I use both a Fitbit One and a heart rate monitor. Short story long... I have an old, now discontinued Polar F11 that works great and I got for a low price as it was being phased out a the time (so you can find deals if you shop around). Now I really only use it for water exercise, because I switched to a bluetooth hrm strap and an app on my phone. The phone app I use, Digifit I cardio gives me more detailed data than my F11. I purchased the optional fitness assessments so it has guided built in assessments that can be used to set custom zones for me in general or per activity. This has made my zone data more accurate compared to my actual and perceived exertion. I have a problem in that the standard formulas estimate my maximum heart rate too high so it looks like I never leave the "fat burning zone" even when huffing puffing and dripping with sweat and red in the face. So I like that it has a feature to set my zones according to my heart rate response during the assessments. Digifit automatically syncs to fitbit and will log my HRM workouts for me on my fitbit.com account. So it can be a good option if you go with fitbit, have a compatible smart phone, don't do a lot of water exercise and can afford the bluetooth strap. I found the Polar H7 strap around $50 when I shopped around at the time, it retails for something like $70 which is expensive just for a strap but if you use it with a compatible smart phone you don't need the watch portion. So it can be cheaper than some heart rate monitors.
I already had a hrm when I bought my Fitbit One so I have always used the two together. But at first I didn't use an app that logged my workouts automatically so I would manually log them using the data from my F11. So I had a couple years of comparing my fitbit and heart rate monitor calorie burn estimates... I actually found in my case the estimates were very similar sometimes the same for a lot of step-based aerobic activities. These include (for me) very brisk walking (slower walking the HRM estimate is lower than fitbits), jogging, cardio kickboxing like Turbojam/Turbokick, aerobic dancing like Zumba, jumping rope!, soem aerobic drill/bootcamp workouts if they include moves like jumping jacks, football runs, some plyometrics, etc. When the intensity gets very high like a lot of plyos and sprints fitbit starts to fall behind the heart rate monitor's estimate. Also fitbit is not as good with water exercise, non step aerobic exercise like spinning or rowing, certain types of dance that involve few traveling steps and softer isolated movements, and anything involving resistance. Things like yoga, pilates and floor exercises might look like "sleep" to the fitbit. I do fine logging these activities.
If you go the bluetooth/app route and shop around you could get both for a similar price as a body media, some of the more expensive trackers or a more expensive heart rate monitor. Though probably $155 at the cheapest if you shop around and get free shipping.
If choosing one or the other.... I think it depends what you want. I would say the fitbit if you are looking for all day activity tracking and something to prompt you to keep your non-exercise activity level high. I admit I would probably personally go with fitbit if I had to choose now (i.e. if both broke and I could only afford to replace one of them). But just for workout tracking, I would probably go with a heart rate monitor unless your activities are the sort fitbit can track well.
I have no experience with the Spark tracker so can't comment other than it is a nice price point. I don't see that it would track some of your workouts well though. An accelerometer's activity data is based on how much and how fast you move so certain activities just are not tracked well by these devices.
October Minutes: 1,462
Fitness Minutes: (2,894)
10/17/13 12:14 P
Since I've bought my fitbit, the spark activity tracker has come out along with the FitBit Force. I wish I would have held off to get the fitbit force....It seems to combine the features of the Fitbit one and the style of the fitbit flex. The battery life on my FitBit lasts about a week and half!
I did end up getting a HRM not long after I got my fitbit bc I wanted to see about how many calories I burn during my run instead of an overall count. I got a Polar FT7 because you can change the battery once the battery dies...the FT4, I read that once the battery is dead is no longer of use and you have to buy a whole new watch.
Overall, I am very very happy with both of my purchases and I feel as though it was worth every penny spent! Hope this helps...
Edited by: KIMMYGEE83 at: 10/17/2013 (12:16)
current weight: 143.7
Fitness Minutes: (7,560)
858 10/17/13 11:56 A
I have the new MIO Alpha HRM watch and I use the Sparks Activity Tracker
Elizabeth It's NEVER to late to get fit!!!
"Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers." 3 John 1:2
“What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Pounds lost: 33.6
Fitness Minutes: (90)
10/16/13 7:52 P
I am looking to get something that measures calories burned during exercise. In your opinion or experience what would work. I don't want to spend a lot of money so I can stay in DHs good graces and get P90X3 in December.
~~Elsa ~~ South Dakota
Nothing is impossible with God - Luke 1:37 -------------------------
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