Over the past few weeks I’ve been lacking motivation to eat and train well. As we all know, motivation comes in cycles and lately I felt like I was stuck in a rut. I needed something to push me back into working out with a purpose and luckily I found it in this little gadget.
Let me start by saying that you don’t need to go out and spend money on a Fitbit in order to be motivated. It is simply something that has worked a treat for me and I thought I would share my experience.
Model: Fitbit Charge HR: Heart Rate + Activity Wristband
The Fitbit claims to:
- Measure continuous heart rate
- Measure activity and workouts
- Track sleep quality
- Sync wirelessly (to your phone and computer)
- Display caller I.D.
Here are my experiences with those claims:
Measure continuous heart rate: I’ve only ever wanted to check my heart rate and had to wait for the Fitbit to ‘find’ it two or three times over the course of the past two weeks. Although you can never be certain that the heartrate calculated by a wrist watch is 100% correct, I’ve compared the HR found by the Fitbit to the HR found by the cardio machines at my gym and they’ve been equal every time.
The heart rate measurement feature also tells you, via the App, when you’re in the “fat burn”, “cardio” and “peak” zones and calculates the total minutes you spend in those zones over a period of time. This morning I went for a walk and would check my Fitbit every now and then to make sure that I was above the “fat burn” zone which helped me to maintain a brisk pace.
Measures activity and workouts: The Fitbit measures your activity based on your heart rate and it also lets you know how many “active minutes” you reach every day. I check this to make sure my heart rate is increased enough to warrant calling my training “exercise” and I find it incredibly useful.
The App provides you with a summary of active minutes per day and per week.
Track sleep quality: This is one of my favourite features of the Fitbit. Using your heart rate, it calculates your sleep quality and you can view this on the app on a timeline. Here, the dark blue represents the time when you are asleep, the light blue is when you are restless and the pink/red is when you are awake.
For example, on Sunday night (shown on the “Monday report”), my sleep pattern looked as follows:
On Wednesday night (shown on the “Thursday report”), I took GH REM (a supplement by APS which helps you reach the REM stage of sleep) before I went to bed and it obviously worked because I slept less restlessly than previous nights. Without my little Fitbit gadget, I’d never have been able to see the use of the supplement mapped out like this.
Sync wirelessly (to your phone and computer): you can sync the Fitbit to see the data on your devices which is useful when trying to view your results and reports. Syncing to a phone is the more simple option, as you only need an internet connection and bluetooth. Syncing to a computer is more difficult, not because of the actual syncing process but because it requires you to insert a USB dongle into the computer which the Fitbit connects to. I use a laptop which only has two USB ports so it makes it difficult for me to sync the Fitbit while doing other tasks. Where you choose to sync the fitbit doesn’t make much of a difference as all information is stored on your account which is accessable on both the computer and the app.
Display caller I.D.: when your Fitbit is connected via Bluetooth to your phone, it will display the caller number and vibrate when someone is calling your phone. You still need to run to your phone to answer it but it’s useful in situations when your phone needs to be on silent or you’re at the gym working out without carrying your phone around and wouldn’t hear it ring anyway.
There are two downsides to this feature:
1. You need to be within Bluetooth range of your phone for it to work.
2. You need to have your phone’s Bluetooth switched on and this does drain your Fitbit (and phone) battery more quickly.
The Fitbit App
This App is simple to use and set-up and provides you with a great overview of your day. I had heard reports that the App was difficult to navigate but I have only had positive experiences with it. Here is a snapshot of the app. As you can see, the design is simple and clean and the overviews are useful. You can click on each function in the dashboard (like the steps, heart rate, calories, etc) to see a more comprehensive report and a comparison between that particular day and previous days.
The Fitbit has an adjustable wristband which means it is simple to ensure it sits comfortably. The wristband comes in two sizes; small and large. I got a small and wear it on the 4th or 3rd last hole, depending on where it sits on my wrist. I feel as though I would have been on the first hole of the large and would have had too much of the strap left over.
The Fitbit comes in various colors – I chose a black one because it goes with everything and looks simple yet sleep. The top of the Fitbit (the part that sits on the top of your wrist) is a thicker than the rest but doesn’t look bulky or capture too much attention.
The Fitbit charge costs around AUD $199 in all Australian stores, which relatively expensive but my mum gave me a $100 Rebel Sport voucher to use so I guess I only paid $99.
Online shopping prices for the Fitbit are less expensive, so if you’d like to buy the Fitbit for a cheaper price, I would suggest having a look at Amazon where the Fitbit costs about AUD$188 and the shipping is free (and quick!) at the moment.
I’d give the Fitbit Charge HR a 4 star rating. Its functions are brilliant and it’s definitely helped me plan my workouts, motivated me to wake up early and be active, showed me how little I walk during my days working in an office and scared me with how low my resting heart rate is. The only reason the Fitbit misses out on the 5 star rating is because of the price, which I believe is a little expensive for the average gym-goer. It’s an investment that is worth it if you wear the device regularly but if you want something temporary, I would suggest searching for an alternative or considering buying one second hand.
Pssssst – I’ve just been told that the lovely people over at Flush Fitness are planning to do a Fitbit giveaway soon! Head over to their Facebook page to make sure you’ll be notified when it happens so you can be in the draw!