Monday, June 27, 2016

To track or not to track?

That seems to be the question these days in the fitness world. From Fitbit to Apple Watch, Garmin, Jawbone, there has been an explosion of wearable fitness watches, pedometers, and everything in between to track steps, calories, and more from your wrist or waist.

But why? Who really looks at all that data everyday? Well, I guess I do! Ha! But as a trainer, that information means something to me and to others will likely have a completely different meaning. For example, it's 11:20 pm and I'm thinking, "my Fitbit sleep quality is going to plummet tonight"...especially with a client session in the next 8 hours awaiting my morning.

For myself, I've been using a Fitbit Surge for the last year almost. I wanted to join the fitness-wearing-revolution that seems to have taken over. No longer do you see the average digital watch. Even my wife wears her purple Fitbit Charge HR when we're going out. So, not only have they become a tool in the gym, but fitness trackers are an accessory to life.

With my Surge I track steps of course, but also floors climbed, calories burned, miles covered, and active minutes of exercise. It gives me GPS with my runs for more accurate mileage data, sleep quality tracking (last night, I was awake 1x, 12x "restless," and 19 mins awake/restless in all.

To some, all of this information can be just plain overwhelming and to what end do we track data these days? For some, it's just another app on the phone to look at, charging of a device at night, and thing to remember. I get it, frankly, that was why I went away from Apple for my tracker as it has to be charged everyday. My Fitbit I get days out of the battery and it's had a longer presence in the tracker world. So, needless to say, I've been extremely satisfied with the performance of the Surge for all my workouts.

The Challenge
You have this tracker and you're looking at the numbers...does it help? Hopefully, studies show that having others to workout with is motivational. So, having a tracker to work out against, striving to hit 10,000 steps per day are just a means to keep challenging oneself. Even the ability to compete with friends and join different challenges like "Weekend Warrior" to see who takes the most steps between friends are all just ways to get in the game and motivate one another to keep moving!

According to Fitbit's blog, the why comes down to this:

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—satisfying the CDC’s recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Thing is, 10,000 steps per day might not make sense for you. You may need to nab 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. Here’s how to set it right for you. (

So, if you're looking for a fitness tracker, do some homework and read up online. Go in the retail stores that sell them and read up on the features of each one. If you're not already using a Heart Rate monitor, definitely invest in a tracker with that ability to help during cardio sessions and to measure intensity. Plus you can get a great resting HR measurement out of it while sleeping!

Happy Tracking!

-Corpo Fitness