By: Jennifer Devitt on April 28th, 2015
Looking for a fitness wearable? See my review of the Fitbit Charge HR to see if it's for you.
I have another product review for you today. And, believe it or not, it is not an Apple device. Au contraire, it is for a Fitbit. Yes, more wearable technology. I admit it, I am a gadget lover.
Ok, so I workout. I do various fitness activities from HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), Yoga/Stretching, Running and weightlifting. I like to track my results. Alright, I will admit I am kind of OCD about knowing the impact of my blood, sweat, and tears. For the last 2 years, I have used a Polar FT4, with great success. With my Polar, I have logged countless hours and burned hundreds of thousand calories. But, after 2 years it was showing wear and let's face it there are better more technological advanced options out there. When I invested in the Polar I was still easing into fitness so didn't want to buy anything top of the line. It served well as an introductory wearable fitness accessory.
Last summer our overly active son bought himself a Fitbit Flex. As you can imagine his steps were off the charts, so as a typical teenager, he got bored with it and Dave picked it up recently. As I was considering a switch from my Polar I was intrigued by Dave tracking his sleep, etc. But, the Flex did not offer heart rate monitoring, which I have grown to appreciate. So I did some research and decided on the Fitbit Charge HR.
At first, finding the device was difficult, it has only been out a few months and most places were sold out in the small size. But, alas I found one last week. To say I was thrilled to not have to use a slimy chest strap for heart rate monitoring is an understatement. I have gotten used to it over a two year period, but face it they are not the most comfortable item. Below are some key features I am enjoying on my new toy.
1. Heart rate monitoring all day. Sure, I could've done this with my Polar, but who wants to wear a chest strap 24 hours a day? Not me. It's interesting to see my resting BPM (beats per minute) as well as getting a more solid read of all day activity and calorie burns. The first workout I did with the Fitbit I also wore my Polar to compare the heart rate monitoring. They were pretty seamless. Each had its slight ups or downs, but overall too close to say one was more accurate. I give the plus to Fitbit solely for all day monitoring and no chest strap.
2. All around tracking. I like that via the Fitbit app I can track my nutrition, water consumption, daily steps, sleep cycles, calories burned and fitness activities all in one place and see how it impacts my day. When you have health and fitness goals seeing everything in one place and getting a solid, daily snapshot gives a much better picture of where you are in terms of meeting your goals.
3. App integration. Fitbit gives you the ability to sync with My Fitness Pal app as well as a few other apps. I find tracking my food intake via My Fitness Pal and then having it integrated with my daily activity on Fitbit app is highly accurate. You can also use it to sync and monitor fitness or you can just hold the button on the Fitbit to monitor an exercise when you start and finish. The Fitbit will also vibrate if you get a phone call and it does have music control functions for your iPhone (which I haven't tried).
4. Friendly competition. To say we have a competitive household is an understatement. And I won't lie that one reason I decided on a Fitbit was to challenge Dave. You see, I have been trying to get him back to working out with me for a while. While he is healthy and certainly not overweight, we are not 20 anymore and both have family histories of heart disease and diabetes. Dave will always say "I will give myself a heart attack before I let you win". And, typically he won't take a water break or walk on a run until I do. Stubborn man! Well, I haven't been successful until now! We have had daily challenges. I honestly don't care if he beats me on steps as long as I hit my 10,000 steps (although I have beaten him more than he has beaten me!). My daily step count doesn't include my workout, and those are more my goals than steps. I want him to beat me on steps. I told him it's like the episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon trains Penny with Chocolate. Instead of chocolate, I am training him via reverse psychology knowing he can't stand to loose! We are making progress. But, as soon as Dave gets his Apple Watch and our son gets his Fitbit back we are both toast, because he wants in on the competition to smoke us both! That's ok, bring it on!
5. Sleep tracking. Overall, I sleep well. I am not sure I agree with the tracker that simply shifting or rolling over equals restless sleep, but hey it is what it is. My Fitbit automatically tracks my sleep, Dave's Flex requires him to tap it prior to dozing. You can also send a silent alarm just prior to your regular alarm to assist in ease of waking. I don't bother as Dave is the morning person in our house and typically wakes me before the alarm.
Overall, I am pleased with the purchase. The Fitbit Charge HR ranges from $149-$199. Some may say it's pricey but my Polar that does not have all the abilities of the Fitbit (no app, integrations, etc) was $99 two years ago. I am not in the market for an Apple Watch at this time like Dave so I went this route. I do wish the Charge HR had the Tory Burch covers for them like the Flex offers. I will admit the fashionista in me doesn't care for the black rubber style! The Fitbit Charge HR has a solid battery life of just over 3 days for me so far and charges back up in under 20 minutes. I found the size small to be comfortable and so far have had no skin irritations. Overall, I would recommend it for the fitness person who is looking for more than just a heart rate monitor. Do you have a favorite fitness wearable, or perhaps a Fitbit? What are your favorite features? If you need a fitness kick in the pants, go out and get one and find friends to challenge. It's amazing what a little friendly competition can do to get you moving, right Dave?