Thursday, April 26, 2012

A very helpful tool: the tiny mighty Fitbit! UPDATE!

Back in October 2011, I decided I needed some help with counting my calories.  Not the calories I consumed.  The ones I burned.  I used Calorie Count for what seemed ages, but it only counted my caloric intake of foods, not what I was putting out.  It was ideal for food journals which works really well and I encourage everyone to write what they eat down but I needed more.  I also wanted something that was convenient to wear and would register my video workouts.  I had looked at some of the HRM watches (which I was skeptical about because really I just wanted to do the calories...I can measure my own heart rate thankyouverymuch), and even considered a Nike + Sportband but it only registered a pace walk, meaning if I am standing in my living room doing TurboFire, it wouldn't show up that I did anything.  I also feared that it wouldn't show me on a treadmill in case I get lucky enough to twist Goose's arm into one someday.  Thinking ahead for the future here people!

I knew of the Bodybugg, and while it seemed pretty awesome I just couldn't see forking out the money not only for that but for the yearly website fees to be able to see all the things the Bodybugg calculated.  I asked Facebook for some advice and after a couple of suggestions I was directed to Fitbit.  I pulled it up on Amazon which seems to be my go-to place to buy things and added it to my list of other HRMs to review because I wasn't sure I could talk Goose into letting me spend so much for one.  Though, I was ready to argue that I should spend good money so it won't break so easily.

The more I looked at the Fitbit, the more I liked.  There were two kinds.  The regular and the Ultra.  I didn't quite know the difference but after a little looking I saw all the cool things it could do.  The Fitbit would count steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and even had a cute little flower  that would grow according to your activity.  However, the Ultra did all those PLUS registered floors climbed in the day, had a clock, stopwatch (which is what you use to sleep, and measures your sleep cycle. WHAT?), has a personalized greeting and chatters encouragement to you throughout the day.  I liked the idea of counting flights of stairs, especially since I go up and down them so much throughout the day.  What I REALLY liked was it wasn't pace based.  It was packed with a tiny little accelerometer that sensed your movements, so that if you had a video workout and maybe were doing jumping and kickboxing or running in place but not actually going somewhere, it was still being counted.  The sleep cycle stopwatch was a really cool bonus.  Also, the website is free with cool graphs and charts and logs!  It's small and can be put in a pocket or bra for hiding on nicely dressed days.  Okay, I was sold.

I ordered that puppy up from Amazon, but you could also get it via their actual website.  It came in a couple days with a base station for charging, and also when plugged into your computer, acts as a wireless home base and so long as you are within a 15 foot radius, it will sync every 5 minutes to your Fitbit Dashboard online and show a chart of your activity, even broken down into intensity.  The food log was so good that I gave up on Calorie Count altogether so I could keep everything in one place.  The charge lasts a solid two weeks, so every couple of weeks when taking a shower take 15 minutes to recharge it.  It can't be easier!

Probably my favorite feature is this: You can set your base caloric intake according to how active your lifestyle is, weight loss etc. and it adjusts throughout the day for you depending on your activity!  For example, if you hover over your "Food Plan" you will get this pop-up:
"Your daily calorie estimate is based on your previous activity and is set each day at 12:01am. The calories you can eat updates with actual activity data and foods you log during the day."
So that means that if you are a lazy-dazy and do absolutely nothing, your food intake goal will stay at its lowest base setting.  As you move and work, then your allowed caloric intake increases and it allows yourself for that extra glass or two of wine.  Or maybe that piece of chocolate you need after a hard day's work.  It's like a reward for being a mover and shaker!  Who doesn't love rewards!?!

I've had this thing for six months now and aside from a terrifying misplacement, it's been on my person ever since I got it.  It is very accurate, and has made me strive to at least meet the minimum weekly goals. If I could talk everyone into buying it, I would!  For all the fantastic info, check out right here to see what all the fuss is about.  If you are just wanting a pedometer or someone who wants to go a little deeper into workouts, this thing is for EVERYONE.  I dare you to get it! I am fanatical about mine, and love how I am always trying to one up myself from the previous day. You won't be sorry!

UPDATE!  The older version tragically died about a year later.  I was very sad.  However the new version syncs wirelessly to certain phones (iPhone, SG3) and tablets.  I was totally excited since I was giving up my PC for the Chromebook, and the fitbit and Chromebook weren't compatible.  I ordered my new one and got it in March.  The new design makes me happy because it won't split in two, which the old one did.  It comes with a TEENY little USB if you don't want to use your phone and the fitbit app, but SERIOUSLY CAROL! Why wouldn't you want to? My biggest complaint with the old one was I would have to transport that charger with me and download the fitbit to someone's computer if I wanted it to sync up my day.  Not great for traveling.  This one just uses blue tooth to sync, and  you're always connected.  Buy your NEW Fitbit One NOW! You won't be sorry! Oh, hey I said that up there too!  Buy your Fitbit here!

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