Sometime last summer I told my husband the only thing I wanted for Christmas was a Fitbit. Right before Christmas the Fitbit Force hit the shelves and I amended my wish list to include the newest Fitbit product on the market, so the Fitbit Force is what I received. Originally I wanted a Fitbit not necessarily to get an idea of how active I am on a typical day, but instead to see how sedentary I am on a typical day. Sad, I know. Since I started working from home in June I felt like all I did was spend most of the day sitting on my butt, except when I was taking the dogs on walks. I wanted to get a sense of how bad things really were.
Let me tell you: things were as bad as I thought.
Here’s data I logged from the first day I wore the Fitbit, December 26:
The only goal I met was burning more calories than I needed to, allegedly. I don’t use the Fitbit to track my food consumption, so I can only take it at its word that I actually burned 2,557 calories. On December 26 I walked 7,242 steps for a total distance of 2.92 miles. Considering we had family in town and my husband and I were taking care of errands before we went out of town, this was actually an abnormally active day for me. (I have data from days MUCH worse than this one.) But still: so sad.
While it was really depressing to see just how inactive I was on a usual day, since I’ve really gotten into wearing the Fitbit on a daily basis, my stats have improved greatly.
Here’s how things looked this past Tuesday, January 14:
I’m now regularly hitting all of my fitness goals each day, and I credit that success solely to the Fitbit because now I make the effort to walk and move more because I WANT to hit my goals every day.
Since I’ve been using the Fitbit Force every day for about three weeks now, here are some of the pros and cons of the device that I’ve discovered:
Pros of the Fitbit Force
1. Unlike other versions of the Fitbit, you can actively view your stats throughout the day on the little screen. You can view the time, how many steps you’ve taken, distance walked, calories burned, flights of stairs climbed, and very active minutes. You wouldn’t believe how often I check these stats – it can be addicting!
2. When you’ve reached your step goal for the day the device vibrates, which is pretty much the highlight of my day now. With the holidays behind us and life back on schedule, I’ve reached my step goal every day but one.
3. You can set a silent alarm and at the designated time each morning, the Fitbit will vibrate. The vibration always wakes me up, though I usually doze for a few more minutes. It’s not as jarring as a loud alarm, which I appreciate.
4. Speaking of the alarm, the Fitbit also tracks your sleep for you.
What I’ve learned since I’ve started tracking my sleep with the Fitbit Force is that I’m generally a really good sleeper. A 95% sleep efficiency is actually pretty low for me. On most days, once I am asleep I am out for the night. (As a result, this data isn’t particularly helpful to me, but could be helpful for people who suffer through restless nights.)
5. The amount of detail that each Fitbit report goes into is awesome. I’m not taking full advantage of what they offer (yet), as I’m not tracking my food consumption, but I plan on doing that soon.
6. The Fitbit data automatically syncs with your smartphone and computer, so you can track your stats and look at charts like the ones I’ve posted above anytime you want.
7. The battery life on the Fitbit Force is fantastic! I’ve only had to charge mine twice so far, and that includes the initial charge!
Cons of the Fitbit Force
1. Unlike some of the previous versions of the Fitbit, which either attached to your pants or slid over your wrist, the clasp on the Fitbit Force can be tricky. Sometimes mine doesn’t clasp shut all of the way and it will fall off. Luckily I’ve only been in bed when it has fallen off, so it was easy to find. I’d be really bummed if it fell off my wrist while I was out and about.
2. While I’d like to think that most of the data being presented to me is at least fairly accurate, the number of stairs I climb each day definitely is not. I live on the second floor of an apartment building and usually on any given day I climb down and up the stars four times each way. (I take the dogs out 3 times per day and then usually leave my apartment at least one other time.) However, on most days my Fitbit Force registers that I climb anywhere from 15-20 flights of stairs. I like their enthusiasm for my stair-climbing prowess, but it’s nowhere near reality. Luckily, this is one of the least useful statistics to me since I already know how many stairs I’m climbing.
Overall, I really love the Fitbit Force! I love that it’s easy to use and provides a wealth of information that’s easily accessible on my wrist, but most importantly, I love that I’m now spurred to be more active each day because I WANT to reach my goals! I’m really glad I have this little contraption, and other than showering, the two times it fell off in the middle of the night, and the one time I had to charge it, it hasn’t left my wrist!