Fitness trackers

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous H&F' started by Nachi, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Nachi

    Nachi Active Member Supporter

    Hi, anyone has any experience with fitness trackers - wristbands? I saw an add somewhere on Facebook or where and in the name of procrastination searched for more info. It looks like a very interesting device - monitoring the heart rate, sleep, calories burnt, even GPS with some to measure distance walked/ran/biked. Etc. It also looks like something that could help a lot with motivation to move. Does anyone have any experience? Do you think it is worth considering getting one?
  2. Morik

    Morik Valued Member

    My wife used one for a while. I think she still has a smart-watch she has tied to it that she wears when she exercises that tracks her heart-rate/etc.
    She used to do the chest band w/ heart rate monitor--not sure if she still does.

    If you have any specific questions about her experience I can relay them to her.

    She felt it was worth it, I believe. Though I haven't asked her about it in a while now.
    One thing she did often (not sure if she still does it) is take her HRV (heart rate variability) in the morning before getting out of bed, and make decisions about how hard to work out (or whether to skip), based on that.
  3. Nachi

    Nachi Active Member Supporter

    Thank you for the reply! Well, I am curious on personal opinions of people. If it is not too much trouble to ask her I do have a few questions :)
    - Would it motivate her or help her with her exercising (you partially anwered that by her checking the heart rate in the morning), but also in a sense that it would help her alter or decide what to do in her work-outs for example.
    - If she used some statistics - most of these trackers are paired with an app that would make graphs of your activities for exemple, as I found - Are they helpful?
    - The main thing may be if she's still using it after a while - of course, in case she exercises on a regular basis. Which leads me to another question:
    - She only wears it for an exercise, not a whole day? In case she has one that needs a chest band to check her heart rate it would probably make sense...
  4. Morik

    Morik Valued Member

    I think she wore the chest band for workouts, but I don't know if she switched fully to the watch instead.
    I think she does wear the wristband one hooked to the fitness app all day.

    She hits the gym 4-5 times a week for weight training & conditioning. (She doesn't do martial arts at all--no interest in it.)

    I'll talk to her and get back to you.
    Nachi likes this.
  5. Travess

    Travess Misplaced Melancholy Supporter

    I bought my wife a Garmin ViVo fit a couple of years back, and she absolutely loves it - She keeps it on day and night (monitors her sleep, and highlights light and heavy sleep patterns) she uses it to record her daily steps, and his it set up to alarm, if she is 'idle' for too long. She also Syncs it with her Myfitnesspal app, so that it can aid in her calorie counting.

    Worth mentioning that her's is a very basic model, that only record the above (sleep, steps, calories burnt) I even wore it once for a 10km run, and as it is only set up to count steps, it had a real trouble calculating what I had done. Obviously though, the more 'advanced' model you buy, the greater the options and use.

    Nachi likes this.
  6. Nachi

    Nachi Active Member Supporter

    Sounds great! Garmin was also one tracker I looked into. Now I found one that I'd really like, which includes GPS, heart rate monitor all day, steps counter, sleep patterns, calories burnt, programs for your work-out, you can also set what kind of work-out you are going to do - like running, cycling, walking, weight lifting, fitness and it seems one can even add crossfit or something more custom. It also shown incoming calls and messages when paired with a phone, which isn't something I'd really need, but it is another function.
    It is a bit more expensive, but pretty (it has to look nice, you know! :D) and from what I saw for the cheaper ones, several I looked into, many people complain that it isn't very accurate or counts steps when doing activities that actually don't include walking (like brushing teeth), or that it has problems with syncing with an app or the strap tears after a few months. So I am getting the feeling getting something of a better quality might be worth it..

    Thanks for the feedback, that sounds actually great! :)
    Travess likes this.
  7. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu Supporter

    I've had a few different ones. Currently I have a polar m400, which I put a chest strap on for running or lifting, but I'll take it off for martial art classes.

    I think it depends what your want to get out of it; some watches have built in HR monitor which help for all day tracking.
    if you want to keep an eye on your actual calories burnt, the HR monitoring make it more accurate.
    for me I use it to pace runs by hitting a percentage of my max HR, or pad work and lifting I can determine when I'm rested enough for the next set.

