Thursday, May 19, 2016

Yes, I love my FitBit!

After being asked numerous times by family members, friends, and strangers on the bus, I've decided to blog about my experience with my FitBit fitness tracker.  This post will benefit those who are thinking about buying one as a gift or for themselves.  If you already have a FitBit, I'm sure you'll relate to many of blurbs in the next 1,000-ish words.

In the Fall of 2013, I have never heard for a FitBit or JawBone fitness bracelet.  The Garmin Vivo was not born in addition to all of the other fitness trackers that are out there.  During this time period, I was a Junior in college and also worked part-time at Publix, a grocery store.  During my first few months of working in the grocery store, I realized that I was doing a lot of walking and ended up purchasing a cheap $5 pedometer from Walmart to see how many steps I did per day.  For my birthday, my mom surprised me with the FitBit Flex, which was the newest and most high-tech fitness bracelet during that time period.  Like I said, I had no idea what the FitBit Flex was, but I quickly figured it out and got a understanding of how many steps and miles I did during my shift at the grocery store.
FitBit Flex

I wore my FitBit Flex religiously for the following month to see my progress.  However, I soon began to forget to wear it or charge it which begins my year in limbo...

I don't know why I didn't wear my FitBit Flex for almost a year.  I did a lot of walking, and every time I went hiking I thought to myself "I wish I was wearing my FitBit so I can see my progress." I eventually got better at wearing my bracelet.  While studying abroad in Berlin, Germany, I wore my FitBit for the first week and was surprised that I racked up 70 miles during that time period.  But like I said, I somehow forgot to charge and wear it, so the following 4 weeks in Berlin were not recorded.
For the next year and a half, I would wear my FitBit part time.  I kicked myself for not wearing it and tried my best to set alarms to wear it.

Fast forward to January 1, 2016.  I told myself I was going to wear my FitBit and make no excuses.  I set my charger in the bathroom and would charge it when I take a shower.  I also told myself to charge it at night when I get the low battery alert.  Believe it or not, I've been wearing my FitBit every day in the year 2016.  I only have one day where my steps did not record.  There have only been a few instances where my battery died, but I still had my bracelet, and it still recorded some steps.  I have a nice tan line, and even bought some extra bands to keep it entertaining.

So, do I love my FitBit?  If you would have asked me last year, I would say "yes, but I forget to wear it."  If you ask me today, my reply would be "YES! I wear it everyday!"

Now, FitBit has come out with many models over the past few years.  They have the Charge which records your flights in elevation, the Charge HR which also records your heartrate, the Surge that also does GPS.  They also have the Blaze which looks like a watch and the Alta, which is a slimmer bracelet.  The flex is very basic and simple and tends to be the cheapest on their market.  The flex counts your steps, calories, active minutes, and sleep.  You can also manually input your water intake, track your food, and add exercise if you participate in yoga for 30 minutes. With the Flex, you can also buy different bands since you can take out the FitBit computer from one band to another unlike the Charge.

Lastly, you can participate in FitBit challenges with your friends that also have FitBits.  There are four different challenges: Goal Day, Daily Showdown, Workweek Hustle, and Weekend Warrior.  The Goal Day is where you compete with friends to see if they can meet their daily goal.  The Daily Showdown is who has the most amount of steps in a day.  The workweek hustle and weekend warrior are challenges to see who can rack up the most steps during that time period.  It is nice to see progress of others and see how you're doing when compared to them.  It is a nice and friendly competition to get each other active.  Also, if you take steps without your fitbit on, it's like those steps don't count for anything!

In addition, FitBit gives you badges during your "FitBit Lifetime."  These badges represent how many miles you have done with your fitbit, or the most steps and/or flights you've done in a day.  It is nice to see these badges, and you can set mini-goals for yourself!

Since I did some rambling, here are some FAQs:


Does your fitbit make you healthier?
Long story, short: yes.  When I'm wearing my fitbit, I constantly think of ways to get more steps in for that day.  Sometimes, that means parking away from a store, walking down more aisles, or taking an extended walk with the pup.  The fitbit makes me walk more.  When you're in these fitbit challenges with your friends, the app will remind you to take a walk so you can get in the lead for that challenge.

Where do you get your FitBit Flex bands?
I used the original band for over two years until it tore. You can buy official fitbit brand bands on Amazon, Best Buy, or Walmart.  I recently bought a 3-pack of off-brand bands from Amazon for $10.  These bands are a floral design, so I can mix it up when I want to wear something different.

When do you charge your FitBit?
I take my FitBit off when I shower, so that is when I charge it the most.  The FitBit is waterproof, but I'd rather not shower with it.  If I have done a lot of activity during the day and have a low battery warning, I'll charge it during the night so it is fully charged.

Which model would you recommend?
I am happy with my Flex; however, for between $15-$30, you can get the next model up that also tracks your flights.  If you don't do a lot of elevation change in your activity, you will be fine with the flex.  But if you do a lot of uphill hiking, invest in the next model (Charge or Alta).  Also, if you want to see how your progress without syncing it all day, get the Charge or Alta.  The flex only shows dots of your progress.  If I were to buy one for myself, I would pick one of those two.  The charge is wider and the Alta is skinnier, but newer.

What do you think of the challenges?
I absolutely love the FitBit Challenges. I try to be in one during the week and one during the weekend.  I like seeing how I'm doing against my friends.  I also am competitive so I try my best to do more activity so I can beat them!

Do you fully use the FitBit app?
No, I don't.  I don't track my water as much as a should, and I don't track my food at all.  If you really want to track your food, you can sync your FitBit app with the myfitnesspal app.  By syncing your steps and tracking your food, you can see how many calories your putting in and burning out. You can also track your weight.  You can even buy the FitBit scale that syncs to your app.

What's the most steps you've done in a day?
April 5th 2016.  I was in Prague.  I did 36,189 steps or 14.86 miles!

I have a fitbit, but I don't wear it.  What should I do?
Wear it!  You'll never know how much you walk unless you track your progress.  Get in a routine where you have a certain time to charge your bracelet without missing out on steps.  Make it a habit to put it on after you brush your teeth or eat breakfast.  It's easy to forget about it, but after seeing all the potential lifetime miles I could of had makes me sad :(


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