Adventures In Fitbitting

August 5, 2014

Fitbit1[8]

As someone who loves number crunching, I’ve been intrigued by the activity monitor industry. I almost bought one a handful of times but kept shying away. One day I struck up an online conversation with Theodora about her Fitbit Flex and asked her how she liked it. She had used it for a while and got tired of it, so she offered to let me borrow it for a few months so I could test it out. (I plan to buy her a new one if it gets damaged or too worn out.) So far I don’t have any plans to send it back : ) I don’t plan to wear it forever, but it’s been a fun addition to my mom-on-her-feet life.

The generic goal set is 10,000 steps, which is somewhere between 4 and 5 miles, depending on your stride. I have found the Fitbit to actually underestimate miles when compared to a GPS app on my phone or Garmin. One time I tracked a run on both and my app said 4 miles while the Fitbit said 3.3 miles. I’m more than happy to have it underestimate — that’s way better than overestimating! The only time I found it to be falsely tracking steps was when I was swinging in a hammock at the beach :) I have also noticed that it doesn’t track steps when I’m on the stairmill – I’m not sure why because I’m not so bent over that I’m taking all of the shock out, but my friend said that could be something to do with it. So overall, it’s not 100% accurate, but I don’t really need it to be.

Fitbit2[2]

My average daily steps (including an average workout and walk to and from the gym) are around 12,000.

My highest day to date was 19,600 and that included a 70 minute soccer game! I almost walked around the block in the dark to watch it hit 20,000.

One Saturday I hit 18,000 steps without a workout – I just did a ton of walking that day!

My lowest day to date was about 5,000 steps, which reflected a 6-hour car trip.

Fitbit3[2]

I gain a lot of my steps around the house – probably half of my steps for the day happen at home. That’s really interesting to me since I’m obviously not covering much ground. But I think it’s a sign of all the things a mom of a toddler must do on her feet throughout the day :) If 20 minutes of walking is a mile and a mile is about 2,000 steps then I’m sure I do walk a mile or two around my house.

On a daily basis I haven’t found the Fitbit to be super motivating to get me to the gym. Probably because I do my workouts for reasons other than a step count. But I did find it to be the perfect companion on our recent beach trip. I decided to take a week off of formal workouts and make my only activity goal to hit 10,000 steps a day. This was easily achieved by playing on the beach for a few hours and getting in one short walk on the beach each day with Caitlin. One day I went to bed with 9,600 steps under my belt – I should have gone for an evening walk but it was raining that evening! But all of the other days I hit 10,000. Since I was out of my normal routine, this was a great gauge to tell me that I was almost as active as usual without formal workouts. If you were going to visit a big city where you walked everywhere, it would be equally as helpful. When I went on my trip to Hershey I went for a walk in the afternoon just to boost my steps.

Fitbit4[2]

While the Fitbit has food diary features, a water counter and sleep tracker, I find that I don’t really use those. I’m mostly concerned with steps and activity.

A few drawbacks:

I really wish you could see the step count on the Fitbit band instead of just dots. My trainer Erin has this Garmin Vivofit and hers can do a lot more than mine on the band itself. Yes the app is handy and I can see steps in a widget on my phone at a glance, but they still always take a second to sync, so it’s not immediate and sometimes I just don’t have my phone with me. And sometimes I want to know if I’m on the low or high end of the third dot! I think having the steps right on the band would help encourage even more activity. Like on a beach walk: “I’m going to turn around when I reach 2,000 steps” verses turning around when you just feel like some time has passed.

I have to charge the Fitbit maybe every 5 days or so, but it would be really nice to be able to go for a week at a time and have a dedicated charge/rest day to coordinate at the same time. The Vivofit uses a battery that only needs to be changed once a year. That would suit me better, I think.

While it’s not the prettiest accessory in the world, I find it to be comparable to wearing a ponytail holder on my wrist, which I am used to already. I just bought this band in Teal and love it!!

Fitbit5[2]

I think the Fitbit is ideal for someone who has a pretty flexible lifestyle that allows you to make choices all day long: Do I walk or drive to the bank? Do I park at the other end of the parking lot? Do I add 10 more minutes of walking to my afternoon loop? Do I have the energy to take the toddler to the park for a second time? It’s the days when these small changes add up that have been the most inspiring to me (verses the 5,000 step walk followed by nothing the rest of the day while I was trapped in the car.)

