JAWBONE – UP

When a tech geek hands you a black rubber band and tells you ‘this little thing is gonna change your life!’ You’d be forgiven for taking that with a pinch of paperclips. I mean I have the deepest respect for the power of tech, in fact I consider myself a bit of a junkie but come on now, ‘change my life’ ?? I was sure the novelty would keep me busy for a few days until it became more of an irritation. Soon, I would have my eye on the next new something or other and this ‘masterpiece’ would join my collection of obsolete inventions.

However, from the get go this little guy delivered. The sleek look and feel of this gadget gives a good first impression and before long you feel naked without it on your arm. Also, the clip mechanism (with a slight learning curve) becomes one of those addictively gratifying features every time you feel that satisfying click as the clasp locks home. It’s similar to the feeling you get from that watch you’ve have been wearing for years, when you slip it on and it fits just right.

But that’s only looks and swagger – inside, this truly is a thing of beauty. A cluster of edgy tech from the very fringe of the wearable gadget universe, the UP Band is leaps and bounds ahead of its piers. Since the hardware is primed to be able to evolve with every new firmware update, this really is the gift that keeps on giving. But lets talk about that ‘change your life’ part of the promise . . .

With its food monitoring system available in the equally sleek and practical UP app, it becomes a very interesting study. You easily log your food via the app and consider exactly what and how much you put into your body and soon your good and bad traits stand out like sore love handles and you can work on accurately adjusting your diet. In my business, what you eat is something you consider all the time so anything that helps you do that accurately, is fast going to become your best friend. The fact that you are recording how much you eat, has a positive effect on what you eat – suddenly it’s as if someone is watching you closely, so you stay the course! That is also the very reason I don’t use this feature on weekends!

My exercise regime is as unstructured as my work routine and as such I have developed a system that works for me - from cross-fit in hotel rooms to bag-work and weights in my garage. All the while, this little guy keeps track.

My favourite activity is running. All the time, anywhere and everywhere and although I prefer trail, I often find myself in concrete jungles, then good old tar does the trick. Either way, I want that run recorded and UP does it automatically and accurately every time. Also, my UP band interfaces beautifully with Strava and other fitness Apps, not reinventing that wheel but rather embracing it. This is something I truly appreciate, since one does grow fond of certain specialized apps and the ability to integrate has become a vital survival attribute of any new tech on the playing field.

The UP3 also measures your heart rate using Bio-empedance technology. I wont even attempt to explain this, save to say that it is currently the most sophisticated and useful, wearable heart rate monitoring system. Once again the app steps in, not only to efficiently showcase your heart rate data but also, to help you understand what your fluctuations mean and what to do to improve your state of well being based on data collected.

The most important factor to consider with regards to any activity & lifestyle monitoring data is whether or not the information gathered is useful to you as an individual. Also how time intensive the daily interpretation of that information ends up being. With UP, the work is done for you with and includes suggestions for improvement made available regarding all areas - exercise, food and heart health. There are a variety of exercise, nutrition and lifestyle partner apps that you can integrate into your UP app timeline, again that incredible convenience and practicality.

As much as I appreciate the above (and I’m only scratching surfaces there) the feature that really stands out for me personally and has made a huge impact on my lifestyle is the one I take to bed . . .

In the film industry, routine is not a structure often encountered. Truth be told, that is one of the very big reasons we love what we do but it is a straight-up fact that the nature of our business makes for a roller coaster ride of a schedule ALL THE TIME. In fact I don’t plan by weekdays I plan by dates because we work all over the place in terms of diary. We don’t have weekends or holidays and I never know what day of the week it is but I always know the date!

As unstable as that may seem to the 9 to fivers, once you have tasted (and mastered) the unpredictability, you never want to go back. But just as with any other structure it has it’s drawbacks and you need serious self-discipline to ensure that you remain a productive & efficient contributor to whatever project you are engaged in.

One of the areas that are most affected by a crazy schedule is of course, SLEEP - lack of it creates monsters! Apart from the obvious benefits in terms of energy and sharp mindedness, there is priceless effect it has on your appearance. For anyone over the age of 20 you know that the term ‘beauty sleep’ is rooted in painful truth! So in my business, getting a good nights rest is actually a vital part of your preparation and as such, sleep management is essential. However, in light of the all-over-the-place- nature of our business, sleep management becomes a very, slippery critter indeed. Enter . . . the Jawbone UP band!

The state of the art sensory technology not only reads your sleep rhythms with astonishing accuracy but the app interface allows you to understand the data and makes changes accordingly. For years I was under the mistaken impression that I was getting at least 6 and half hours of sleep a night but within a few days of UP analysis it was pretty clear that I was averaging closer to 5.5 hours. On screen that hour turns 30-something into 40-something in a heart beat! Suddenly my urges to take an afternoon nap didn’t seem so ‘siesta’ to me anymore but rather my body trying to play catch up. And I listened! Now whenever I get the gap I take that nap and I do it absolutely guilt free! - I am working after all!! This is one of the many aspects that truly made a huge difference to my lifestyle.

After a few weeks of analysis and lifestyle adjustments, the bottom line-jokes aside truth is, that this black little rubber band, really does change your life!

NICO PANAGIO

Actor / Businessman / Sports Enthusiast