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Is a Fitbit worth it?

We are obsessed with numbers as a culture and I’m willing to admit, I’m right in there with that addiction.  I love numbers, data, dealing with the black and white and visibly seeing progress.  As a nutrition coach, I am bombarded with questions about calorie intake and expenditure and often along with it, fitness tracking devices.

Spoiler alert:  Fitness trackers don’t cause weight loss or healthier lifestyles.  That my friend is 100% in your control.

However, a fitness tracker such as a Fitbit (or another brand) can be an amazing supplement to your health goals. The bigger question remains: Is a Fitbit worth the money?

What is a Fitbit?

A physical activity tracker is a watch-like gadget that allows you to track and monitor progress in every aspect of life.  It allows you to track your calorie expenditure (how many calories you burn in a day) through regular activity and exercise.

It can also track your sleep patterns. Some devices allow you to track your heart rate, include GPS and the ability to send and receive text and phone alerts. It can also sync with and allow you to track your daily caloric intake (the food you eat).  The latter is where much of my experience lay.

How does a Fitbit work?

Throughout the day, these simple watches can monitor how many steps you take, calories you burn, heart rate and hours of sleep.  They combine an OLED (an organic light emitting diode), altimeter (that senses height change), a heart rate monitor, and lots of personal metrics to send to you a melting pot of data about your fitness (or lack thereof) for the day.

What are the pros to a tracking gadget?

Increased Accountability

Fitness trackers hold people accountable, not only to themselves but also their friends.  Often times you can join competitions and networks to help support your fitness and challenge each other to increases activity. For some people, this makes trackers like the FitBit worth the money alone.

Motivation

Immediate feedback is powerful in health and fitness. The opportunity to set small achievable targets and get a tiny little celebration from the tracking device when you achieve them is motivating.  Being able to sync the device to a program on your phone that shows you progress and milestones perpetuates continued success for many people.

We work on this big time in my FREE 7 Day Feel Amazing Naked Challenge that you can join HERE.

Increases Body Movement

I know you have them, friends, who are 100% obsessed with hitting their 10,000 step daily goal. I have a little guy at home that only wanted a kid tracker from Santa. Santa listened and even he gets stoked when his Garmin Vivofit chimes when he crushes his 8000 step goal.  This is a really awesome gift to motivate a kid to get moving and all his friends ask him about it constantly. For under $40, Santa was a genius!

The reality is that although the device increases movement, there is no guarantee that 10,000 steps will help you achieve your current health goals. With that being said, I am 100% in support of anything that helps people get their body moving more.

We have shifted into such a sedentary lifestyle that any motivation to increase overall health is a good one in my book. So buy one for Grandma who sits too long or your friend who recently moved to a desk job if it lights a fire under them to move their body. What makes Fitbit worth the money is people using it to its fullest potential, and being more active really helps.

Even the value of something so simple as walking can have a profound impact on health.  To see the value, take a look at the chart provided HERE at WellKeptBody.com that highlights the impact of walking daily based on distance traveled and body weight.

What are the cons to a Fitbit?

Accuracy

It is difficult to really know if the calories and distance on the tracker are accurate. It is difficult to include biometrics and algorithms that guarantee accuracy in data for the masses.

Not for the Elite Athlete

Most of these devices are geared for the average person.  They allow you to track activity, food, weight, sleep and some allow heart rate.  If you are an elite or highly competitive runner, it is worthwhile to seek out a more specialized tracking tool.

True Results

Although tracking devices can be awesome to increase motivation and monitor progress, real results come from putting in the work. The use of a Fitbit or other tracking tool is merely a bonus to help monitor progress and make the journey a bit more enjoyable.

Why Is FitBit Different?

Have you heard the story about the creation of Fitbit the company?  It’s pretty cool. In a nutshell, two guys with big thoughts created a product with tiny sensors that revolutionized the health industry.

What is valuable about Fitbit as a whole is that they have created a line of products that meet the needs of various fitness levels. In addition, in a review of various fitness trackers, Fitbit came out on top for accuracy.

Fitbit Products

The Fitbit Flex and Alta are baseline tracking devices that allow you monitor steps and basic sleep timing and are at a relatively low price point under $100.