I’d love to hear some of your activity tracker experiences – including other brands!

FYI this post isn’t sponsored in any way – unless you count a friendship with Theodora as a perk : )

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

1 CM August 5, 2014 at 6:23 am

I think it’s important to note that FitBit does have models that show the step count on the device – both the original waist clip and Force model have this feature. (Not affiliated with them in any way, just a fan of the brand and don’t want to see it misrepresented.)

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2 KathEats August 5, 2014 at 6:29 am

Cool didnt know this as this is the only one I’ve seen

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3 Katie August 5, 2014 at 9:33 am

I was all set to buy the force until they pulled it from the market. I really need the clock feature as I teach workout classes and if I’m going to have something on my wrist it needs a clock on it!

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4 Anonymous August 6, 2014 at 6:24 pm

I was lucky enough to snag a Force quickly after they came out, and I love it SO much that although they were recalled, I’ve not been affected by the issue so I’ve just kept it.. and I have a blackberry so it syncs to my computer, but not my phone. On the band it shows time, step count, distance, approx. calories, elevation (flights of stairs climbed), “active minutes”, and when the vibrating alarm is set for. I believe the company is just fixing the (in my opinion, relatively minor) issue and then re-releasing the force – and I would definitely recommend it when they do!! Mine also holds a charge for well over a week, and doesn’t take very long to charge when it does need it. I wasn’t totally sure how much it would do for me but I’ve been very impressed!

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5 Sarah August 7, 2014 at 7:29 am

Yeah, me too. My boyfriend bought me one and they got recalled shorlty after. Because I wasn’t having any issues, I’ve kept it. I love the Force. I’ve found it to be super accurate, and it syncs great withy my iPhone. I love that it doubles as a watch, too.

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6 Maryea {happy healthy mama} August 5, 2014 at 6:30 am

I have a Fitbit and loved it for a while, and then it stopped holding a charge. Fail. I loved tracking my steps though and found it very motivating. Also, if money were no object, I’d totally get this Tory Burch Fitbit bracelet. :) http://www.toryburch.com/tory-burch-for-fitbit-metal-hinged-bracelet/22145800.html?CAMPID=gbase&utm_source=googlepla&utm_medium=pla&utm_term=22145800&gclid=CNDrxc-C_L8CFYMgKgodc3kAFQ&gclsrc=ds.ds

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7 Steph August 7, 2014 at 7:37 am

Fitbit has the BEST customer service – I bet they’d replace your old one!

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8 Jennifer August 9, 2014 at 11:34 am

Mine stopped working after about 4 months. They sent me another no questions asked.

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9 Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out August 5, 2014 at 6:30 am

I am a college student and I love my Fitbit. I have always loved walking but it motivates me even more- walk to class, don’t drive. Go for a walk with a friend, instead of getting coffee! It makes me more conscious of my activity outside of working out. As a college student it can be really easy to do a workout and spend the rest of the day mostly sitting (in class, studying, in meetings) and my Fitbit has made me more aware of how to increase activity!

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10 Aaryn August 5, 2014 at 6:35 am

I’ve been using a Fitbit for over two years — first the Ultra and now the One. They both clip onto your bra or waistband and do show the step count. Like you, I don’t find that they necessarily motivate me to work out (I would do that regardless) but I definitely find that the Fitbit motivates me to move more throughout the day. Also, my Fitbit One’s battery lasts two weeks, which is a big improvement over the Ultra. I am a huge fan!

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11 Katie @ happygokatie August 5, 2014 at 6:35 am

I’m so happy you did a post on this! I too have debated buying an activity tracker for the longest time, but wanted to know if they are worth the cost. For the time being, I’ve been tracking steps on my phone (but you can’t exactly carry your phone during a soccer game or other activities). I’m glad you’re liking Fitbit and your review was helpful, especially situations in which it wasn’t accurate. I definitely believe that as a new mom you move around LOTS. Thanks Kath! :)

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12 Shannon August 5, 2014 at 6:35 am

My FitBit One shows the step count as well – and I can add a custom greeting for it to show to me :) maybe the flex doesn’t have this feature either but I get an email from them when it’s about time to plug it in to the charger. After I get the email it lasts about another 24 hours before it dies which is more than enough time to get it plugged in.

