Three days in, and I have to say I’m really enjoying my new fitness tracker. As you know, I anguished over picking the right tracker for me at an affordable price. I ended up choosing the Fitbit One, and I love it.
Designed so anyone can use it, there are 4 key features that really stand out so far.
It’s So Simple To Use
Initially I thought about getting the Fitbit Flex, but decided against it. Constantly wearing a bracelet isn’t my thing. I needed something smaller.
The Fitbit One is very light (big bonus!) and you just clip it on to your pocket or bra. Its screen is easy to read, even in full sunlight.
My only concern is forgetting that I have it attached to my bra. I don’t want to wash it by mistake – it’s water-resistant, but not waterproof! So I paid $20 extra for Fitbit insurance — it gets replace for free it if I lose it (it’s so small it could happen) or if it gets damaged (cough, laundry, cough).
There’s just a single button to push on the One. Press it multiple times to toggle through the collected data: steps, stairs, time, calories burned and distance traveled. It also has a flower graphic on one screen. The more active you are, the bigger the flower.
All my data is nicely laid out on a dashboard (on my phone or computer via an app). Just click on each metric and you’ll get more details, like distance traveled for the week and daily averages. It also lets you know if you’re behind or on pace to hit your goals for the week — a great way to motivate you to kick it up a notch.
I will say I prefer my Mac dashboard to my iPhone. Both give the same info, but I prefer the visual display on my computer.
Fitbit As Motivator…Without Living In A Van Down By The River
At first, I worried that these “smart” trackers were just glorified pedometers. And they are. But unlike those analog pedometers, the Fitbit One does a great job at motivating me. You can connect with friends who are Fitbit users and compare your progress.
You like to compete? Fitbit ranks you among your friends. Perhaps that’s the little push you need to walk up an extra flight of stairs or add an extra mile to your daily walk.
You also earn badges as you hit fitness milestones. On day 2 of wearing my Fitbit, I earned the helicopter badge for climbing 500 floors. I immediately wondered what I get when I hit 1,000 (it’s the skydiver badge). I’ve earned 6 badges so far and I want more.
Connecting With Other Fitness Apps
What’s really cool is that it connects to other apps. I use My Fitness Pal to track my food, as well as cycling, yoga and weight lifting. My daily walks I track with Map My Walk+. The only app I regularly use that doesn’t connect is my Easy 5K training app. I manually enter the data from Easy 5K into My Fitness Pal, which transfers data to my Fitbit’s dashboard.
It was interesting to see my daily calorie count in My Fitness Pal change on my laundry day, because I walked up and down my stairs 5 or 6 times. I know housework is a form of exercise, but I never knew how to track it. Well, now I don’t have to think about it thanks to Fitbit.
If you want your fitness tracker to track other types of workouts, like swimming or cycling, you’ll need a more expensive tracker. Trackers that go beyond steps, stairs and walking start at $200. That was too steep for my first smart fitness tracker. As I learn to use the data collected and apply it, I’ll consider upgrading. But for now, I just plug it in manually into My Fitness Pal.
Note: I haven’t tried the sleep and food log features yet. That comes this week. I’ll write about my experiences in a separate post.
There are a couple areas where I’d like to see improvements. Neither of these are a deal breaker. Smart fitness trackers are new to the marketplace. I’m expecting my two biggest “complaints” to be addressed down the road.
Complaint 1: Battery Life
The battery life isn’t that great. According to Fitbit, the charge should last 5-7 days. I find that it’s more like 1.5 days. Bummer.
To recharge it, you simply slip it out of its rubber clip case and plug it into its USB adapter. That’s easy enough, but I do worry that, over time, the rubber clip case will see some wear and tear. A longer charge would ease my mind.
Complaint 2: Accuracy
I suspect Fitbit is too liberal in calculating my activity. While working on my computer, I apparently moved 57 steps. I’m assuming it recorded all my fidgeting while sitting on the exercise ball.
It doesn’t track cycling, yet during my spin class today I noticed the step counter moving pretty fast. The steps it tracked during that class plus the cycling data I entered into My Fitness Pal resulted in a huge shift in my calorie count for the day. I was given an extra 1,500 calories to eat for the day.
Hmmmm, did Fitbit double dip?
I’m really loving my Fitbit. I put it on first thing in the morning — it’s just part of my daily wardrobe. It’s so simple to use. Just clip it on and go. The biggest benefit is the motivation it gives you. I really do find myself parking further away to get in those extra steps, or pushing myself to catch up to friends.
Bottom line: I’m much more active when I’m wearing the One, and I notice a shift in my eating. I’m thinking a lot more about what I shove in my mouth. I’ve caught myself practicing my good eating habits and drinking a way more water. Hey, if I’m moving a lot more, it makes sense to eat smarter too.