Which fitness tracker works best?
I’ve tried out a few, and like the fun of competing with myself and others, achieving 10,000 + steps a day, and potentially even earning money. However, be prepared for the not-so-good news…the accuracy and durability of the trackers varies wildly.
I have personally used the FitBit Blaze, the MyZone heart rate belt, the UP band, the Apple Health app on my phone, and the Body Media device used by KrowdFit in the early days. They are pictured below.
The Body Media band broke twice (which is why it is not pictured), I lost the UP band (also why it is not pictured), I don’t like exercising with my phone, the FitBit Blaze won’t tell me what time it is while I am in “exercise” mode (which is super crazy-making if I am on a tight time schedule), and the MyZone belt only gives me exercise credit while I’m doing cardio, not weights.
All annoying features.
However, I found additional motivation while a member of KrowdFit because you can earn cash! There are a bunch of websites that will give you or your favorite charity rewards or discounts, and here are a few:
Check them out. It could be fun!
Now the super-not-so-good-news:
How accurate are these things?
I happened to be watching our local channel eight in August, and this question was posed by one of their investigative reporters, Kyle Iboshi. He bought three of the most popular fitness trackers and wore all three for a week.
Here are the three that he bought:
He wore them night and day.
Notice there is a fluctuation of 2500 calories over the week between the Fitbit and the Garmin. If you consider that 3500 calories is a pound, then that is significant!
Additionally, here are the steps taken according to the devices:
Again, notice the Misfit and Fitbit have a chasm of over 18,000 steps. Hmmn.
How then do we know which is right? Well, Mr. Iboshi hoofed it over to OHSU’s Human Performance Lab and had them calculate the real deal using a metabolic gas-capturing mask on a treadmill.
Here are the results on distance:
NONE of them measured distance accurately. Look how far off the Garmin was! The Garmin wasn’t even the biggest steps taken in the first bar graph. Hmn.
How about calories?
IF you track calories, in this case the Garmin was the closest. Look how far away the MisFit was! Almost 100 calories! Hmn.
Remember that Mr. Iboshi is an investigative reporter, so he took it upon himself to contact the three companies and see what they had to say for themselves. You find out more about his research the KGW website
MisFit and Garmin did not respond, and Fitbit had this to say:
So what is a chocolate lover to do?
Clearly, since you are not buying a scientific or medical device, take it all with a grain of salt. Be content with general numbers, and if your device buzzes you because you’ve been stationary too long, then all the better!
Have fun with it, and if you buy one that tracks heart rate then you have some VERY tangible data to work with.
My Fitbit Blaze throws a little digital party when I hit 10,000 steps: it buzzes, sends bands of color across the face, and texts me a message. I think that is fun! I know I have gotten somewhere in that range, and I always try for more to make absolutely sure.
What’s your favorite device and why? Let us know in the comments below!
Image source: courtesy KGW.com