Monday, May 11

Review: Fitbit!

I've wanted a Fitbit for over a year now. All last summer, I was exercising almost every day at Power Life Yoga in Des Moines, but I was frustrated because I didn't know how many calories I was burning. I couldn't tell if I was over- or under-eating given how much I had exercised in the heated classes. Sure, I could Google "hot yoga" and put in how many minutes I had exercised, but it certainly wasn't an individualized assessment of how I had done in the class.

Before now, I used "My Fitness Pal" for the last few years (on and off) on my phone. It's a good app - it tracks your steps like a pedometer when you have it on you, and you can put in information about your food so that you know how much you're supposed to eat per day. But again, it doesn't show how you actually did in that Zumba class - just what the average calorie burn is in a Zumba class. That's the main drawback of the application.

Recently, I also downloaded "Sleep Cycle". I was having trouble sleeping and wanted to know how much sleep I was actually getting at night and how much I was tossing and turning. It also wakes you up at the "ideal" time between a 30-minute time span. I really enjoyed the app, and liked seeing what kind of sleep quality I was getting. It wasn't perfect though - it works by feeling movement on the bed through your phone, and with two cats and a fiance, it's not always the most accurate.

I made up my mind a few days ago that I deserved a treat. One of my big goals for the year was to give myself rewards, and after how good I've been treating my body this year (with food and exercise and love), I thought I deserved something that I've wanted for so long! So, has it been everything I've been hoping for?

The short answer is, yes! 

While I'm not really a fan of bracelets, this one is so easy to wear. I don't have to worry about taking it on and off (even in the shower!), it's relatively comfortable, and I love that it tracks all of my movements. My phone worked as a pedometer most of the time, but I don't keep it on me 24/7, especially when I'm just walking around the house or apartment.

You also get to choose between different colors. At the Best Buy J and I went to, they had Fitbits in black, blue, and pink. I wanted to go for the pink, but I thought it would stand out too much and look too "girly" if I dressed up for court. I knew I didn't want the black, so I went for the dusty blue color and I'm so glad I did. There's still some color, but it's not in your face like the bright pink would have been. I knew the blue wouldn't look weird or out of place if I had a suit jacket on or went to an interview.

BMR Calculations
The really interesting part (for me, at least) is that it uses your age, height, weight, etc. to calculate ALL the calories you burn - including your basal metabolic rate - just by living and breathing, not just the calories you burn by exercising... Hence why it says I burned 2456 calories on Saturday. Granted, I did go running and walk around a lot on Saturday, but it includes all calories you burn, not just when you're active and moving.

Active Minutes
To be honest, I was really confused what "active minutes" were when I first got it. It turns out, the Fitbit calculates how "intense" your activity is (using magic for all I know). When you're especially intense, it classifies those movements as "active." So, active minutes just show how long you were doing intense activities throughout the day! On Saturday, it showed that I was "active" for 70 minutes - which makes sense, because it was the day I went running, went for a walk, and generally was hopping around all day, haha.

Daily Water
I also really love that it gives me an easy way to calculate how much water I'm drinking. In Concord, I feel like I'm drinking so much water every day, but it's been oddly difficult for me to keep up here in Iowa. After I got this Fitbit, it's been so much easier for me to track where I'm at and how much more water I should be drinking. It's an easy reminder!

Weight Loss
When you set up your Fitbit, it gives you the option to say how many pounds you want to lose. My "go-to" goal weight has been 160lbs, which is about 20lbs lighter than I am right now, but to be honest, my New Years Resolution wasn't to lose weight - it was to work out more. I've kind of fallen in love with weight-lifting, and from what I've read, people usually don't lose tons of weight when they weight-lift. You're basically replacing fat with muscle, and muscle weighs more. So, all in all, I don't take this weight loss goal on my Fitbit very seriously. It was just to have a number there when it asked me.

