About a year ago, I caught wind of the fitness tracker trend and decided to buy myself a FitBit Charge 2 HR. I will say: It was pretty cool. Not only did it track my steps, but when paired with my phone, it recorded the areas I walked; it tracked my heart rate and calories; and it even included the smartwatch features of alerting me of phone calls and showing text messages. Plus, it made walking more than just an activity I did and more of a game: Through the FitBit app, I was able to participate in step competitions between myself and my friends, which was a great motivator to kick it up a notch when possible. Unfortunately, I have run into several issues when using this device, and if you’re thinking of purchasing FitBit, here are some things you may want to consider:
I stopped wanting to do anything other than walk. While being competitive with my friends was great, and I was consistently walking well over the recommended 10,000 steps a day, the desire to have more and more steps began to deter me from doing any other form of exercise. Before getting my FitBit, I was very well aware of the importance of ensuring that you vary your workouts. I understood that the problem with only doing one type of workout would cause my body to become used to the workout and prevent me from losing any weight, or gaining any new muscle for that matter. Since I have stopped wearing my FitBit, I have started changing up my workouts again, and I have lost 7 pounds. This reason alone was the main driver behind my decision to abandon my FitBit, but it didn’t stop there.
I started to wear down my immunity and got sick. A couple years ago, I read in a magazine that it is not beneficial to workout beyond the 90-minute mark, and I have learned the hard way that this is true. When I was using my FitBit, I got into the habit of walking on my treadmill for about 100 minutes per day. Why 100 minutes? For me, about 100 minutes equated about 10,000 steps (I should note that I don’t like running), and since I walk an average of 5,000 steps outside of my workouts, this would usually help me reach about 15,000 steps a day. However, I started finding that when I got into these bouts of walking intensely each day, sometimes reaching 20,000 steps or more, I would come down with a sore throat. Now that I’ve abandoned my FitBit and started working out harder, but for fewer minutes, I can already say that I’m feeling a lot better.
Then, I gained weight. You probably guessed it. Although I lost some weight I when I first started wearing my FitBit, I ended up gaining it all back…and then some. I blame this weight gain on several factors associated with the high levels of walking I was doing. First of all, I was getting really worn out, and for me personally, when I’m exhausted, I tend to drink more coffee, which makes me want to eat more. By doing shorter, more intense workouts, I am surprisingly less tired throughout the day and, likewise, am less hungry. In addition to this, by exercising less, my immunity isn’t as weak, and I will hopefully get sick less often (only time will tell, however). While many people lose weight when sick, I often gain weight because I tend sit around and snack (yes, this is a reoccurring problem with me.)
From what I’ve observed, FitBits seem to be great for people who are very overweight or who are very unmotivated when it comes to exercise. With this in mind, I always feel motivated to workout and have never been significantly overweight, so I didn’t find the FitBit as beneficial as someone else might. Have you tried using a FitBit or another form of fitness tracker? If so, what benefits or drawbacks have you experienced? I’d love to converse with you in the comments.
The featured photos were taken by Crew, Jenny Hill, and Kelly Sikkema. Find more of their work at unsplash.com.