Chicks up for a Challenge - fitbit help?

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01-08-2014, 07:44 AM
I see a number of people in the 1000 mile challenge have something called fitbit. I am so ignorant about tech stuff. Is this a thing that can tell you how many miles you have run? Does it figure distance by using a satellite or does it count steps like a pedometer? Do you have to have a smart phone or a computer to use it? Do you have to pay a monthly fee to use it? Thanks for answering dumb questions.

01-08-2014, 08:03 AM
There's a bunch of different 'Fitbit' products as that's the brand. They are like an advanced pedometer I guess. The one I have also tracks distance, stairs, calories burned, activity minutes and sleep. I'm not exactly sure how it tracks things, I'm not technically savvy either but it matches up (distance wise) to other apps I've used for distance like Nike+ and Map My Run that use GPS. I think it has to be hooked up to a computer or smart phone, mine's hooked up to my computer, just so that it keeps long term stats. It syncs whenever it's near the device. It will hold the information for 23 days (I think) if you go on holiday and won't be around your computer. There is no monthly fee for it. I got mine as a xmas gift but depending on which one you get they're between $70-$130, I think.

I like it because it gives me a more accurate TDEE and as a calorie counter that's important to me. I also like knowing how far/many steps I take because I wash't doing enough so it's motivating.

01-08-2014, 12:18 PM
I'm debating about buying fitbit because I have a friend who got one for x-mas and she's been raving about it since. Those of you who have one and have had it for a while, is it worth the investment? Have you had any problems with it?

01-08-2014, 12:26 PM
I have been looking into getting one as well. I have heard some complaints with the clasp, but from what I understand more often than not it seems to be a user error :) I would get the fitbit force as I like the watch and the sleep tracking (I have been tracking my sleep for a year using the Sleep Cycle alarm app, love it) and I would love to compare the data! I kind of want to hold out to see if they come out with a completely waterproof version of the force, as I think that would be way better.

There are all sorts of activity tracking devices out there and take some time to research them all and find the best for you. The nike Fuel and jawbone Up are both popular contenders.

I like techy things and graphs and charts and think it could be a great motivation tool, but its a hefty price tag for me!

I'd love to hear about anyone elses experiences with the fit bit or other as well!

01-08-2014, 03:55 PM
I got a Fitbit Flex for Christmas and so far I really like it. I would prefer the Force, which has the clock. The Force also uses and altimeter to gauge stairs climbed.
The Flex (all of the Fitbits, I believe) are advanced pedometers that calculate your steps/distance based on your age, height, weight and movements plugged into some sort of algorithm.
You need a computer to set up your device, after that you can either use your computer to sync or sync using a a smartphone, tablet or other device. The key is the device must have and be able to use bluetooth 4.0. (my old droid phone and 2012 nexus tablet for example, do not have 4.0 and will not sync to my Fitbit. newer androids and the 2013 nexus will work. There is a list of compatible devices on the Fitbit website.) All your synced info, plus community forums are accessible for free on the website.
I haven't had any problems with mine, although its only been 2 weeks. I do find it motivates me to try and move more; I like seeing the numbers on my charts go up and the lights blinking on my Fitbit :)
Oh, and it links with MyFitnessPal, which I like. You can track your food on the Fitbit site, but I have been using MFP for a year, so I like that I can stick with that. It appears to sync data input to MFP instantaneously to the Fitbit Dashboard.

01-08-2014, 04:18 PM
I have a Fitbit Force and I love it. I have had no problems with it. I have found it definitely motivates me to move more, and not just that. I also drink more water, sleep more, and climb more stairs because it tracks all that too. I am linked to other Fitbit users and we compete and encourage each other, but mostly my increases have been simply from being more aware. I had no idea how truly sedentary I really was until I got a Fitbit. It was normal for me to only get 4000-5000 steps a day. My goal, with my Fitbit, is 10,000 steps a day. For the first few weeks that was hard for me to achieve, but now I'm routinely hitting that goal and exceeding it. Plus, you can add in your other workouts so if you swim or bike or do yoga (activities that the Fitbit won't register either because you can't wear it or because it doesn't detect steps) you can add those in manually.

01-08-2014, 11:29 PM
I think I have decided to get one... They are sold out in the box stores all over my town, will order one tonight from amazon :D

01-10-2014, 04:12 PM
I am setting my birthday present from my mom right now. I got home from work and there it was in my mailbox. I am so excited!!

01-10-2014, 05:17 PM
Hubby got me one for Christmas, and I wasn't over the moon, but honestly, I am loving it. I know I sleeep poorly and it tracks that. I only have to charge it every 5 days. I have it synced to MyFitnessPal on my phone & computer. You can check your data daily and it automatically gives you a weekly report.

01-13-2014, 01:55 PM
Another thing you can sync your Fitbit to is "" - it's a site that tracks your activity and gives you rewards for it, like gift cards. You can even link up with your health insurance (if they are part of the program) and win rewards from them too.

01-13-2014, 03:16 PM
I have a Fitbit Force and previously had a Fitbit One. DH has a Fitbit Flex.

They all have their advantages/disadvantages. I chose the Fitbit over competitors because my research indicated that it was the most accurate, it has a large group of users and I liked how they show their data. Also the Fitbit is a set price with an option for more data under a premium plan. I went for the premium plan (I think it was about $50 a year), while DH didn't.

Anyway thoughts on the different ones I've had and on DH's Flex:

1. The One is very nice. I kept it in my pocket. Some people clip it on their belt. I don't wear a belt and I would be afraid of losing it so I kept it in my pocket. It can measure both your motion back and forth and will measure flights of stairs. So when I walk outside in our neighborhood which is hilly it will tell me how many flights of stairs it is equivalent to. (Note it doesn't recognize incline on a treadmill).

