Too damn many fitness trackers


It’s entirely possible that nobody needs a fitness tracker. After all, people have been existing without them for a very long time. The last time I had a successful weight loss campaign, I counted calories manually and entered them in a blog. These days I use My Fitness Pal, which is convenient and mobile, but still flawed and non-intuitive. The disparity between what MFP tells me and the exercise machines at the gym tell me — or even MapMyWalk (also untrustworthy), is such a headache that I feel like my only solution is to just not give a shit, or to get a fitness tracker, as so many of you have these days.

When I bought my Canon 70D, I researched for months and months. When I bought my Toyota Corolla, I’d researched maybe a couple days. For a fitness tracker I really would like to not do any research and just have people tell me what to get, because there are too many options and they all seem to do almost the same thing. So it’s gonna have to come down to me and my preferences. Almost everything I’ve read says the Fitbit Charge HR is the way to go. But no matter what I’ve read about how it’s great and it has all these capabilities, I’m just not at all drawn to it. It looks clunky, like a tracking device in old school Star Wars. Also, the caller ID feature is laughably non-appealing. Jawbone was the first one I’d ever heard of, and it seems to have come a long way. It seems like a good tracker, but again there’s something about it that I don’t like. It looks a little dumb and poorly designed, like a tracking design out of prequel-era Star Wars.

The Misfit seems totally different a little weird to me. Like, maybe a tracker that they’d have in the new Star Wars movie (you know they would, c’mon). It’s gotten good reviews, and it’s the cheapest of all these up there, AND it has the versatility to be worn on your person in any way imaginable (including as a necklace, which seems silly). It is waterproof, unlike the former two devices, and tracks sleep and calories like the rest. It seems like a great device, and it should be a no brainer. But I also don’t like the look of it. I like functionality as well as style, and I’m afraid the Misfit Shine doesn’t really have both. However, the Activite Pop certainly does. It’s the best looking fitness tracker out there. Oddly analog though, for a digital device, and apparently doesn’t store data for very long at all (you have to sync it with the app every day, which would probably not be a bother, as I have my phone on me most hours of the day). It tracks sleep, activity, swimming, sleep, all that. I’m not really sure why I want a waterproof tracker; I don’t really swim that much, but I might if I knew what it was doing for my fitness. Can’t really think which fictional universe this watch belongs in.

All these machines and apps seem to me to be arbitrary, at the end of the day. Every method I’ve tried using as a form of calorie counting gives me different results. All I really want is a device that can tell me with near-accuracy how much I’m burning. Because I’ve been working hard, and I want to see the cold hard numbers (because I still want to eat pizza). Right now it’s looking like the pop. And, worry not about what that means for my new watches. I’ll just wear all of them at once, and convince myself that I’m being cool.

About the Author

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Hi! I'm a graphic designer, photographer and female person. I live in Minneapolis with my husband Alan and our baby son Alexander and baby cat Arya.


Getting Fit, Health

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[…] I wrote about fitness trackers back in the spring, and I expressed a concern that once I got one of these, I’d abandon it quickly like it seems most people do. Besides, I know how to lose weight. It’s the simplest equation really, that everyone should know: burn more calories than you eat. Simple! Right? Well, I’d tried MyFitnessPal for a while, and while it did help me make better food choices, I didn’t see any weight loss. And in the spring I had set a goal for myself: Lost 40 pounds. A big undertaking, but with enough determination I could definitely do it. My weight was 220 lbs, which had me admit to myself that I’d gone too far. I wanted to get to 180, which was above the BMI index’s “healthy weight” rating, but which seems plenty healthy to me (FYI, for a woman who is 5’9″, they say a healthy weight is 150 to 175 lbs, which would make me look like utterly alien). […]

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