he said, he found them to be bulky. Now, all he has to do is take his phone along on the run.


Julie Knighton

Physical therapist and weight-loss coach, Ogden.

* Favorite tool -- Polar heart-rate monitor

Heart-rate monitors have gained popularity over the last several years. They offer a step forward for all of those people who ever tried tracking their pulse by counting the beats per minute while exercising.

"Heart-rate monitors are for ones that want to be a little more precise and customized with their training," said Knighton. "Because you can't really be accurate taking your own pulse -- because it changes (when you stop to check)."

The advancement of technology has also changed the gym. More facilities are equipped with testing equipment that was once reserved for hospitals.

Knighton's office, for instance, conducts vo2 max testing, which tells how the body responds to training with calories burned totals and oxygen input and output.

"So that tells us what heart-rate ranges people can work out at," Knighton said.

Combine the information with a heart-rate monitor -- you can train at your peak ability.

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