When I first bought a Fitbit I could have never imagined that I would wear any bracelet day and night. I’m the type of person that loves accessories, but takes them all off the moment I set foot at home. Fast forward two years later and I am on to my second Fitbit. Not because the first one broke down, but because I wanted to upgrade to a newer version. I wear my Fitbit day and night and couldn’t imagine being without one at the moment. What is the thing with Fitbit that my old and simple pedometer can’t do? Why am I hooked to my Fitbit?
What is a FitBit?
For those who never heard of Fitbit, this is a fitness tracker/bracelet (more of a watch) that are all the rage these days. There are many fitness trackers on the market and after doing a whole lot of research I kept coming back to Fitbit. It is hands down the best tracker available. Fitbit sells many different type of fitness trackers such as the smart watch Blaze and the minimalist wristband Alta. In my opinion Charge is the most useful.
Why would you want to track anything in the first place?
With a simple ”lift-to-look” gesture the black screen shows me all data you can possibly think of. Time, date, (resting) heart rate, km walked, steps, calories burned…. But, why?
You can only improve if you know where you are right now.
I’m always trying to improve myself. If you stop improving/learning, you stop developing yourself. So I always want to know and do better. As such I need to know the facts. Cardio Fitness for example presents a number you can aim to improve. Likewise when it comes to your average steps per week or your average hours of sleep.
How do you know how much or how little you are sleeping or moving?
When we ask ourselves whether we drink enough water we also measure this. Because you can’t always feel/know how you are doing. To measure is to know the facts.
What does the Fitbit Charge 2 do?
I once bought the Fitbit because I just wanted to track my steps and I kept losing my pedometer. The heart rate check and the sleep tracker were a bonus that I appreciate now a lot. I’m wearing my new Fitbit 2 for some weeks now and fell in love for the second time. Everything seems to be more fine-tuned. The Charge 2 syncs faster than the Charge HR, and it recognizes when I’ve raised my arm to check the time much better. The screen is four times bigger (and brighter) than the Charge HR’s screen, so when raising your arm to watch the screen you get much more information coming in. Not only calls are visible when they come in, but also for example texts and calendar appointments are displayed. In my opinion this gives this tracker the feeling of a smart watch.
The Fitbit Charge 2 screen can show you:
✔️ time & date
✔️ step count
✔️ heart rate
✔️ distance walked
✔️ stairs climbed
✔️ amount of active minutes
✔️ silent (vibrating) alarm
✔️ calories burned
✔️ automatic tracking of workouts/jogs/bike rides
And much more….
The Charge 2 also allows you to manually change your workout. So if you are not walking or running you can manually on the watch select biking, treadmill, elliptical, intervals, weight lifting and then track the exact time of your session (plus other relevant information). Working out this way shows a much better reflection of your workout without having to rely on a band’s heart rate monitor to detect a spike in heart rate.
It also has a little ”buddy” reminding you to be active with a short vibration. It will tell you that you have been sitting too long, or that you need to go for a walk or just when you need to take only 19 more steps this hour not to be too inactive for too long. By doing this Fitbit makes you walk 250 steps to “earn the hour.” It made me want to walk more often, instead of sitting behind my computer for too many hours in a row.
The Charge 2 has a new “Relax” mindfulness feature which is something I often use to fall asleep with. It is a new built-in feature that guides you on a breathing exercise for either 2 or 5 minutes. I really think it looks for your breathing with the help of your heart rate, but I’m not sure. I enjoy it to relax, but to some this might be just a gimmick.
Features I don’t use on the Fitbit
I never used the Fitbit to see how much calories I ate or burned since I don’t count calories. I also don’t track my water intake on my Fitbit.
Is it wearable?
I have to say that I’m not a very ”sporty girl” when it comes to my accessories. I like to wear feminine accessories so I could not imagine that I would wear this device 24/7. I’m very surprised how easy it is to combine the Fitbit no matter what type of accessories you like. The bracelet itself doesn’t look or feel cheap at all. The strap is very solid and durable. With the Charge 2 you can make the straps as fancy as you wish since you can easily take them off and replace it with another color/material.
I also love the battery life (you can charge it with a cable), which is sometimes even more than a week in my case. I don’t know if this is for everyone the same, but it sure will keep up to 5 days without charging.
How does it work?
On the back of the device is the heart rate monitor (green beaming LED light on your skin), which continuously tracks your heart rate. This light detects capillaries expansion and contraction.
You basically need to wear the Fitbit as often as possible. The more often you wear it the better details you get about your overall health and activity. Via the online Fitbit dashboard or app on your phone you can see your details. The Charge 2 also tells you now how your heart is doing compared to other men/women your age (cardio fitness is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise). This Cardio Fitness score is a good way to see whether you need to do more exercise for example. I was happy to see I scored excellent. Pfiew! I can also see for example a change in my average heart rate in rest when I had a stressful week, which is a great reminder to also plan some time for myself and to unwind.
What about the sleep tracking function?
The best bonus for me was the sleep tracking function. I use the sleep tracking function every night! Before becoming a health coach/blogger and living on all the sweets in the world, I didn’t care about sleep at all. Now I (luckily) know that this is as important as the food I eat for my overall health. The Charge 2 does a great job letting me know how I sleep. Maybe I’m just a stat geek, but I check how I slept quite often. Am I tired today because I drank too little water or because I’m a bit under the weather or maybe my day was just too stressfull? Or maybe I simply didn’t get enough sleep and Fitbit never fails to tell me so. There are days I think I slept great, but I was either very restless or I didn’t sleep that long after all. Going to bed at 11.00 pm and getting up at 8.00 am doesn’t always mean you slept 9 hours.
Is the Fitbit Charge 2 perfect?
I would say: YES. I can imagine however that there maybe two points that can be improved. Runners for example will maybe be disappointed that the Charge 2 (still) doesn’t include a built-in GPS. However, it does connect to your smartphone’s GPS, and that tracking (pace and route) is pretty precise too. Fitbit says that this device is not water-resistant for swims or showers, however I heard some people have no problems taking a swim or shower with their Fitbit on. I always take mine off though.
The bottom line is that I’m pretty much hooked to my Fitbit. For the price of the Charge 2 you get pretty good value for your money, considering smart watches that do a bit more cost significantly more, and cheaper bands don’t have the build quality and heart rate monitor. Also Fitbit’s customer support service is extremely good!