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Day 677- My Spark Activity Tracker Review

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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Okay. So I bought the Spark Activity Tracker the moment I realized it existed. I love SparkPeople, and I love supporting the company so I figured I'd give it a shot.

I bought the matte black one, and I wear it on my back flats for work. It is barely noticeable and it's not obtrusive or painful in my shoe, so I like that about it. I've tried wearing pedometers before and can't tell you how many close calls I've had with them almost falling in the toilet... haha.

One thing that I've noticed, that other users have also mentioned is that it only tracks the 4 types of exercise they advertise, walking, running, "indoor cycling" and elliptical. If you're doing super intense Crossfit, or kettlebell workouts, maybe a heart rate monitor would be better for you. I wore it while bicycling outside but it didn't count it as a workout which I'm guessing is because, sometimes I went slower or coasted and not having the repetitive movement confused it. And if you stop to take a break at all, it will not count it as a workout unless you are active for 10+ minutes. I wore it Sunday morning when JD and I went hiking, and it tracked my steps, but didn't count it as a walking workout out, because we must have paused too often.

Accuracy wise however, I think it is pretty spot on. Yesterday, I took a run that I know to be almost exactly 2 miles, and the Spark Activity Tracker recorded it as 2.04, so that's pretty dang close. And since I was constantly running, it tracked it as a 25 minute work out. This of course was when it was worn on my shoe, which is where it is most accurate. I haven't tried it on my waistband or bra, because while it is waterproof, I'm not sure it is the geyser of sweat that is Jan-Marie proof...

I also am wondering if I have a faulty usb sync device. I think it is supposed to be green when plugged in, but mine doesn't ever have a light on. I was doing some crazy acrobatics trying to lift my foot up with the tracker next to the usb port, then read the directions and realized by tapping it 5 times, it would sync automatically. No leg in air awkward dance necessary. It is syncing when I do that, so I don't know if it really matters that the light doesn't light up. Does anyone else notice it isn't green but just clear?

I guess for those of you wondering if you should get it, it is just important to ask yourself why you want it and how much you are willing to spend. It's obviously more affordable than FitBits, BodyMedia bands, NikePlus watches and Heart Rate Monitors. But it also doesn't do some of the things those do. Obviously a heart rate monitor is a better judge of your calorie burn, because the Spark Activity Tracker like the NikePlus watch can only estimate calories burned based on your current set weight and the length of time you spent exercising. Or if tracking where you've ran geographically is important, then maybe a Garmin or NikePlus watch with GPS is more what you're looking for. If you want something that tracks you while you sleep, get a Fitbit.

But if you're scared to spend 100, 200+ dollars on something that you may not end up using, the Spark Activity Tracker is the way to go. I think it's better than just normal pedometers and it's very easy to use. It is accurate when worn on your shoe and a relatively good judge of what you do in everyday life.

For me, the biggest reason I bought it and am happy with it, is it is a constant reminder of my journey here on Spark. When I look down and see the Spark emblem on my shoe, I'm reminded of how I got here, to a place where I'm concerned about my daily activity and exercise. To a place where walking a few laps around my house is worth it to reach a small goal I've set for myself.

I don't think SparkPeople created the Spark Activity Tracker to compete with the super expensive high-tech gadgets that some people use to motivate them. I think they created it to provide a less expensive way for us to track goals and feel motivated. If you think about it, $60 is a little over $1 a week for one year. That's much less expensive than any gym membership I've ever heard of. And after that $60, there are no other membership fees.

I'm glad I bought the Spark Activity Tracker. It is definitely already making me more conscious of how active I am at work and at home, and gives me the little extra push I need to get off the couch and get moving, when I'd otherwise just say, who cares.

