Fitbit: Why I Don’t Leave Home Without It

Readers and honored readers, it is with great excitement and much anticipation that I present to you my favorite tracking habit….

(Insert obligatory drum roll here)

The Fitbit One has arrived! I promise I am not getting paid by these companies. So why am I such a big fan? Because my Fitbit works entirely in the background. In other words… “Look Ma, no hands!”

Allow me to elaborate…

I attach it to my belt during the day, and wrap it around my wrist at night (to monitor my sleep…but more on that in the next post). The only maintenance I have to do is charge the battery once a week (not bad at all if you ask me).

Also, every morning I plug in a USB receiver to sync my data. I think the Fitbit can store something like 5 days of data, but why risk losing anything when I can make a daily habit of it and never have to spend energy remembering? If you’ve been reading this blog, you know how much I hate that.

So what does this thing measure?

First and foremost, how many steps you take. You can even customize the distance of each of your steps but I’m going with the default based on my height. From the number of steps it also calculates the distance traveled, and the calories burned.

Somehow, and don’t ask me how, it also measures how many flights of stairs you climb. I’ve tested this before while walking straight and then comparing that to climbing stairs and it’s actually been accurate every time. This little guy is at the top of his game. I call him ShirFit3…because there were 2 before him that fell off and got lost forever.

Side note: If you ever lose your Fitbit you can contact customer service and request a new one. They’ll send it to you free of charge!

Now that’s what I call fantastic customer service. Actually, I see that as the bare minimum way to serve customers, but the bar is so low these days. *Sigh*

Either way, the trick to NOT losing your Fitbit is to attach it to your belt (or other item of clothing that’s comfortable for you) facing inwardly, not facing out. That way if you carry your groceries in a green bag (save the environment, and enter the weekly contest at Trader Joe’s to win a $25 gift card…bam!), it won’t knock the fitbit right out of its holster. Not that this happened to anyone in particular…. O:-)

But enough about me, let’s get down to the data

As of yet, I haven’t downloaded the Fitbit data or analyzed it in Excel.

Pretty anti-climactic right?

Hey, I’ve got a lot on my plate! In good time though, don’t worry.

Unfortunately I think you have to be a paid member in order to gain access to your data. This is really annoying, especially since I think this kind of data should be freely accessible. After all, it is all about me, isn’t it?

Once I download the data and create an Excel tool to analyze it, I’ll be sure to make it freely available to all of you so you can use it for yourself. Cool beans?

Other goodies

What I like about the Fitbit is that it doesn’t just measure the steps, but it also measures when you were active. It paints a picture of your day to see how active you were throughout.

Fitbit Activity Screenshot

I also like the fact that you can set budgets for each of the metrics. Here are mine:

  • Steps: 8,000
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Calories: 2694
  • Stairs: 10

On days that I walk all over NYC, I rack up about 11,000 – 15,000 steps which always brings a smile to my face.

So far my best day spilled over the 20,000 mark. Lots of walking, and lots of dancing. Actually, I’m pretty sure that was the day I joined the Flash Mob marriage proposal in Central Park. Awesome experience by the way!

How has this affected my behavior?

One noticeable change is that I used to take the elevator in my building to my 5th floor apartment, but ever since I got my Fitbit I’ve been taking the stairs every single time. The only exceptions are if I’m carrying 30 lbs of groceries or am in some kind of physical pain.

“I’m being measured so why not rack up the points right?” – Shir’s Brain

I’m curious for all you Fitbiters out there, how has it changed your behavior?

Next week we’ll take a look at the sleep tracking feature, accomplished by the same device.

P.S. Bonus points for getting your own Fitbit and commenting below 🙂

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