Anyone Using a "Fitbit" Tracker Or Ultra?

Since the holidays, I’ve gotten a little thicker than I like and I’m spending time on the track near our house.

I’ve read about pedometers which, in addition to heart rate, steps, and stopwatch, also track calories burned. But when I looked them up on Amazon (the one I WAS interested in was about 50 bucks), that one got a real shitty review and that person mentioned the fitbit.

So, knowing my Dopers never fail to fill me in things I’m thinking of purchasing, I’m asking y’all to help me out.

I’d be using this thing for jogging mostly.

Thanks

Q

I have not used the fitbit (I believe I ordered one, but never received it)

I have over the years purchased many HR monitors, pedometers, and the like. Keep in mind some of the following…

None of them actually do a PERFECT job calculating calories burned. You will see this in every forum that talks about this in detail - someone complaining that gadget x sucks cause of XYZ.

PEDOMETERS:

Accelerator only based pedometers use an equation to predict calories burned - this will come out the same whether you are walking/jogging uphill vs downhill - when obviously the calories are different.

http://www.amazon.com/Omron-HJ-720ITC-Pedometer-Advanced-Management/dp/B003U3HMN2/

Is an excellent pedometer. I have tested it walking - and it is dead on accurate. I have probably bought about 10 of these (some as gifts - some for myself - some for others)

The reason I mention some for myself is that I kept losing them. The only solution that worked was to TIE the PEDOMETER (not the holder it comes in) to my belt loop. Battery life was pretty good - and it is dirt cheap - has a great USB connector for tracking data and holds( I think - over 40 days of data). I have more gadgets than 99.9% of the population - and this is one of the best deals for the money of any gadget I have ever used.

HEART RATE MONITORS:

I don’t know if I have acid in my skin or what, but I literally have bought a dozen or more of these over the years (both polar and suunto). I like the data I can get off them, but:

  1. I need to use EKG gel to get a good connection - no amount of water works for me - sure - I might get 10 minutes of perfect data, but it will be followed by gaps of several minutes (assuming my heart didn’t stop for minutes at a time).

  2. Even though I carefully wipe them down after each use - they break on me. I am careful with the seals and batteries (on non sealed units) and something always happens.

BODYMEDIA FIT:

I have been using this for over a year now and is my current method for monitoring daily activity. It is pretty good. I wear it all the time - except for when I am in water - or conducting - um social experiments with the opposite sex (and yes - in the interest of science - I have worn it then too).

The data it gives you is pretty good - and it tracks your temperature and sweat too (you don’t see that directly) - and calculates - calories burned, time laying down, time asleep, steps taken, and so on…

Not cheap (I think it is around $150, but a monthly fee of $8 or $12 (cant remember) a month.

I have NEVER lost it - I have broken the strap it came with a couple times - it is glued, so I just snap the fabric part under the plastic part (have to see it to understand, but is simple) - and that works great.

I would recommend this highly if you like data at all - as you will get lots of it. It uses more than just motion to track calories burned. It is not perfect - if you wave your arms around a bunch it will tend to overestimate calories burned, while if you do one of those perfect irish jigs - it will underestimate it. It does everything a pedometer does and more.

You can go about two weeks between uploading data - or recharging - and gives you a visual/audible beep when you need to.

Downside is no instant feedback like a HRM or Pedometer - I haven’t found that top be as important as I thought (I still do get and use a HRM during aerobic activity in addition to this). You can get a display for it, but it isn’t worth it.

FITBIT:

I believe this is solely accelerometer based - but it does give you some cool data - including sleep patterns (which believe it or not - is possible to do fairly well using movement data). I just don’t see myself being able to use it regularly - I would have to tie it to my clothing all the time to keep from losing it.

They say 5-7 days usually between recharging (minimum of 3). I know I would forget and lose data, based on prior experience. If you aren’t concerned about losing it - or the battery life - seems interesting (and I probably will still get one).

Wow!!!

It never fails to amaze me how much trouble you guys take for me when I ask about this or that gadget, appliance, etc.

DataX, it is very much appreciated indeed.

I have seen the Bodymediafit, in Endurance magazine which Hammer sends me from time to time, and no, that much data would be overkill for someone like me, DataX.

The pedometer function isn’t really important to me. What is are the heart rate and calories burned. I run on a quarter-mile track (wife won’t let me run down the road, or even on sidewalks anymore), so I just watch my time/speed and of course, the distance is easy enough for me.

Sincere thanks once again

Bill

NP - yeah - in your case I would definitely go with the heart rate monitor - pedometers aren’t going to work for that.

I haven’t looked in a little while (and I think some other brands have newer stuff), but suunto makes a HRM that records the beat to beat numbers - you can do (or the program can) do analysis of your heart beat data to figure things out like breathing and stuff (seems hard to believe, but it works in controlled situations [where I have forced myself to breath at a constant rate], not sure (and suspect not as much in others).

Anyway - even with just a HRM - you can still go overboard if you want :slight_smile:

Program I Use:

http://www.firstbeat.fi/consumers/firstbeat-athlete/your-intelligent-coach

HRM I Use:

http://www.suunto.com/us/products/pods-belts/suunto-memory-belt

If you aren’t going to anayze the beat-to-beat analysis yourself - this is an integrated simple solution (while still allowing built in coaching and calories prediction using HRV):

http://www.amazon.com/Suunto-Monitor-Fitness-Trainer-Polished/dp/B001413JZC/

Whatever HRM you use - you might want to get a tube of this - it will last a long time and only costs ~$6 …

http://www.amazon.com/Parker-Spectra-Electrode-Gram-Tube/dp/B0002CA8RQ/

This is the exact kind I use - without it - I found it difficult to keep a good heart rate signal - sometimes the watch would cheat and just use what it last saw, but there would be all these gaps in the raw data. Once I started using the EKG gel - everything worked fine.

Good luck - I met my weight loss goal last year, then put some back on - working on it again :slight_smile:

p.s. BTW - I have tested various brand of HRM - as long as they are getting a good signal - they all seemed accurate to me. So I wouldn’t worry about that part (forgot to mention before). I think Polar, Timex, Garmin, Suunto are all respected brands (probably some others too - just off hand).

p.p.s. Oh and when I said accurate in the last paragraph - I meant heart rate - not calories.