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you're using the Spark Activity Tracker and how you feel about it, SparkFriends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    856 days ago
  • LISA-354
    I drive for most of my day, and i currently use an app to count my steps, however, the app counts the bounces as steps. How does the spark activity tracker do when driving?
    979 days ago
    I found you're review while doing a search about the SparkPeople Activity Tracker. Although it isn't recent, it really helped me a lot! Thanks!
    1075 days ago
    I've had my SPT for 1+ year and just ordered a Garmin Vivofit. The SPT has disappointed me too many times with its 10 minute of activity before counting exercise feature. The step counting is also off by a large margin often. I walk the same route several times a week and the count varies greatly. I LOVE SP and want to support it, but I need more accuracy in my AT. I use it in the pool several times a week which is a good feature. Sometimes it tracks those work outs and sometimes not.
    1148 days ago
    I was searching about the tracker. I'm debating whether or not to spend the money. I was wondering if u still use the tracker and what u like best about it, since u have had it a wile. Thanks for sharing the review
    1293 days ago
    emoticon for sharing your review!! I've been considering getting one. This is an emoticon blog.
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    1429 days ago
  • SASHA-222
    Hi just started researching this, thank you for your review. I have not decided if this is the way I want to go yet or not, leaning more toward a heart rate monitor I think.. But your observations on pedometers - spot on...I have a lost a few.....
    1486 days ago
    Guess who broke down and purchased a emoticon .

    I repent lol! I wanted another tracker that picked up different activity than steps, distance, active minutes and calories. Onward & upward~
    1502 days ago
    Great review, thanks for the info!
    1507 days ago
    1559 days ago
    Thanks for the review. I just got mine but I have a question do you have to use it before you can set it up. I have tried to set it up several times and it keeps saying that my activity tracker not detected.
    1576 days ago
    Geyser of sweat... lol! :-D I know exactly where you're coming from on that one. That said, I've been so incredibly happy that as I've lost weight, I don't sweat NEARLY as much as before, and I don't sweat so much in social settings as I did before. I used to hate 'glistening' up while doing absolutely nothing, and having to be social knowing that I'm sweating. Just another one of those emotional torments that go with the territory. Anyways, I loved that phrase. :-D
    1579 days ago
    Cool. Thanks for the review.
    1580 days ago
  • ANGIE_JJ123
    Thanks for the review I am thinking about getting a SPT and now knowing what it will and will not track... I am wondering if a step class would register as a workout??? I am in constant motion while stepping, unlike the issue with weight training. Can anyone confirm if a step class would register on it?
    Thanks emoticon
    1584 days ago
  • KIMBERLY0916
    in the review clips i just read I really liked your comment about the visual reminder of the goals and journey we've set ourselves on .. i look at mine and go oh .. hey .. yea ..let's get in some more steps .. i never really did that before
    1584 days ago
    I enjoyed your review!
    1585 days ago
    Trying to decide if I will benefit buying the Spark Activity tracker or not for my choice of exercise activities. I'm pretty sure it would be good for my walking the dogs, elliptical and treadmill. But I also do a lot of Debbie Siebers Slim in 6/Slim Series DVD's, which is a lot of cardio moves, floor exercises, some light/medium hand weights and resistance bands. You mentioned bicycling wasn't all that great which I also do. Thoughts please and thanks in advance if anyone has any!
    P.S. Oooops, sorry I did another post the other day about this and forgot, sorry for the redundant post!
    1586 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/15/2013 10:36:07 PM
    I would love to buy either the Fitbit not only to help me get fit, but also because I regularly have sleep problems; the sleep monitor would help me get some idea of what's happening. We are on a very tight budget, helping my YS through college, but your comment about the SAT being just over a $ a week has inspired me to try to put something away each week, however little, and then eventually I will be able to buy a FitBit (aware that they are dearer). While I am wistfully wishing I could afford it, I can be saving toward one!
    1587 days ago
    Great review, thanks. The ten minute thing is great to know because I am klutzy and if I want to drink water on the treadmill, I have to stop walking or I'll fall off!
    1587 days ago
    I like to walk my dogs and use the elliptical, which I believe sounds like the Spark Activity tracker will be fine for those activities........but what about workout DVD's like my Cathe Friedrick weight lifting ones or my Debbie Siebers Slim in 6/Slim Series DVD's which combines aerobic moves as well as floor exercises like abs, etc.? Opinions as to whether or not it would be tracked for me doing such activities before I go spending any more $$$$! Thanks in advance to anyone who is able to help me out!
    1588 days ago
    I just ordered the Activity Tracker today, partly because of your review. Frankly, I must have spent at least that much on pedometers that either didn't work at all or quit within a matter of days. Guess my doggies will get the benefit of testing it out with me. emoticon
    1588 days ago
    Yeah, I'm so glad you love your SP Tracker but I have a FitBit that does a wonderful job. Glad we are at the point in technology where we can just wear our tracker and pretty much have it record our progression~ emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1588 days ago
    I see people mentioned Bodymedia and syncing it with Sparkpeople. They can sync also?
    1590 days ago
    I considered the Fit Bit but didn't want to spend that much $. I'm glad I bought the SPARK Activity Tracker & am very pleased with how it works. When I ride my recumbent bike two different times, it reports my riding it separate times.

