Fitbit and fitness trackers are “in”. They are currently “the thing”. Everyone is wearing them. So the purpose of this post is to look into whether just like Pokemon cards, Pogs, Tamagotchis, and yoyos, are Fitbits just a passing fad? Or perhaps like the iPhone, are they actually a legitimately revolutionary device here to stay?
It took a while, before I eventually jumped on the bandwagon and got myself a Fitbit. I have owned mine for about a month now, so I feel I have given it enough time to now give an honest review.
I bought it in black (not in all the fruity available colours because I’m a man and I’m not 12 years old!). The Charge 2 seems to be about mid-range in regards to other Fitbit models offered.
I paid about £100. There were “no name brand” fitness trackers for sale for a lot less, but to be honest I was skeptical of buying an unknown brand, so I went with Fitbit. I hope the higher price means higher quality.
The main reason I got this particular Fitbit model is because it monitors sleep. I have suffered from insomnia for years, so I thought the sleep monitoring feature could possibly offer some insights that I may have previously missed.
This Fitbit also has the standard features of monitoring heart rate, tracking steps and distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and hourly activity. It also recognises when you exercise, and it syncs with the GPS on your phone. You download the Fitbit app onto your phone, and then you have your “Fitbit dashboard” that allows you to track your progress. Through the dashboard there are other cool features like being able to track weight and food and calories, all to help ensure you reach your fitness goals.
You can also set alarms and reminders, which is pretty cool. For example, if you’ve been stationary for an hour, the Fitbit vibrates on your wrist to give you a reminder to go get some steps in. This is perfect for those sat at a computer most of the day.
So is it worth it?
So my verdict is….I like it! Honestly, I do! I have heard some people criticise that the Fitbit isn’t totally accurate in its tracking. And yes, I’d agree that it probably isn’t – for example you can “cheat it” and get extra steps by shaking your arm around. Plus I’m wary of how true the readings for estimated calories burned are. But I believe that overall the Fitbit is accurate ENOUGH to serve a useful purpose. Furthermore I thought the heart rate and sleep monitoring features WERE in fact surprisingly accurate.
Why it is useful
Let me give you a scenario. You have a holiday coming up very soon, so you have been exercising very hard regularly and you have cut your calories lower than you would normally. But you have stopped losing weight and don’t know why. This is where you can check your Fitbit stats.
Your stats tell you that:
Yes, you have been exercising regularly
Heart rate during exercise is high, so you have been training hard
Morning time resting heart rate has increased, which indicates that you are beginning to overtrain, but this is expected due to the stress on your body, plus your holiday is very close you will be able to take a break from training then
Food intake shows you have been sticking to your diet
Your time and quality of sleep have decreased a bit, but nothing too concerning
Your numbers of steps taken each day has decreased dramatically! Bingo! There’s the problem! When we drastically cut calories, we feel tired and lazy, so often without realising it, we reduce our activity levels in order to conserve energy. So what has happened here, is that to counteract the drop in calories consumed, the person is inadvertently now burning less calories too, therefore cancelling out any potential calorie deficit and hindering fat loss.
THIS is why Fitbits are useful! When we are tracking and measuring all of these different variables (although not 100% accurate, but still accurate ENOUGH), we are in a position to play detective when we are not seeing the results we want, which is a very helpful position to be in!