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One Month with a FitBit

Many of my clients use activity trackers everyday, and I decided I needed to give one a go. I started reading reviews, rankings, experiences, and I opted for the FitBit HR. It was the top seller of 2015, and even though there may be some newer and/or hotter trackers out these days, the FitBit HR had the traditional band with all of the tools most people could ever want. So I bought my FitBit HR, and I set some simple goals: wear it every day and use utilize every function. Here are my thoughts and experiences. I rank the FitBit HR in a variety of categories on a scale of 1 to 5; 1 is terrible and 5 is awesome.Consider this Ryan's Review:


I found mine on sale for $129 on Amazon (they are regularly priced at $149). Crazy enough, the FitBit HR is actually one of the cheaper activitay trackers out there. For the average user, this is a steep price, but if you do some shopping around and comparison shopping, you can definitely find the right price for you. Rating: 4


Overall, the design is nice. I found the sweat- and rain- proof rubber wristband to be very comfortable, and it comes in a variety of colors. The display is very easy to understand, and it's intuitive. I love that you can scroll through the different measurements my clicking just one button or by tapping your finger on the top of the band. Overall, the FitBit HR is very comfortable, lightweight, and unobtrusive. I was nervous about needing to wear it to bed to track my sleep cycle, but I never noticed it. Rating: 4

Battery Life

I went four solid days before I needed a new charge. I wear it all day, everyday and the battery was efficient, especially considering that the heart rate monitor is always functioning. I loved that I would receive an email when my battery was getting low. Pretty solid. Rating: 4.5

Sleep Tracker

I believe that sleep is the most underrated element of fitness (Exercise, Diet, Sleep, Hydration, Supplementation), and after wearing a FitBit for a month, I've learned that this is one area I really need to improve on. I averaged about 6.5 hours a sleep per night, but what really blew my mind is how many "restless" minutes I would accumulate throughout the night. On average, I'd be restless 25-30 times! For me, that equalled up to an hour loss of sleep each night. We all have crazy hours, but if sleep is a priority for you, you can accomplish it by making just a few changes. Track your sleep over time, try new things to get more sleep, and see how energized you feel after adding an extra hour every night! Overall, the sleep tracker is an awesome function, and for its limited testing variables it does an really great job. Plus, It's pretty cool that I didn't have to manually enter "sleep" mode; the watch recognizes that you are sleeping based off of movement and heart rate patterns. Rating: 4.5

Activity Tracker

This piece of the FitBit is a useful tool for measuring overall activity level throughout the day. It definitely has its flaws, as all trackers do, but I felt that, for the most part, it was pretty consistent day in and day out. And that's what really matters. I feel that about 10,500-14,000 steps per day equates to an environment suitable for health. For weight loss, I'd recommend aiming for 14,000-20,000 steps per day. This tracker counts total stairs climbed, number of active minutes, and overall steps. It's pretty well-rounded, and it shows us when we need to step it up...literally. Rating: 4

Heart Rate

This is what sets the FitBit HR apart from the other FitBit models, and I think it needs the most work. The wrist-based HR tracking is still embryonic, however, because the heart rate is tracked throughout the day, you can see which times of the day you are most active and how much variance your days have. My main issue is that during my workouts I don't feel like my heart rate was tracked accurately. I'm familiar with Polar Heart Rate monitors, and I'm fairly confident about where my heart rate should be during my workouts--and the FitBit HR just didn't cut it. For example, I was doing 250m rower sprints, and it said my heart rate was at 92bpm. By the time I started the next row, it showed that my heart rate was up to 135bpm. If I had wanted to make an adjustment to my workout intensity (because my heartrate was too high), the delay prohibited me from doing that. In my experiences with a chest-based monitor, I received a real-time reading and I could adjust my workout based on my heart rate. Overall, the monitor is great for tracking general heart rate throughout the day, but it's still far from an effective training tool at this time. Rating: 2

The App

I really enjoyed the FitBit app. It's a breeze to set up, it syncs very quickly, and it's very well organized. You can earn badges for certain milestones in your daily fitness, and it's very fun and interactive. It definitely motivated me to get a few extra steps in if I was close to the next badge! Instant gratification. Another cool feature is the "challenge." You can challenge other fitbit users, your friends in fitness, to daily, work week or weekend step races. This is a great way to keep each other accountable, especially on the weekends. Plus, there's nothing like beating your coworkers (or your wife) to a step challenge--even when they're cheering (or taunting, if you're my wife) you along the way. Another great perk of the app is that you receive a weekly report condensing the weeks averages and badges earned. Great reporting and fun to use, I recommend this app. Rating: 5

In Conclusion

What makes or breaks a fitness tracker is how much it can actually track...and this dude has it all. My month-long relationship with the FitBit HR went surprisingly well. Initially, I thought it would become uncomfortable or I would lose interest or it wouldn't live up to my expectations. But that hasn't happened. I learned a lot about myself and my own health, and it inspired me to track my activity in a new way. I hope to see the wrist-based HR monitors continue to improve, but in the meantime, the FitBit HR is a good tool for a novice or experienced health buff. I will not only continue to wear my FitBit, but I would recommend it to my clients. Overall Rating: 4+

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