Got a smartphone, tablet and HDTV? It was only a matter of time before technology started making its way into your workout.
Thanks to mobile phones, watches had slowly started to go the way of the dodo. But in the past year, more and more wrist candy has begun to appear.
"Suddenly, everyone's discovered the wrist," chief executive of Casio Kazuo Kashio noted during a recent interview.
Soon the smartwatch could be as revolutionary as the smartphone, integrating into our lives in ways we can't even imagine. And the first place enhanced wristwear wants to make its mark is on your workouts.
Fitness trackers – once just a niche or novelty item – are now one of the hottest workout trends going, with everyone from Samsung to Nike getting in on the act. Tech giants saw the explosion of lifestyle and fitness apps and realised that they could take things one step further.
READY, SET, RECORD
These gadgets tap into basic human traits, namely curiosity and competitiveness.
"People love seeing their progress," says personal trainer James Murphy, owner of Zest Fitness. "Being able to track how hard you work is a great incentive; it can help create a sense of achievement and also help people better understand goal-setting.
"Fitness and fat-burning is no longer about simply standing on a scale or looking in a mirror," he continues.
"This technology really helps us better understand our goals, what we need to do to achieve them and motivate us if we are not consistently training."
Regardless of your fitness level, devices like Nike's Fuel Band, Jawbone's Up and the FitBit Flex can encourage you to push that little bit harder with each and every workout, whether you're trying to reach goals, beat a personal record, or compete with gadget-wearing friends or colleagues.
"To the seasoned trainer, it's a way of monitoring training and fine-tuning," says James. "For a beginner, it can be a motivational tool or efficiently track slow progression."
THE 24/7 WORKOUT
But that's only the start. Most wearable tech doesn't want to confine activity tracking to just your exercise session; it wants you to make it a daily habit, monitoring your diet, and all your movements – even your sleep quality.
It breaks activity down into categories: the distance you've walked, the number of steps you've taken and the total calories burned. The devices then sync with an iOS or Android app on your phone, so you can check in on your progress daily.
Most apps let you input calories too, and some gadgets can even analyse sleep patterns, letting you get a bird's-eye view of sleeping habits over days, weeks and even months. The idea is that the technology will integrate seamlessly into your lifestyle. Some even send you weekly email summaries, while others, like FitBit's Flex, build on the success of apps like FourSquare, gamifying your fitness and letting you collect achievement "badges" to keep you motivated.
The Nike Fuel Band prompts you with daily goals, and encourages you to share achievements with friends and even compete for "leaderboard bragging rights".
IWATCH THIS SPACE
While smart wristbands are flooding the market, there are rumours that Apple is working on an iWatch, which would really cement the trend.
"The wrist is interesting," said Apple chief executive Tim Cook earlier this year, when asked about the company's potential plans to develop a piece of wearable technology.
In June, Apple applied for the iWatch trademark in Japan, adding more fuel to the fire. During the September 10 round-up of new product releases, the company announced that the iPhone 5S would contain a new chip – the M7 motion processor – specifically designed to measure movement, with a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope.
"It enables a new generation of health and fitness apps," said Apple exec Phil Schiller, highlighting just what a big deal tech-enhanced workouts are going to be.
Juniper Research expects more than 18 million smart wearable devices to be sold in 2013, rising to 170 million by the end of 2018, so chances are your future workout will begin and end at your wrist.
Of course, it doesn't stop there. The Withings Smart Body Analyzer may look like a regular weighing scale, but it's far from it. It reads your body's stats and also finds out how healthy your living environment is. It can read your resting heart rate, body-fat percentage, and even monitor the air quality of the room.
It automatically uploads these measurements over Wi-Fi and bluetooth to your phone and can pair up with its Health Mate app (iOS and Android) to help you chart trends and visualise improvements.
The scale can also work with other popular fitness apps (like Runkeeper and MyFitness Pal) to monitor your activity. And yes, it can even tweet your weight – though, thankfully, that feature is disabled by default.