I agree with you that it undercounts steps a little bit! But like you, I am using it to get a sense of the ballpark of how active I am on a given day, so it doesn’t bother me too much.

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13 Ella August 5, 2014 at 7:10 am

Interesting to hear about your experiences with it. I’ve been thinking about purchasing a FItBit since my pilates instructor started wearing one (she loves it, but she says it acts really strange when she’s doing some pilates and yoga moves). Not for everyone, I guess, but I can see where it would be really motivating at times. Thanks for sharing!
http://www.youtube.com/sparklesandsuch26

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14 Anele @ Success Along the Weigh August 5, 2014 at 7:16 am

We have an old FitBit (pedometer style) that was given to us by a friend who bought it but never used it. We rarely break it out unless we’re on vacation and want to see if we’ve gotten enough activity to count as a workout or if we need to add one. I work from home so I think something could be beneficial to help get me up more often but I’m super cheap so I don’t think I would buy anything else.

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15 jodea @ chillichocolatelove.com August 5, 2014 at 7:31 am

Hi Kath, I have the ultra cute bright green Fitbit Zip which also shows step count and clips to my bra discretely :) It’s cheaper than the other models, too and I only have to replace the battery every few months. I adore it and would not be without it. I wasted so much money on cheaper pedometers that kept falling off or getting lost. This one clips so securely, I’ve managed to hold on to it for 20 months! I have had one or two little problems with the clip coming apart, but they always send me a new one. They even sent the second one to me on the road in San Francisco (I’m from the UK). All in all, a happy customer. My highest in a day was 39,000 steps! That included a lot of walking around town and a fitness class. I’m hoping to equal that while travelling the world :)

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16 Jodi August 5, 2014 at 7:35 am

I bought a Fitbit and used it for about a month (ended up sending it back). At first it motivated me to get to the 10,000+ steps but then lost its appeal to me. One day I was on our riding lawn mower for 2 hours and it vibrated that I had hit my goal, but hadn’t walked hardly at all that day. Must have been the bouncing on the mower. It wasn’t worth the almost $100 price tag for me. My two cents.

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17 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! August 5, 2014 at 7:37 am

I use the FitBit force, which unfortunately has been discontinued, but it shows the steps right on the band and works GREAT! I really love it and am sad I won’t be able to replace it once it dies!

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18 Ali @ Peaches and Football August 5, 2014 at 7:39 am

I have a couple friends with fit bits who love them. I’m really into gadgets and whatnot and actually considered getting one too – but I bought the Nike+ and never used it, I have a HRM for the gym, a nice pedometer to measure steps & calories, and I have a Garmin for walks/runs outside. Too much already. :-) But I think anything that helps keep someone motivated is worth the investment!! I know when I wear my pedometer I’ll get in more steps (I can imagine walking that block at night to hit 20,000 steps – hitting 19,500+ is insane!)

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19 Tonya August 5, 2014 at 7:46 am

I got my Fitbit Flex as a gift. It came with 2 black bands, a light green and a teal one. I think the Fitbit is a really cool device and only worth the cost if you use it for all of the extra features like logging food, water intake, tracking calories in vs calories out. It’s a bit pricey to use as a pedometer only. Although, I can see why you wouldn’t need the other tracking features since this blog pretty much takes care of that for you! There are some other things you can track too, like sleep, heart rate, BP, glucose. I don’t use any of those.

They say it’s best to wear the Fitbit on your non dominant hand in order to track your steps correctly. I’m right handed so when I’m walking my left hand swings but my right hand is normally holding a phone, coffee, a bag, etc. Maybe that’s why the steps aren’t counting correctly?

Now here’s my beef with Fitbit. The droid app for your phone absolutely sucks. it just does not update. Ever. It only syncs through bluetooth (why not WiFi? or your phone’s network?) but even when you’re in range of a bluetooth signal (like sitting right in my car!) it does not update. My phone app only updates if i’m sitting right in front of my computer with the “dongle” piece plugged in to check my stats online. So the phone app for me is useless. At least I can see my steps, though. I update the other stuff when I can. Once you use the app for a few days you get a good feel for calories in vs calories out so you don’t have to be obsessive about logging anyway. All in all I’m happy with it, but had it not been a gift I’d be very upset about not being able to use the phone app.

