Category Archives: FitBit

One year with FitBit

My FitBit Flex

My FitBit Flex

So, I’ve been feeling under the weather lately with a bit of chronic pain, and haven’t been updating.  But in the meantime, my first year anniversary with my FitBit went by last month!

As of right now, I’ve taken 3,220,528 steps since I started tracking last September.  That’s 1,324.11 miles!  My lifetime distance badge right now is “New Zealand” which just makes me want to travel there to celebrate.  Alas, not really something I can do.

I started out with my lovely red FitBit Flex, which lasted me a good long while.  It did start to break along the edges of the band (right under the little window where you see the display lights).  This is apparently a common problem with the design, I know of two other people that have had the exact same issue.  So my advice on that one, if you get a Flex (and I did really like it) then be very careful with how you remove the tracker from the band.  Maybe hold the sides so they don’t bow out too much.

My Charge HR in Black

My Charge HR in Black

I upgraded to a black Charge HR in May, because REI was having an amazing sale and I could rationalize the expense for a couple reasons that I outlined in my post.  At the time I commented on a few issues I was having.  To be honest, I still haven’t figured out where to wear it or how tight, but I just kind of wing it and it works okay for me.

The sleep tracking is still a bit off, though it syncs better than it did before, so that feature seems to be fixed.  But it has a tendency to assume I’m asleep when I’m watching TV or listening to podcasts, so sometimes I have to go in and fix it.  I am still very annoyed with the fact that the band really retains heat and that it’s easy for sweat to interfere with the functionality of the heart rate monitor.  When I go out walking on warm days I almost always lose the signal two or three times, and that’s still a pretty big issue.

But in general, I’ve really liked it.  I like the additional features and tracking that it provides (who knew how much elevation I was covering, way more than I expected since I avoid stairs because of my knee issues).  I would say that I agree with most reviews that if you’re looking for one of the higher end trackers, then don’t bother with the Charge and just pay the extra for the Charge HR.  Since I got mine they’ve come out with blue and tangerine bands, both of which are cool looking but unless they release a red band I don’t think I’ll be too tempted.

The best thing though about having the FitBit for the last year is that I can say I reached my step goal every single day for 365 days.  When I got it, I immediately lowered the step goal to 5,000 because I knew that for me the most important thing would be the accomplishment, not the number.  And that is the biggest piece of advice I have for everybody that talks about getting a FitBit: lower your goal immediately, before you even put it on.

You can always increase your goal after you’ve had it a few days, once you know what your standard average is.  Then every few months, if you’re consistently reaching your goal, take it up higher.  Because mentally, it is a thousand times more effective to be actually getting that goal accomplished every day, no matter what size it is, and wanting to keep your streak alive will keep you going even on the worst of days.  But if you leave it at 10,000 and that’s difficult for you to achieve on a regular basis, then you’ll get used to not getting to your goal and you won’t be as motivated, and it’s easy to say “eh, I’ll just skip it today.”

Even when I’m sick, I still reach my step goal, because I am not going to lose this streak.  It’s been over a year, how could I possibly give up now?

Posted in FitBit.

Fitbit Charge HR First Impressions

2015-05-22 16.39.25So I finally caved and ordered a FitBit Charge HR because REI was having a deal, and I was already planning on upgrading anyway.  There were only a couple things I was hesitating about, first I had only just bought my FitBit Flex in September, so upgrading so quickly felt like a waste of money.  Though to be honest, I really wanted a heart rate monitor with my fitness tracker in the first place, and almost went with a different brand to try to get that function but then it turned out that none of the ones on the market at the time really offered it.

I also wanted to see if they would release any new band colors because unlike the Flex, the Charge HR isn’t able to be switched out to have a new color with the same tracker.  If I couldn’t switch the band color, I really, really wanted to get my Charge HR in red.

But it’s been around six months since they announced the new products and no new colors are on the horizon.  I’ve seen the announcements about the slate and tangerine wristbands, but I’ve not known anybody who actually physically has those, and in the end black is the better choice for me anyway if I can’t have red.

The other reason I wanted to wait six months was because I wanted to make sure they’d gotten all the kinks out.  One of my co-workers got a Charge HR a few months ago, and I’ve been asking her about her experience and what her device does, and there have been some really glowing reviews lately so I figured that coupled with the sale meant it was time.

