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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Certain models of trackers can be very helpful to monitor your heart rate all throughout exercise and all day/every day.
  4. Some fitness trackers can help monitor your sleep patterns.
  5. 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.

  1. Most of them have a slightly weird tolerance for errors and miscalculations.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 ).
  5. 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.