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20 Michele August 5, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I have the same exact problem with mine not synching to my Android phone unless it is right next to my computer with the dongle plugged into my computer. I just assumed my phone was not compatible.

I also noticed that mine underestimates my miles. If I walk on the treadmill for 2 miles, the Fitbit will only say about 1.75. And, it also adds steps when I drive. Overall I do like it but I don’t wear it every day. I really only wear it when I work out.

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21 Anna @ On Anna's Plate August 5, 2014 at 7:47 am

I have the same one, and I do love it. I agree with almost everything you’ve said here– mine also underestimates, as I’ve tested before on the treadmill and with garmin-recorded runs. But I kind of hate that– I feel like I’m not getting credit for work I’m doing, ha!

I’ve had some trouble charging mine– they’ve had to send me a new one, which they did very promptly, but it was still annoying to have it go out after only a few months’ use.

Wish I could afford the Tory Burch cover, haha. Maybe for a birthday or Christmas present I’ll splurge. ;-)

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22 Laura August 5, 2014 at 10:44 am

How did you have them send you a new one? Mine recently stopped working, and I miss it!

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23 Carla August 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I just recently had to have them replace mine too after 6 months of use. Just email them and tell them your problems (they will probably send you a few things to do to try to fix it). You will have to provide them with a receipt if you didn’t purchase through their website in order to get a replacement.

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24 Tierney S August 5, 2014 at 7:57 am

I have the fitbit flex as well and love it! I am not sure if you knew this but when the dot is blinking slow you are between the first and second 1000 for that dot and when it is fast you are at the second half. Ex. slow moving 5th dot shows you are between 8000-9000 and quick moving 5th dot shows you are between 9000-10000. Hope this helps!

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25 KathEats August 5, 2014 at 8:40 am

Brilliant! I guess since I didn’t get the manual to read I would never have known :)

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26 Leah (goodnight cheese) August 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

Usually you can find the manual for products online.

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27 Barbara August 5, 2014 at 8:06 am

I purchased a Jawbone Up about three weeks ago and am really liking it. It does not have a screen at all, but syncs to an app on my phone. I wanted a band that was also a watch but my wrists are so small I couldn’t wear one with a screen. I am sixty years old and am walking to improve my overall health and get in shape to tackle a three-day backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail with my daughter in September. Mine tracks sleep as well and I am using that feature to motivate me to get to bed earlier. The Up has to be charged every seven days. I like that it looks more like a bracelet than the others I tried on and it isn’t freakishly large on my skinny little wrists. Overall, it is a fun and motivating gadget!

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28 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More August 5, 2014 at 8:13 am

I’ve been curious about trying some kind of FitBit or other tracking device. I think I’m just curious after seeing so many people share their numbers and stuff that it makes me want to know where I stand.

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29 Katie August 5, 2014 at 8:17 am

I used my Fitbit One religiously but then lost it (I think that’s the only downside to this model). A few weeks ago I found it again and I forgot how much I love it! Sometimes I can get obsessed with numbers in an unhealthy way (e.g. calorie counting) but the Fitbit focuses on adding, not subtracting which is big. When I can see the steps from a quick 10-minute walk on my lunch break adding up, I’m more likely to do it. When I’m not wearing the Fitbit I’m more likely to think that these little chunks of time don’t really make a difference – the Fitbit helps me visualize that they really do!

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30 ChristineFD August 5, 2014 at 8:50 am

I have a FitBit One and I love the heck out of it. There are nights that I pace the floors while on the phone to get to 10K, where I would have just sat and talked. The App lets to connect with contacts that also have a FitBit and you can see how you do compared to your peeps. It makes for some friendly competitions in my family.

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31 Leslie August 5, 2014 at 8:51 am

I love my Fitbit Flex, but mostly for the silent alarm. I can’t stand to wake up to loud alarm clocks, so the vibration is perfect for me, and it doesn’t wake up the hubbie! I just had to contact support because it stopped charging, I would have to reset it then it would charge. They are sending me a new one, so hopefully the second one doesn’t do the same. Overall, I really love my Flex!

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32 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats August 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

I have an 8-5 desk job and I LOVE having a fitbit. It gets me to walk during lunch and after work a little more than I normally would, as well as get up and walk around the office more.

