Now days there are a million fitness gadgets out there that help you track your activity throughout the day. There is a huge range in cost and quality, and sometimes it is hard to know if the tool you want will help you meet your goals. Now, none of these are going to magically turn you into Jessica Alba, but they can be really effective in helping you to monitor how much fitness you are getting in a day. Let me tell you, on days when I work and don’t exercise, it is straight up pathetic. My activity log looks like I am a hibernating bear. Seriously.
I got my first fitness tracker when I was in medical school. The average medical student gains 10 pounds a year throughout the program. There was no way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks that I was going to graduate 40 pounds heavier than when I started. No thank you. I’ll pass. Since then, I’ve used my phone to track my steps and my Garmin watch when I run. So far so good. Here are my favorites on the market right now.
Fitbit: Fitbit is probably the most popular fitness tracker on the market right now, and for good reason. It is light weight, shows your progress throughout the day, and is super accurate. Based on reviews, it seems that the band has pretty good durability. It is water resistant and can be taken into the pool. AND, it tracks the quality of your sleep. I think one of the best parts of the Fitbit is that it comes with a great app that tracks you sleep, and fitness, and you can log your food to track your calories. The major drawback I see is that it really only tracks steps. This is great if your major forms of exercise are walking or running, but there is no heart rate monitor, so it won’t take into account additional calories you’d be burning doing other activities.
Misfit Shine: When this tracking device came out I was super pumped about it. Mostly because it can track other activities in addition to walking and running, including swimming and biking. This is a huge draw to me. I have exercise ADD for sure, so I like to switch things up frequently. Most trackers are limited in tracking other activities. (I am saying track a lot, bear with me). It looks pretty cool with a very streamlined appearance. It will show you how your progressing throughout the day, the battery life is long, and it comes with a great app. One thing I love about the app, is that you don’t have to plug anything in, just set the disk on your phone. The biggest complaint I have read about is that the tapping doesn’t always register and can be a hassle.
UP2: The first tracker I bought was through BodyMedia and it was an arm band that tracked calories, sleep, and steps. What I loved about it was that it would track everything and was pretty accurate. What I didn’t like is that it was a kind of bulky arm band. Eventually I would just wear it when I was working out, so I wasn’t getting the 24 hour tracking I wanted. the other thing is that you had to pay for a subscription yearly to use the app. It was annoying and I stopped using it. BodyMedia has been bought by JawBone which is where the UP2 enters in. It probably has my favorite design. It is very sleek and low profile. It also comes with an app for your phone. One of the greatest aspects of this device is the warranty. Jawbone has great customer service and will replace defective items without much trouble. The biggest drawback to me is the lack of display. However, if you are like me and have your phone on you most of your day, you can check through your app.
Garmin Forerunner Watch: If you are just looking for a tool to help you train, this is hands down my favorite. I use it for every run. It tracks your distance, pace, and saves your runs so you can monitor your progress. I do have to charge it about once a week and it takes a while to charge, but overall I love it. It also tracks your calories burned, which is nice but I don’t really care about that during my runs. I am just trying not to trip over my shoes and face plant into the pavement.
Please excuse my red face. This is literally 10 minutes after my run. Authenticity guaranteed, right?
XOXO – Emmy Lou Lou