Running and Fitness Tracking

Last year I blogged about how much I loved my UpBand by Jawbone.  Well, for my birthday Rock got me a Fitbit and I have since ditched the Jawbone.

While I don’t necessarily need a fitness tracker.  I enjoy seeing the data each day and this tool does it in such a way that you can’t help but enjoy watching your progress.

Unlike the Jawbone, my Fitbit shows the data right on the face of the “watch.”  The Fitbit shows the time, as well as steps taken, calories burnt, miles completed, my heart rate (available on certain models) and flights of steps completed.  The data doesn’t stop there.  The App is super user friendly and also tracks my sleep.

  
I admit that the sleep tracking is a tad depressing these days with a new baby.  But it is helpful to see that I get a certain amount of sleep each night including how many times I wake up and am restless.  This is great motivation for me to get to bed earlier (sometimes this happens and often it does not).

I love being able to see my step averages over time as well as my other data spread out over days, weeks, and months.  For someone who is working towards losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, these are all very helpful parameters to keep in mind.  While the distance tracker isn’t as accurate as a GPS, it comes in pretty close to what my Garmin reads. 

The App also allows you to friend your contacts who also have Fitbits.  You cannot see anything other than your friend’s step averages, but you can all engage in friendly competition.  With daily and weekly step challenges, this is often just the motivation one needs to stay a bit more active each day.

  
I recently blogged about the benefits of increasing your non-exercise activity levels, which is a major factor for increasing calorie burn throughout the day.  This device can be a great motivational tool to keep you up and moving.

Finally, I love that the Fitbit sends you badges for completing new challenges, steps completed in a day and the lifetime of your tracker.  You receive this both on your phone and via e-mail.  You also receive a weekly e-mail that lays out your entire week’s stats, including total amount of calories burnt and steps taken throughout that period.  Another bonus is e-mails to let you know when your Fitbit needs to be charged.  How nice is that?!

The major downside is that I find this tracker does not hold a charge for very long.  But it is easy to charge it up off of my USB port when I am doing things such as blogging!

I have the Fitbit Charge with heart rate monitor.  The price on this varies a bit but you can find one at Costco for about $130.  The Charge also has a caller ID built in so that when you receive a phone call you can check to see who it is straight off of your wrist.  This is super helpful when I am out running and don’t have to take my phone out of my pocket for a call I wouldn’t answer until later.  In my opinion, all of this is a small price to pay for all of the bells and whistles this device offers.

  
This review is strictly my own and I am not being compensated for this.  I personally wanted to share my experience with my followers in the hopes that it might be helpful for anyone who is working to take on a more fit and healthy lifestyle.

Do you use a fitness/activity tracker?

33 thoughts on “Running and Fitness Tracking

  1. i don’t have a FitBit or any of those sort of constant activity trackers, but i use a Garmin for longer runs (when i remember to charge it!). FitBit seems to have so many great elements though, so i’d definitely look into it — except i don’t want to drive myself nuts checking my stats all day! 🙂

  2. Have you worn more than one tracker at a time and compared the results? I’ve seen posts and news articles about how inaccurate these devices are.
    People talk about using devices like this to track an individual’s health, but the lack of accuracy could be an issue. I’m pretty sure none of these devises is FDA approved or HIPPA compliant.
    I know my Garmin isn’t 100% either, but it’s close enough.
    Andy

    • I did wear both and Rock I constantly compare. None are 100% accurate, for sure. And I don’t use the calorie count for that reason. But for basic reference it can be a useful tool, especially for someone getting started. Just knowing how much it takes to get 10,000 steps can be a good start.

      • I agree. It’s good enough for what we do, but they have much work to do before these can be considered “Medical Devices.” I go to healthcare conference often and there is a lot of excitement around mobile health (mHealth). It is the wave of the future.

  3. For step counting does it count “steps” during all activities? Until this year we could get healthcare premium reductions at work by logging exercise. As of this year, we can only log steps. I was planning on manually reporting steps using one of the conversion sites to convert activities to steps. I’ve been trying to figure out if the fitness trackers can track steps say . . while swimming (I know the Fitbit isn’t necessarily water resistent).

    • I coach skating and it actually counts my skating and weight lifting. My other tracker didn’t and I found that to be frustrating. I would be figure skating and not burning calories. That is one main reason I prefer this. And when I ride a bike it shows up without me plugging it in. No idea how it can tell but it does.

