Fitbit

I first used the Fitbit Ultra, now discontinued, when I started using a pedometer. A colleague of mine had began using it the year before when his daughter had bought one with her friends. Eventually, his entire office began using them, and started a group on the Fitbit dashboard to keep track of everyone in the office and have a little competition.

Then, our division manager got one as well, and competed in the group, which prompted my team to all want a Fitbit and compete as well. After that, I ended up purchasing an Ultra for my girlfriend that summer, and for Christmas, bought everyone in my family a Fitbit Zip.

All of this primarily done through word of mouth, raving reviews, and an excellent product, which I wouldn’t expect anything less from Fitbit.com.

Fitbit Pedometers, bracelets and scale

Fitbit wireless activity + sleep trackers

From their start with the Ultra, Fitbit has come a long way and now offer a variety of products. They now offer multiple pedometers, two clip on and one wristband model, and also have a synced in scale to sync to your online account to track your weight and BMI.

All of these products will link to your online account through Fitbit.com, and will allow you to track your daily, weekly, monthly and even lifetime activity. You can read more in depth reviews by clicking on the following: the Force, Zip, One, Flex, Ultra and Aria.

Online Dashboard

Dashboard View at Fitbit.com

Dashboard View at Fitbit.com

One of the key features is the dashboard available to all Fitbit users. Pictures to the right, you can see and feel how the dashboard works, including the widgets for the tracked items such as Steps, Calories, Distance, Floors, Very Active Minutes, Sleep and Top Badges.

As you pass close to a synced device, such as your computer, an iPhone 5, or even any other Fitbit base station no matter whose, it will automatically update your stats online. As you progress throughout the day, you will go from a blue meter to an orange meter showing some progress, then a yellow as you get closer to completing your daily goals, and finally a green once you surpass whatever goal you set for yourself.

Automatic goals are set at 10,000 steps a day, 5 miles in distance, 10 flights of stairs and 30 very active minutes. When you input your stats, such as weight and height, it will automatically add your daily calorie burn goal to reduce your weight as well.

On the right hand side of the page, you will see your standings against your friends on Fitbit. It is always a rush to see myself above everyone in my group, but as you can see towards the bottom, some of my friends are not currently being ranked, because they actually lost their Fitbit! Until they are able to secure another Fitbit, they will continue to go unranked in competition.

The bottom portion of the dashboard shows a few more categories, and you may or may not have an interest in. I love checking to see how long I’ve been very active throughout the day, especially when I’m running around either exercising or playing sports.

The sleep meter helps me to gauge how well I slept the night before, and I always try to get somewhere around 8 hours of sleep.

The last is the Top Badges for my lifetime with Fitbit, and includes my 30,000 steps badge in a single day, over 1,000 miles walked since beginning (which I just got the day before writing this!!), 200 flights of stairs in a single day and my 4,000 floors since starting, the aptly named 747 badge!

By clicking on any of the different dashboard segments, you can find out more information about that particular tracking item. It will give you the weekly total and daily average that you have accomplished, along with a bar graph of your progress throughout the past several weeks.

The sleep portion will also give you an insight over the past week specifically to show how long you were asleep, from what time did you fall asleep to the time you got up, how many times you were restless throughout the night, and also how many times you were awake during the night.

Log it!

Fitbit Log

The Log page on Fitbit.com has 8 different logging options to choose from. It will help you keep track of all of these items, and is an excellent tool to keep you on track if you want to use it.

You are not required to log all of these, but they will help to show you a broader picture of your overall health as you progress and use your Fitbit every day. Here are the various options available to log and their logging capabilities.

Food: Allows you to log the foods you eat throughout the day, breaking it into 6 different categories: Anytime, Breakfast, Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack and Dinner. This will also give you the option to choose a food plan to either gain or lose weight, and will let you know how many calories you should eat throughout the day to achieve that goal over whatever period of time you chose. Also includes your food stats of how many calories consumed over the past 30 days, favorite foods you have logged in the past, and water consumed.

