I bought my Fitbit Flex on May 21.
Dramatically, this is my third wrist tracker. But it’s two months later, and it’s still my favorite. So I figured it was time for an update.
The Fitbit Force
My first tracker was the Fitbit Force. It was exactly what I wanted in a tracker: it had a great wristband interface that included all sorts of stats, and even had a clock.
But, it was giving people a rash/”irritation,” which seems to be a chemical burn from a faulty battery cover. The company was not the most upfront about this, and that’s annoying.
The Jawbone UP24
My second attempt was the Jawbone Up24, which I think is beautiful. It looked like a bracelet to me, and had a fun design that reminded me of a slap bracelet.
You can’t see anything on the tracker itself, which ultimately made me forget about it. The company did not create a web interface, claiming that this allowed all of their efforts to go toward making the app an amazing experience. This really wasn’t the case for me.
I am all about iPhone apps for everything, but it did not work well for me. It took too long to sync, and was nothing close to flawless. It would jump, and log steps/sleep, only to then delete them from view. It was so frustrating that I completely stopped trying to sync. And with no wristband interface, that meant I wasn’t checking in with myself at all during the day.
To be fair, the Jawbone UP might have the best sleep tracking. On a regular setting, I was pretty confident it was logging all my movements. So if that’s what you’re interested in, I’d suggest looking into it. But even that was too finicky. And I am most interested in steps and encouragement.
The Fitbit Flex
So that brings me to lucky number three.
I was hesitant to go back to the Fitbit brand after the drama surrounding the Force. But I really had my heart set on a wristband tracker.
And so far, it’s going really well.
The app syncs quickly for me, especially compared to the Jawbone. You can also sync with the web interface on your computer for extra details, which is amazing.
The LED lights on the tracker itself (while not as great as the Force display) are just enough to check in and get motivated throughout the day. And, really, I think this is the most important aspect of the wrist tracker for me. I want a gentle reminder that I’ve been too lazy, and that I should get my ass in gear.
Using sleep mode:
To go into sleep mode, you tap on the display five times quickly. Simple enough for me. I’ve heard a few complaints that it knocks into sleep mode too easily. But I’ve only done it by mistake a few times. Like when I was hammering some Ikea furniture together. Fine by me. I hammer with purpose.
The sleep tracking aspect could probably use a little work. There are two settings – regular and sensitive – and Fitbit suggests almost everyone should use regular. In this setting, it does not log enough of my tossing and turning.
But I’m not sure what I really need out of sleep tracking anyway. It’s incentive enough to climb into bed 30 minutes earlier when I see I’m not getting the hours I pretend that I’m getting. So I’ll call that good. It’s all about the steps around here.
And that’s the Flex! It really is my favorite. Shocking, since it was the cheapest of the bunch ($99 vs. the Force’s $130 and the Jawbone’s $150).
I love the Fitbit app, I love the web dashboard, I love the durability of the Flex and I think it’s pretty cute. I even love the simplicity of the LED lights.
Thoughts on Fitness Trackers
Wrist worn fitness trackers are my favorite. I would never remember to clip something onto myself. And not having something to look down at would make me totally forget about it.
But they aren’t magic. They don’t make you any less lazy. The standard step goal people aim for is 10,000 per day. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve had my goal set at 5,000 since I got my Flex. My average is right around 3,000. This is not enough for me, but it’s the truth right now.
So what’s the point? I love measuring things. I love seeing the statistics. It also makes it impossible to lie to myself. I’m very good at convincing myself of things I want to be true (at least in health and fitness). I can be absolutely sure I’ve stuck to a reasonable amount of calories or taken enough steps. But I’m just wrong.
I indulge a bit too much and move a bit too little. And it’s this group of people, like me, that I think can really benefit from these daily life and activity trackers. It helps remind me that it’s not mysterious how I have gotten so much more out of shape this year.
I just raised my daily step goal to 5,500. And for some reason, this week, I feel more determined to hit that goal. Today was a wash, because I woke up last night sick and scared, with possible food poisoning. I’ve been out of it and sleepy all day. But yesterday, P. and I went for a walk around our development. I hit 5,500 steps exactly as I was getting ready for bed, and I was thrilled. I’d like to have more days than not where I hit that goal, and then I’d like to keep upping it by 500 until I’m at 7,500.
Keeping it low for now helps it feel more attainable and me less overwhelmed. When I’m active on the weekend, it’s more exciting passing my goal by a few thousand than it would be missing the mark every weekday in between.
A fitness tracker obviously isn’t necessary for a healthier lifestyle. But it’s a fun new gadget. And I just got an orange band (and blue and teal) to swap out with my standard black one! Priorities.