The avalanche of data generated by fitness tech has science zeroing in on some surprising performance recommendations.

Avoid these errors and you will be well on your way toward getting the most out of your heart-rate monitor

I'm starting to get more serious about my training. What heart-rate monitor should I buy?

I am looking for a reasonably priced heart rate monitor/watch that tracks calories burned. It should also be able survive water sports, like stand-up paddling, swimming, and flatwater kayaking.

Our five favorite gadgets for everything from recording splits to rocking out, including the New Balance Tri-Viz with four built-into-the-brim LEDs that can operate in three different settings; the Timex Ironman Run Trainer With GPS; and the Motorola Motoactv, a lightweight wristwatch that packs music and heart-rate tracking.

Still fumbling around with wires and a prehistoric bike computer? It's time for a performance boost. Here are six ways to enhance your next ride, from the headlight-taillight combo Light & Motion Urban 500 to the data-collecting Garmin Edge 200 to the iBike Sports iDash Phone Booth, which you can buy as an all-in-one bike computer.

I spend a lot of time exercising outdoors and I need a new heart rate monitor. What should I look for?

Training with a monitor can be daunting to master, but it’s the best way to make the most of your workouts.

A combined heart-rate monitor and GPS watch will supercharge your training. Motorola's Motoactv is one of the best on the market.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Casio ProTrek PRW-5000Y-1 watch.

Seven performance-boosting devices to give you an edge.

Whether you need to capture, connect, or just sit back and relax, the newest portable gadgets are ready to serve.

The GT3 helps track recovery times and adjusts your zone alerts quickly midrun—great for fartlek training and intervals. The manual is a little puzzling, but the payoff is worth the decoding time. cardiosport.com…

Looking for high performance at a low price? The N5 tracks lap times, stores data for 30 workouts, and offers the usual gamut of zone alarms, calorie counting, and percent of max—and doesn’t require a Ph.D. to use. nbmonitors.com…

Lose the chest strap. With a touch of the finger, the 10M takes accurate readings in four to five seconds, twice as fast as other strapless monitors. Don’t look for lap features or data storage, but you do get the usual zone alarms, a stopwatch, and a calorie counter.

Not sure if you need a heart-rate monitor? End the debate with this bargain: It has basic functions (percent of max, calorie burn, and vibrating or audible HR zone alarm, but no lap splits or data storage) in a reasonably low-profile design. www2.oregonscientific.com…

Heart Matters A heart-rate monitor should be both intuitive and powerful. This affordable one does well on both counts, automatically telling you what heart-rate zone you should be aiming for and uploading your workouts to training software with an optional $55 FlowLink cradle. polarusa.com…

If you’re in training mode, try this low-profile, watch-style monitor, which can track up to nine runs. Moving on up to a triathlon? It’s water-resistant down to 50 meters. Plus the sleek interface is so intuitive that I wore it—and got it—right out of the box.

Along with having every other feature you can imagine (PC connectivity, workout logs, and more), the t3 can detect over- or under-training and help you adjust on the fly. It’s the sleekest model here, but its chrono settings can be tough to read midlap. suunto.com/training…

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