What is Electronic Reverse Osmosis?

You asked and we shall tell. Electronic reverse osmosis may not be household words, but they are pertinent in certain circles. If you care about water purification technology, read on. In short, it’s a filtering system, plain and simple. Who doesn’t like clean water: mothers, fathers, kids, athletes, artists, you name it, we all want chemical-free hydration. It the modern way of life!

So how does it work? From a scientific perspective reverse osmosis will remove molecules and ions from liquid, even bacteria. While much of this stuff doesn’t kill us, we don’t want to take chances with our health. Bacteria be gone. Any device, especially electronic, should be used for the betterment of society. Right? Right. So here’s more of the story. According to the definition, a reverse osmosis system is used to overcome osmotic pressure to achieve potable water. Say what? It’s not mumbo jumbo, my friends. By means of a semipermeable membrane, this methodology reverses normal osmosis through the utilization of external pressure that alters natural flow. We don’t want to go into high and low solute concentrations and membrane pore sizes, lest we put you to sleep. It’s just that technology is so interesting and we can all benefit from its results.

So what’s the electronic component of this deal? It is just the way the process can be activated so we can have filtered water for cooking and drinking. That’s the goal. It is the power behind a filtering device that traps particles like rust and calcium carbonate. Some of the better systems have a second filter (aka membrane) for even smaller unwanted particles. A charcoal filter (or one made up of cellulose triacetate — some big words!) will nab the organic chemicals like chlorine. We can practically smell it upon hearing the word. A thin film composite membrane gets much of the credit for the reverse osmosis part, but if not, additional filters can quarantines and destroy what’s left. You may also find an ultraviolet lamp is used to sterilize escaping microbes. Get ‘em boys. When done right, not even a nano particle is left unscathed. They are trapped like prisoners in a mesh pen.

This implies that we want our water perfectly pure, and you can have it. You can put in a system if you like to be responsible for your own personal water purification (a noble goal) or buy bottles of it that have been treated with one at the plant. So for those who always wanted to know what was behind their daily guzzling, you now have the key!

By the way, portable electronic filtering systems are used in rural areas far from city pipes. Everyone needs clean water. You can use them traveling, boating, fishing, and camping. Reverse osmosis to the rescue. That’s our motto. Countries that are known for water pollution buys these in water processors in bulk. The big guns at the plants around the world use larger versions unless prohibited by law in the bottling of natural mineral water.

Non-competitive Water Tech

Swimming competitively has no counterpart in my book. You train forever and work at perfecting your skills. There are times, however, when you can lay back and enjoy a non-competitive session or two. The pool is quiet, the stands are not filled, and it is pure bliss.
Diving is an option at such times as well. Whatever I decide to do, I enjoy my time to the fullest. We all need such personal extracurricular opportunities. Sometimes special gear goes along with the endeavor chosen. When it comes to swimming and diving, a high tech dive watch is often found on my wrist. I actually have several in that my family and friends know what I like and they indulge me with great gifts. If you don’t get what you desire for Christmas, I have a few suggestions as to what to buy for yourself online or in stores.
If price is no object, you can go for the best of the best. If you are not a pro, it doesn’t matter. It will provide great features and benefits. I am talking about the Reactor Graviton 2 Chrono for men which goes for about $500. It is not the most expensive and is therefore suitable for most. This digital darling is made of stainless steel, has a high-contrast LCD screen (that can be turned off) with silvertone hands and markers, and a sturdy rubber strap. It is well made and reliable. The case has a screw-down crown and is guaranteed watertight. Even if the screws are loose, water does not penetrate.
Furthermore, the screwbars that attach the case to the strap are tougher than most. This is a no-fault watch to be sure. The manufacturer knows its craft and uses only the finest high-grade materials. Even if you change the battery time and again, you will always get a perfect seal. You also get dual alarms, a chronograph, and a countdown timer. Nothing you could want has been overlooked. You want tide chart accuracy for 275 North American locations? You got it until the year 2020. You want top lines display for the next two upcoming tide times and height, you got it. You also will find the current moon phase and a dot matrix line display of the date and time.
Dual time means digital and analog settings synchronized in a single movement. Other features include automatic sunrise sunset time, water and shock resistance to 600 feet, 1 ¾ inch case width, and a two-year warranty. I think I have covered the basic details. You can find testimonials and more info online. There are other choices out there, but this one strikes me as all purpose. I would definitely drop a few hints at birthday or holiday time! Sure, they come a lot cheaper with Casio and more expensive with Bulova and Montrek (both have versions good for 1,000 feet), but this mid-range option is my recommendation. A close second is the Swiss army Divemaster collection in various quartz and mechanical models. You will be happy with any of these choices.

