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MINININJASUZUME's Photo MINININJASUZUME SparkPoints: (9,122)
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1/12/14 6:32 P

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My sister just got a Fitbit, and so far she really likes how accurate it is for her. I had thought about one before purchasing what I did, as it had better reviews. However I need a bit more info tracked than what it does.

I'll be going to the doctor for the first time in years in a few months thanks to the ACA, and I'd like to have detailed reports for my heart rate, exercise, nutrition and sleep over the span of a few months so that my new doctor can get to know me and my habits. I'm hoping that will help them better assess any possible risks for diseases that run in my family. I'm also hoping that seeing this snapshot of my life will help them find alternatives to recommending medications if it comes to that. I REALLY don't like pharmaceuticals, though I do take vitamins and a few well-researched supplements. I don't want to have to take a bunch of medications if it's discovered that I have high cholesterol or high blood pressure or anything else like that. So I like everything that the BodyMedia FIT tracks for that. SP itself is also super helpful in terms of the reports I'll need!

Good luck with the Spark Activity Tracker and the SP video workouts! I hope it works out well for you. Let us know how it goes!

The BEST fitness movement in the country? Help me bring OTFNation to SparkPeople! teams.sparkpeople.com/Oranget
heory-Fitness


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MRSKATEDUVALL's Photo MRSKATEDUVALL Posts: 2,199
1/12/14 6:23 P

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I have tried the fitbit, but the I walked a zip till it fell apart, and the one that I had keep dying and not picking up steps. I am going to try the Spark Activity tracker. I usually do a video, and track the calories for those in the fitness tracker. I am a beginner so I just take the basic.

MINININJASUZUME's Photo MINININJASUZUME SparkPoints: (9,122)
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1/11/14 10:44 P

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Today was the first workout with my BodyMedia FIT armband. I must say, I really like it so far! Everything is syncing perfectly between BodyMedia and SP.

According to the activity report, I burned about 72 more calories than other trackers have reported for the same workout. I had a heart rate monitor on and calories were being tracked through the EA Sports Active game that I work out with. With the heart rate monitor, I supposedly burned 423 calories. With the armband I burned 495 calories. I noticed during my workout that my heart rate wasn't increasing when you'd expect it to, which means it didn't record me as being in the higher fat-burning zone for as long as I actually was.

It also caught all of my steps. Racked up more than 6,000 in that workout, but the Spark Activity Tracker and the Pedometer Pro app never caught that many steps for the same workout.

I am glad I got this one. The fact that I burned more calories than I though means I should be eating more. That's super important to know, but vital info I was missing with all of the other trackers. It's also supposed to get more accurate the more and longer you wear it. So hopefully I'll see even more of an improvement in info over the coming weeks.

Looking forward to seeing the data from a night of sleep after a hard workout!

The BEST fitness movement in the country? Help me bring OTFNation to SparkPeople! teams.sparkpeople.com/Oranget
heory-Fitness


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MINININJASUZUME's Photo MINININJASUZUME SparkPoints: (9,122)
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1/10/14 9:56 P

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Thanks for the input guys, it's helpful as I continue to research different options. I'm currently in school in a Bachelor's of Health & Wellness and will be starting the course for certification as a personal trainer in early spring. I'm using this time now to begin thinking of how I'll help my future clients, and one of the things that keeps coming back to my mind is how I can assist them with tracking their activity.

Before I got the Spark Activity Tracker, I tried using a fitness tracker made by New Balance. It never worked...I couldn't even figure out how to reset it, stop it or start it! Then I moved to using smartphone apps. I have been using Runtastic Pedometer Pro on my Android phone as a back-up, which is how I even knew that the Spark Activity Tracker was missing steps and calories. It's a pretty helpful app, but also offers a few problems. It limits the length of the stride. The shortest length it allows is 1'7". For someone like me with short legs and a short stride, this is a bit frustrating. I'd rather just be able to input my exact stride length as it would end up being more accurate if I could. And like the SPAT, it measures your activity in steps. It does a little better by distinguishing between light, moderate or vigorous steps but it still only handles steps. It doesn't track heart rate, body heat or sweat so the calorie burn it gives is still only an estimate and not as accurate as I'm looking for. And again, it doesn't help with strength training, which doesn't usually involve many steps. I also used it once for raking the yard. Though it did measure the time, by the time we'd been outside working for about 2 hours and 45 minutes it claimed that I'd only burned 25 calories! That was pretty frustrating, because we have a HUGE front yard and we're on a hill. I would imagine that raking a large yard while moving up and down a hill constantly for 2 hours and 45 minutes straight should have burned WAY more than 25 calories. That day I just ended up using SP's estimates for raking, but again had no idea how accurate that was. I supposedly burned about 1,429 calories by the time we were done (3 hours and 55 minutes). I wonder how accurate or off that estimate was...