Sleep Tracker
Like the "Sleep Cycle" app, the Fitbit tracks my sleep. The only downside the Fitbit has for me compared to my old app is that it can wake you up at a set time - not at your "ideal" wake time. I really liked that my phone app would wake me up during the height of my sleep/REM cycle, so in an ideal world, I wish the Fitbit did that too. However, the Fitbit does something that's so cool: It has a silent alarm! You set the alarm either on the app or online (and you can do multiple alarms throughout the day, not just to wake up), and when the time comes, your Fitbit buzzes on your arm! 

To be honest, this particular trick wouldn't impress me that much if I was single and living alone, but having lived with J, I know the pain of having your partner's alarm go off loudly when you're still trying to sleep (and vice versa). It's annoying if it's not your alarm, and I feel guilty for waking him up if it's mine. Granted, you still have to get out of bed which will probably wake them up at least a little bit, but it's less invasive than a loud alarm, and the buzzing is just the right amount on your arm to wake you up, but not make you uncomfortable.

Calories Eaten/Left
This part of Fitbit is almost exactly like "My Fitness Pal" - you have to manually go in and say what you've eaten and how many servings you've eaten. If you're making something from scratch, you can create a recipe or add a food from the grocery store. If there's any downside to this, the Fitbit does seem to have a little less already in the system than "My Fitness Pal" does. It's not much of a problem though, because it takes hardly any time to create a new item!

One cool thing about the Fitbit is that is takes all of your movements into account when looking at how many calories you're supposed to eat during the day. In "My Fitness Pal," the calorie amount only changes if you've logged a work out. Here, it changes based on everything you do, including your BMR (which, again, is how many calories you burn just by living). I haven't had the Fitbit long enough to know whether or not to trust the amount it tells me to eat each day, but I've actually had a tough time eating as much as it wants me to every day!

I used to use "RunTracker" to track my exercises, and I was generally happy with how that app worked. It was pretty clear, I could customize it so it told me when I had gone 0.25 miles at a time, and I could sync it with "My Fitness Pal." The Fitbit also tracks certain exercises while you're actually doing them! I tried this out for the first time when I went for a run on Saturday. It lets you choose whether you're going for a run, a walk, or a hike, then tracks your pace, your time, your distance, and your route. It let me choose my music, but I didn't feel like it informed me about how far I had gone until I actually reached a mile, which was frustrating. To be fair, I had never used it before and I think there is some way to customize it so it gives you an update more often. I'll go for another run again soon so I can test it out again! I also loved all the information it gives you about the particular workout afterwards, like your pace through the workout and how many calories you burned at each point (not pictured).

The best part of the Fitbit is that the devise treats you as an individual, not as an average. It looks at your weight, age, and height to determine your individual stats and how you work and move. It calculates your activities based directly on your particular intensity. It's also easy to use, and you can look at your stats online or on your phone. I used to use THREE different apps to do the exact same thing the Fitbit does, so it's actually really nice having everything in one place. It's also freed up a lot of space on my phone.

There are more activities you can do on the actual app part of the Fitbit, like setting goals for yourself or challenging your friends on the site to reach a goal with you. I haven't done those yet, but I hopefully will in the near future!

All in all, I think my Fitbit was worth the purchase! It's really made me think more about how many steps I take each day and make more of an effort to get moving. J's definitely become more conscious about how much he's moving too, and I think he's going to get one this week too as a graduation present for himself. 

Do you have a Fitbit or another kind of fitness tracker? Do you think it's worth it?


  1. I LOVE my Fitbit too! I really like the friends challenges -- I'm kind of competitive, so the challenges motivate me to get my exercise even when I might feel like skipping a workout. So glad you treated yourself and are loving it too!

    1. You're actually what inspired me to finally get one - I saw how much you were kicking butt on Instagram, and I was like, "Hey, what a great idea." ;D Thanks so much!

      xo Madie

  2. Fitbits are awesome, once you have one it's almost impossible to live without it

    1. So glad you agree! :) It's been super useful so far!

      xo Madie