Pool Cleaning Under Pressure

If you want to know the ABCs of pressure cleaning a swimming pool, read on. If you don’t have one, your friends might, or your local gym. You can give everyone you know some good tips for efficient, low-cost cleaning. What a guy! (Don’t forget to offer to help.)

Point one: in the winter, pools can turn black from accumulated algae. The time is right for heavy cleaning come spring. Grime and scum can be removed with the right solution and a pressure washer. If you want a usable sparkling pool, and you have to do it yourself, take heed. Investing in a good unit is a one-time expense and sure saves on the weekly pool boy who flirts too much with the girl next door in any case.

Point two: many people like to pressure wash their pool at the end of the season after a complete draining. You can then cover it with a tarp for protection against falling leaves and tree debris. Redoing the wash makes it that much cleaner for the warm weather crowd.

Point three: pressure washers come with extension wands and brushes. Buy one designed for a swimming pool rather than a basic utilitarian model unless it comes well equipped. You rinse well with water to flush residue, refill it, and you are set. If you are happy with the results and have a tennis court, you can clean that up nicely too. Then the basketball court, etc…

Point four: these are very handy tools that can run from a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand. Best to look at some pressure washer reviews here. Assess your needs and get help to make the right selection so you won’t have to upgrade soon. They are adjustable for different applications. You can choose an electric or gas model depending upon your desired power source. If you want hot water, you can have that, too.

Point five: safety first. Use goggles while operating machinery. No one wants algae in their eyes, or grit for that matter. Keep children and pets, as curious as they might be, far away. Learn the tricks of the trade for a particular job and the type of surface involved. You don’t need to do it by trial and error! Remember that pressure washers are designed for concrete, plaster, and exposed aggregate. Vinyl and fiberglass pools are a definite no no. When in the pool, be careful of heaters, pumps, and even stereo equipment. Work in sections starting with the walls. Try a low-pressure spray pattern at first to assess its effectiveness. Algae needs a high-pressure rinse using a prepared solution. Resilient residue may need some hand scrubbing. You don’t want to damage your unit by running bleach through it. Buy a turbo nozzle with your pressure washer so you won’t need to go back for it to blast away pesky buildup. Some are rotary, some are like a hydrojet. It sounds like fun, and it is.

And there you have the basics of cleaning a pool top to bottom in just one day.