I liked the One because it had a nice display on it so when I was out walking I could click the button and see how many steps I had taken, how many calories I had burned, the time, my distance, my activity level and so on.

The main disadvantage with the one is the fact you carry it in the pocket. So I was always worried about losing it (I didn't, but it worried me). Also, I had to wear something with a pocket. Not all my clothes have pockets (probably less of an issue for a man than a woman). Also, I had to remember to transfer it to whatever clothes I was wearing. It was easy to forget it when I changed clothes.

Also, to monitor sleep (some people don't bother with this) I had to put the one in a large band and wear it around my arm. This never felt really comfortable although I did get fairly used to it. The band did sometimes come off during the night (it was attached by velcro only)

2. A couple of months after I got my One, DH got a Fitbit Flex when it came out. One advantage of it over the One is that it is more water resistant so he can wear it in the shower. The Flex is worn on the wrist.

It doesn't have the altitude function so can't count flights of stairs.

The nice thing about it is that is worn around the wrist so isn't tied to what your are wearing. You largely put it on and forget about it (unless going swimming).

One nice feature of it, is that you can order bands of different colors. DH has a black band and an orange band.

However, I was never tempted to get the Flex. The reason? It didn't have the display of the One. Basically it had a few lights to tell you how close you are to your step goal, but nothing to tell you exactly how many steps you've walked or calories you've burned or the time. DH would have preferred the display but he was sort of OK with just checking on his computer when he would get home. But for me, the lack of a display was a dealbreaker.

3. About 6 months after the Flex came out, they came out with the Fitbit Force which I immediately ordered. It is sort of the marriage of the One and the Flex. You wear it on the wrist like the Flex. However, the Force is wider than the Flex and has room for a display. You press a button and see the time, steps, distance, calories burned, etc. Oh - both the Flex and Force can be programmed to act as an alarm in the morning (I don't use it for that but it can be done - have to program it on the computer).

Also, the Force does do altitude so it counts flights of stairs.

I really like the Force and do prefer it to the One. Having the display is very important to me. Also the Force will sync with my iphone automatically when in close proximity (it only automatically syncs with a very small number of Android phones). It is coming out with a software update where it will vibrate and show the phone number of someone calling you on your iphone ...basically it will act like caller ID (this is optional to use it this way isn't required). Since I have an iPhone I like this. Obviously not a feature if you don't have an iPhone.

It only comes in 2 colors - black and slate - and bands aren't interchangeable. I have the black. I will say that for a woman it might look a little odd to wear this while wearing a formal evening gown. I don't ever do that, though, so it isn't an issue for me.

Because it is worn on the wrist, it doesn't count steps if you hold your wrist still pushing a shopping cart. (This is true for the Flex as well). DH and I have gotten good at pushing the cart one-handed so our steps get counted.

It can't be worn in the shower like the Flex.

Note that for all the accelerometers, they don't do really well counting no step based activity. When I use my rower, my Concept 2, it does count steps if I use my Force. However, when I had the One it didn't count steps on the rower and I needed to go online and "name" that activity for the Fitbit to know what it is (this is easy to do). Also, if I do weight lifting it will show more calories burned if I go in and name the activity. This isn't specific to Fitbit ... all devices like this are similar.

01-14-2014, 01:08 AM
I thought a lot about which Fitbit to get, and I went with the Flex. I like that it is small and the simple display isn't a problem for me ... I like being able to see at a glance how I am doing.

My Fitbit is lime green ... although the band is starting to stain and I've only had it a month. The clasp is hard to get used to, but one you figure it out it becomes second nature.

It gives me credit for active minutes when I walk fast or run. I don't know how well it handles weight lifting, or cycling or any other sport that doesn't involve swinging your arm.

I definitely recommend using it with My Fitness Pal. MFP is easier to keep track of calories in, and the Fitbit is great for calories out. They will work together to let you know if you need to adjust your calories for the day.

I like being able to see my sleep (I sleep great but it's still fun to have proof) and I love the silent alarm feature.

I highly recommend the Fitbit.

01-14-2014, 07:48 AM
What I want is a thingy that will be precise about distance, like how far is 5K on the road or trail. Is Fitbit good for that, or is there something else that is better?

01-14-2014, 01:44 PM
What I want is a thingy that will be precise about distance, like how far is 5K on the road or trail. Is Fitbit good for that, or is there something else that is better?

If you want something really precise on distance, you might prefer a wrist mounted GPS like the Garmin Forerrunner. They look just like a watch. They don't count steps, but they do count distance. They are generally water resistant and some models have heart rate monitors.

However, if you have a smartphone, there are some really good apps. There is "Map My Run" (they also make "Map My Walk", "Map My Hike") - I use Map My Run (you can tell it what activity you are doing- walking, biking, running, etc) when I walk outside and I have compared it to a GPS (I've tossed my GPS in my pocket on occasion) to see if it's accurate and it is. Map My Run for basic features is a free app. It talks to you occasionally as you move, generally each mile. It will tell you how many miles you've done, the time elapsed and what your mile pace is. You can also see your route on the phone screen, and add'l info there. You can save your workouts. It sends out a weekly report also. And that's just for the basic features- there's also a MVP paid version that offers coaching and other good stuff.

If you want a phone app with full GPS features, there is an app called Gaia that is $20 and is very accurate but I haven't found that for neighborhood walking that it's any more useful than Map My Run.

01-14-2014, 11:01 PM
Thanks! I'm getting a smart phone...