‘I Got A Fitness Tracker — Here’s What Happened’


Wanita Nicol |

Photography by Pexels

Trying to decide if you should buy a fitness tracker? The WH team strapped in to find out if they’re worth the splurge or wasted hype.

There was a time — let’s call it the Nineties — when you could buy the latest “it” accessories (zombie bangles, mood rings, friendship necklaces) for cheap on every street corner. In 2017, all the cool girls are sporting little devices that monitor steps, sleep, kilojoule burn and more. But they’re not exactly in the same price range as a paūa shell necklace. Can’t decide? Here’s what happened when three WH team members started wearing their trackers…

1/ We started moving more.

“I know I’m meant to be clocking 10 000 steps a day. And that most days I’m not hitting that target. But I hadn’t realised how dismally short I was falling — on an average work day, I’d manage fewer than 3 000 steps!” says deputy ed Wanita Nicol. “After a month of tracking I’d increased my average daily step count to 5 000.”
I Got A Fitness Tracker. Here's What Happened.

Watch: 5 Reasons Why You Should Track Your Workout

2/ We started going to bed earlier.

I discovered that I toss and turn A LOT! Sometimes I lose up to two hours of sleep a night because I’m restless,” says digital ed Gina Beretta. “I always knew I was a light sleeper, but I never knew I was that bad. I’m trying to go to bed earlier every night so that I can actually clock more than six hours’ sleep.” 
I Started Using A Fitness Tracker. Here's What Happened.

3/ We started drinking more water.

“The most addictive part of using the FitBit is the app,” says Wanita. “There are graphs for everything, which get updated in real time according to goals you’ve set. With my water bar graph looking more retirement village than city skyline, I’ve started keeping a bottle on my desk, which gets refilled at least three times a day. At home, I’ve taken to downing glasses of water instead of sipping cooldrinks.”
I Started Using A Fitness Tracker. Here's What Happened.

4/ Meeting healthy-eating and exercise targets became easier.

It makes exercising more exciting because it’s cool to see your efforts translated into numbers and stats,” says senior copy ed Leigh Champanis-King. “I also really like that I can set a weight goal (and date that I want to achieve the goal) and it lets me know how many kilojoules I’m allowed to consume each day in order to meet the goal. You can see how a bowl of chips affects your remaining kilojoules and how even going for a short walk can let you eat a bit more.” 

Watch: 3 Major Things Your Resting Heart Rate Can Tell You About Your Health

5/ We started meeting those  goals.

“Let’s be honest — as soon as those active rewards goals go above 500, it’s impossible to meet them with gym visits alone,” says Wanita. “My dad tried to kick me off his team because I was consistently missing mine. With my tracker measuring my heart rate, I can get 300 points with a half-hour run.”
I Got A Fitness Tracker. Here's What Happened.

Watch: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Fitness Tracker

So, Should You Get A Fitness Tracker?

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys BuzzFeed quizzes, playing games against yourself or stats and graphs, you’ll have a lot of fun tracking your every move. If you’re struggling to get on the healthy-living wagon and motivated by seeing visual progress or constant reminders to stick with the programme, a tracker could be the nudge you needed.

WH Tests The FitBit Charge 2

We Love: It’s light, water resistant – all good for sweaty hot yoga or a rainy run; not safe for showers and swimming — and comfortable. The small size fits even a tiny wrist and doesn’t look bulky. The battery lasts about a week and charges quickly when it runs down. It’s intuitive and user friendly even if you’re not very good with tech. The heart-rate monitor is accurate to within one or two BPM. The step-count feature is accurate even when pushing a trolley around the supermarket.
I Got A Fitness Tracker. Here's What Happened.
We Don’t Love: Sometimes the step-tracker stalls. “Once I had to get one more step to make my hourly 250 steps and, although I walked around my desk, it didn’t track any steps,” says Leigh. “It’s happened on a few occasions when I was focused on making my step goals.” There’s a function that activates the screen with a flick of your wrist — great mid run, but it can be disturbing in the middle of the night. Even though it’s light and small, it’s difficult not to be aware of the device when you sleep. “I wish it was easier to track food and macros on the app,” says Gina. “Currently there’s no option for SA (only US, UK, AUS etc) so I don’t use this function.”

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