    I found that most the brands are geared towards running outside with gps, pedometor and HR being focal points. the data collected can be analysed to determine the amount of stress from your running load and rest you probably need.
    when you add lifting, MA or other exercises to that mix it doesn't work as well, but you'll still get an idea of your activity and rest, refuel.
    Nachi likes this.
  8. Nachi

    Nachi Active Member Supporter

    Thanks for another helpful answer :)

    Actually, the one I wrote about and might want to get is Polar a370, which indeed monitors the heart rate without the need for any chest wraps or anything and does that continuously. I might use it also for outside activities or small work-outs at home. I am going to CrossFit a couple times a week, where I'd like to try, not sure if it wouldn't be a problem or wouldn't distract me. For my karate classes, we should take all the jewellery and similar staff down and considering pair exercises and so, I don't think I would actually wear it there. Or just tried once or a few times just to get an idea, maybe.

    What interests me is to get some feedback about how my body works and what the activities do for it. I only own a smartphone for about a year and this summer, I used it often to track the lenght, trail and pace of my walks, bike trips, occassional footbike or in-line skating. I suppose the tracker would give more accurate info, or rather... more info and could help me track everything. The only problem is that winter is coming :D there will be less outside actvities for me. Still, I kind of like the idea of checking and maybe adjusting what I do according to the data I could get. Hmmm...
  9. Nachi

    Nachi Active Member Supporter

    Plus... I don't have any watch now, so I may as well get a fancy one :D
    axelb likes this.
  10. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu Supporter

    everyone's HR, weight and ability is different; if you track a work out without accurate information, the calorie burnt and stress on your body may be out.

    polar has a good built in tool on the website which shows your recovery and running index based on the data. you shouldn't take it as "gospel" but it will give you a good idea whilst you're learning about yourself.

    it's also another way to track your progress when you might feel you haven't, and you can see the history shows improvement.
  11. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu Supporter

    the m400 has lasted me 2 years with fairly heavy weathering :D
  12. Morik

    Morik Valued Member

    I had my wife read the thread, here is her response:

    I wear a Fitbit daily. I think it helps with motivation to move more frequently and get enough total movement for the day. I did a lot of research into the different pedometer accuracies (jawbone, Fitbit, phone apps, etc) and fitbits always came back the most accurate (particularly the Fitbit One that you clip on rather than wear on a wrist). My new Fitbit Alta also has a constant heart rate monitor which is nice to see and it's gives you total minutes in the day that were "active" (met a minimum heart rate) and resting heart rate too. I don't wear my Fitbit to exercise because I do a lot of kettlebell work and don't like the bell hitting the wrist strap.

    To exercise or run I wear a polar v800 with chest strap for heart rate. The watch/strap sync is powerful enough the I can set it up and then set the watch down in the room where I'm exercising and it will still read the heart rate strap. I like the polar app (polarflow) that goes with it so I can see the time I am in each heart rate zone as well as look at the graph to compare what my heart rate was doing for different parts of my workout and how I was recovering. Watching my heart rate while exercising is helpful so I know when I'm ready to start another set. It also tells me if my body isn't quite recovered for work on a particular day. If I'm not fully recovered or have a lot of other stresses going on, my heart rate will be unusually high for certain things. Looking at heart rate while exercising also tells me when I could be pushing it harder.

    When I was training for runs I used the polar watch, heart rate strap, and "run" monitor (a sensor that hooks into your shoe laces to monitor your gait, steps per minute, and give feedback on your running style through the polar flowapp).

    When I'm seriously training for a goal (like I was for the strongfirst kettlebell certification) I like to take my hrv every morning before I get out of bed. I used the elite hrv app connected to the polar cheat strap 3 min everyday before standing up. Hrv (heart rate variability) is a simple way to measure readiness to train. It monitors the variability in the intervals between heartbeats and then compares them to previously recorded data by you (it works best if you do it consistently and have a lot of data) to let you know how you have recovered. Stress on the body is from more than just physical exercise and hrv is a good way to quantify the load of stress your body is feeling. The app corresponds your hrv reading to a green (go for it), yellow (drop down a small percentage), or red (focus on mobility and recovery) day.

