Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I Gots Me A FitBit. Here's What I Think.

So a few weeks ago, a very awesome client of mine gifted me a FitBit One.  For those of you who don't know what this contraption is, it's one of these.  Essentially, it's a very fancy pedometer.  It uses more or less the same technology as the Wii to track movement, elevation, and sleep cycles.  I decided to wear it nonstop for a few weeks and see what happened.



Here's what I liked about it:  
-It made me very aware of how much I was moving throughout the day.  I am a very active person, but this made me more so, I think.  For instance, on the days when my steps did not reach the daily goal, I would often go out of my way to try to walk more that day to try to get closer to it. 
-It tracks sleep.  I know I don't sleep well, and this helped me see what's happening.
-It links up automatically to an internet app whenever it's near my computer, and it sends me progress reports.
-It says fun stuff like, "ROCK ON, MELODY!"
-It's small, so it's relatively inconspicuous and does not get in the way of activities.

Here's what I think could be improved: 
-You have to enter a lot of things manually, such as weight, diet, workouts that aren't walking-related, etc.  Now, obviously, there's only so much a device is capable of.  However, I honestly don't have a ton of time to be entering in all that information on a daily basis.  You can backtrack and enter it for previous days, too, but again:  there are better ways to spend my very limited free time.  I rarely entered any of the manual information.
-The calorie total is only a ballpark figure.  I don't believe the FitBit calculates speed of movement (although I could be wrong about that), which will affect how many calories are burned.  It also has no idea how much muscle mass the user has, which will absolutely affect the caloric total.  In fact, there are many, many factors besides step total that will affect how many calories were burned.  The calories burned estimates on the prefabbed activity entries in the manual online system are also gross generalizations.  "Weight training" is bunched into a category with "powerlifting" and "bodybuilding" and other such things, and takes into account only the amount of time spent doing it-- not the exercises used, how much weight was lifted, and so on.
-If you want to wear the thing all the time, it does not go well with slim-fitting dresses/outfits.  Not that I'm a fashionplate or anything, but I do like to look presentable now and then.
-It's easy to forget it's clipped onto your clothes.  I almost sent it through the wash a few times.

Here's what I learned:
-My sleep sucks.  I knew this already, but if the FitBit is even remotely accurate, I get, on average, around 6 hours of sleep and wake up about 12-18 times per night.  No wonder I need a nap in the afternoon.  This did not improve when I was away at a hotel, so my "it's the cat's fault" excuse is only partially valid.  In any case, I know now that I really need to address this issue and find out what the cause is.

My conclusion:
I like it.  I'll probably keep wearing it.  It does make me walk more than usual, and the stats are fun to see.  I might upgrade to the bracelet model at some point, though.

Questions?  Comments?  Post 'em here!

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