Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Opinion on Fitness Trackers

I have been meaning to write this post since my birthday, but it just hasn’t happened.  

So for my birthday Hubs bought me a Jawbone Up24 fitness tracker.  I had my eye on it and mentioned it to him a couple of times and he got it for me.  I was super excited about it because I was intrigued by the information it offered such as step tracking, sleep tracking, calories burned, all that.  I also figured it might be a good motivator to get me on the workout train again.

I chose the Jawbone because after reading about the Fitbit and all of the other trackers out there, I liked the look of the Jawbone Up24 and loved how easy it was to operate (it connects to your phone via Bluetooth and constantly updates your information through an app – so cool!).  I read all of the literature that went along with it, calibrated it and put it on my arm to start tracking.  

As you might remember, I wear a pedometer daily because my company participates in Virgin Healthmiles, which compensates users for the number of steps they take in the form reimbursement for gym membership fees.  I laugh at this because I pay $10 a month for a gym that I haven’t set foot in in over a year.  Ugh, don’t even get me started on how horribly sad that last sentence is.  But hey, at least I’m getting reimbursed for that money I’m totally wasting, so technically it’s free….right?  Anyway…  

Because I wear this pedometer, I have a pretty good idea of how many steps I take per day.  And it’s pretty sad on days I don’t work out.  Like in the 3,000 range.  Yes, sad.  

So the first full day that I wore my Up24 was the Saturday after my birthday.  I got up around 8:00, puttered around the house for a few hours cleaning and chasing Jillian around, and by 11:00 (a.m.) my Up24 said I had already logged 5,017 steps.  

Ummmm, no.  Pretty sure that’s not right. 

I wish I could be blissfully unaware and say “well, this device is really fancy and uses an advanced algorithm to calculate my steps and activity, so it must be right” … but I knew that it was so very wrong.  5,000 steps just walking around the house?  No.  So I continued to wear it to see just how off it was.  Over the course of the next few days I wore my company issued pedometer (which is a digital pedometer I wear on my hip) and my Jawbone, and the difference between the two was ridiculous.  Like, so so so off.  It wasn’t even like there was a couple hundred step difference, it was like a couple thousand step difference.  

What is the point of wearing a fitness tracking device that you know is wrong?  I’m sure it was overstating other things too like calorie burn and whatnot.  It just filled me with so much doubt on the accuracy of not just the Jawbone, but any fitness tracker.  I did a bunch internet research and inaccuracy is actually common across all of them.  But the information varies on both ends.  I saw a lot of forums saying that it understated steps and distance, some saying that it overstated it, and some that said it was spot on.  Well, what’s the answer?

Again, what is the point of wearing a fitness tracking device there is actually documentation out there that says it’s generally inaccurate?  Why would I even want to use it then?  

I did everything I could to re-calibrate and make it work for me, but alas it didn’t.  The information just seemed so wrong.  I’m bummed to say that I had to take it back and I am likely not to get another fitness tracking device because I just can’t believe the information it provides.  Again, I wish I could be blissfully unaware and say “woohoo I logged 17,000 steps today!” but if I know I didn’t log that many steps, then what is the point of having something that tells me I did.  Ya know?  

Anyway…  That’s my story.  

How about you … Has anyone else out there had an issue with fitness trackers?  I’m interested to hear!  


  1. I LOVE my fitbit flex!! Amazing little device that even does sleep!!!! Dont know what I would do without it! HA

  2. I have a fitbit charge. Just got it for my birthday and I love it. It syncs with my phone so I can track steps, sleep, flights of stairs and calories via the phone; or I can push a button on the fitbit and see it on my wrist. It also acts as a watch, so one less thing to wear. I haven't had any trouble with it overcounting steps. If I'm on the stair climber at the gym and hold onto the side rails, it will count less steps because there is no arm movement, I'm okay with that because it pushes me to do more steps to meet the 10,000 goal every day.

    If you continue to be unhappy with the Jawbone, take a look at the fitbit charge. There are newer models coming out in early 2015 which include a heart rate monitor, but I was too impatient to wait.