Should You Buy a Fitbit? 5 Honest Questions to Ask Before You Do
Fitbit devices exist to help you live a healthier life by tracking your fitness goals. After hearing success stories, it’s likely you’ve considered purchasing one for yourself. Maybe you’re trying to lose weight, training for an event, or just want to make healthier choices every day.
There’s no denying that Fitbit devices are interesting gadgets that may be an ideal workout companion for many individuals. But is a Fitbit worth it for you?
No matter which model you choose, you’re making an investment. Before you go out and buy one, ask yourself these simple Fitbit questions to know whether you should get a Fitbit and if it’s worth the money.
1. Do You Exercise Consistently?
Cant wait to get paid so I can get a new Fitbit, mine broke like 3 months ago and have used it as an excuse to not exercise lol
— Becky (@__bexy) August 20, 2016
This is the first question to ask yourself because it’s a trap that many people fall into. Simply put, a Fitbit is not a magic bullet that will suddenly give you the motivation to exercise.
Some people give every excuse imaginable for why they don’t work out. They claim that they can’t start until they have suitable clothes, or until the weather changes, or until they have the right gadget. But the truth is that it’s not these secondary aspects that prevent them from starting—it’s themselves.
If you don’t have the motivation to consistently work towards your exercise goals without a Fitbit, buying one is not going to suddenly change your ways. A fitness tracker is meant to track your habits and give you actionable data.
Know yourself and whether you’ll actually commit to a plan. Someone who won’t go for a walk today because they’re waiting for their Fitbit to arrive in the mail tomorrow will always find an excuse to avoid exercising.
In short: If you don’t exercise regularly and plan on a Fitbit alone motivating you to do so, don’t buy a Fitbit.
2. Will You Actually Wear It and Use It?
Once you’re committed to exercising, you need to decide if you’ll actually wear your Fitbit regularly. If you dislike the feeling of wearing a watch or bracelet, you won’t like a Fitbit either.
For a fitness tracker to do its job, you have to wear it almost all the time. Failing to wear it during a walk or at night means it won’t record your steps and sleep accurately. And if you buy it only to have it sit in a drawer, what’s the point?
You can clip the smaller Fitbit Zip on your pocket, but this basic device can only tell you so much. Less-expensive devices like the Flex 2 simply snap in with a little connector, while the higher-end devices like the Charge 3 use a strap similar to a watch.
Those with sensitive skin could end up with irritations from wearing the Fitbit all the time. If your job prevents you from wearing a watch, you can’t wear your Fitbit during the day either.
No matter which Fitbit tracker you use, you’ll need the free app to access all the information it collects. Will you install those apps on your phone to keep up with your progress, or ignore them?
Fitness tracking tips and tricks won’t matter if you don’t regularly interact with your device and app.
In short: If you can’t commit to wearing the device almost all day, every day, don’t buy a Fitbit.
3. Do You Enjoy Data?
— Fitbit (@fitbit) November 4, 2018
The basics of losing weight and becoming healthier are simple, but the specifics for each human’s body can vary wildly.
Some people benefit from using the Fitbit device and app to record exactly how active they are and what they eat, keeping track of that data over time. Other people just try to eat fewer unhealthy foods, go for a jog every day, and don’t worry much about it.
If you’re in the latter camp, you might not care about everything a Fitbit offers. Most of the devices can tell you exactly how far you ran, how high your heart rate goes during a workout, and how active you’ve been during a day.
If you don’t care about any of those specifics and are happy with just getting some exercise in, a Fitbit might be a waste for you. On the other hand, if you need to keep an eye on certain statistics for a medical condition, having organized and detailed information at your fingertips can be a fantastic resource.
Those who thrive on information (like how many calories you’ve consumed and how far you’ve walked) will love what a Fitbit offers. But they’re a waste for someone who estimates those and doesn’t care to take the time to track them.
In short: If you don’t care exactly how many steps you’ve taken today or what your heart rate is, a Fitbit probably isn’t worth it for you.
4. Would a Lighter Alternative Do the Job?
Did you know that if you have a smartphone, you can try out a lot of what a Fitbit offers without paying?
You’ll find hundreds of fitness and pedometer apps on both Android and iOS that can help with your health goals. Google Fit is Google’s solution on Android, while the Apple Health app is built into iOS. Fitbit’s mobile app can also perform some basic tracking even without a device connected.
Before you commit to buying a Fitbit, try using its app without a device. Or give either Google Fit or Apple Health a test run. Do this for two weeks.
Perhaps they do everything you’re interested in—great! Then you don’t need to spend money on a Fitbit. On the flip side, if you can’t commit to using one of these apps regularly for a few weeks, buying a new device won’t change that.
In short: If a free health-tracking app does everything you need, or if you can’t commit to using one consistently, you don’t need a Fitbit.
Download: Google Fit for Android (Free)
5. Do You Enjoy Competition?
There’s one key aspect of Fitbit we haven’t touched on yet: the social factor. The Fitbit app allows you to add friends and check how their step counts compare to yours. You can choose to post status updates to your friends letting them know that you’ve hit your goal for the day, or earned a milestone badge.
Beyond that, you can create groups and challenge your friends to specific challenges. For instance, Workweek Hustle challenges two to 10 people to get as many steps in as they can from Monday to Friday.
These are great features, but are they for you? If you don’t seek out friends that also use Fitbit, you won’t stay as accountable for your goals, which could sap your motivation. You don’t have to know other people who use Fitbit to enjoy having one, but you’re missing out on a whole sphere of the service if you don’t take advantage of this.
Taken to the extreme, though, the competition could become unhealthy if you obsess over it. So don’t take it too seriously.
In short: If you don’t have other friends who use Fitbit and can keep you accountable, you may want to avoid buying a Fitbit.
Which Fitbit Device Is Best for Me?
Fitbit offers several devices for different uses.
A detailed comparison of each Fitbit model is beyond the scope of this article, but we’ve compared Fitbit devices to similar Garmin ones to help you decide.
Decided to Buy a Fitbit?
We’ve covered five big questions that you should seriously ponder before investing in a Fitbit. A few other questions are worth considering as well, such as whether fitness trackers pose a security risk, if a Fitbit will match your fashion, and if you’re OK with remembering to charge another device regularly.
After thinking about these questions, if you decide to buy a Fitbit, congratulations! Hopefully, you enjoy it and it assists you in becoming healthier. With some additional services, you can create a complete automated health tracking setup to get even more data about your body.
Image Credit: lev radin/Shutterstock