Are you into taking good care of yourself, eating healthy and/or maintaining an active lifestyle? If you answered yes, then you’re probably using an app or program to monitor your efforts and keep you on track. I’ve recently been using the Fitbit Flex™; read on for thoughts…
I’ve been on a journey to lose/maintain weight and exercise more for over a year. During that time, I’ve used various tools to monitor my progress; the app I use most consistently is My Fitness Pal. In order to accurately track exercise calories, I have a Polar Heart Rate Monitor. When I saw the ‘bracelet’ devices, like the Nike Fitness Band and the Jawbone Up and the Fitbit Flex, I immediately wanted one. But which one to choose?
I’ve obsessively been researching the differences between the various devices and it seems there are pros and cons to each. I received a free Fitbit Flex at BlogHer and have been using it since I got my new iPhone–about 5 weeks. My hope was that the Flex would be a tool that I could wear on my wrist, that would sync with My Fitness Pal and would also track my calories burned from exercise and track all of that in one app.
The Fitbit Flex gets points for convenience–you charge it up and wear it; the setup was easy and straightforward. It’s comfortable to wear, although a little tough to get off and on. To recharge it you have to take off the bracelet, pop out the device and hook it up via USB to your computer. I’ve found, though, that I still need to wear my Polar heart rate monitor to get an accurate read of calories burned. The Flex is better at monitoring “steps”, as in setting a goal of 10,000/day. But trying to track calories for Zumba is a little more challenging.
I also wish I got more information from the display. When you reach your goal for the day, i.e. “10,000 steps”, a series of lights flash and your bracelet vibrates–that’s fun. But other than that, if you want data, you have to open up the app on your phone (or computer). One feature that I was really interested in was the ability to track sleep, but in the 5 weeks of wearing my Flex, I’ve never been able to get that to work by “tapping” on it. I’ve had to manually go in and enter what time I went to sleep and what time I woke up. After doing it for a few days, I eventually abandoned it, as it was too hard to remember to do consistently.
Overall, my feelings are that if you’re just starting to monitor your fitness or health, the Fitbit Flex is an unobtrusive and simple way to start. At this point, although I love the bracelet concept, I need a more accurate way of monitoring my calories and more data in the reports (Jawbone seems to have the edge as far as the reports go). I also wish the bracelet could come in a wider range of colors and be a little more fashion-forward.
Fitbit is coming out with a new bracelet called the Force and from what I’ve read, this might be more what I’m looking for. I’ll keep you posted. Do you wear any type of fitness-monitoring bracelet? I’d love to know which one and how you like it!