Keeping Cool at Summer Heats

Some of us love the summer. We can handle the heat, the sun’s direct rays, and the intense humidity (or in some cases aridity as in Arizona). Our hearty bodies adapt in true Darwinian fashion. We chug a little extra water, suck on some ice, get a bit of rest in the shade, and continue on. We actually like it this way. We could be hiking, biking, running, or for me swimming in an outdoor Olympic size pool. But remember that our skin is exposed and we are at the mercy of the seasonal elements.
Some of us hate summer. We detest the way we sweat through our clothes, the wet look of our skin, the constant thirst and fatigue. We can feel weak and tire quickly and easily, and it ruins our favorite sports pastime. We might be sitting in the heat observing a swimming meet or in the pool thrashing to the finish along with our weary competitors. We crave a colder clime.
Love it or hate it, we make sure as athletes that we accommodate ourselves to the changing conditions of summer in our area. We drink plenty of cold water, even while in the pool. Swimming is not always a sport that takes place in a nice air-conditioned arena where you can wear a logo hoodie for the team even if it is 100 degrees outside. You can’t always park underground or in the shade. You sometimes can’t escape the heat in any way, shape or form, and you have to simply go home. You would think the pool would keep you cool, but then you would be wrong. You feel the air temperature every time you step out of your lane. You stand there by the water with feet burning on hot cement. It is like medieval torture.
The powers that be should think about outdoor fans for the athletes in these situations. Do easy to find good fans with outdoor fan reviews online. The people fans would be very grateful as well. Why not. It would be cheap and easy to implement in any swimming meet space. Just some available electricity and a way of water-proofing the wires. No electrocution on meet day please! Some people prefer buckets of ice, but why not have both. You can keep cool and dry while you cheer your favorite swimmer on to his or her best time. Just put the beer or soda on ice.
The moral of the story is to keep cool and safe in the summer in order to enjoy the activities you like the most this time of year. Try big hats, sun-proof clothing to prevent burns and skin cancer, a thermos of ice water, and some spray water by Evian. Use an electric portable mini fan easily packed away in your tote bag for quick withdrawal when the temperature rises. Do whatever it takes like petitioning the local club for new fan installation and/or misters. Summer haters would become lovers and join hands with the diehards who face any kind of climate challenge with bravado.

Washlets? Who Knew?

I didn’t know about this until I traveled to Japan for an athletic event. So tourists—be on alert for a surprising but pleasant experience in the bathroom department. Many ball players I know participate in foreign games so it is not impossible that some of you will experience this odd luxury.

In nice hotels in Japan, for example, the newer more modern places, the bathrooms are important sites of superior cleanliness. Yes, cleanliness is next to godliness in this foreign land. It is not enough to have one of the best flushing toilets in the world, or something with an automatic flusher – we all have seen that! It does spare you from touching germ-laden levers, however. But the updated toilet designs target hygiene to the max.
They look similar to the old models, but they will shower you (literally) with a spray of tepid or warm water in place of harsh paper products. You can be sure that no trace of anything will remain. It is a kind of bidet substitute more in tune with the needs of men who shun the French bathing alternative. Some fancy toilets have adjustable temperature gauges and water flow regulators. This more than mere practicality.

It is a spa concept called by some a “washlet”. If you live in the country, you might be lucky enough to have one in your apartment or condo. If you own your place of residence, it is easy to have one installed. You will be right in line with the top executives and high earners of corporate Japan. You will live well beyond the style of most Americans at home who have never even heard of this innovation.

But here it is, ready to be tested. Most people like it after a few tries. It is the ultimate kind of toilet experience if you can conceive of having one. It is such a routine and mundane act as a rule and has become a focal point of Japanese life in its new incarnation. I guess you do it often enough that you might as well make a deal out of it.
By the way, refill is practically instantaneous and silent. Gosh, you could mediate on this porcelain throne. Americans have so many names for toilets like the “oval office” or the “the head” but none do justice to this ingenious beauty.

There are many options such as tankless designs, low water consumption, and assorted colors like sandy beige. The flushing systems are pure state-of-the-art. You can have such a toilet for about $3,000 in the US which covers a cyclone system and an air dryer. I kid you not. You want a deodorizer built in? You got it. You can import your favorite style from Toto, Japan. It is the oldest and largest plumbing products manufacturers and a leader in research and development. So you know you have made a good choice with any washlet item in their line. Talk about high performance! And you can opt for an elongated or round bowl as you like. Their unit looks like a ceramic cabinet and if you do indulge, put it in your guest bath for sure.

A guide to picking a bag for swimmers

aquatic-center-550Going to and from training and swimming competitions, one of the most valuable pieces of gear I own is my backpack. I’d be lost without it, it holds all my essentials: goggles, swim shorts, towels, wallet and more. Obviously there are certain things as a swimmer that is a must for my backpack, like it has to be waterproof and it must hold a lot. I’ve used many backpacks over the years; I’ve used other bags too but backpacks are best: you can wear them making them easy to take with you. Here are my choices for the best gym bags for swimmers.

