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Flex Your Portfolio’s Muscles

Many New Year’s resolutions start off with good intentions, but seem to fall by the wayside faster than you can hit the snooze button.

But this year, with the help of new apps and devices that track your every move, many people may find themselves more motivated to stick to their workouts.

Wearable technology is a rapidly growing trend, particularly in the exercise/fitness space. Thus, while building muscle and/or endurance, you could also consider beefing up your portfolio by adding some wearable tech innovators.

Step Aside, Fitbit

At this point, the wearable fitness space has extended well beyond the usual suspects of Fitbit Inc. (FIT) and Apple Inc. (AAPL).

Today’s apps offer a slew of features that focus on sleep, fitness, activity, and nutrition.

They can tell you how many calories you burned, how to build endurance, and how to run, swim, and box more naturally. Even more impressive, they can track how forcefully you’re hitting the ground, how long your stride is, and how many steps you take per minute.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the latest wearables – along with the companies making them; the shares of which you could consider owning.

  • The UA Healthbox Band is made by Under Armour Inc. (UA), a Baltimore-based company known for its sports clothing and accessories. The Healthbox Band is the world’s first connected fitness system created specifically to measure, monitor, and manage the factors that determine how you feel – and why.
  • The Garmin Vivosmart HR is made by Garmin Ltd. (GRMN), a company widely known for automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor, and sports products. Given that Garmin started to incorporate optical technology into its running watches, a heart rate monitoring fitness tracker was inevitable.
  • Columbia Sportswear Company (COLM) joined the likes of Nike (NKE) in the move to wearable technology with its Singletrak watch. It’s hard to get lost as long as you’re wearing this watch – it detects even the slightest shift in compass coordinates on the journey out and then provides the user with a clear direction for the journey back.
  • Though it’s hardly a pure play, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KS) has developed the Silver Star Gear S2, a smartwatch with a whole host of apps including S Health, a comprehensive fitness and health platform.
  • The Swatch Group SA (VX), known for its stylish watches, offers the Touch Zero. This device is great for sports like volleyball as it can measure the power and accuracy of your hits.
  • The TomTom Spark Cardio + Music, made by TomTom NV (AS), eliminates the need for your mp3 player at the gym, as it can store up to 500 songs while still tracking your swimming, cycling, and running activities.
  • The REFLEX Watch, by Reflex, owned by the Ritmo Group, a subsidiary of Bomi Italia S.p.A (MI), is a silicone LED slap watch that was launched as an icy-fresh interpretation of the modern digital watch. Available in a full palette of colors with a futuristic face, its minimalist design caters to an audience less inclined toward overly complex wrist electronics.

Data Overload

Like most successful new technologies, the number of entrants in the space tends to grow exponentially in the early adoption phase. Thus, there are a number of privately held players in the wearable fitness space that are ripe for takeover.

Meanwhile, look for companies that do something innovative and unique with the data they collect.

Take Moov, for example. Instead of serving as a stat collector, Moov acts like a digital trainer.

Even while fitness trackers actively encourage you to get healthier, some people shy away from them, believing they present a myriad of useless data that’s of little concern to the user. Moov not only tracks workouts, it also helps you exercise more efficiently.

It’s powered by a nine-axis motion sensor, found in the latest military-grade and gaming technologies, that measures and records precise movements while simultaneously guiding you through workout templates. If it catches you slumping, it may say to you, “Straighten your back,” or bark at you to “keep going.”

Watch Out

Another example is the Pebble Time, which arrived long before the Apple Watch or any Google tracking device. This smartwatch, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, provided the first draft for many smartwatches that came after it, but with one key difference – battery life.

Pebble Time’s color e-ink display isn’t a traditional LCD screen, which means it uses the battery only if something changes on-screen, not whenever the display is on.

Then there’s Jawbone, financed through private equity. Jawbone prides itself on blending art and technology, as its wearable designs are modern, light, and brilliant with fashion-forward colors, textures, and styles.

Finally, Misfit, who has partnered with insurance companies in order to get their clients to be more active, is also developing a host of apps. Users can do something as simple as start and stop a Spotify playlist with Flash – or they can connect Misfit’s sleep-tracking functionality and alarm with the Nest Learning Thermostat™ to wake up at their ideal temperature.

Bottom line: According to the FDA, the diet and weight loss industry today rakes in over $60 billion per annum. Based on the growth and popularity of wearable fitness technology, now looks like a good time to get in on the action – both physically and financially.

Good investing,

Shelley Goldberg

Shelley Goldberg

, Senior Correspondent

View More By Shelley Goldberg