Computers & Electronics

Debating on getting a FitBit... which one and should I bother?

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  • Jun 3rd, 2016 9:53 am
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Deal Guru
Aug 14, 2007
11025 posts
2117 upvotes
Toronto

Debating on getting a FitBit... which one and should I bother?

So I was debating on getting a fitbit and for the longest time I assumed I wasn't allowed to wear one at work anyways since we're not allowed wearing any type of smart watch. Today I randomly asked my boss and a few other higher ups if it was allowed and they said the FitBit (any form) is the only one that we're allowed to wear for whatever reason (they said it's because you can't install games or anything).

So, I generally live a somewhat sedentary life but want to get in better shape, not so much weight lifting or anything like that (although I don't mind) but I would rather go for runs/walks to better myself in general. So with that said, my friend has the one that you can clip onto your belt or leave on your pocket which then gives you the stats on your phone. This one I was debating however it is really small and I feel like I would lose it pretty quickly or forget about it and have it go through the washing machine. I absolutely hate the look of those ones you wear on your wrist as if it was a watch and it has that tiny one line screen. Then there is the more expensive ones.

I am constantly on and off a forklift at work all day for 8-12 hours per day so I would like some way to track at least how much I am walking in general.

So, with all of that said, are these devices worth the cost? Or is it something that kind of works and other times it doesn't really work thus giving you skewed information that is incorrect?

Thanks for any advice/help on the subject. I would have gone with the Apple Watch but if I can't wear it at work, there's almost no point in my opinion...
12 replies
Deal Addict
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Apr 15, 2011
1484 posts
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Fitbit charge HR.

Good estimate on sleep cycle, daily steps and calories burned. Not extremely precise. But a great baseline
Deal Fanatic
Sep 29, 2005
5969 posts
1285 upvotes
Montreal
I don't have a fitbit but I have the Garmin equivalent. What I can tell you is that I have always worked out but my weight was climbing more than I liked. I wasn't looking fat. I was just 5 to 10 pounds overweight. So 2 years ago, I bought a vivofit and found it to be a great motivator. By setting a goal for steps, I found myself doing more than before. For example, before my vivofit, I would go out for an hour or 2 bike ride and then that would be my exercise day. After the vivofit, I would look at the band and see that I still needed another 2,000 steps to achieve the goal for the day so I would go out for a short walk to top off my day. Another example, I live on the 4th floor in an elevator building. I now take the stairs rather than the elevator.

What does this mean? I went from 183 pounds to 170 and have pretty much stayed there ever since.

Am I recommending a vivofit over a fitbit? Not really as it's just a tool to keep you going. Are these devices really accurate as step counters? Not really. Does it matter? Not really as the key element is to keep moving and these trackers really motivate once you get into it. What they do is provide excellent feedback on overall activity levels in a day.

If you have an android phone, there is a free android app entitled pedometer that also does a good job of measuring steps. You could try it first before spending any money.
Phils
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Aug 10, 2015
1766 posts
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Elgin, ON
The information these devices give you is sufficiently accurate to help motivate you.
Deal Fanatic
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Mar 20, 2009
8862 posts
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Vancouver
What's your actual fitness goal? To lose weight? To be able to run/walk further and faster with less effort?

Then keep in mind that you actually need to take action to improve your fitness (diet and exercise), and see the real results. A "fitness tracker" gives notoriously inaccurate results that are only distantly correlated with your goals. I know people consider them a fun motivator, but they are 90% placebo.
Deal Addict
Nov 3, 2008
1700 posts
413 upvotes
As others have said you have to actually move and exercise (and eat right) to see the results. I have friends that bought these and 2 months later it is sitting in their drawer never to be looked at again. And I have another friend who religiously monitors his activity. If you're the kind of person that is motivated you'll do it with or without the tracking device. If you're not the motivated type these devices may provide a little benefit but not much.

Best thing I found for myself was to make small lifestyle changes that I could stick with. One of the best things I did was start going to a gym we have near our work. I go there at lunch so I don't need to dedicate time before or after work. Fortunately I work in an office so i can eat my sandwich while answering emails.

You might want to start by taking a walk around the block during lunch. Make exercise convenient and you'll tend to stick to it.

Bottom line is that diets and fads don't work. Lifestyle changes do.

If you still want to get one of these devices, note that some type of activity/health monitors are available on all phones (Iphone, android, windows). The guy i know uses it uses the windows tracking band (Microsoft Band). Fitbit seems to the other popular choice.

Good luck.
Member
Aug 15, 2013
209 posts
108 upvotes
Westmount
Beside counting steps, is there any real benefits with those fitness tracker?
Banned
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May 15, 2016
7020 posts
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How do these things work and how accurate are they?
Deal Fanatic
Sep 29, 2005
5969 posts
1285 upvotes
Montreal
They have an accelerometer similar to what you might find on a phone. The firmware is tuned to count steps based on motion it senses. Are they accurate? Yes and no. They are accurate as a measure of activity over time. For example, a day with 20,000 steps is likely to be more active than a day with 10,000 steps.

However, there are some gotchas. For example, Fitbit tends to count every step and has a lot of false positives such as when driving a car or cycling. The Garmin products tend to discard steps it doesn't think really were steps and sometimes they miss counting what they should. For example, if you push a stroller or a shopping cart using the hand where your tracker happens to be, you probably won't get credit from a Garmin device.

That being said, Fitbit, Garmin and others have websites where you sync info from the device and that's where it starts to mean something as you can follow trends and set goals which motivate.
Phils
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Aug 28, 2007
1743 posts
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I received one (Fitbit Surge) for my birthday... I wear it but really don't care for the information it gives me. I'm active regardless of whether I'm wearing it or not.

I think that "steps" are the lowest common denominator of measuring ones fitness or activity. I have over-weight friends on my Fitbit friend list who think it's some accomplishment when they have more "steps" than I do during a week.

It tells me my heart-rate when I'm exercising, so I try to use it as a measure of my intensity. But I often question the accuracy.

It's a good GPS tracker when I go for a run or a bike ride, but I hate that it won't export data to more popular apps like MapMyRun.
Deal Expert
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Nov 15, 2004
19597 posts
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Toronto
I have a Charge HR and I'm pretty happy with it. It's very accurate when it comes to the step counter and the heart rate monitor is pretty accurate (the accuracy matches my Wahoo TICKR EKG chest strap heart rate monitor). It also tracks my sleep very well, and I don't have to press a button to tell it I'm going to sleep or anything. The calories burned estimate is way off, but that's the same with all of these trackers. It also has a built in vibration motor, so I can set alarms and it'll shake my wrist instead of making noise. I have it synced with my phone as well, so it'll vibrate when I get calls (which I can't always hear if I'm away from the phone or wearing headphones).

My only real gripes with it are that it'll give you a rash if you wear it too tight, it's not waterproof (so you have to be careful when cleaning it), the data doesn't get exported to apps like Endomondo in real time, and the heart rate monitor can stop tracking during a run when your heart rate gets too high and you move too much.

The Wahoo solves that issue pretty well though, and syncs with all my workout apps in real time. The Fitbit works great for constant monitoring, but if you need something for sports you'll probably need a more sports-focused device.
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2006
1496 posts
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Toronto
Grab the upcoming Mi Band 2: similar features, OLED screen, much cheaper: $23 USD.
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