  4. I do use one and I much prefer having the data right there on my wrist to look at rather than having to refer to my phone. A lot of days my steps lack a lot because I have a desk job and don’t get up to walk around enough. It’s a little depressing to look at my stats on rest day. 🙂 I have a Vivofit and love it!

  5. One of my favorite aspects of the Fitbit is that it tracks your “activity” and also your “exercise” so even if you forget to log an exercise, it’s till knows you’re doing something with increased heart rate 👌🏼

  6. I have the fitbit one and I love it!! Mine easily clips onto clothing or slips into a pocket, so I like that I can keep it hidden. I think the flights climbed is one of my favorite options–it makes me feel like I’m getting a great workout without even realizing it! It definitely makes me more active too—I find myself pacing around while I talk on the phone.

  7. I love my Fitbit! Mostly I use it to get myself moving on days where my run miles are lower to keep me moving. Lately, it’s been an all out step war with my brother so things have gotten a little out of control, ha! I love seeing how many steps I get for things like running, or even just how many calories I burned at my pole fitness classes. Mine is the Charge HR so it registers heart rate.

  8. I have the FitBit Charge HR and love it. I have a desk job and it is VERY illuminating to see how much I DON’T walk during the day. I often have to hit the treadmill to hit my step goal for the day!

  9. Great article and fun comments as well! 🙂

    I love my Garmin FR225, which has the GPS for running, but also HR monitor and general fitness and sleep tracking. I think it is a great motivator to keep you going and that little ‘Move!’ buzz is definitely a good reminder when I am at my desk too long!

    I had gotten Lisa a first-gen Garmin VivoFit two Mother’s Days ago that she really likes, and then I just won a Fitbit (Flex) in our division’s United Way drawing … so now she is wearing both and each has ups and downs (the big ‘up’ for the Garmin is inclusion of a screen to see time, steps, etc).

    • That is awesome. I love that you have several devices and experiences. And what an awesome win! They all have their pluses and minuses. I think regardless of what anyone chooses, they are great for keeping us on track, especially in this winter weather!

  10. I’ve had a Fitbit Flex for a couple of years, and for Christmas I got the Fitbit Surge. I like the GPS tracking, although I still rely on MapMyRun on my phone for most of my runs. I haven’t used the heart rate monitor once; the one time I turned it on, and then took the watch off to sleep (I still wear the Flex at night so it will wake me up in the morning) I forgot to turn it off and it drained my battery. I love that there’s an actual watch and I can look at my wrist to check the time! Imagine that! 😀

    • I have had a heart rate monitor with most of my GPS’ and I honestly never used it once. I occasionally check on my Fitbit just to get an idea of where my peak is and when I think of it to see how I recover. There’s just so much to look at!

  11. I got a Garmin 235 for Christmas and wear it all the time. It measures steps, all day heart rate and sleep. It’s pretty interesting to look at those numbers and get a reminder to move if I’m sitting at my desk for too long. I love that it is also a GPS watch so I only have to remember to wear one thing.

  12. I have a Fitbit HR charge too and really like the stats that it gives me. Having a desk job means that I usually have to go for a walk either before or after work to get my 10000 steps done. The challenges are a great way to get involved and stay moving.

  13. I use the endomondo app on my phone to track my workouts which gives me distance run, calories burned etc., and then I also have a built-in app on my phone that tracks my steps, stairs climbed, walking/running distance and calories burned (plus a few more but they’re the ones I use).
    The great thing about them is that they link to one another so I have a total of my steps etc. in one place at an easy glance.
    The not-so-great thing is that I actually have to have my phone with me to track these things… so if I leave my phone in one room at home and walk around the house a bunch then those steps don’t ‘count’.
    But it is fun seeing how I do each week and trying to push myself to get higher and higher numbers.

    I’ve heard and lots and lots of good reviews about the FitBit so I’m glad to see that you agree with it… makes me start thinking that I should maybe bite the bullet and get one, one day!

  14. Oo nice tech! Would you recommend it? It looks awesome and like the idea of being given little challenges/badges to get. Also congrats on your little baby! Been offline for a month or two. You’re an absolute trooper balancing everything and still running. Go you! 🙂

  15. I have my garmin vivoactive for running, and I absolutely love that. It is so accurate for mileage and pace, and lets you look at a lot of data on the computer. I got hubby a Fitbit for Christmas and he loves his! They do very different things, and I could see having both.

  16. I don’t have a fitness tracker, but have been going back and forth between the JawBone and Fitbit. I didn’t realize the Fitbit also did the sleep tracking, which I’m almost scared to see (although better now that our little guy is a bit older). Your review definitely gave me some new information to mull over.

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