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33 Leah August 5, 2014 at 9:10 am

Are you still using a heart rate monitor when you exercise? I’ve been debating getting one, because that would better track calories burned for things like spinning or weight lifting (my fitbit one counts calories as well as steps, but it’s not accurate on days I do something besides running).

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34 KathEats August 5, 2014 at 10:32 am

No I’m not. It’s had a dead battery for a few years now!

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35 Sophie August 5, 2014 at 9:15 am

I’ve got the fitbit zip and it’s great! It has a tiny battery that lasts for months, isn’t externally obvious, shows the calories/steps/time on the screen, and overall is pretty great! I’d definitely recommend it if you were investing in your own!

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36 Ashley August 5, 2014 at 9:20 am

I have not read the other comments, so I might be repeating some people :-)

I had the Jawbone UP for awhile and found it be quite lacking. Like the FitBit you’re using, it underestimated steps but far more so. For instance I took my daughter on a walk around our ‘hood that I know to be about 2 miles, and the UP reported it as just over HALF a mile. The reason? As far as I can tell, it was because I was pushing a stroller and therefore my arm was not swinging. When you are constantly pushing a stroller or carrying a toddler, this is a huge drawback. I loved that the UP had a inactivity monitor that would buzz when you had been inactive for a time period you could set, but sometimes it buzzed on my while I was actually in motion – further indicating that it was not super accurate.

I recently got the FitBit One, and I really very much prefer it. It actually seems like it would fix a lot of the issues you currently have with the Flex. It has a display, so you can see your steps, and it clips onto your waistband or bra, so it can be out of sight (though this does impede you ability to see at a glance what your steps are…not that it stops me sometimes, but I’m sure people wonder why I’m checking out my tatas). Also, it has insane battery life. I stick it on the charger while I’m showering every 2 weeks or so, and even then it’s not in the low category – and I only take like 10 minute showers, so that bumps it back up to a mid level that is good for another 2 weeks or so.

In December I attended the Weight Management Level 2 seminar, and one of the speakers was an exercise physiologist involved with a lot of testing on various devices to gauge accuracy. He said the FitBits consistently test very accurately and precisely. I can’t recall any of the other devices they tested, but most were at least okay (FitBit was best). Like you, I think the actual number isn’t super important or even really needing to be 100% accurate if you’re gauging yourself day to day, the point is just to increase. But if you’re looking for one that meets your needs a little better, I do really like the One!

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37 Laura@SneakersandSpatulas August 5, 2014 at 9:48 am

My job offered discounted Fitbit’s to the entire company this year and it’s been cool to see so many people invested in their fitness wearing the Fitbit’s and talking about their steps! I ordered the Force model which shows your steps right on the display. Unfortunately, they recalled them due to people have skin reactions and I wasn’t able to get it. I didn’t bother getting the lower end model which you’ve been using as I didn’t like how it lacked a display. I didn’t want to look at just the dots and have to sync up to my phone.

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38 Tina@GottaRunNow August 5, 2014 at 10:08 am

Surprisingly to me, one of my favorite features on my Fitbit Flex is the alarm. It’s a vibrating alarm that doesn’t bother anyone else, but it does alert me.

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39 KathEats August 5, 2014 at 10:30 am

I have loved this too! I need to use it more

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40 Sara August 5, 2014 at 10:15 am

My husband bought me a FitBit Flex after I mentioned it to him and over and over (that I wanted one, ha ha!) They were on sale at Brookstone. I wish he had waited until my birthday or a holiday so I could tell him about Garmin’s tracker, but that’s OK, it was sweet of him to buy it for me and surprise me. I was curious as to how much activity I do on a daily basis and really wanted to push myself to do more. I work in a cubicle four and a half days a week. I sit at my desk a lot. I try to remember to get up and move more, but when I’m really busy, it’s hard. It’s encouraged me to exercise more because I get closest to 10,000 steps on those days! I got tired of wearing it at night (though I love the alarm feature) so I take it off at night so it isn’t completely accurate (I don’t have it on when I get up and put the dogs outside and feed the pets or make lunch, etc. I don’t put it on until after I shower). I need to just wear it all the time to be more accurate. My complaints are similar to yours–the battery and I wish it showed more on the wristband, but it’s pretty cool! I wish I did as many steps as you! Wow! We have a smallish two-story and where I work in a cubicle it really is hard to get to 10,000 steps. I just need to take more time out of my day to exercise more. I’m doing yoga tonight and it doesn’t give me as many steps as running for 30 minutes! Anyway, sorry for the long comment, but fun post!