What I found out a few weeks ago is that I haven't been getting a complete picture of my fitness efforts. Using a basic scale only showed me if my weight went up or down...it didn't give me any insight as to WHY my weight was increasing or decreasing (i.e. whether the number was going up because I was gaining muscle or fat or whether the decrease in total weight was due to fat loss or muscle loss). With all of the previous trackers I have only been getting a rough estimate of calories burned. That goes for using SP's workouts and estimates for activities like raking the yard. I had no idea how many calories I was TRULY burning, and therefore had no idea how many calories I should have been eating during the day. I started to see a bit of a plateau and figured I needed more data. That's what lead to my exploration of different fitness trackers.

As a side note, it's also probably a good idea to invest in a body composition scale (whenever you can afford to and if you don't yet have one). At first I was using a regular scale, and was excited to see the number go down each week. I mean, we all would be right? But then I began to think about the fact that I had no idea what my body fat % was, or muscle mass for that matter. I had no idea if the weight I was losing each week was muscle or fat, or even what the healthy ranges of each are for my age etc. I hunkered down, made a few sacrifices and purchased one and the info I've been getting so far has been enlightening. Now when I weigh in each week, I can see exactly where the changes are coming from. If I see that I'm losing body fat, I'm happy! If I see that I'm losing muscle, I know to make some adjustments in my regimen, water and protein intake and then I can see if the adjustments have helped or hurt in the next week. It also gives me my basal metabolic rate, so I can see about how many calories I burn at rest each day. That's helpful for setting my weekly calorie intake goals (no more confusing equations!) so I'm not eating too few calories.

I'm always on the lookout to learn more about the different fitness trackers out there, for myself and for future clients. If I like the one I just ordered, I'll probably purchase 2 or 3 when the time comes so that my personal training clients can "rent" one for use throughout their time with me if they don't want to fork over the $109 for one of their own. But if there are even better options I'm totally open to testing them out myself.

The BEST fitness movement in the country? Help me bring OTFNation to SparkPeople! teams.sparkpeople.com/Oranget
heory-Fitness


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CALAMITIE's Photo CALAMITIE SparkPoints: (91,288)
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1/10/14 9:21 P

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I track with my fitbit. It gives me my steps but can also count my chair marching. I have some pretty bad mobility issues and can't even walk around the block yet. But with my tracker I see how many steps I've taken and can see my cardio on the website. Those things have helped me lose 19 lbs. in 6 months. My doctor says that's good for someone that couldn't empty the dishwasher all at once 6 months ago but can now. Really do like to read every ones stories and how they are getting to goals.

RENAEPARANORMAL's Photo RENAEPARANORMAL Posts: 1,023
1/10/14 9:18 P

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I'm really please you started this thread. I intend to reward myself at some (as yet undetermined) milestone with a fitness tracker. I've been leaning toward the Spark Fitness tracker, but have seen the same problems with it mentioned repeatedly.

I hope lots of folks chime in with their experiences. Great thread!

Renae Rude - The Paranormalist theparanormalist.wordpress.com/
Founder of the SP team: Fit to Write
teams.sparkpeople.com/FitToWrite


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NELLIEH1's Photo NELLIEH1 SparkPoints: (217,095)
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1/10/14 7:37 P

