I mentioned my FitBit in passing a few months back but never actually reviewed it. For $100, it was a pretty hefty investment in my fitness journey but was it worth it? Read on to find out!
The FitBit Ultra is essentially a souped up pedometer. In addition to counting every step you take (and every move you make), it also monitors your sleep, how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, how many calories you’ve burned and how active you’ve been (based on a flower). This information is then wirelessly synced to the website. I love how small and unobtrusive the FitBit is. I clip it to my bra or inside pocket of my jeans and sometimes forget it’s there.
|It comes with charging station, holster and wristband.
Steps Taken and Stairs Climbed
As a pedometer, FitBit’s extremely accurate in counting steps. You can either have it automatically calibrate once you enter in your height or you can personalize it with your specific stride. I was convinced that it wouldn’t be able to accurately count my steps but, lo and behold, it counted every step I took and nothing more (trust me, I counted!)
|No crystal stair, but it’s home
If you’re curious how many flights of stairs you climb in a day, the built in altimeter is your answer. It only manages to count what you climb, not your descent. It’s suggested you shoot for 10,000 steps per day and 10 flights of stairs per day. I shoot to exceed both of these figures daily. Since I’m competitive, I get a little bummed out on days I don’t reach my goals and promise to push harder the next day.
Since I’ve started my weight loss journey, I’ve been a lot more cognizant of my calories in versus out. Since you need a deficit of 500 each day to lose 1 pound, I track everything I eat (calories in) but how am I to figure what I’m burnin’ (calories out)? Calculating my BMR (basal metabolic rate) only gives me a piece of the picture, what about when I’m active?
In the past, I used SparkPeople because they have a pretty extensive list of exercises but those numbers can be skewed. You’re telling me Turbo Jam Cardio Party 1 burns the same number of calories on a day when I’m going HAM and days when I’m not at 100%? Nah, son. Enter FitBit. It accurately calculates the number of calories I’ve burned during my workout so the number is specific to that workout for that day.
|Keep your goals in “site.”
The website is one of the reasons I chose FitBit over its competitors. I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg for a HRM that could only be used during workouts and similar products like BodyBugg and Nike Fuel Band were out of my price range. The website is so intuitive and easy to use plus it’s FREE (unlike BodyBugg).
You can easily view all of your stats, unlock badges for achievements monitor your weight. There are pie charts, bar graphs and raw numbers; any data freak’s dream.
The website also allows you to compete with other FitBit owners, track food and activity, and monitor sleep patterns. The information from your FitBit automatically syncs to the website once you’re within 15 feet of the charging station. It ONLY updates when you’re next to the station but can store 7 days worth of data in case you’re out of town or have no PC access. There’s also apps for your smartphone.
Sleep Tracker and Timer Even though I don’t get much of it, when I do get to sleep, it’s never restless. At least, that’s my perception. FitBit comes with a sleep tracker so I wanted to see if my assumption matched reality. When it’s bed time, I put the tracker into “timer” mode and put sleep it into the supplied sleeve on my non-dominant (right) hand.
|To sleep, perchance to dream.
It tracks how quickly I fall asleep, how many times I wake up during the night and how efficiently I slept. I’m usually in the upper 90% every night because, like I thought, I sleep like a rock!
The timer can also be used to track your steps, calories, stairs, etc within a particular time frame. I use this mode when I’m working out. Once I’m finished sweating like a hooker in church, I turn off the timer and head to the website. This allows me to see which activities are consistently giving me a high burn.
Display/Chatter and Battery Life
The battery life on this baby is awesome. I charge him up maybe once a week (or when I remember) and it’s good until next charge. This is likely because it is so tiny and the screen only cuts on when you press the button or for chatter.
Chatter is when FitBit says cutesy things to you like “Walk Me” or “I Love You.” You can add your name on the website and, every time you pick the FitBit up from a flat surface, it’ll address you by name with chatter. If you think inanimate objects have no place addressing their human overlords, you can always turn it off on the website.
|After Turbo Jam Cardio Party 2!
Another cute feature is a flower that “grows” depending on how active you’ve been within 3 hours. If you’ve been sedentary, you’ll have 1 petal but if you’ve been super active (ie after a gym visit or a run), you can score up to 10 petals! For days when I’m feeling particularly
lazy unmotivated, I just check out the flower and walk around to get its petals higher. One thing I’m learning as I continue on my fitness journey is that a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing!
I’m not going to pretend like the product is flawless; that would be doing you a disservice as my reader. FitBit isn’t waterproof so it has to come off in the shower and while swimming. It’s not able to calculate calories burned during strength training (but few, if any, devices can). If you take mass transit or drive to work, FitBit counts those as steps. To fix this on the website, just add an activity (driving, for example) with the start time and duration and steps will be deducted. With its diminutive size, some complain about losing it but I haven’t had that problem.
Overall, I give this product ★★★★★ 5/5 = Excellent!
Do you prefer heart rate monitors, accelerometers or both? Have you considered purchasing one? If you have one, how do you like it? Has it helped you on your fitness journey?