I’ve only been wearing the Charge HR for a few days so far, but I’m pretty happy with it.  It’s got all the things I like about my Flex but a lot of extras. I love having a watch feature, I’ve missed knowing what time it was.  And since I have a heart condition and generally like to have a heart rate monitor handy, this is perfect for me.  Plus no more math to figure out how many dots equals how much towards my goal.

There’s a few things I’m still getting used to so far.  First, figuring out how to wear it.  How tight should it be, how far up my arm, all that stuff.  It takes a bit more getting used to than I expected.  I read everything in their materials about the topic, but I’m still not sure if I’m doing it right.  Maybe I should search out some user YouTube videos.

A second concern is the sleep tracking.  I’ve had a bit of trouble with it’s automatic sleep tracking features, but they are possibly related to ongoing issues with the dashboard instead of the tracker itself.  Usually my app and my web dashboard don’t say any sleep is logged, but when I go to manually enter it, it’s magically appeared.  This morning, it just had no sleep log at all and it decided I was asleep most of the morning after I got up (it marked me as awake, just also as a sleep log).  I never minded needing to put the Flex in sleep mode, and it’s not really that much of a big deal to manually enter when I went to bed and got up, but it seems like maybe if it’s supposed to be a major feature it should be a bit more functional.  Maybe it’ll work the kinks out over time.

The last thing is a bit superficial and cosmetic, but the band isn’t perfect. The waffle pattern on the plastic looks great, but it seems to collect dust and dirt in a way and is hard to keep always looking nice.  It also is a type of plastic that really makes you sweat more underneath it, and in the muggy humidity of Virginia’s summer I don’t need help with that. I wish they offered some sort of liner band made of moisture wicking fabric to help offset the issue, because sweat interferes with the heart rate tracker so it loses functionality simply because of the material in the band.

In general, I’m really happy with my upgrade.  I love testing the new features and figuring out how it works, I think my sleep tracking, once I make sure it’s got the right times listed, is more accurate than before.  I wish it did a few more things, but no tracker is going to be perfect.

I’ll have a stronger opinion later, but I’d say if you have a Flex and love it, stick with it for now.  But if you’re joining the world of FitBit, I’d go for the Charge HR of what they’re currently offering.

Posted in FitBit, gear.

Joining FitBit

So, I’d basically stalled out, almost entirely.  If you look back over my blog, it’s just been a bit of a mess for the last year or so.

But then I read this book, and I won’t link to it or name it because I actually thought it was kind of a terrible book.  It was about habits, and it was actually kind of poorly written and full of bad science (or badly explained science).

The thing is though, it made me remember a few things that are important about fitness:

-I’m a sucker for anything that involves tracking, filling progress bars, and earning even meaningless rewards like “badges.”

-The social aspect of fitness and health can’t be overlooked.  It’s more than just a vague plan to sometimes walk with a friend (which is good) but having a person really on your side who is both encouraging and HELPING and actively beside you.

So I decided that in order to meet those two goals, I’d make an investment:

My FitBit Flex

My FitBit Flex

My best friend had a FitBit Flex and she liked it, so I finally caved and got one of my own. That was just under a month ago, and it’s been a big change since then. I have to say, that $100 has had the biggest impact on my health and wellness of any I’ve spent.

First thing I did was lower all of the default goals. I put in that I wanted to walk one mile a day, 5,000 steps, and only do 15 active minutes. That probably seems low to some people, but I was in a pretty bad spot so I wanted to start slow and build myself up.

Since then, I’ve met my step goal every single day. I figure at the end of October I’ll revisit all the goals and look at how I’ve done and if I need to increase them to make it a challenge. But for now, I’m just focused on meeting my goals. I did increase my distance goal, because 5,000 steps is over two miles, so I figured I may as well put that at two.

The social part also definitely helps, adding a few friends on the FitBit website has motivated me to stay at least midway on the leaderboard (I’ll never be first, my friends are too active!) and just to keep going because people who will motivate me can see my progress.  If I slacked off, they’d know, and they’re good friends so they’d say something.

So overall, I highly recommend FitBit, I love their dashboard.  It’s interface is very user friendly and simple, plus it looks nice.  If you’re having trouble getting yourself off the couch or away from the computer, there’s just something about wanting to fill that little light bar and have it buzz to tell you that you’re done.

I’ll start updating this more again now that I’m actually getting out.  But yeah, we’re back on plan for walking a set amount each day and then slowly increasing, with the help of some technology.

Feel free to friend me on FitBit!

Posted in FitBit.