    I have used these products for years off and on depending on the training I am doing at the time.
    Dead_pool, Mitch, axelb and 2 others like this.
  13. Morik

    Morik Valued Member

    My wife also said:

    I've also done a ton of research into other watches & heart rate monitors but didn't feel like writing about why the others weren't as good

    In general for heart rate chest straps are always better than monitoring through the wrist.
    Dead_pool likes this.
  14. Nachi

    Nachi Active Member Supporter

    Thank you, Morik! And Morik's wife if you're looking, of course :)

    I think I like the idea of a device like that more and more. I looked at Fitbit one, because I was curious how it works when you only clip it on, but it seems the shops are out of stock, anyway.

    I will look into the Ftits more, though I read some negative stuff about them, too, so I am still more inclined to polar. Also read that the app to go with it is great.
    The part about being to tell if you've recovered enough sounds really nice! Though if I don't feel recovered yet, there is probably nothing that would force me to continue :D (I am not training seriously - in a sense like for some competition - for anything, so....)

    Thank you all for the answers I got! Now I probably only need to check carefully the devices available and figure out if I can actually wait for my birthday in two months or get it right away :D
    Dead_pool likes this.
  15. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu Supporter

    Useful breakdown from @Morik :)
    The only other thing I would add; if you can try the watches on it would be beneficial - the Fitbit HR charge had loads of complaints about the strap irritating. I haven't heard of it of others, but it is always worth making sure it doesn't irritate you wearing it.
    Nachi likes this.
  16. VoidKarateka

    VoidKarateka Valued Member

    I have a Fitbit Charge 2 HR at the moment, it's been a great help to me and my fitness training.

    Falling into bad habits (mainly around eating and hydration) the watch is sort of like a constant reminder on my wrist to get off my backside and do something throughout the day. You can set reminders to get exercise in at regular intervals in the day. The heart rate tracking has been pretty spot on so far too. The phone app is easy to navigate and it's outdoor tracking is pretty good. I've got a bunch of runs and bike rides clocked in mine now and they've all been really accurate. I tend to take it off when I'm doing martial arts specific stuff, especially if I'm wearing a gi or working with a partner. For stuff like kata and bag work it's pretty solid (though I do have to tighten the strap a notch when I'm doing that so it doesn't slip and lose my heart rate).

    I've had upwards of 4-5 days of charge time on it s well which for a single, 2 hour charge is pretty good. The watch itself also record up to a week of data before it needs to be synched with the phone app.

    The only irritation I've had with the Charge 2 HR wrist strap has been when I get my arm hair caught in the strap putting it on or taking it off. The rubber is quite grippy so I imagine that would irritate some.
    Dead_pool likes this.
  17. Rataca100

    Rataca100 Banned Banned

    The only one i know of is a Nunu band i think the company is called, its a i think cheap tracker, dont think it does GPS, not too sure about ehart rate either or how good its sleep pattern is, but it does steps and time! :D

    (its not mine)

    Im not too keen on the having to install a app that the company provides to get full use out of any tracker though, especially if you have to pay for it again or all of its functions are not avalible without the app. Pet peeve of mine. I was looking into one of the Fitbit ones but i have no idea which one anymore, it was probbly just a clip on something and not a band. (dont use their scales, from the reviews they look dodgy. :p)
  18. Nachi

    Nachi Active Member Supporter

    So, in the end, I got a Polar a370. It just arrived today, so I charged it, synced it and went for a walk that turned into a jog - sort of switching between the two. The thing is completely awesome! It shows so many things! Not to mention the app, which looks very very nice, too, with lots of data and a way to measure my aktivities in a diary. I have it for around 3 hours now and I love it! :)
    VoidKarateka, Dead_pool and axelb like this.
  19. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu Supporter

    awesome :D I have my polar on most of the time. It's funny how you end up running when you're meant to be walking with it.
  20. Nachi

    Nachi Active Member Supporter

    Well, it sort of... happened :D I... needed to test the HR monitoring after all!
    axelb likes this.

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