Take Your Exercise Routine to the Next Level With Fitbit and IFTTT
Fitness bands have become very popular , especially after the arrival of the Apple Watch last year. Nonetheless, Fitbit remains the brand to beat, posting sales of 21 million units in 2015, which was up from 11 million units in the year before.
What makes Fitbit so popular ? A lot of this probably has to do with its varied lineup of products, which range in price from $60 for the Fitbit Zip to $250 for the Fitbit Surge . Another factor almost certainly playing a role: there is so much you can do with a Fitbit when it’s connected to a smart device, such as an iPhone.
Last fall, we offered some diverse ways your Fitbit tracker and IFTTT could help automate your home and life. Here, we dig deeper and show you other ways the two can work together to make your life better.
What is IFTTT?
Before getting started, it’s important to summarize what IFTTT, or “If This Then That” can do. The free service allows everyday users to create chains of statements, called “recipes,” which are triggered based on changes to other Web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Available on the web and through apps, IFTTT works with many smart products including those from Philips, Withings, and, of course, Fitbit.
San Francisco, California-based Fitbit offers activity trackers and wireless-enabled wearable technology devices to make us all healthier. In doing so, Fitbit products measure critical data such as the number of steps walked, heart rate, steps climbed, and other personal metrics .
Fitbit does an excellent job of collecting our sleep log, just as it provides a great way to track how many calories we’re eating each day. Thanks to IFTTT, this data can be analyzed even further. And in doing so, make us healthier.
Seeing Is Believing
Few of us like to get on the scale, but it’s one of the few ways to know if you’ve lost or gained weight. Conversely, it is good to know that you’re averaging 7.5 hours of sleep each night. But how often during the week do you look for this information through your Fitbit app?
Many of the Fitbit recipes in IFTTT are dedicated to making this type of information more readily available. Think of them as bright lights that are sometimes annoying, but still beneficial. Like that morning alarm clock that does its job, despite the annoyance.
One of our favorite IFTTT recipes that solves this purpose is one entitled, “Email me my Daily Activity Summary.” Every day, you’ll receive an email showing, among other things, your total calories burned, sedentary minutes, and total steps taken.
Sometimes, this information will be a cause for celebration. Otherwise, it might be enough to convince you to take an extra long walk at lunchtime.
Need even more motivation? Some recipes put a summary of your daily activities on Twitter or Facebook for your friends and family to see. For example, “Tweet when you achieve your daily step goal” can offer positive reinforcement, while “Fitbit Activity Summary > Facebook Status” offers one or the other, depending on how your day went. Another excellent recipe is “Get your Fitbit sleep logs as a weekly digest on Sunday morning,” which can add some motivation for the week ahead.
Perhaps the most annoying recipe requires no additional discussion: “Get an insulting phone call If daily Steps goal not achieved by 10:30 PM.”
Remember how a Fitbit tracks personal metrics? You can collect and store this information in other formats and locations, depending on your needs.
“Document your daily activity in a Google Spreadsheet,” for example, gathers all of your activity data. In time, you’ll have an overall summary of what you’re doing — both the good, and the bad.
How much has your weight changed in the past six months? The recipe, “Log Fitbit Aria Weight to Google Drive Spreadsheet” will give you the answer; again, for better or worse.
Don’t Be Caught off Guard
Many of us would be lost without our fitness trackers. Forgetting them at home while at work can be a frustrating situation. Another is forgetting to charge the device.
“If I get a notification that my Fitbit is low, remind me to charge it” adds a note in Apple’s Reminder app whenever it’s time to recharge your wearable device. Conversely, “Send an IF notification if Fitbit battery is low” is excellent for non-Apple device owners.
Working With Other Products and Services
In Fitbit’s ideal world, we’d all own a Fitbit tracker and scale. In the real world, other products exist. Thanks to IFTTT, these different products can talk to one another and pass data.
There are many recipes in IFTTT that allow Fitbit to communicate with the Withings Scale and vice versa. In other words, you don’t need a Fitbit Aria for Fitbit to track your weight.
Do you own a Fitbit Aria, but use a Misfit tracking device? Yes, this too is possible thanks to IFTTT.
Finding and Creating IFTTT Recipes
The ideal way to add or create an IFTTT recipe is by using the IF app, although you can also do this via the IFTTT website. Most likely, the recipe you’re looking for has already been added. If not, we’ll show you how to perform the action.
To find a recipe for Fitbit, go into the IF app and select the recipe icon at the top right of the screen. Then next to “My Recipes” select the “+” button. This action brings up the “Suggested Services” screen. Find Fitbit. If you haven’t yet connected your Fitbit account to IFTTT, you’ll need to do so by clicking on the link and then selecting Connect. From here, you’ll be asked to log in to your Fitbit account.
Once you’re connected, you’ll see a list of “Popular Recipes” for use with Fitbit. You can also do a broader search by typing “Fitbit” into the search field. Select the recipe you’d like to use from this list. In this example, we’ll select “Have I been active enough to justify going out Friday night?” From this screen, click Add.
Once you do, the recipe is attached to your account, and you’re ready to go. This particular recipe sends a weekly digest to your email each Friday at 5 p.m.
To create a new recipe, go into the IF app and select the recipe icon at the top right of the screen. Then next to “My Recipes” select the “+” button. This action brings up the “Suggested Services” screen. Select Create a recipe at the bottom of the screen.
That’s a Wrap
Fitbit continues to be the leading producer of fitness devices and it isn’t hard to see why. Thanks to IFTTT, the data gathered from these devices is usable in ways you might never have considered.
How to you use your Fitbit?
Image Credit: Racorn via Shutterstock.com
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