I’ve got a new gadget! Whats even better is it’s a fitness gadget! It’s called Fitbit.
What is Fitbit?
Think of a pedometer, except with the ability to track more than just the number of steps you take. This little device can track activity, measure how well you sleep, count the number of stairs you climb and all without you thinking about it, while it sits in your pocket.
Fitbit will track the following pieces of data throughout the day:
- # of steps taken
- miles traveled
- calories burned
- calories consumed
- activity level (sedentary, lightly active, fairly active, very active)
Provided you keep the Fitbit with you while you sleep, you can track the following:
- time you went to bed
- time to fall asleep
- times awakened
- total time in bed
- actual sleep time
- sleep efficiency
I was very excited to get started using the Fitbit and see just how active I am on a daily basis. I already knew that my day job (IT) lends itself to be sedentary, but I wanted to see if my daily workout routines would have an impact. I was also interested to see just how well I was sleeping at night and how that might affect my workouts the following day as well as my general mood.
The first task at hand was to install the software and setup the Fitbit. The installation of software was a bit of a turnoff since I thought the dock primarily for charging the batter. The device does require you install the software on what ever PC you plan to sync the data that is being tracked. After the installation has completed I setup an account on Fitbit.com and the device was live and ready for use. It does offer a personalized feature where you can setup your name so that your Fitbit greets you when you wake up or pick up the device after a period of time. Clever and witty comments are typically presented.
At the time I had no idea what my walking or running strides were, so I didn’t have in place initially. I assume this would throw off the mileage number as indicated by the number of step that were taken. Luckily it snowed a few days later and made the process of getting a good measurement quick and easy.
The kids were very interested in the device and the data it was tracking. The first couple of nights they held contests to see who could walk/run the most steps, climb the most stairs, etc… It got them moving and tired out so that was a bonus!
The device will sync the data it tracks over a wireless connection to the dock, which still needs to be connected to a PC via USB, as long as you are stationary for a few minutes within a range of 15 feet, a very cool feature. The data is then made available on the FitBit.com website where you can get down and dirty with all of the metrics made available. Then the data can be shared via social media and among other Fitbit users per your preference.
After several days use the device I noticed that the calories burned measure was strictly based on the number of steps taken. A little disappointing, but not too unrealistic since to get a true measure of calorie burn a heart monitor is ideal. So during the course of a P90X2 workout, I may only take 500-800 steps, but I know that I am burning more than then 300-500 calories as the FitBit would indicate.
A nice feature that is available with Fitbit is Apps. Apps are just like they sound, 3rd party pieces of software that link your Fitbit data with its own. On of my favorites if the tight integration that is in place with myfitnesspal.com. I use this site to keep track of my nutrition, so having it along with daily activities does give me some insight when comparing calories consumed versus those burned, albeit just from steps… There are a few other apps that integrate with FitBit data, but none that are applicable to me so I don’t have any feedback on them at the moment.
All in all as a pure data/IT guy, the device has been a great tool! I can definitely see some advantages to pure walkers/runners and for those who may be just trying to stay more active. This data will keep you motivated with the daily achievements and badges that are awarded. Some badges awarded are; 5000 Daily Steps, 10 Daily Climb (floors), among many others. You can even set goals, so if you are just starting out you can adjust as you progress in your daily activity and keep pushing yourself.
- Tons of data
- Long Battery Life
- Ease of Use
- Integration with myfitnesspal.com
- Step accuracy seems off
- Need for dock to connect and upload stats
- Software required
- Sleep strap could be of better quality
- Inactivity Detection
- True calorie burn for high intensity workouts
- More color options
- Low battery indicator
I would highly recommend the Fitbit to anyone that is looking for an extra gadget to keep them motivated with their fitness goals. The ease of use make this a product that almost anyone can relate to and start measuring success against their individual goals.
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