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41 Stephanie August 5, 2014 at 10:30 am

I have been wearing the Fitbit Flex since Christmas and I really love it. (My original tracker broke after about eight weeks, but I emailed Fitbit customer service and they replaced it for free.) I typically take mine off on Sunday morning and leave it on the charger all day (Sunday is my lowest activity day anyway), and it holds the charge for the whole week. It’s great for me since I work a desk job–it lets me know when I’m running really low on steps taken, so I can get up and move around more. I am a very happy Fitbit customer!

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42 Kelley August 5, 2014 at 11:04 am

I have the Fitbit One and it does have all the data viewable on the device (steps, calories, miles, etc). The battery lasts over 2 weeks on that model. I love it, it’s definitely a motivator for getting in ‘just 2,000 more steps’! And I love ‘competing’ with family and friends through the website too.

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43 Sarah August 5, 2014 at 11:22 am

I recently read this article from PopSugar that compared the accuracy of a bunch of different models of activity trackers in regards to the estimation on calorie burn. It’s good to know they’re all fairly accurate. I’d like to use one to estimate my calorie burn so I can keep up with my fuel (and not over-do it later in the day either!) rather than just counting steps.

http://www.fitsugar.com/Which-Fitness-Trackers-Most-Accurate-34958111

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44 Emily @ Life on Food August 5, 2014 at 11:37 am

I have been debating about getting one of these for a while too. Just to see how my activity adds up from day to day. I am pretty good at working out but I travel for work. Travel days are much harder to get it all in…or so I think. I wonder how much those races across the airport add up to.

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45 Elise August 5, 2014 at 11:50 am

I don’t really see the point of purchasing a FitBit to use as basically only a pedometer. Luckily you got to use one for free, but I can’t imagine paying $100+ just to track my steps when I can get a pedometer that clips onto my waist for $5. Also, I’ve heard that it’s not exactly accurate at measuring step counts, because it pays attention to the swinging movement in your arm, which can be varied based on activity. Have you experienced this?

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46 KathEats August 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm

It knows the difference between swinging and the thump of a heel strike, but that said if you slam yourhand down it thinks it’s a heel strike

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47 kate August 6, 2014 at 9:32 am

The great thing about it is that you’re measuring only YOUR steps from day to day. So even if it isn’t 100% accurate on HOW it counts the steps, it’s still counting them the same way for you each day. So if you did 10k then 12k the next day, it could really be 11k and 13k, but the important thing to note is that you increased your count by 2k.

Also, it has a calorie and weight tracker built into it too! And you can link up to your friends for a little competitive action!

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48 Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily August 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I have the fit bit zip and a huge fan so far! It is tiny, fits on my waist band and just touching the screen shows me steps, miles and calories burned. If I had to sync it to my phone or laptop to see those stats, I wouldn’t keep using it! I like instantly knowing ;)

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49 Taryn August 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm

I have the BodyMedia. I love it. It is ridiculously accurate.
Here is what it tracks:
-Calories burned (using the temperature of your skin)
-Calories consumed. You enter this via the phone app or on a computer. The nice thing about the food entry is that you can have it save foods you eat often so once you have a food in your tracking you don’t have to keep checking the label. Once cool feature is that when you enter all of the nutrition information from the label, if you eat that food again but have a different measurement, it will automatically adjust the calories to that amount so you don’t have to calculate it. So if I entered yogurt’s nutritional information by the cup but on that particular day I only had 2 tbsp I just adjust the amount to 2 tbsp and the program will automatically calculate the calories.
-Activity Level (Moderate vs Vigorous)
-Steps
-Sleep. It doesn’t measure the various cycles, but it shows just laying there vs sleeping.
-Your weight (you enter this)

The coolest part about the tracking is that you can pop open the summary using a drop down arrow and drill down on the information. For example, I can see that I burned 1200 calories that day but I want to see how many I burned specifically during my workout, I can drill down to that period of time to see the burn for that specific time. It’s the same for steps, activity and sleep. (If you go to their website you can see an example of the tracking info.)

