Couple months back I had posted a picture of my Polar Heart Rate Monitor on Instagram and the caption I posted below it said,
"Anyone else use a fitness device to push themselves?!"
Several people like the picture and few people commented. One specifically slightly caught my attention with their comment. It said,
They went off self motivation and didn't like stressing about a machine. All the person needed was their music and the mirror.
That's cool. We are entitled to their own opinions. Personally speaking, as a personal trainer who has a fitness tracker, yes I just bought the FitBit Blaze, I have loved having the FitBit. I actually didn't know so many of my clients had one until I got mine.
Here's why I love the fitness trackers:
1. Just like I recommend clients to log and track their food, the same goes for exercise. So many people "THINK" they're doing more than what they actually are. For example, before I got my fitness tracker, I would do some kind of workout on the stair mill, elliptical, or treadmill and when I finished it'd say something like I burned 600-900 cals in that hour. I always walked away thinking, "Man, I killed it!" However, after I got my fitness tracker, I realized the machines aren't all that correct. Sometimes your working harder than the machine will give you credit for or machine would give you a lot more credit than the effort you where really putting out. Depends on the person and the kind of shape they're in, in conjunction with weight, age, and height.
2. Yes, I know there's 100 articles out there telling everyone how inaccurate the fitness trackers are. HOWEVER, it does give people and IDEA of where they are. It's on your wrist reminding you to get your butt to the gym. It reminds you to get up and walk more. Reminds you that maybe you don't need the first parking stall at the store and a little longer walk would do you some good.
3. Yes some people get obsessive with it, but honestly, if my clients are setting daily goals to walk more than they did yesterday, I'm ok with it.
4. I like my fitness tracker as personal accountability. Sure, anyone of us can walk into the gym and use facebook to check in and say we were there, but how many of us do our VERY best when no one is watching? I'm guilty! To me I like being able to see what I've done, see an approximate of what my heart rate is when I'm performing various exercises, see an approximate of how many cals I burned and so forth.
5. Lastly, I like it because it builds community. Up until I got this new FitBit, I didn't know of the various challenges Fitbit offers. My clients and friends started inviting me to the "Work Week Hustle" Challenge and then there's a "Weekend Warrior". These challenges get intense when you have 10 of your clients tuning in and watching every step you make trying to keep up with you (or me trying to keep up with them). Better yet, on the days I'm not training clients, my FitBit reveals I don't move as much and that's fine, I move a lot during the week. But I love the community and the challenges this small little tracker has built. I helps me personally to stay accountable. Same goes for my clients. I've had some come to train with me and say, "ya know, I should go on a walk before or after work to get moving more".
YES I love my clients, however, I don't want to create a bunch of individuals that can't workout when I'm not around. My job is to educate and guide them. I want to make sure they can do it on their own when I'm not around and I challenge them even more when I train them. However, the FitBit has been cool from my perspective because they visually see how hard they are pushing themselves on their own verses when they are with me.
So are Fitness trackers stupid and lame? For me I have to say no. They give people a better idea from day to day what they are or aren't doing. No they're not 100% accurate either. I GET THAT. BUT it gives all of us the opportunity to challenge ourselves and others to be better. And isn't that what fitness is about? Being better.
As always, continue to be a better version of you. Whether or not you need or want a device to track what you're doing, that's up to you. But I personally like mine.