The Performance Pro Backpack by Speedo is one of my favorites, and the one I use most often. It is of course, waterproof, but that’s only part of its appeal. It’s made of polyester dobby and PVC free textiles, so it will last you a long time. It is optimally designed so it sits perfectly on your shoulders: it feels light no matter what you’re carrying. What I love most is there is a separate wet pocket inside so your wet towels and shorts will not dampen your dry gear. Inside is roomy, you can pack for two if you wanted. There are also outside individual pockets for cell phone and iPod, for fast, easy access. Best of all it comes in an array of colors for just $45.

Coming in a close second is the Swim Stuff Pro Team Swim Backpack. This backpack is also made with polyester dobby fabric and has room for all your gear. The bottom is protected with special waterproof rubber so you can place it anywhere without worrying. On the front there is webbing for your towel. There are also multiple outside pockets and an inside wet pocket for additional protection. Inside is roomy too, with plenty of space. The only negative is that this backpack comes in less colors, but it costs the same as the Speedo, so it’s another great option.

Finally there is the mid-sized Prestige Bag by Head USA. This bag is slightly smaller, but just as durable and convenient. It is also waterproof an even has draining outlets. There are outside pockets to carry personal items and it’s made of strong polyester fiber. There are dividers inside to keep all your stuff separate and is quite a bargain at just under $40. This bag is great for swimmers who pack light and want something small and compact. The straps are adjustable so they can be perfectly fitted for your body.

While these are a few recommendations, it’s important to remember that choosing the best backpacks is a very personal thing – and it really comes down to your preferences to help you find the right one for your usage pattern and lifestyle.

It’s important to try on a backpack before purchasing one. You want to make sure it work with your body and doesn’t feel cumbersome. You also want to pick one that suits your lifestyle. If you go straight from competitions to dinner you want a backpack that will hold multiple items of clothing. All these backpacks provide you with versatility and durability. Whichever one you choose is sure to be a good choice to get you from your meet to the street.

Shower technology for swimmers

One aspect of swimming that doesn’t get a lot of attention but should is proper hygiene after a meet, particularly showering off. Swimmers need to shower following a meet to rid their bodies and hair of chlorine. Hot showers also help loosen their muscles and relax them after the stress and pressure of competing. There are some amazing showerheads on the market that massage, filter or even play music. Some of these are currently in my home and at the swim club that I compete at, so I’m sharing with you what I consider the best showerheads for your various needs.

After a competition one of my main needs is to unwind and decompress. For me there’s no better way to do that than by listening to some great music. Music helps me clear my head and forget about everything except singing along. Years ago you would have a portable radio on the counter sink and hope you didn’t electrocute yourself. Thank God with today’s technology that’s no longer a concern. My personal favorite is the H-202 Shower Radio with Bluetooth by Sangean. With this model you can listen to all your favorite stations, plus connect to any Bluetooth device, so your entire music library can be accessed from the shower. It’s not only water resistant; its water proof, so you can drop it in a bucket of water and it will still work.

Besides relaxing I want my shower to soothe all the aches and pains that come with training and competing. The Elements 5 Mode Handheld Shower by Waterpik is a jewel among showerheads. It comes with 5 different spray settings. Each features pulsating water technology to bring relief to tired, sore muscles. They also have multiple settings depending on how soft or hard you want the water to hit your muscles. The best part is they’re priced around $40. There is no better feeling than standing under the steam of a hot shower and feeling your muscles loosen and the tension leave your neck.

The last product you should consider investing in is a chlorine filter shower head, like the Culligan RainDisc. This showerhead has a filter built-in to remove chlorine, dirt and odors that are in your hair after swimming. It will help keep your hair soft and prevent your skin from becoming dried out. At around $30 when bought online from Amazon, this showerhead is a steal. The first time I used it I could not believe how much cleaner I felt. There was no lingering chlorine odor and my hair was shiny and silky. I felt refreshed from the relaxing rainfall spray pattern and free of the smell and feel that pool chemicals leave on your body.

