I apologise in advance for pushing a particular product today. This product comes in many shapes and sizes, from several manufacturers and new ones come out all the time. The product I have used for the past 4 years is a Fitbit. I would guess it’s become to fitness tracking wearable tech that ‘hoovers’ (with a small H) have come to mean any household device for sucking dirt off your carpets. However, they are the ones I use and am now a year in to my second Fitbit. What you have to realise it’s not just the thing on your wrist, but the whole eco system of: Fitbit app, challenges, friends, companion apps, tracking and rewards.
I started with a Flex, the entry level device 4+ years ago. I recall people saying why was I spending £80 on a pedometer; a simple device that you can buy in shops for under £10? At the time I would rant much BS on the subject but with hindsight I can say whatever my reasoning then, I don’t know if I could have shed 5 stone in 2 years without it. From standing on digital scales that read ERROR because they only could manage up to 20 stone 13lb to number starting with 16 stone will likely save my life? If people ask me now why should they get a Fitbit (“Other fitness trackers are available?” as the BBC might say). I will explain in much detail and with excessive enthusiasm; that it’s like having a personal trainer or a gym membership. Neither is ‘needed’. Why spend money on a gym when there are fields to run in a bike in the shed and council pool up the road? Because it simplifies things, it’s all in one place and you’ve paid for it so you will be looking to get your monies worth! Same with a personal trainer. What idiots pay a man with muscles hanging off his six pack to shout at you for half an hour? People who need that inspiration, that kick in the backside because otherwise after seven long minutes of exercise you’d say stuff it and have a slice of chocolate cake instead!
So back to the product placement, what is it all about? Fitbit starts everyone off with a 10,000-step goal, and here’s why: It adds up to about five miles each day for most people, which includes about 30 minutes of daily exercise. This goes some way towards government guidelines on recommended exercise per week. Thing is, 10,000 steps per day might not make sense for you. You may need to push for more if you want to lose a certain amount of weight, or take fewer steps if you’re new to fitness or recovering from an injury. Your step goal can vary depending on your needs, and it can also shift over time. In any case it’s a goal, a target, perhaps even an aspiration; but it’s an easy thing and realistic to achieve. We all know of people who rant about losing X weight over X time (see me above), but this is real and; provided you aren’t scoffing down a kazillion calories a day, should work for everybody.
If you’re new to exercise you may want to start slowly to avoid burnout, injury or worse still just giving up as a ‘failure’. To quote the company…..
“Wear a Fitbit tracker and determine how many steps you take on average each day over the course of a week. That’s your baseline. Health professionals recommends adding 1000-2000 daily steps each week, so if your baseline is 4000 steps per day, set your goal at 5000-6000 steps each day. Meeting your goal may be as simple as an extra five-minute walk, or even parking a few cars further away at the supermarket, depending on your speed and stride.
First, determine how much weight you wish to lose—then, do a little maths. Doctors and Dieticians recommend slow weight loss for lasting results and to avoid issues with sagging skin. This usually equates to between a half pound to one pound per week. Completing 10,000 steps each day typically burns about 2000 to 3500 extra calories each week. One pound of body fat equals 3500 calories, so depending on your weight and workout intensity, you could lose about one pound per week simply by completing 10,000 steps each day.”
I know! Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!….. Well no, you do need to put the effort in. The other thing that I also have in my favour is many friends and family members who also wear a Fitbit tracker; and who I can compete with in challenges. Believe me when I tell you how satisfying it is to beat them all in a weekly challenge or ‘weekend warrior’ contest. This past weekend for example I was challenged by a fair few people and because of my work at Schools Plus I trounced them all racking up 45000+ steps over the 2 days (about 22 miles). That’s the equivalent of walking from the Olympic Stadium in East London to Heathrow, ‘Way out West’! Okay, so now I’m just bragging, but that’s the point! The sense of achievement you get is satisfying and drives you to do more. Since starting with Fitbit I’ve clocked up over 3000 miles, like walking from Nova Scotia in the East all across Canada and into deepest Alaska!
These days I am still looking to lose a few pounds but slow and sure. At 41 I guess it’s a bit tougher to achieve and all the more reason to use my Fitbit to push me forwards. I also think that I should mention myfitnesspal for logging my calorie intake and mapmyride for being my on-cycle personal trainer. Both these apps link with the Fitbit app to give you an overall idea of where you are at. It has made me a calorie shark for sure. I know roughly how many calories are in most things these days and that can help, such as knowing which foods that look healthy can be horrific or what to do when cooking to reduce calories without hitting the taste too much.
I now use a Fitbit Blaze. It’s towards the high end of the range. It links to my phone and buzzes if I get a call, thus avoiding missed calls when I forgot to take it off silent; it tells the time like a normal watch, heart rate monitor, controls music and text on my iPhone etc.