FitBit Flex Review
Last year, I took the plunge and bought a FitBit. I’m good about hitting the gym regularly, but honestly, I had no clue what my activity level was outside of the gym. Plus, when everyone around me started wearing these little wrist bands and comparing their steps for the day, the FOMO set in and I started having flashbacks to elementary school when a group of girls all wore matching friendship bracelets they made together at a sleepover that I wasn’t invited to. I WANT TO BE PART OF THE GROUP! LET ME BE A PART OF YOUR WEEKEND WARRIOR STEP CHALLENGE!
Since I already had a heart rate monitor (more below on how I used the two together) and I’m a cheap mofo, I went with a FitBit Flex. Honestly, having a FitBit has been interesting for me and I still can’t decide whether I’d recommend it or not for others. Personally, it ended up bringing out an ugly side of myself, so I’ve stopped using it. However, I did find some benefits from wearing it, so maybe if you’re less neurotic than me it’d be a great purchase.
Here’s a little recap of how my experience played out:
Purchasing at the store: I am so excited for my FitBit. It’s going to provide me with so much insight into myself and my behavior, I’ll be able to improve my health so much. Motion and sleep data is going to provide me with a new, enlightened view on my fitness! Plus, I’ll finally be able to chime in on my coworker’s step comparisons every afternoon.
Day 1 @ 7am: I‘m already at 3,000 steps. BAM. 10,000 steps has nothing on me. Obviously, I’m underestimating how active I am. I bet I should be eating 4,000 calories a day.
Day 1 @ 5pm: HOW DO I ONLY HAVE TWO FULL DOTS? I swear I’ve moved since my workout this morning. I even made excuses to walk to the office printer like 10 times today to sneak in extra steps. Clearly, this thing must be broken. I’ll go for a walk tonight. A LONG walk. Shit, I need to walk almost three miles.
Day 2: This thing isn’t broken… turns out I’m just the LAZIEST SLOTH EVER. I’m disgusting. I hate myself. This is good though, this is a wakeup call.
Day 8: Okay, I just need to be more active during the day. I’ll start taking walks during lunch and after work. Maybe toss in a few jumping jacks before bed.
Day 20: Unrelated perk of adopting a dog – my steps have skyrocketed! Daily walks with the pup = 10,000 steps is easy peasy now. I wonder how many steps I can get regularly. I bet I can beat all my friends. I have to beat them. If I’m not the best, I’m clearly the worst.
Day 90: My FitBit doesn’t estimate calorie burn very well for weight lifting, so I wear my heart rate monitor that records in my DigiFit app, which syncs to FitBit and overrides the estimated calories for that time, and then my FitBit syncs to MyFitnessPal, where I track everything I eat. Must. Track. Everything. Must. Keep. Calorie. Deficiency. Maybe I can do a second run after work. Shit, one of my friends’ steps increased by 1,000. Definitely doing a second run.
Maybe this is becoming a problem.
The fact is, I have a history of having an unhealthy relationship with food and body image issues. I’m also a little bit neurotic and a slight perfectionist. So, not everyone’s experience will be the same as mine, but I think it’s worthwhile to mention it can encourage some unhealthy behaviors (not just healthy ones).
Overall Fitbit Review:
- Creates awareness of your activity throughout the day, not just at the gym
- Motivates you to achieve the CDC’s recommendation of 10,000 steps per day
- Good interface and I experienced very few technical issues
- Easy to sync with other apps
- Provides an estimate of your daily calorie burn, so you can incorporate that into meal planning
- Treats most movement the same – if you’re not taking steps or swinging your arms back and forth, it doesn’t really take that into consideration (note: I know the newer versions have heart rate features to try to alleviate this issue, but I’ve heard the heart rate feature is less than reliable)
- Since all movements are treated the same, the calories burn estimates can be way off. In my experience, it’s going to overestimate walking and horribly underestimate for any type of weight lifting (unless you pull heart rate data from another app)
- You don’t get that much sleep data or other data, so it is pretty much a glorified pedometer. A much more expensive, glorified pedometer
- The battery life is pretty good, but I found mine behaved like Drake went 0 to 100 real quick (er, 100 to 0 real quick?). It was kind of annoying to suddenly have it die on me in the middle of the day
- Encourages the focus to be more on steps and calorie burns than actually enjoying activities. A little friendly competition is great, but I don’t think it helps you really enjoy exercise
- Could be a trigger for anyone with a more compulsive nature or anyone with a history of body image issues
Would I recommend it?: Eh, I’m kind of neutral here. It could be great for some people, especially those who need extra motivation. I also think you could save your money and just take a vow to get up from your desk at least once an hour, take a walk at lunch, etc.