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FitBit v. Heart Rate Monitor



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SLYSAM
SparkPoints: (37,238)
Fitness Minutes: (91,780)
Posts: 1,455
12/30/12 4:07 P

Kristina, I don't usually use machines, so it is hard to say. I suspect it may not be that good with the elliptical since a lot of the intensity comes from the resistance settings. Also, don't expect the distance to match as I don't know what the ellipticals distance is based on, but fitbit's is assuming walking or running. It sounds like some people feel it tracks their elliptical work fine, and other's do not. I haven't had the experience to judge. But you might want to use your heart rate monitor if you are really into the resistance settings. You can manually log exercise to your fitbit account if you choose. I do this for certain activities with data from my heart rate monitor.



KRISTINA_L
Posts: 25
12/26/12 11:44 P

So will the Fitbit count calories burned/steps taken if I use an elliptical machine? I just got one for christmas, and am wondering how this would work with my elliptical. I also have a Polar HRM that I was previously using, but am intrigues about the total days calorie tracking it offers on the fitbit. Any insight on it tracking the elliptical burn/steps? Thanks in advance!



FORDIE7
SparkPoints: (42,662)
Fitness Minutes: (20,755)
Posts: 451
12/22/12 5:40 P

Thanks much. Very detailed. I have ordered the fitbit so will wait to see how it works. Really was thinking of HRM for exercises that are not part of SP. this would be the only way to track my calories burned for outside exercise.



DIDS70
Posts: 5,070
11/16/12 3:14 P

the fitbit can also be a timer. You hold the button in to turn on the stop watch. it will calculate that time.
You can wear it only for a workout as well and not keep it on throughout the day if you choose.
However, if you do any kind of circuit training or HIIT training, it may not register that well. When I do just arm exercises, the fitbit doesn't really register. but if i do lower body such as step ups or run in place-- it works great.
A heart rate monitor will probably be the most accurate. SP is averages for your height and weight I believe. My heart rate monitor when I had one was vastly different than SP in calculations.
I can't remember the brand I used, but it was just a watch that i wore on my wrist. it didn't have the band that fit around my chest.



SLYSAM
SparkPoints: (37,238)
Fitness Minutes: (91,780)
Posts: 1,455
11/16/12 3:11 P

I have both a fitbit and a heart rate monitor and I use both most every day. I use my fitbit more just because it is for all-day activity tracking so I wear it all the time except when in water or charging it. I've used the two together for a couple of years now and am happy with both for different reasons.

If all you want is something to track intentional cardio workouts then really, you want a good heart rate monitor. A fitbit might be less expensive and do the trick for you, but it depends you might find a hrm on sale. If your activities include swimming or bicycling the hrm would probably be better as fitbit doesn't measure those activities that well as it isn't water proof and for cycling it isn't an activity that easily translates into steps. For walking or running the fitbit is pretty good if properly calibrated. For me the calorie burn from my fitbit and hrm are actually quite similar for a lot of activities including walking (though fitbit a little higher than my hrm), jogging, cardio kickboxing, jump roping, some athletic drills type cardio, hiking, etc. A lot of the exercise fitbit doesn't track well for me are not really cardio--things like resistance training, yoga, pilates, calisthenics, etc so that may not be a factor for you.

The fitbit, in my opinion, is probably the better buy for someone who is interested in tracking their overall activity level throughout the day and who wants an idea of their daily calorie burn. Or someone who wants to increase their activity and wants objective feedback to assit them with this goal. Similar to how a lot of people wear pedometers, though it has some extra features. The One and Ultra do allow you to see what fitbit tracks for a specific activity (though I think with the less expensive Zip you mainly see the totals for the day). But fitbit is intended for all day use and that is really where it the strength's lie in my opinion. I put it on and pretty much forget I am wearing it unless I become curious about my stats.

In my experience, either one if more accurate than the Spark activity database (or any activity database). I can't say for sure since all are estimates. But my weight trends up, down, constant very much in line with what my fitbit account says my energy balance over the week is. And my fitbit and heart rate monitor estimated calorie burns for a lot of cardio are similar to each other and usually lower than what Spark would credit me for. I do think Spark tends to be okay for distance oriented activity when you know the distance you covered and the duration. But some of the activity listings are quite generic without variations for the differing effort or intensity people might put into it. Even with distance activities, the same applies to a lesser extent. The heart rate monitor estimates your calorie burn and exertion from running your heart rate response and other stats through a formula so it would account for increased exertion or variations in effort. The fitbit calorie burn is plugging in how much and how fast (and some other things) you move and your stats into their formula for a minute by minute calorie burn so it will account for exertion changes in speeding up or slowing down, impact, etc but not heart rate. Both are specific to your activity, but do not factor in everything.

Keep in mind that all calorie burn numbers from any device you can use at home are estimates not direct measures. And they all have a fairly significant margin of error (I've read something like 20% margin of error for a good, properly set up heart rate monitor. I have no idea for fitbit, but in my observation I think it is similar for me since my weight changes seem to be well within 20% of what it should be according to fitbit and my per workout calorie burn is usually similar to my heart rate monitor depending on the activity).



JENMC14
Posts: 2,707
11/16/12 2:04 P

My husband brought up the idea of a FitBit, and I was intruiged. however, I can't find anywhere that says how it tracks your calories burned. Is it for all day? Can you set it to just track during a workout? How does it figure it out, is it a guess based on your info like the SP trackers? If what I mostly want is a device that will most accurately help me determine the number of calories I am burning during a cardio workout, what would you all recommend? A FitBit or a Heart Rate Monitor? Any particular brand of monitor? Are either of these all that more accurate than SP?



 
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