A step up in the Fitbit line are the Alta HR and Charge HR which include the same features as their lower models but also allow you to get text and call notifications as well as monitor heart rate and which can be a massive benefit to fitness and health awareness. They retail for just over $100.

At the top of the Fitbit product line is the Blaze which can account for multiple fitness types but also includes GPS connection options. It has a larger screen and has a real watch-like feel and face which many prefer.

Their newest product (recently replacing the Surge), the Ionic, has all of the features of the Blaze but is the only product that also has built-in GPS, is waterproof, accepts text and phone, and stores music.  All of these features help make it a strong rival of the Apple Watch.  The Ionic retails for roughly $270 which can potentially be a great investment in your health and lifestyle if used consistently.

Syncing with a food accountability tool

I require most of my clients to use a digital food journal to increase accountability.  If you want to learn more about my favorite one and some of my secret tips, you can visit them here. The ability to sync the device with MyFitnessPal and have an all-in-one place to assess food and activity is for sure a very exciting option for those wanting to really change their lifestyle.

From a coaching perspective

Clients come to me with many questions in regards to their daily calorie burn and its relation to food.  The challenge I have with the Fitbit and other similar tools is its inability to decipher the intensity of exercise and true type of movement to determine calorie expenditure.

Beyond that, when synced with a program like MyFitnessPal, it automatically increases the daily target macros or calories to accommodate for calories expended.  If weight loss is the goal, this isn’t an accurate assessment of calorie restriction and could be misleading.

When I work with clients, I create target macros which include their current level of activity.  Therefore, I require them to shut this feature off in their MyFitnessPal account settings. Proceed with caution if you see that step goal becoming a license to eat more food if weight loss is your ultimate destination. If you are not careful, you might begin to actually see the scale tip in the opposing direction.

Need help on your quest to create a healthier you? Join our  FREE 7 Day Feel Amazing Naked Challenge HERE.

What about the Apple Watch or the Garmin?

If you are an Apple enthusiast, there is something to be said for the Apple Watch as an option. It is sleek, compatible with your iPhone and all of your awesome Apple products. But it does come at stepper price point of $320-399.

I have many clients who share with me how powerful its’ features are. From the ability to sync to a scale, the ability to stream music, and it’s zillions of other awesome features including smart coaching, it is hard to compete with at the higher price point.

Also worth mentioning is the Garmin. The basic Garmin Forerunner was actually my first ever fitness tracker. I used it years ago when I began to run and increase distance for my marathon. Although a very basic model at the time, it was crucial for better understanding my pace and being aware of my distances. The Garmin Forerunner of today has come along way and is an awesome companion for a runner who is ready to put on some miles.

Is a Fitbit Worth The Money?

So, is Fitbit worth the money? Only you know. Your greatest return on investment to your health is moving your body and being mindful of what you put into your mouth.  There is no device that can be substituted for building healthy habits and gaining food awareness.

A fitness tracker can be a really fun way to support your health journey and add the bonus motivation and accountability you will need.  And if you are going to wear a watch anyway, why not make that thing darn handy and provide you lots of bonus data to help you reflect on your overall health?

To make the Fitbit worth the money for me, my pick is the Fitbit Charge 2. I love it for the components it includes the simple design and price point for this budget conscious girl. It retails for only $119.  If you want a major smartwatch then the Apple Watch, is superior to any others on the market like it.

I’d love to hear from you, do you have a fitness tracker?

What is your favorite feature?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

 

 

 

2 replies
  1. Amy
    Amy says:

    I just got the Fitbit Ionic and love it!! Started my journey with the Fitbit blaze but needed an upgrade recently. Love that there is built in GPS, you can save music to it and sync your headphones to the Fitbit so you don’t have to have your phone right next to you at times. Still learning more about it but love it so far.

    Reply
    • awalkmacros@gmail.com
      awalkmacros@gmail.com says:

      Woohoo–so awesome. That is one of the things I love about Fitbit is that their products can grow with you as your fitness journey evolves. I love not having to have a cable/earphone attached to me while training. So glad you love the Ionic.

      Reply

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