Taking care of your body is paramount for a swimmer. Letting chlorine and dirt build up will have you feeling less than your best, which can impede your performances. Not giving your muscles or your mind a chance to relax can also hurt your performance during competition. That’s why I recommend these three shower enhancers. Individually or combined these devices will improve your shower experience, which will translate into a better experience when you’re out competing.

Using an underwater camera to improve your swimming style

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Years ago, when I first entered the world of competitive swimming, I would get very frustrated at my inability to see my form and techniques. I had to rely on coaches or other swimmers to observe me and note any flaws; it helped, but it wasn’t a perfect system. Someone telling you to straighten your arm to a certain angle is not as effective as seeing it needs to be at a different one. Luckily technology has made great strides in this field and there are now underwater cameras to track your every stroke at every angle. All competitive swimmers should use them, you’ll see an immediate improvement in your performance. Let me share what I’ve found works best so you can get the most out of using underwater cameras.

You should have three camera’s set up underwater. One at each end and one in the middle of the pool. This set-up will give you all the views you need. The head-on view will show you how fluidly you cut through the water. It can highlight if your stroke is too choppy or how much splash you make when you start swimming. A front-end camera shows the lines of your body and your head placement and motions in relation to your arms. For me, this view helped me to see I was taking too big of a stroke, slowing my swim time own.

The camera at the back-end of the pool is similar to the front-end camera, it just highlights your leg movements instead. With this camera angle you can see how quickly you’re kicking and if your kicks are in sync. It will give you a good an idea if you need to improve leg strength or if there is too much drag. Your kicks should be powerful but light; a camera at the end of the pool can help you adjust the speed and force of your kicks.

Your most important view is the one provided by the camera in the middle of the pool. This camera gives you the best view of your swimming technique since it shows both your upper and lower body. You see how your strokes and kicks work in tandem. If your legs and arms are out of sync, even just slightly, it will make all the difference. This view will give you a good indication of what you’re doing wrong. It will show you things like if your head needs to be down more or if you need to shorten your stroke.

Using these three cameras together is the key to using this technology to your advantage. They can be expensive, each one is usually $200 or more, but they are definitely worth the money. I recommend Swim Pro, which has top of the line cameras. You can analyze your stroke, kick and the line of your body from every conceivable angle. You will see everything you’re doing wrong, so you can make the necessary corrections. Any swimmer who is serious about competing should make this a part of their training routine. It will change the way you approach your workouts, improve your overall form and have you ready to compete.

Must have electronic devices for swimmers

Competitive swimming comes down to thousandths of a second, so I’m always looking for gadgets and equipment that will help me keep my competitive edge. There are some really cool electronics on the market that can help a swimmer compete at their highest level. There’s no magical gadget to make you win every time, but there are instruments to help train more efficiently. Here are my top 3 must-haves to help you improve and make your training a little bit easier.

For me, keeping track of my different lap times can be frustrating and time consuming. I’d much rather be doing laps than trying to remember how many of them I did. That’s why I love The Chrono 100 by Splashwear Aquatics. For $39.90 you get a compact counter/stopwatch that works in depths up to 50 meters. It fits on your finger, so it’s light and easy to carry. Plus there’s a pause button, so if you need to stop mid-lap you can still get an accurate time for your lap. I found it to be a big help for me while I was training. I was able to go back and compare lap times to see where I needed to make adjustments and see which of my swim techniques needed tweaking.

Another electronic equipment I can’t live without, and you shouldn’t either, is the FINIS Aqua Pulse Heart Rate Monitor. There is nothing I find more disruptive when swimming than stopping to check my heart rate. Now I don’t have to: this monitor is worth every penny of its $129.99 price tag – although you can save a few dollars by buying online. Place the device inside your goggle strap, attach the clip to your ear lobe and start swimming. The monitor detects your heart beat through the blood flow in your earlobe and announce is out loud to you while you swim. You can also determine how often your heart rate is said aloud: from 10-second to 5 minute intervals. It allows you to focus on your form instead of your heart rate.

