After using a variety of Fitbit devices over the last couple of years, I thought it was about time I talked about them, and how they have helped me to keep track of my fitness goals.
My first Fitbit was a Charge HR, and I bought that in September 2016.
I loved it!
Seeing how many steps I had done in a day was quite novel, and I enjoyed challenging myself to hit the step targets that I had set for myself. I would go out of my way to walk more often and for longer, simply to get a higher number of steps. The amount of times I would walk up flights of stairs increased as well.
I would even go so far as to track my food on the app, something that didn’t last long when I actually saw how bad my diet was! It could have gone either way. It could have been the stark realisation that shocked me into changing up my diet, or it could have shamed me into never tracking my food again. I took the shame option, as was my mindset at the time.
All was well for a long time, I was hitting targets, then raising targets – But let me tell you what happened next.
My first blue Fitbit died in July 2017, the rubber strap eventually came away from the main plastic body. I contacted Fitbit and to their credit they did offer to send me a replacement based only on photographs of my broken strap. I took them up on their offer and chose an orange one this time around. The promise that I made to myself that I’d take better care of this one to see if I could make it last longer didn’t last. The strap on this new one came away from the main body in an even shorter amount of time. I did try and superglue them both back together, but that just made them look scruffy.
After the second one broke I took Fitbit up on their half price offer for a different model. I bought a Blaze for half the usual price, and I felt like I was living in the future! While Blazes do have lots of nice features and they look the business, the battery life is very hit and miss. I tried a few variations of charging it.
One way was every morning for an hour while I showered and got dressed and ready for the day. The charge would then last roughly about a day. This way was convenient, but annoying if I forgot to charge it, and it was starting to not quite make it until the next morning, and seeing as I used it as a silent alarm as well, that got annoying. I would sleep on through ’til eight, and miss out on a shower, and that sucked.
The second way was to charge it for about three hours when the battery was fully depleted. It would last for three days when charged like this, but the problem was that it would deplete at inopportune moments when I was unable to charge it, like when I was at work, or when I was asleep.
I couldn’t be bothered in the end, it was annoying me, so I decided to just not have one anymore. And I feel liberated to be quite honest.
I was initially very impressed with Fitbits, and they motivated me incredibly well. The data it collected such as length and depth of sleep, heart rate and the amount of steps I took meant that Fitbits were a formidable tool in my fitness armoury. Although saying that, having all the extra information was nice – but I felt that I wasn’t really doing anything with the data that was being collected. I had detailed breakdowns of my heart rate, hour on hour, but what could I do with that? I knew my sleep patterns, but it never told me if my sleeping patterns were bad, or how to make them better. Again, it was useful to have the data, but I didn’t know what to do with it.
I could tell you how many steps I stepped on the 17th of November 2017, for what that was worth, but towards the end of my relationship with Fitbits, I was ignoring the vibrations telling me that I only needed 140 more steps to hit the target of 250 steps per hour. Because I felt the charging issues were such a massive problem, towards the end of using my Blaze I came to see it as more of an annoyance than a motivational tool.
The weight tracking function of the Fitbit app is the only part of the Fitbit product I use now, and to be honest, I could probably do that with any number of other fitness apps on the market. Having all the information was nice… But to re-iterate this issue again, it’s only useful if you are going to do something with it.
And I wasn’t.
So I decided to stop using what were ultimately advanced step counters.
I use a Pingko Pedometer now, and it gives me that good motivational feeling I had when I first started using Fitbits, and I can challenge myself without any of the hassle of having to charge it every day or it looking scruffy because it is held together with superglue.
And it was a fraction of the cost.