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emoticon First, I really appreciate your honesty in sharing your experience with tracking your activity! emoticon You are probably right that different devices work for different folks in the particular exercises they've chosen to do.
We live out in the country, about 45 minutes away from any gym facilities. So when I joined SP, I decided to use a pedometer to keep track of my steps every day. My present one is a Fit and Healthy model. It doesn't always record my steps (as you reported with the SP Tracker), but then, i don't always do my stride either, so i figure, it all works out. It is easy to get in a lot of steps in the spring, summer and fall. But in winter, we are hemmed in by snow on roads and the trails are used by snowmobilers so we don't often snowshoe. However, we do some "jogging-in-place" inside and I do a little tap dancing.
The SP videos are helpful for keeping track of other kinds of exercises that we do, so i use them.
I also keep track of heavy housework, shoveling, raking (lawn and roofs), mowing the lawn (with an old fashioned push mower..no motor), and moving boxes of stuff. We used to burn wood, which was great for fitness in winter, but don't do that anymore.
About calories, i try to keep mine under the top limit given by SP and often closer to the bottom limit, as i'm working on losing weight i gained over the holidays. On maintenance, I found that i could take in a bit more, but not go over the top limit except for an occasional special day. That's just how my metabolism seems to work.
This topic is a great choice....Thanks! emoticon

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." - Colossians 3:23
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to GOD the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17


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MINININJASUZUME's Photo MINININJASUZUME SparkPoints: (9,122)
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1/10/14 7:08 P

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As I'm sure we all know, there are tons of different ways to track fitness. One thing I'm discovering though, is that not all tracking devices are created equal. Thinking that it would a great way to automatically track my steps and fitness, I decided to order the Spark Activity Tracker a few weeks ago. I was excited and hopeful, but unfortunately that excitement was quickly squashed. Despite wearing the tracker in exactly the way SP recommends, I found that it was missing thousands of steps (didn't track a single step during my entire step aerobics routine, which is about 15 minutes altogether - 10 minutes consecutively). It also wasn't giving me proper calories burned counts, and in some cases missed workouts completely. And because there aren't really any steps taken during strength training, the tracker wasn't able to give me any info on calories burned during strength training even though I know I was burning them. Come to think of it, none of the step-based trackers are helpful for tracking strength training.

It was then I realized that while the Spark Activity Tracker may work well for some people, it just wasn't working well for the kinds of exercises I do. I am trying to track several points of fitness, not just steps and the calories burned from those steps. I want to be able to guage the intensity of my workouts, my endurance and fitness level over time as well as how many calories I'm truly burning during both cardio AND strength training. This is the only way to properly guage how many calories I need to be eating each day.

I sent my Spark Activity Tracker back last week, and opted for a new one called the BodyMedia Fit Arm Band. It stays in contact with your skin, and it's recommended that you wear it for the entire day (even while sleeping, as it also tracks your sleep patterns and quality). While it doesn't track heart rate, it does track movement, sweat and heat being released from your body in order to track intensity and more points of fitness including calories burned. This is helpful because I KNOW that I sweat during strength training and I can feel the heat in my arms, legs and torso as I lift weights or do other strength-focused movements. I feel like this will finally give me the data I need from my strength training as well as cardio. I'm once again excited because I feel that it will be more effective for what I'm wanting to keep track of. It's supposed to be here tomorrow, so I'll take a week or so to test it out and report back if anyone's interested. It's expensive as trackers go, so definitely read reviews and descriptions of what it does before ordering - that goes for most of the high-end trackers now that I think about it. Hopefully my reviews can help someone who is in the process of choosing a fitness tracker!

Don't get me wrong, there are LOTS of fitness trackers out there and the Spark Activity Tracker is perfect for someone just looking to keep track of steps and calories burned from those steps. I never got to test it out doing other activities such as indoor cycling so I'm not sure how it would have performed for workouts other than walking. I also never got to test out whether it was truly water-proof or not. I also could have just had a defective tracker and perhaps getting another one would have solved the issues I was having with it. I still would have been missing out on important fitness tracking data from my strength training though.

I'm curious to know how the rest of you track your fitness and how accurate you feel your devices are? Do you use apps on your phones, popular devices such as the Fitbit, or something else? Do you simply opt to track calories from the video workouts here on SP? And what about tracking fitness during swimming exercises, any recommendations for accurate and water-proof trackers?

I figured starting a thread like this might help those who haven't yet chosen any kind of tracker...kind of as a way of getting reviews from other team members before spending money on something. Looking forward to seeing how the rest of you track your fitness and what fitness points are most important to you!

The BEST fitness movement in the country? Help me bring OTFNation to SparkPeople! teams.sparkpeople.com/Oranget
heory-Fitness


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