Fitbit is one of the original pioneers of the now ubiquitous activity trackers. They’re now on their second generation of the Charge device, and it’s a nice improvement from the original Charge HR. At around $130, the Fitbit Charge 2 will track your daily steps, monitor your nightly sleep, and keep tabs on your pulse rate throughout the day. It offers an easy, mindless way to keep track of your daily activity.
For those of you who never read the instruction manual – which is probably all of you – you might miss Fitbit’s recommendation that you cinch up the strap while exercising. They recommend a looser fit throughout the day, but when it comes time to hike or run, tighten it up a notch or two to improve the accuracy of the readings.
Some of you might think that launching a product review of a scale during the holiday season, right smack between Thanksgiving and Christmas, is a blunder, but I politely disagree. Now is the BEST time to get a scale, and begin making it part of your daily routine. Tracking your weight is an easy way to monitor your progress, spot trends (both positive and negative), and you can use it to track fluid loss during intense workouts. Here’s the thing, by hopping on the scale now, you know that the results probably aren’t going to get much worse. I’ve been using Fitbit’s Aria Wifi Scale for a couple years now and absolutely love it. It’s simple. It’s easy. It works every time. If you’re in the market for a new scale – I highly recommend this one.
Wearable fitness trackers have come a long way since Nike debuted the Fuel Band in 2012. The Fitbit Charge HR represents the current evolution of wearable fitness products. If you’re on a tight budget, focus first on the essentials (good running shoes ((Brooks Adrenaline Trail Shoe is Aces)), decent hiking back pack (GoRuck GR2), gym membership or at home gym equipment like a pull-up bar). But if you have all the basics, and are looking to get a bit more scientific about your workouts, the Fitbit Charge HR is a great product to add to your arsenal.
Personally, I have been using the Fitbit Charge HR for over a year now and can personally attest to the benefits that it has brought to my training. With just the click of a button, you can quickly toggle through current time, total daily steps, current heart rate, total daily mileage, calories burned, and total floors climbed. And if you hold the button down twice, you can track specific workouts. Which will generate workout specific data (average heart rate, total distance, total time, etc.) I really like to use this feature for hiking, especially if I’m climbing in unfamiliar terrain. The Charge HR uses air pressure changes to assess elevation gain, and is fairly accurate. For each 10 feet of elevation gained, it calculates that as a floor climbed. So if it says you have climbed 100 floors during a workout, you ascended ~1,000 feet.
There’s also a neat social component built into Fitbit’s product line. You can add friends and challenge them to daily or weekly step contests. Again, it’s a bit of a novelty, but during the off-season, when it’s so easy to just sit on the couch, drink beer and binge on Netflix, any little bit of motivation helps, and competition is a great motivator.