Saturday, February 13, 2016

Review of the Fitbit Charge HR

 Fitbit Review

I hold the timer down for two seconds the two little vibrations it gives off sends me to my workout with intense vigor. The Fitbit is a brand of personal fitness trackers that are popular on the market today. With so many different options available we’re only going to talk about one, the Fitbit Charge HR. The Fitbit Charge HR looks and fits like a watch right on your wrist. It has a durable rubber-like band with a very small horizontal face that is .25” high and .5” long, they come in several colors, black, purple, blue, and tangerine just to name a few. There are also nifty little trinkets you can buy handmade from to make your wristband look more like a bracelet for those of us that are fashion forward. The features of the Charge HR are plenty, from tracking your Heart Rate, this is where the HR comes in in the name, tracking your sleep, your calories in and out, it tracks your water intake, how many steps you take in a day, your weight, how many floors in stairs you climb, how many active minutes you have, and tracks your workout with the touch of a button. It must be noted that your calories in, water consumption. And weight must be input manually into the dashboard via your computer or your smartphone app.

The ability to monitor your heart rate has never been so easy or accessible. To have a device that monitors your heart rate twenty-four hours a day seven days a week is an amazing advancement in maintaining optimum physical health. The Charge HR is able to calculate a more accurate caloric burn, about 95%, based on your heart rate while you go about your day or hit the gym. This Fitbit keeps track of what “zone” you’re in while you’re working out, are you in the cardio, peek, or fat burning zone? This Fitbit knows. Heart rate zones are determined by the rate of your heart, your resting heart rate burns fewer calories than your peak heart rate, for example, my resting heart rate is 70 beats per minutes, while my fat burning zone is about 89-100 beats per minutes, my cardio zone is next at 101-140 beats per minute, finally, my peek zone hit at about 141-165 this is the zone I want to hit to maximize my workout and my Fitbit keeps track of how long I’m in that zone.

I absolutely love and hate the sleep tracker it’s an amazing tool that allows you to see your sleep patterns, like how many times at night you wake up or how many instances of restlessness you had. I do not sleep much and the tracker reflects that glaringly. I have to constantly remind myself that I wasn’t tired before I knew I only got 4 hours 8 minutes of sleep each night, it would be so easy to convince myself or use the excuse “I didn’t get much sleep”.  The lack of sleep is the hate part of the love and hate equation. I love that I can see as part of my whole health and wellness regimen how much sleep I’m actually accomplishing and how little it actually takes to function.

I love the calories in and out feature it’s visual of how much I’m eating and how much I’m working out. The calories in this component have four sections to track your food. Section 1 is breakfast, section 2is for lunch, section 3 is dinner, and section 4 is snacks each section allows you to input everything you’ve eaten for that meal, or scan the barcode on  the package of your food using the camera on your phone. This feature uses a gas gauge to let you know if your “under” “right on” or “over” budget in calories, your budget is based on the information you provided when you first set up your dashboard your weight, your goal weight, your age, your height, and your activity level. What an invaluable tool for those trying to lose weight.

Water is so important to our physical, mental and emotional health and it’s recommended that we drink 8 8 ounce glasses a day. The Fitbit dashboard allows you to input in four increments, 8 fluid ounces, 16.9 fluid ounces, 24.7 fluid ounces, or 34.3 fluid ounces. You can also click 8 ounces twice and it will save 16 ounces and so on for each increment, for example, my water bottle for the gym is 32 ounces but I only fill it to 24 so when I input my water up to that point I click 8 ounces three times and 16.9 ounces once because I will have also emptied an Aquafina water bottle after my gym water bottle is empty while I’m sitting in the sauna.

Your step goal for the Fitbit starts out the same for everyone ten thousand steps and that is because the American Heart Association recommends that each person takes, at least, ten thousand steps a day for a healthy heart. This goal can be adjusted based on activity level for instance if someone is a Mail Carrier their step will be way over the ten thousand recommended steps and they might not find it challenging enough and up their step goal, mine is set for the recommended step because I have a desk job I do exceed the goal every weekday but hardly ever on the weekends. I find it interesting the math involved in figuring out gait and stride.

I love the weight tracking feature, okay only some days, it allows me to track and trend my weight and tells me how many pounds I have left to reach my goal weight. It only makes sense to have this feature included for an overall view of your health and fitness goals and accomplishments. Being able to see the graph of my trending weight and Body Mass Index keeps me from cheating too much. So feel like this is a valuable tool to use. I input this information every morning from the information obtained from my Bluetooth scale.

The floors feature that keeps track of how many stairs I’ve climbed is beneficial in only that it is a goal to complete so I’ve added running stairs at the gym to get my stairs in. The typical goal is 10 floors and I usually have that completed before I leave the gym. I’m not sure I would notice if this feature was gone. I’m sure adding the stairs to my gym routine has been beneficial to my overall health.

The active minutes are calculated by metabolic equivalents (METS). METS help measure the energy expended during various activities. The Fitbit tracker estimates MET value in any given minute based on the intensity of my activity, for example, I may record my workout for 35 minutes but have only been MET active for 30 minutes so my active minutes tracked are only going to be 30 minutes. I like to say it’ keeps me honest, because although I’m at the gym and mostly active during the one and half hours I’m there I want an accurate number for my active minutes while I’m actually recording from beginning to end.

The workout tracker is by far my favorite feature, I hold the little button to the left of my small screen for two seconds it’ll vibrate quickly twice and lets me know that it’s recording my actions. My tracker will isolate, time, calories, heart rate, steps, stairs, and distance for my work out. Although it does not record these in the dashboard individually it just records how many minutes and my heart rate. I hope one day to see this feature changed so it’s more detailed for me so I can track trends here as well.

The tracker also records and sets goals for your distance. The goal pre-set in the dashboard is five miles based on information input in the setting up the stage, such as age, weight, and height. Fitbit tracks distance by multiplying walking steps with walking stride length. This can be made more accurate by completing a little math and calculating your individual stride length, this is something on my to-do list.

The best part of the tracker is the community, I can join challenges, earn badges, challenge my friends, and make new friends. I love that I’ve met so many great people from all over the world and we can challenge each other to do better and succeed in our goals or go above and beyond, we can cheer either other or even taunt each other. I love the support and motivation with the Fitbit, I’ve lost weight gained muscle and courage. 

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