    Your review was great & very much to the point. emoticon
    Thank you!
    1590 days ago
    1590 days ago
    I'm using the Spark Activity Tracker along with my Bodymedia (I've had it 3 years and still have a 1 year subscription). Most days both devices are very close together on step count. I'm liking the Spark a lot!
    1590 days ago
    thanks! didn't even know about these things.
    1590 days ago
    Very Informative indeed. I have not decided to get Sarks tracker as yet. Just Starting my diet and dow't want to get overwhelmed. But I must thank you for your encouragement. If I can stay on a diet as long as you have for 677 than i know i will have good success. thanks for sharing . Any tips you can give will be much appreciated. emoticon
    1590 days ago
    gotta get one!
    1590 days ago
  • 35ANGELS
    Thanks for the great review...I really love my fitbit though. lol emoticon
    1590 days ago
    1590 days ago
    1590 days ago
    I am glad I have my FitBit. It tracks everything I do, but swimming. I like being able to see the steps I have climbed too. It was $99 well spent to me.
    1590 days ago
  • STR458
    1590 days ago
    Good review, It's not for me because I do most HITT and heavy ST workouts. I would end up using it maybe 3 or 4 times per month when I use my stationary bike. I do like that it is not super expensive.
    1590 days ago
    I have the fit bit but I think this is a viable option as well.
    1590 days ago
    1590 days ago
    Thanks for the info. I was wondering about it.
    1590 days ago
  • JACKIE15108
    Thanks for the info
    1590 days ago
    Thanks for your review! emoticon
    1591 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/10/2013 11:48:08 PM
    1591 days ago
    Thanks for the info. I just got mine yesterday. I agree that it is very accurate for the mileage. I intend to add my workouts as usual to my activity tracker.
    1591 days ago
  • RENATA144
    Very Cool !!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1591 days ago
    Very informative blog! emoticon emoticon
    1591 days ago
    I have been curious about the device and your blog has helped me a lot. Thanks.
    1591 days ago
  • PHOENIX_83
    I use to have a heart rate monitor, unfortunatley I misplaced the watch!! I am in the market to have it replaced so this blog really opened my eyes to other choices. With the HRM I only wore it during workouts and it helped me increase my pace since I would think I am working hard, look at my watch saw my HR and realized i would be slacking! :-) I've never even heard of a fitbit but that almost sounds more up my alley. Either way thank you for putting in the time and effort by providing us with a review that had very helpful opinions and insights. emoticon
    1591 days ago
    Thanks for the review. I was curious.
    1591 days ago
    Great info and thanks! I just got my Activity Tracker and wore it for the first time last night. I'm a little concerned because I thought it would track heavy-duty housework and gardening and we'll see how it does with workout DVDs. I do have a Body Media Fit and while I do love it and being able to sync with SparkPeople food tracking plus relatively all consistent movement, I sometimes get weary of wearing the armband. Silly, perhaps, but I am goofy about some things. It will be fun to see how the two compare, for sure!

    Thank you, again, for the excellent info!
    1591 days ago
    1591 days ago
    Extremely helpful review! emoticon
    1591 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.