Activities: Shows a bar graph of all of your stats that day (steps, floors, calories burned) and also has options to look at your progress for today, week, month, year, and all time. Also allows you to log other activities, such as walking, running, swimming, biking, and weight exercises. You can input your intensity, duration and reps to add total calories burned for activities that may not have registered on your pedometer.

Weight: Another graph showing your current weight, and if you have input a weight goal where you are in relation to that goal throughout the previous 7 days. Also has options to show the week, month, year or lifetime duration for your weight, lean vs fat, BMI or Body Mass Index, and Body Measurements. You can log any of the previous options as often as you would like, but I recommend checking your weight at least once a week to keep on track of any weight loss/gain goals you currently have. At the bottom of the page you can log your weight, body fat %, and other measurements based on the date those measurements were taken.

Sleep: Available on the Ultra, One and Flex, you can measure your sleep duration during the previous night. You simply wear your Fitbit to bed, and in the morning log the time you went to bed and the time you woke up to find your stats. The Fitbit One has the ability to automatically log these stats by holding the button until the timer starts before going to bed, and holding it to stop the timer upon waking up.

You will see a record of your previous nights sleep including the time you went to bed, how long it took to fall asleep, how many times you were awakened or restless, how long you were in bed for and the total duration of sleep you received the night before. All of this will total up to calculate your sleep efficiency. Your 30 day stats are also available on the side of this page.

Journal: A personal journal to keep track of your current mood or energy, any allergies you may be suffering from, and an entry portion to write little notes about your day. You can also choose to share your journal information with only yourself, only your friends, and then the last option of sharing with everyone. Again, your 30 day stats are available on the side as well.

Heart: This tab will log your heart rate. There are three options: Resting, Normal and Exertive heart rates you can measure in beats per minute, or bpm. The best time to check your resting heart rate is right after waking up in the morning, where you are usually the most relaxed. Normal heart rate can be taken any time during the day that you are not actively working out or exercising, but do take a measurement at that point in time as well for your exertive heart rate as well.

Blood Pressure (BP): Two logging options for your blood pressure, your Systolic and your Diastoic, which you will receive usually when you visit the doctor, have blood taken, donate blood, or use the cuff in the grocery store.

Glucose: Measures your glucose levels throughout the day, with three options to log during the morning, afternoon and evening. Also has an HbA1c log to keep track of your haemoglobin level.

The logging capabilities again will only work as well as you use them. The more you use them, the more information you will have at your hands for your overall health and how far you have come since starting with a Fitbit.

I personally only use the weight tab to log my weight, and keep on top of my goal of losing 20 pounds, and the sleep tab as my Fitbit One already syncs my sleep every night. I also used to log my food and activities daily before starting Weight Watchers, but have since stopped logging.

Community

Community Boards

Community Boards

The community tab on Fitbit has the general forums and groups available to everyone, including announcements, big losers, food suggestions, feature suggestions, general and help and support as shown to the right.

Below these options, you have the ability to keep up on any other groups or communities that you are involved in, public or private. For example, I am in two separate private groups, one for work associates throughout my division, and also one for my family members.

At the bottom of the page, there are also two groupings of community groups and pages, including your personal groups such as I mentioned above, and another tab for public groups, such as city groups (NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.), occupational groups (Flight Attendants) and various other groups for different causes ($1 per mile, Donate Life, etc.) to keep you motivated with either people you already know or don’t. Another feature that can either be used fully or not at all, depending on your personal preferences.

Apps

Fitbit has also come out with apps for both the iPhone and Android systems. With the apps on your phone, you can sync wirelessly (with certain devices), track your daily goals and progress, log your food and weight, and compete or share with friends all from your handheld device. Apps can be downloaded at both the iTunes store or at the Google Play store.

Conclusion

Personally, I love the Fitbit line, partially because it was the first pedometer I tried, but mostly because I find them such great tools that have great in depth tracking capabilities. The Fitbit line doesn’t just track steps and distance, they also track floors, sleep, calories burned, and everything extra I want to log online.

These pedometers are great not just for the active people running around, playing sports or taking walks every day, but can also be used by someone that is trying to just start walking a little each day, and even can be used by marathon trainers. Truly anyone can use these pedometers and improve their health and have fun while doing it.

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