My thoughts on fitness trackers
I have a love/hate relationship with all these new fitness trackers that have become all the rage. Here is why I have mixed feelings about them. For the most part, many of them are very high priced pedometers. I have no idea what has sparked the weird phenomena around quantifying how many steps you take in a day but just like cell phones it seems like everybody has a Fitbit or at least Fitbit is enough of a household name that all you know what I am talking about.
What I love about them
- If used appropriately with a personal trainer or coach, it can really help teach you a lot about exercise and what it takes to burn a calorie.
- They are starting to become a great tool for making exercising and walking a social sport. Being able to find friends and challenge them to Step challenges or other exercise competitions with friends is a totally healthy motivational tool in my opinion. So many of us love races or bets or contests that the gamification of fitness trackers is a really cool thing that hasn’t really existed before and been so readily available to people.
- Certain models of trackers can be very helpful to monitor your heart rate all throughout exercise and all day/every day.
- Some fitness trackers can help monitor your sleep patterns.
- Some advanced trackers like the Microsoft Band 2 is able to calculate your VO2 max.. I can go into more detail about that later or link to an article about why this is important.
Here are some downsides to fitness trackers.
- Most of them have a slightly weird tolerance for errors and miscalculations.
- Most trackers don’t do a very good job of helping to coach you on how exercise and calories burned plays into the grander scheme of things.
- Most trackers don’t make it easy for a coach or personal trainer to have regular unrestricted access to see how their clients are performing over time.
- There is no universal standard really for fitness trackers so you tend to get locked into one brand or platform . (I am never a fan of any type of vendor lock in ).
- With the flood of devices out there it is hard for people to know what which devices are worthwhile and which ones are crap. I have owned a lot of these and I am able to tailor my recommendations to different people some devices are overkill and some just don’t provide enough information.
So with all that being said I believe the first step is to figure out what things are important to you and start making a purchasing decision from there. I am more than happy to help answer any questions about fitness trackers and I plan on making at least 3 or 4 follow on blog posts with my personal recommendation on fitness trackers.