It’s around 8 o’clock in the evening on the Paramount Studios backlot, and I’m standing at the edge of the high-fall tower, eyeing the ground down below. The stunt coordinator to my right tells me to go ahead and jump, and just aim for the “X”. I’m no fan of heights, but against my better judgement I leap anyway. After landing safely in the waiting airbag, I roll out and check the black bracelet strapped around my wrist. I just hit 350 NikeFuel points for the night.

The last few years have seen a steady stream of fitness monitoring products come to market. With the Fitbit, Jawbone’s Up, the MotoACTV, and the original BodyBugg all jockeying for position, it’s a crowded field with a simple message: monitor your physical activity — or lack thereof — and you’ll know exactly what to improve upon in order to become a healthier, happier you. Nike’s been a leader in the area since the introduction of the Nike+ iPod Sports Kit back in 2006, and has been offering runners ways to track their workouts ever since.

The company recently debuted its latest entrant into the personal fitness field, the Nike+ FuelBand. It’s a sleek wristband that uses a tri-axis accelerometer to keep track of the steps you’re taking, the calories you’re burning, and most importantly, how much NikeFuel you’re accumulating. A wholly new metric that Nike claims can measure all of your daily physical activities, Fuel is the core element of the new wristband, and will soon be a key feature across Nike’s entire product line. How does the FuelBand fare, and does Fuel really provide benefits the competition can’t? Read on to find out.