Pros:
-the accuracy
-the tracking and drill down abilities
-When you set it up you set up your profile including your goal and how active you are and that allows you to set goals that are realistic for you. For example, I sit at a desk 8-10 hrs a day and commute for 2 hours a day. To say I was a highly active person wouldn’t really be true even though I do my best to get workouts in. So when I set myself up I chose the not very active profile and then it gave me options about calorie intake that shows when I would reach my goal weight.

The Cons:
-It’s bulky. You wear it on your upper arm. If you’re wearing long sleeves it’s no biggie, but if you’re wearing short sleeves you’re going to see it.
-You can’t wear any lotion (including sunblock) on that upper arm.
-You can’t swim with it. It’s okay if you’re out running in the rain, but you can’t submerge it (no swimming, no showering)

In summary, it’s really cool.
PS. Is there anyone else out there who has a body media?

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50 KathEats August 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Cool! ive never heard of this one

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51 jonelle August 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Love my fit bit one. It shows my steps. It really helped motivate me to get more active when recovering from a chronic illness and allowed me to set small goals every week. Now it isn’t as motivating, but a good way to make sure I stay on track with my goals. Seeing your numbers, I feel the need to step up my game.

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52 Bekah August 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm

I’ve been using a Bodybugg for years and decided to give the Fitbit Flex a try so I wouldn’t have a big honking mechanism on my upper arm. I promptly returned to the Bodybugg as the Fitbit didn’t add my exercise into its calculations (I’m big on spinning and elliptical).

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53 Jen August 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I have a FitBit Zip and love it! I’ve only had mine for about three weeks, but I have my mom and a few friends as my “friends” on the app and I love getting to see how close we steps-wise, sometimes it motivates me to go for an extra walk around my apartment complex so I can by-pass someone for our 7 day count (you can’t see their daily steps which I think I would like to see a bit more).

I don’t know if you know this already, but you can connect your Fitbit to myfitnesspal and myrunkeeper. I log my workouts through myrunkeeper so the Fitbit takes my workout into consideration but doesn’t double count my calories burned. What is also beneficial I find is that your workout then doesn’t count for your hour of being active. I have found (even with only using it for three weeks) that this gets me motivated to get up and moving throughout the day. As a teacher off for the summer, but with most of my friends and my fiance working still, I tend to be a little lazy so this has been a beneficial addition to my day.

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54 Dana P August 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I’ve had an activity tracking for about 1/2 year now and I like that they encourage me to move around more, especially when working a desk job. I started out with the Fitbit and while I loved it, it ended up having too many problems for me. I had 3 bands that broke or wore out in the course of about 4-5 months – I didn’t do any strenuous activity with them, just normal workouts (running, yoga, strength training). Eventually the battery stopped holding a charge for more than a day, so I had to switch. Luckily I bought it at REI and was able to use their awesome return policy to get a different one. I’ve been using the Garmin Vivofit for about 1.5 months and I love it! I love seeing my steps on the screen (pushes me to walk for certain goals like you mentioned) and it has a red bar that indicates when you’ve been inactive for an hour. For someone who sits mostly at work, I really like this feature. I also like not having to charge the battery. Again, not trying to bash Fitbit – I loved it when it worked well – but unfortunately, I experienced too many problems with it and the Vivofit seems to be working out much better.

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55 Katie August 5, 2014 at 5:15 pm

You can adjust the stride length to make the distance count more accurate. Especially for running mine was way off. The how to is in their website.

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56 Rachel August 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Interesting! I have a desk job and for that reason I’m weirdly obsessed with getting in my 10,000 steps per day. I walk my dog 4 miles each morning and figure that’s about 8,000, and then cross my fingers that I get the rest throughout the day even though it’s mostly sitting :)

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57 Amanda Cowan August 5, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Seeing the fitbit step count is precisely why I gave up my new flex and switched back to the Fitbit One. I usually wear camisoles or tanks under my shirts so keeping it accessible isn’t an issue. Plus, I found the flex sort of bulky and quite frankly, I got tired of having to explain what it was. I mean, I’m a huge fan of the Fitbit brand, but after the first several explanations of the flex I was tired of it.

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58 Theodora August 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Glad you’re still enjoying it!