Last but certainly not least is every swimmers dream: the Amigo Fitness Bracelet which is currently in preorder at the time of writing. I know, you’re probably thinking: “why is this fitness bracelet such a big deal?” Well I’ll tell you: it’s actually a two-fold device: a bracelet for your wrist and a clip for your shoe so you can track both your upper and lower body movements! Now you can pinpoint which movements work by analyzing data for individual and combined body movements. This is perfect for getting your stroke as fluid as possible. They can also be worn and work independently, so you’re getting the most out of your money. It retails for about $200 and is a solid investment for dedicated swimmers.

These 3 electronic gadgets can help you make the most of your workout. You’ll spend less time recording your times/laps/vital signs and more time working on your problem areas. These gadgets are affordable, lightweight and easy to use, so you can put all your energy into getting ready for your next competition.

Mobile apps for swimmers

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Technology today has helped to revolutionize training for competitive swimmers. There are so many gadgets for swimmers to use while training and competing. Smartphones are just one more tool in a swimmers arsenal. Smartphones can help a swimmer analyze data, learn different techniques and keep them current on events and meets with their mobile apps. Some apps are not worth the time it takes to download them, but others I discovered are a great way to get a little extra help. Here are the mobile apps I found most effective for swimmers.

Meet Mobile is at the top of my list of mobile apps. Developed by Active Network, this app is great for not only swimmers, but coaches and fans as well. It is used to support both small and large scale swim meets. It has all the data a swimmer could ask for: psych sheets, heat sheets, and real-time results from all over the world. I like that you can keep track of your competition and see where you stack up, helps motivate me. I can also see lane assignments and event times, so I don’t need to run around to see about any last minute changes – another plus in my book. Best of all, it doesn’t drain your battery and it’s free! Although there is a fee if you want to view the heat sheets, depending on the host.

Next on my list is an app I love using to follow my workouts: Swimming Log Pro, by Alex Rastorgouev. The app costs just $1.99 and is easy and effective for studying training data. You can input time, swim style and distance, then review the results. This app lets me visualize my numbers and give me a clearer picture of what I need to work on. I can see which swim styles I excel at (the butterfly) or what distances I need more stamina for (500m). There’s even a journal to record my thoughts and insights on my sessions. It helps me to set future goals and tailor my workouts accordingly. This app is for iPhone, iPad an iPod touch only.

Swim Meet Checklist is the latest app I’ve downloaded, and it is one of my all-time favorites. I was constantly forgetting things for meets, to the point where I had two sets of everything: one at home and one in the car. It was time consuming and expensive to pack twice, but now I don’t have to. Swim Meet Checklist is on Android and costs only $0.99. It provides you with a list of everything you will need for your meet. The app has 45 items already loaded, and you can add more. You can use one of their existing lists, edit it or make a completely new checklist if you want. There’s an alarm feature you can set to remind you of things to do. I like that you can add notes to an item so you’ll know why you have an item on your list weeks after you created it and set priority levels to each item.

I have never been happier since I started using these mobile apps. They help relieve the pressure that comes with competing and have made y workouts more enjoyable. I really feel like I’ve made advancements in my performance that wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Mobile apps for athletes

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Swimmers are not the only ones to benefit from this new wave in technology. Athletes from all sports can get more out of their performance by investing in the latest technology, especially one of the many available mobile apps currently available. They offer athletes of all training levels on-the-go information that is constantly updated. You can review your stats and others as well with most of these apps. However, all apps were not created equal. These 3 should are at the top of my list; read on to find out why.

