Two weeks ago I bought myself a Fitbit. I talked about getting one last December but held off because I thought the upcoming Fitbit Charge HR would be just my speed.
I didn’t need to think about whether I would really use it or if it would be just a passing fancy. I have used diet and fitness tracking software daily for up to 2 years, with all data entered manually, so I knew I would be a fitness tracker’s target audience!
I did pause and compare brands and models. I wanted something with heart rate and an altimeter (for tracking stairs or hills climbed) and didn’t want to pay for a model with GPS or one that was completely waterproof. The one I chose has enough features to keep me motivated – beyond steps – but is not an athlete’s sport-specific device for runners, cyclists or swimmers.
As I go about my day, I can press a button on the band to check the time, my heart rate, how many steps I’ve taken, the distance I’ve travelled, how many calories I’ve burned, and how many flights of stairs I’ve climbed (or equivalent in hill walking).
To that, the app or website adds the ability to manually record weight, foods eaten, water intake, and any exercise that is not steps-based, such as minutes spent on yoga or bench presses. The Fitbit knows what my heart rate is during all my activities (unless I take it off) so it will estimate the calories burned. If I want to know my stats for a specific time period, such as during a game of tennis (joke!), I press and hold the button on the Fitbit when I start, and again at the end, and it is recorded as a “workout.” I can then compare one workout to another, try to best my previous stats, etc. The Fitbit app adds up my “active minutes” each day based on the times my steps and heart rate were high.
If I wear it to bed, it uses my resting heart rate and lack of movement to guess when I am sleeping or tossing & turning. However, if I am sitting and reading a book, it knows I’m not asleep.
For weight management, I entered my current and goal weights. It has been excellent in recording the calories I burn and in predicting the calories I can eat to lose or maintain weight.
I can sync the Fitbit to the app at any time, or continously. I find it works well to look at the stats twice a day to see if I am approaching the goals I set, then do any added activities required to actually meet them! If I sync and check it all the time, the battery drains quickly (although it’s easy to recharge).
As soon as I downloaded the app and set up the device, I knew it was The Thing for Me because of the lovely stats screen! The device will sync to a phone, tablet or computer (or all three). The stat screens are a little different on each, with the Fitbit website version being the most comprehensive (shown).
As you know, I have always worn a watch, so I am hardly aware of the Fitbit on my wrist. But it has displaced my usual watch and now I am not inclined to grow my watch collection for a while 🙂
When I started using it, I was keen to know how many steps a day I was taking and how much sleep I was getting. On a no-commitments day with no work and no workout, I get about 7500 steps. On work days, with morning workouts and a walk-commute, I get an average of 17,600 steps! I was especially pleased to find that my daily walks to work have enough altitude to give me the equivalent of 15 flights of stairs each day! I joked to Rom that he’ll know I’ve gone over the edge when I start walking up and down the steps in the house to get more “flights of stairs” on my Fitbit! I have adjusted my goals to reflect my actual averages, rather than keeping the default settings.
When I work day shifts, I get 6 to 6.5 hours of sleep. When I can sleep late, I do, getting about 8.5 hours of sleep the other nights. It’s not so bad when averaged out…but seeing the stats makes me want to improve them. I see that my sleep can be very broken up, but by going to bed earlier, I can compensate. Most of my restless sleeping is after 3 am, so the more hours of sleep I can get before then, the better I feel.
It has been two weeks now and I am still quite infatuated/obsessed but I am sure it will calm down in time. I have four modest goals: to maintain my weight, to get more sleep, to keep up my weekday fitness routine, and to improve my fitness by doing active things on the weekends, too.
The biggest surprise? The app has actually motivated me to drink water! (hell has frozen over…)
If you have a fitness tracker, I would love to hear how you’re doing with it. If you are a Fitbit user and want to add me to your friends (which I would like very much!): I am not able to link it to Facebook right now, but you can use my email: anexactinglife (at) gmail (dot) com
Not a sponsored post / No freebies, discounts, compensation or shopping links