I’d generally describe myself as someone who has an interest in technology. I enjoy learning about new features of cell phones/computers, I make it my mission to be familiar with the best apps to make my life even easier, and keeping up-to-date with all the latest operating systems is something I consider a priority. It’s not easy, but when I look at the older generation clinging to their rotary phones and regarding changes in technology with terror, I know it’s something that has to be done. It’s for these reasons that I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, until recently, I had been living in the Dark Ages when it comes to technology in one part of my life where I expend a significant amount of time and energy: fitness.
As you might have read in a previous post, I’ve never been to log my food intake or to count calories closely, and as far as I knew, I thought most fitness technology that was out there was geared to assist with that process. But I was wrong. For Christmas this year, two of my gifts were foreign devices from the land of fitness technology. The first, the Fitbit One, which looks like some kind of small medical implant, and the second, the Motorola MOTOACTV, which looks like an iPad nano wannabe. Not wanting to appear ungrateful, I feigned excitement for both of these technological advancements, but inwardly, I pictured both of these items fitting perfectly in the cords and other miscellaneous junk drawer in my desk. What happened instead? They both became part of my daily routine, because what they each can keep track of is actually pretty damn awesome.
The Fitbit One comes with a tiny clip that remarkably actually stays put–even while running–when you attach it on your shirt or a belt loop. What this little device does is keep track of how many steps you take, how many floors you climb, the amount of calories you burn, and how many miles you walk all on a daily basis. It also tells you the time, and when you first pick it up in the morning, it greets you with something succinct and adorable like “SMOOCHES, KATIE,” which I secretly enjoy.
All the information the Fitbit gathers about your activity wirelessly communicates with a tiny USB drive you stick in your computer and forget about. Every time you’re nearby, it collects the data and it also posts to your free account on the Fitbit website. There’s also an app you can download to your phone that has a lot of the same features as the website. With the app (and on the website) you can also keep track of how many ounces of water you’ve drank and keep a food journal, if you’re so inclined. There’s also a Fitbit scale you can buy separately that coordinates with the Fitbit One and could probably be really useful if you’re working on losing weight. I wear my Fitbit everyday. Since it’s so small, you can easily wear it without having some weird bulge appearing under your clothes that someone might confuse for a 1980s pager or something equally embarrassing.
The MOTOACTV does a little more than the Fitbit does in that it tracks your workouts more specifically based on type (run, elliptical, weight training, etc.), and it has GPS capability, which is useful if you run outside frequently. Each time you’re about to start a work out, all you have to do is start it on the MOTOACTV, which you can clip to your shirt or wear as a watch, and it tracks all kinds of things like your calories burned, your pace, your mile times (if you’re running), and your distance. The MOTOACTV is also an MP3 player, so you can easily add songs from your iTunes library right into there so you have less to carry with you. It even keeps track of the songs during which you burn the most calories, which I think is amazing.
Also, if you have your headphones in during a run, for example, the MOTOACTV will tell you when you start your second lap (second mile). It’ll also let you know, in that semi-creepy, automated voice if/when you’ve beaten your best mile time, which is a nice little motivation boost when you’re huffing and puffing. Like the Fitbit, the MOTOACTV communicates wirelessly with your computer and loads your data on the MOTOACTV website, where you can get a more in-depth look at your workout statistics. Every time I’m about to work out, it’s just become my habit to “start” my workout on my MOTOACTV, forget about it, suffer through it all, and then “stop” it when I’m done.
So I might have been fashionably late to the fitness technology party, but now that I’m here, I’m metaphorically eating the hors d’oeuvres, sipping the champagne, and generally loving it. I like that now I have a way to account for all the little activities I overlook, like going downstairs or walking to work. Since I’ve started using the Fitbit and the MOTOACTV, I have a better idea of my daily exertions, and that helps me determine how I need to adjust my eating and exercise. So if you haven’t already taken the plunge into the world of fitness technology, I recommend it. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss, it’s a great way to be aware of your activity level with very little effort needed on your end.
If being aware I walked 10,000 steps gives me a way to justify eating another piece of chocolate, I’m all for it. And that is why you gotta love technology.