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59 Lindsay August 5, 2014 at 9:32 pm

I’m so glad you weighed in on the fitbit! I saw Elise wears one over at EliseBlaha and I just thought, “wow, what a great idea!” but I’m setting some goals for myself right now so that I can “earn” it through my current workouts! I think it would be very helpful, especially as I’m going to become a first-time mum in January 2015, seeing steps would motivate me so much in those months when getting in my exercise routine again will not be as possible! Let me know how it continues to go! Do you have the one that tracks sleep cycles too?

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60 KathEats August 6, 2014 at 5:49 am

Yes it tracks sleep but I only use that about once a week

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61 Sandy August 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Love the Fitbit Zip. I considered going to the Flex for the sleep tracking and alarm but I am always tapping my Zip to check how many steps I have and would not like having to check an app to find out. My goal is 15000 steps every day and I probably hit that 5 out of 7 days. On beach vacations my goal is 20000 steps. Today I was shopping with my daughter after my 4 mile walk and a kettlebell cardio class and hit 19,417.

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62 Lia J August 6, 2014 at 1:34 am

I think this website will answer your question re: why doesn’t it count when I’m on the stairclimber? [I looked into this when I was wondering why it didn’t count when I was rowing [on water, so actually covering real distance]]

Basically, it has to do w/ motion + acceleration.

https://help.fitbit.com/customer/portal/articles/1276472-how-does-my-tracker-count-steps-

Also, I don’t use my Fitbit to count my exercise, but to encourage me to have an active lifestyle. I almost always get 60 minutes of Exercise a day (squash, running etc), but that is only 1/16 of my whole day. I use the fitbit to encourage myself to be active OUTSIDE of my workouts. I actually don’t wear it for running and stuff. It’s been great, I’m a student so I take a 15 minute walk as a study break or park really really far away at the grocery store or school.

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63 KathEats August 6, 2014 at 5:48 am

Thanks!

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64 Kamado Jim August 6, 2014 at 7:42 am

Great post. Like you, I’ve been wresting with the whole fitness tracker thing for the better part of two years, but deep down, I know it’ll be something that won’t see the light of day in a matter of months when I simply lose interest in it, so therefore haven’t taken the plunge yet.

They’re definitely getting better from a functionality standpoint, but I’m still sitting on the sidelines and waiting for something that I can’t live without to come along.

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65 Kelsey @aslolife August 6, 2014 at 7:43 am

I have a Jawbone UP and absolutely love it. On days I can’t get to the real gym, I know I can at least shoot for a minimum amount of movement and its so motivating for me –I can’t stand a day when I don’t meet the 10,000 step goal!

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66 Emily @ It Comes Naturally Blog August 6, 2014 at 7:44 am

Excellently timed post! My hubby was going to get me a fitbit for my birthday, but something about a recall stopped him. I wear a Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor for my ‘real’ exercise – classes and gym. I wanted a fitbit to track my daily activity and I wondered what you learned about sleep patterns. I have a desk job and I walk rather than drive, so I thought a fitbit would track how much I was moving through the day. I used to have a step counter, but it was cheap and unreliable.

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67 Melanie August 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm

This was so timely, I was just reading about fitness trackers this afternoon – comparing the Flex, the Jawbone and the Polar HR monitors. I think I’ve settled on the Polar bc I really want the precision of the HR tracking – telling you if you’re in fitness vs fatburning zone would be really helpful, I think. But on the other hand I think the sleep/alarm features on the other two are so cool! Especially since I’m NOT a morning person – anything that would make waking a little more gentle would be great. Anyway, I’d love to see you review a Polar device if you get the opportunity!!

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68 Stephanie August 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I use the smaller FitBit that clips onto your sports bra or pants and I love it. It gives you the stats that you have earned in case you don’t have your phone close. I like to use it for distances but I think mine actually overestimates distance. When I remember to wear it I do notice that my activity is greater for the day because I have a goal in mind. :)

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69 Elizabeth August 11, 2014 at 8:40 pm

I just got a Misfit Shine recently. I hadn’t heard of it or seen one until I was browsing activity trackers on Amazon. It doesn’t display much (until you sync with your phone) but it doesn’t “look” like a fitness tracker, which means a lot to me. I usually wear it clipped to my bra strap or belt loop, but it also comes with a black band to wear on your wrist. As someone who is overweight, I didn’t feel comfortable calling attention to myself saying “HEY LOOK AT ME I’M WEARING A PEDOMETER!”

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