Fitbit devices exist to help you live a healthier life by tracking your fitness goals. The brand’s message is inspiring, and there are many examples of Fitbits changing people’s lives once they started walking a certain number of steps per day or monitoring their sleep schedules.
After hearing 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 are now several models of Fitbits available. The most basic model, the Fitbit Zip ($60) offers step and calorie tracking. The most intense model, the Fitbit Surge ($250), is a smart watch dedicated to holistic fitness tracking — including GPS functionality and multiple sport modes. There are also several other models (including the Blaze, Charge HR, Alta, and Flex) that offer combinations of features to appeal to different customer bases.
There’s no denying that Fitbits are interesting gadgets that may be an ideal workout companion for many individuals. But is a Fitbit the right choice for you?
No matter which model you choose, you’re making a pretty significant investment. Before you go out and buy one, ask yourself these four simple questions to make sure it’s worth the cost!
1. Are You Exercising Consistently?
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 motivation to exercise.
Some people give every excuse imaginable for why they aren’t working out. They claim that they can’t start until they have the right clothes, or until the weather changes, or until they have the right gadget (a Fitbit). But the truth is that it’s not the things they’re claiming 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.
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
— Rebecca Barlow (@__bexy) August 20, 2016
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.
If you aren’t exercising regularly and are planning on a Fitbit alone to motivate you to do so, don’t buy a Fitbit.
2. Will You Actually Wear It and Use It?
Now that you know you’re committed to exercising, you need to decide if you’ll actually wear your Fitbit regularly. If you don’t like 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?
The Zip tracker can be worn in your pocket, but the basic device can only tell you so much. The other less-expensive devices like the Flex and Alta simply snap in with a little connector, while the higher-end devices like the Charge 2 use a strap similar to a watch. Those with sensitive skin could end up with irritations from wearing the Fitbit all the time. Or, if your job prevents you from wearing a watch, you won’t wear your Fitbit during the day either.
No matter which Fitbit tracker you use, you’ll need the free Android, iOS, or Windows apps to access all of 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 aren’t regularly interacting with your device and app.
If you can’t commit to wearing the device almost all day, every day, don’t buy a Fitbit.
3. Do You Enjoy Data?
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 track exactly how active they are and what they’re eating, 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 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.
— Fitbit (@fitbit) June 9, 2017
Those who thrive on information — how many calories you’ve consumed and how far you’ve walked — will love what a Fitbit offers. But they’ll be wasted on someone who estimates those things and doesn’t care to take the time to track them. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the latter mindset either.
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 does without paying anything? You’ll find hundreds of fitness apps on both Android and iOS that can help with your health goals. Google Fit (our review) is the native solution on Android, while the Apple Health app is built into iOS (our guide). In fact, the Fitbit mobile app can perform some basic tracking even without a device connected.
Before you commit to buying a Fitbit, try using the app without a device and either Google Fit or Apple Health 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.
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.
5. Do You Handle Competition Well?
There’s one key aspect of Fitbit that we haven’t touched on: the social factor. The Fitbit app allows you to add friends and check out 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 be 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!
If you don’t have other friends using Fitbit to keep you accountable or obsess over competition, you may want to avoid buying a Fitbit.
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 (but aren’t as vital) such as whether you’re OK with a company keeping track of your health data, whether your Fitbit will match your fashion, and if you’re OK with remembering to charge one more device.
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. We’ve explained which apps to pair to get even more out of it.
Read all this and don’t think you’re interested in a Fitbit? We’ve compared Fitbit devices to similar Garmin ones if you think another brand might be a better fit!
Did these questions help you decide if a Fitbit is right for you? What other questions would you ask to potential buyers? Let us know if you love your Fitbit, or other questions you have, down in the comments!
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