Whether your training for a marathon, cycling event or swim meet one thing is essential: to make the most of your time. Training for three hours means noting if you’re not utilizing that time and getting the most from your body. That’s why the Training Peaks Athlete Edition should be on every athlete’s smartphone. This app has every tool you need to track your performance and give you the most comprehensive analysis of your performance. It logs all pertinent data, like heart-rate, pacing and distance over an extended period. Then using tools like The Performance Management Chart, it will analyze your progress so you can tweak your workouts accordingly. It really helps optimize your sessions. They have individual packages based on your sport, with basic and premium editions that average between $24 and 29 dollars, making it affordable and helpful.

Nike has a great app for competitors looking to take their performance to the next level or need a little extra motivation. It’s called Nike Training Club and it’s like a free personal trainer for your phone. Training is more than just mastering moves, it’s about being fit and healthy. With this app you have over 100 exercises routines that are custom-built, plus you can unlock the workout routines of some of your favorite athletes. This program gives you a full workout: there’s cardio, interval and physical training routines. Added features include a built-in calorie and carb counter to help you eat right and the option of choosing your music for additional motivation. This app is a great tool for beginners too it can help them figure out what routines work best and keep them focused.

Every athlete needs stamina to compete and excel, making cardio exercise a must. Cardio increases your heart-rate and allows you to perform for extended periods of time. Cardio routines let you push your body to its limits and keep you at your most fit. Cardio Trainer by Noom Inc has over 20 different high-impact cardio routines, with alternating degrees of difficulty. It’s just $9.99 (Only available on Android at the moment) and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee, so you get your money back if you’re not happy with your results. You can also set a reminder for your daily sessions so you don’t forget.

I have found that these apps are highly popular with my fellow athletes. They provide important tools to help athletes of all levels perform at their absolute best. As an athlete there is only one thing that is more important than wining: giving your all. With these apps there are no excuses, you will always perform at the top level.

Electronics must haves for athletes

I’ve always been an athletic person: swimming is my passion. Swimmers are quite similar to any other professional athlete, we’re just in water instead of on land. We have a lot of the same techniques and training regimens, and our mindsets are identical. So I know that any product that can highlight your strengths and weaknesses, or give you up-to-the-minute information is an athlete’s dream. Durability is key too: training can a lot of bumps and bruises for you and your device. There’s a lot of electronic equipment to choose from, so sorting the worst from the best can be overwhelming. Luckily I’ve worked with a lot of these gadgets, so I can give you the scoop on the best electronic gadgets for athletes currently on the market.

Many athletes, like runners, use music to get their blood pumping and set the mood for their training session. Although many people swear by the iPod Shuffle (it is a great product), I personally like the SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip 4 GB. Sansa has one of the best lines of mp3 players: the audio is phenomenal and the 4GB model is available for under $40. Just clip it anywhere on you and your ready to go. What I like best is that you don’t need iTunes to get your music, you can simply drop and drag any mp3 music files. It also plays podcasts and audio books, so you can listen to whatever motivates you with no hassles.

GPS watches are an essential tool for athletes: it can track your pulse, distance and other statistics in real time to streamline your routine and see real progress in your training and performance. For me there is no better GPS watch than the Garmin Forerunner 210. At $249 RRP (but you can get them cheaper online) it is reasonably priced for Garmin, which is tops in this field. The interface is simple to use, even for those who are technologically challenged and has a quick connection to area satellites for immediate data. It comes with or without the heart-rate monitor, and can be used indoors or out, making it a must-have for any athlete.

The Basis B1 is the most comprehensive of all the trackers I’ve used. At $199 it does practically everything, you would swear it could read your mind. The device tracks heart rate and calories, as well as skin temperature and perspiration. What impressed me is that it was able to differentiate between cycling, running and walking, it KNOWS what you’re doing. You can load your data onto your to study long-term stats like resting heart-rate, sweat levels and fitness patterns. It also can sync with certain Android and iPhones. I found it to be very useful, it gave me a chance to step back and review my data with a clear eye.

These devices are all able to stand up to heat, water and pressure, so you don’t have to worry about breakage. Each of these items offers something different to help serious athletes take their training to the next level.