30,000-39,999 SparkPoints 39,162

Good Time (Sprint 4/Day 2)

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I've decided to make the next few blog titles the songs on my running playlist. I have used some of these songs already, so I won't repeat myself.


Today I thought I'd talk a little bit more about my Fitbit, and how things are going with it -- a couple of people have requested more information.

Overall, as I've said before, I like it. I do find it motivates me to take the stairs and to walk around more. Last night I walked up and down the stairs at home 5 times so I could get the 25 flights of stairs badge. It's difficult to get to 10000 steps a day. Yesterday I just made it, having gone for a walk at lunch. I did a strength training working, but didn't accumulate a lot of steps there. On an average day, I would probably get about 7000 steps just by making an effort to take the stairs and walk around a little more. Today I got to 10000 steps easily because I went for a run.

The synchronization between the Fitbit website and Sparkpeople is pretty cool. Like Sparkpeople, you can track your food and activities on the Fitbit website. The way the synchronization between the two sites works is that you track food on Sparkpeople and that info is transferred to Fitbit. Fitbit tracks your activities through the device (and you can enter additional activities) and that data gets transferred to Sparkpeople.

A couple of things that I've found confusing:
1. Fitbit transfers what it considers calories burned through exercise to Sparkpeople. That's fine, but it's not exactly clear what constitutes exercise calories. Fitbit will characterize your time as being Sedentary, Lightly Active, Fairly Active and Very Active. Sleep time is not included. From the Sparkpeople Fitbit group discussions, it looks like exercise calories are those that are burned when you are Fairly Active or Very Active. The Fitbit seems pretty good at making the characterization, so I'm not particularly worried, but I wish I knew the formula.
2. As above, Fitbit sends over the number of "active" minutes to Sparkpeople and these are added to your Fitness minutes. This has blown all of my targets out of the water. For example, yesterday, I would have considered myself to have accumulated about 60 fitness minutes (20 minute walk and 40 minutes of strength training). Fitbit gave me 140 minutes. Again, this is fine, but requires some adjustment from what I'm used to.

A couple of neato things I've learned:
1. You can track your sleep. It uses a sensor to determine how long you slept, how many times you woke up, and what your actual sleep vs. in bed time was. It seems pretty accurate to me.
2. When you do a specific activity, like a run, or strength training, or a Zumba class or whatever, you can put it into Activity Mode (which is actually the same as sleep mode). It will then create an Activity Record that tracks the steps, calories burned, etc., for the time you put it in activity mode. This is pretty neat because then you can name the activity and look at the data specific to that activity. For example, I can compare what Fitbit said about my calories burned, distance and pace during my run to what Endomondo (the GPS tracker I use on my phone when running) said about that same run. I think this is cool because I like numbers. And it gives me a better sense of the real calorie burn. I was a little confused by this feature at first because I thought it wouldn't tell the difference between sleep and activities, but of course it knows through your movement whether you were sleeping or working out. And as a bonus, if you forget to put the Fitbit into activity mode (like I did when I went running today), you can create an Activity Record on the Fitbit website and when the Fitbit syncs next, it will figure out the stats for that period for you (at least I'm pretty sure it will -- we'll see when I get home and sync.

Much like Sparkpeople, Fitbit will give you a calorie range based on your current weight and your weight loss goals -- anywhere from 0.5 to 2.0 pounds per week. What I like about the Fitbit target is that it adjusts your target every day, depending on how active you've been. that's pretty cool

So all in all, I'm very happy with it. I'd definitely recommend it. I got the Fitbit Ultra. I ordered it from the website referenced in the Sparkpeople announcement about the partnership between the 2 companies (apparently Sparkpeople gets a little bit of the profits if ordered that way). It was $99, shipping was free, and I paid $25 in customs fees (I am in Canada). I ordered it on a Tuesday and it arrived on a Thursday.
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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.

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