Fitbits: Life Changers Or Fitness Fads?

I’ve been using my Fitbit Alta for just over a month now and I’ve decided it’s time to evaluate how I’ve been getting on with this new fitness trend that everyone seems to be joining.

When I first heard about Fitbits, I had no desire to get my own. I’ve heard about many weight loss and fitness fads over the years that have blown up and become ever so popular for six months or so, only to be forgotten about a year later. These include diet pills, teatoxes and Nutribullets.

Although I don’t necessarily condone those things as something that doesn’t work, we all know that for a set amount of time, everyone jumped on the band wagon of doing squats and juicing with their brand new Nutribullet, or trying out teatoxes that claimed to help you lose weight but really just made everyone sh*t a lot…

And just as quickly as these things became popular into the media, they disappeared. Gone were the hundreds of facebook posts and Snapchat selfies with colourful juices and such. Sometimes the trends rear their head again, but, after the exciting shine of the first six months of trying something new, do people really keep up with it?

Therefore, I was wary to shell out £99+ pound for a Fitbit, until the insistent nagging of my friend made me change my mind. She wore hers everywhere and anytime we hung out, she’d proudly proclaim how many steps she’d done that day. Well, so what?! Just walking isn’t going to make a big difference, or so I thought.

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It was when we went to Reading Festival one weekend and camped in the White Camp (big mistake) which led to a half hour/fourty minute long walk to the arena every single day. Being that we came back to the camp at least once a day to nap/fill up on drinks/socialize, we found ourselves walking for two hours at the very least every single day.

It wasn’t too hard, but my god did my legs kill by the end of it. My friend, however, had taken it entirely in her stride, and I was shocked to see how many steps she racked up at the end of it all.

The fact that she’d well out stepped all her friends and, had walked for two hours every single day without breaking a sweat certainly tapped into my competitive side and made me cave in and buy my own Fitbit. I still thought ‘just walking more’ wasn’t going to make much difference, but if I could get to a point where a two hour walk daily didn’t hurt my legs so much, than at least I would be doing something right.

When it finally arrived on my doorstep (it took forever because for some reason, silly me decided to order through Curry’s and pick it up in store to get, like, £2.00 cashback or something silly like that, instead of just y’know, walking into store and buying one immediately) I was probably more excited than I should have been.

For someone who rolls their eyes at fitness fads normally, I was suddenly a woman on a mission. I slipped the teal wristband onto my wrist, marvelled at the interface, explored the clean looking app and swore I would do 10,000 steps a day, 250 per hour, never go over my calorie count and just generally be super fit.

Has it stuck though?

Well, perhaps I haven’t stuck to my ridiculous goals exactly but I can honestly say a month on, I’m still fascinated with and regularly using my Fitbit. I’ve lost 4 lbs so far by using it on a semi-serious basis, and I do believe it has – or at least is in the process of – making me fitter.

I haven’t lost tons of weight. I haven’t suddenly found myself being able to walk for two hours every single day – but I’m getting there.

What I didn’t realize before purchasing is that you can also use Fitbit to log your food intake (much like MyFitnessPal, which it links up to), and in terms of burning off calories – it does it for you. You can use a Fitbit one of two ways – as a bit of fun, to try to walk more, or to lose weight.

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You can set goals via the app which will tell you how many calories you can consume a day (and this will change, depending on how many calories you’ve burned daily), which takes a lot of confusion out of the whole thing. I’ve never been into the whole calorie counting thing, and I still get a little confused to see how much I can still eat on a daily basis, but hey, it’s working, so I’m not complaining.

It’s very useful for keeping track of your food and calorie intake but, Fitbit’s basic goal is supposed to get you walking and moving more.

And I can 100% say that it does. It buzzes every hour to let me know I need to get up and walk 250 steps and of course there are some days and some hours I miss, but I can’t tell you the motivation to do a full day where every single hour gets ticked off!

There’s also other challenges such as five days in a row of exercise and I find this super helpful too. Sometimes it’ll log long walks as exercise, sometimes I’ll go for a run. Sometimes on a Friday, for example, I have done no exercise that day at all but really want to hit that goal, so it motivates me to go upstairs and do half an hour of yoga in my room or go outside and take my dog for a walk.

And, of course, there’s challenges you can set amongst your friends. Top tip: if you do get a Fitbit, do try and talk your friends into getting one too. I have developed a huge competitive streak that makes me want to beat my friends ALL THE TIME and this 100% motivates me to get up and move.

There are some days that I just can’t be bothered – it’s human to feel like that. But when I used to feel like that, I’d feel like that again the next day, and the next. I’d find myself falling into a pattern of ‘I’ll start again on Monday. On Monday I’ll go for a run. On Monday I’ll eat healthy. On Monday I’ll get off my ass and make sure I at least move when really I want a duvet day.’

With Fitbits, Monday’s don’t really exist. You miss one day? It’s fine. Start again tomorrow. Or, better yet, don’t beat yourself up about not doing any exercise that day. Just turn to a different goal, like hitting your step count, or taking 250 steps every hour until bed.

And it’s great because you wear it around your wrist all the time. Even when you’re not moving much, it still logs your steps and your calorie loss, so if you have an off day, you can log on and see that you’ve still made a small difference – and this will make you feel good about yourself.

Likewise, because you wear it around your wrist, you can’t really escape it. It’s not like a new piece of exercise equipment you can use once and then shove away in your wardrobe and not think about anymore.

So, in conclusion, for someone who doesn’t like jumping on fitness fads that promise you you will lose weight easily and for someone who works from home so doesn’t have a chance to be on their feet often – I can conclude that, for me, my Fitbit has definitely helped me make some changes in my life.

Words: Louise Joy
Tweet Louise @Lady_Louise_

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