My FitBit Flex - Why I both love and hate this excercise tracker
For anyone who may not know what a FitBit is, you've come to the right place.
A FitBit is an exercise tracker, designed to put the fun back into working out, making it easier to monitor your progress. It's also one of the most unobtrusive trackers on the market, as you don't wear a chest strap like a lot of other trackers. FitBit has a range of different trackers, but I will be talking about the FitBit Flex in this post.
The FitBit flex is not designed to be a hardcore heart rate monitor/GPS tracker but rather is meant to track their your basic movements. It monitors your steps, calories burnt as well as being a very cool sleep tracker when you put it into sleep mode. I always forget to do this, but on the few nights that I did remember, I was able to see my sleeping pattern and how many times I moved/was awake during the night. This is really great for those people who go to bed early but still wake up feeling exhausted. You may be unconsciously moving around during the night, therefore not hitting REM meaning your body is not getting the steady soundless rest it needs. Hmmm....Interesting.
I mainly use my FitBit as a step counter, to make sure I reach my step goals. I find that when I am in the routine of checking the app and being aware of my steps, I am more motivated to exercise and more inspired to get out the house and get my body moving. Because, let's face it, we're all a little lazy deep down inside, myself included!
I have a bit of a love hate relationship with my FitBit exercise tracker. I must be honest and say most days I absolutely love the thing, but there are times when I want to chuck it out the window. Let me explain.
Once you wear a fitbit, and once you add the app on your phone, you will become rather obsessed with checking your step count throughout the day/all day. It's a great way to get more steps in (ie to exercise more) and it helps you stay motivated to do small changes in your daily routine like take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to work if you can, walk around town instead of driving...small changes that are actually much better for your body. All for the sake of reaching your step goal everyday. The FitBit even does a mini techno dance party on your arm when you reach your goal, flashing and blinking and vibrating to celebrate your achievement. These all are the great incentives to get you out the house and get your body moving.
My mistake was joining the FitBit challenges, or rather, joining challenges with incredibly active people who go way above and beyond my step count every day. I used to think I was a rather fit and active person. I mean, I workout 3 - 5 times a week, walk my dog every morning and afternoon, and walk the 1.5 km's to work most days. I originally set up the regular 10 000 goal that is recommended not just by FitBit but by most health sites as a healthy way to loose a little/maintain your weight.
Now 10 000 steps may sound easy, but it was actually rather hard to get all my steps in every day. And I had to include a 15 minute fast paced walk around my school gym everyday, as well as walking to and from school & walking my dog twice a day just to be able to reach those 10 000 steps. So I thought I was doing well. That was until the members of the challenge I had joined seemed to be averaging anything from 15 000 to 25 000 steps a day...madness! Each of those challenges last 5 days (they are called the Work Week Hustle) and after managing to keep up for 1 week, and then falling way behind and being tied for last place 2 weeks in a row I stopped accepting the requests. It was ridiculous how much pressure I was putting on myself to get my steps in. I mean, all those steps were great for my body, but not so great for my mind and general well being. The stress and anxiety would mount up every-time I'd get a notification that Sam had 'left me in the dust'.
At first I really loved the pressure to keep up with my group, but I let it get a bit too serious and my nasty competitive side starting getting the best of me. I think these weekly & daily challenges are such an awesome way to stay motivated, IF you choose friends and colleagues who are a similar fitness level to you. After all, no one likes coming stone last every-single-day right?
Also, these hold true for all FitBit users:
Here are a few shots of my Fit Bit in action. I had a few readers ask me whether I get bored of the colour. As you can see I have had 2 colour straps. I was given the mint one, and the burgundy one was included as a free gift. My step dad gave me the black one, as he can only use the larger strap and each FitBit comes with two sizes (small and large). I used the burgundy one until it was completely worn out and eventually snapped (so about 8 months worth of wear, wearing it all day everyday).
There are loads of knock off straps (or bands) available online, but I have read mixed reviews about the quality. Replacement straps are rather pricey, although I have found a few good deals on Gmarket (here is a link to a pack of 10 in small for only W21 900) but I guess you can't be sure if it is actually the FitBit brand or a generic. If you are worried about the colour of your strap clashing with your outfit, then go for the more neutral colours like black or slate. I haven't really ever worried about the colour clashing with my clothes and rather chose a colour strap that I really liked. If it really bothers you, you can always buy another strap (or two!) and use them interchangeably.
For those really fashion conscious FitBit wearers, I present to you these gorgeous nickel additions by Bytten to give your FitBit that extra bling:
Do you own a FitBit? Does this review make you want to go out and buy one or does it put you off? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!