Author Topic: Fitness trackers  (Read 3378 times)

Offline fritz_monroe

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Fitness trackers
« on: December 21, 2016, 07:40:14 AM »
So I'm thinking of getting a fitness tracker for myself.  I've read the reviews online.  I've researched them a lot.  Now I'm going to the members here to see who makes use of one.

What do you have?
Do you make use of it as much now as when you first got it?
Does it actually give you a little bit of motivation like it is supposed to do?
Any bad experiences with them?
If you have a wrist HR feature, does it read properly when you are exercising hard?

Any other info you guys want to supply will be appreciated.
F_M
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Offline Arky

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2016, 12:08:18 PM »
I've got the FitBit Blaze and love it.
I don't use the features as much as when I first got it for sure. 
It gives me no motivation at all.  It probably did for the first couple of months, but I'm over it now. 
Only bad experience I've had with mine is having a rock it the screen while I was weedeating.  But their customer service was great and sent me another one at no cost.
As far as the HR goes, eh....could be worse could be better. I'd say its usually within 10-15% of being accurate.

I do like being able to get texts and notifications on my wrist, then I can decide if I actually need to get my phone out of my pocket (1st world problems, right?). My favorite thing about it though is the alarms.  My wife works random hours and our wake up times can differ drastically.  I like the silent alarm that vibrates on my wrist. Its great to have an alarm that will wake us up, without waking the other person up.  Hope this helps.
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Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2016, 09:34:10 PM »
I had a Fitbit One for a couple of years (clipped to my bra strap, for the most part) and now I have a Garmin Vivoactive HR that I wear on my wrist.

The One was cool because you can see when you're really just sitting on your butt doing nothing.  You can do challenges (though someone always cheats, so really just against yourself is best) and do virtual trails if the weather sucks in your neck of the woods.  There's a little bit of adjusting for the stride, but it's not hard, and once you have it down, it's pretty accurate.

But I wanted more than that, so I got the Vivoactive HR.  I love it.  Both units track your steps and sleep.  The Vivoactive also tracks your heart rate (as do the better Fitbits) and has GPS tracking so I don't have to use my phone for my walks and rides.  It has constant heart rate, which has been really interesting.  I don't have anything to compare it to for accuracy, but the numbers look normal and I don't see anything that might be an anomaly.

I also like that I can get the weather (including rain and lightning alerts) on the watch, as well as some other notifications.  The widgets and apps are free, and I added one for a compass.

I did a treadmill walk after work and, looking at my heart rate over the course of the day, I apparently was more excited about getting pizza from across the street, because my heart rate walking to lunch was higher than it was on the treadmill.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2016, 12:57:03 AM »
It lets The Man track your exercise... :o

You can mitigate it by only using the device while exercising in your basement with the walls and ceiling lined with aluminum foil.  ;)
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Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2016, 05:24:28 AM »
You can mitigate it by only using the device while exercising in your basement with the walls and ceiling lined with aluminum foil.  ;)


Foil is cheap, so what's your point?


 :tinfoily:

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2016, 07:11:07 AM »
A little over a year ago my wife got me a suunto ambit 3 peak and of all the gadgets I have owned in the last 20 years, it's probably my favorite. I started using a heart rate monitor watch when I was training for the Portland marathon in 1996 and since that time I've owned probably close to a dozen Polar and Garmin data devices, from bike mounted GPS units to wrist watches. All had their upsides and downsides. The most annoying thing was downloading the data for analysis after every workout or at least after every few hours. Some had battery life issues. Some had lousy software. Some crashed. Some drove me insane when they lost data because they ran out of memory.

The suunto can store hundreds of hours of data and you upload it by clicking on the app in your phone. The battery life is measured in weeks except when you're using the GPS, then it's 20 hours in best mode, 30 hours in good mode, and 200 hours of GPS collection in the battery saving mode. This made collecting data during my entire 400+ mile Colorado trail hike doable and uploading data to the interwebs without a computer easy. Bonus, if you left your phone at home, you can still collect the data and download later, and one better, if you left your watch at home and have your cell phone, you can use the app to capture your time and mileage and it automatically uploads.

The options for chest strap HRM, bike wheel speed, cadence, and foot pod exist. The app could be better, allowing more manipulation, editing, and graphics, but it's functional. I've heard the top end Garmin is pretty competitive, but I had lots of software glitches with my last two garmins and really didn't want to go there again. I've never once lost data on my suunto in over a year of use and close to 1000 miles of data collection. It also has smart watch features, like displaying texts and incoming calls, which I love. You can also create custom apps or download them for free. One app I saw chimed every time you burned a beers worth of calories. Others help with intervals based on heart rate, another gives you storm warnings based on changes in barometric pressure.

Blah, blah, blah, I like it. It's more than most people need, but was finally everything I wanted in a watch.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2016, 08:12:07 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far. 

I don't want another one with a chest strap HRM.  I have a Garmin Forerunner that I use at times. But it's big and bulky.  I'll likely stick to the Garmin name since I have a bunch of data in there already.
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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2016, 08:19:32 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far. 

I don't want another one with a chest strap HRM.  I have a Garmin Forerunner that I use at times. But it's big and bulky.  I'll likely stick to the Garmin name since I have a bunch of data in there already.
There's a number of good YouTube reviews of the new strapless HRMs and they're worth watching. The long and the short of it is that you should keep your expectations moderated with wrist-based HRMs. Their reliability with high intensity exercise is poor compared to chest straps. Frankly, I used a chest strap HRM for so many years that I know where my zones are just by how I'm breathing, so I never use my strap anymore.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2016, 11:51:40 AM »
I have a Garmin Forerunner that I use at times. But it's big and bulky.


Even though I'm a woman and have small wrists (I wrap my right hand around my left wrist and almost all my fingers can touch my thumb) the Vivoactive HR hasn't felt bulky to me.  It sticks up above my wrist 3/8" but it isn't annoyingly large and conforms to my writs completely.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2016, 03:46:03 PM »

Even though I'm a woman and have small wrists (I wrap my right hand around my left wrist and almost all my fingers can touch my thumb) the Vivoactive HR hasn't felt bulky to me.  It sticks up above my wrist 3/8" but it isn't annoyingly large and conforms to my writs completely.
The one I have is a Forerunner 305.  It's huge, WAY bigger than the current crop of devices.  I woulnd't have any issues with the Vivoactive's size.

The long and the short of it is that you should keep your expectations moderated with wrist-based HRMs. Their reliability with high intensity exercise is poor compared to chest straps.
Yep, I know that they aren't that good for when you are working out, I mainly want the wrist HRM for monitoring all day.  Maybe there are some available with the wrist based one and able to use a strap as well?  I'll have to look into it a bit.

And I've watched tons of the reviews.  But I'm looking for what the members here have.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2017, 06:42:54 PM »
In case anyone was watching and is curious, I ended up getting the Garmin Vivosmart HR+.  I've only had it for 2 weeks and it's been working well for me. 

The HR+ is the same as the HR, but with the addition of GPS.  I've used it while running and I'm pretty happy with it.
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Offline Odin's Son

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2017, 08:27:39 AM »
In case anyone was watching and is curious, I ended up getting the Garmin Vivosmart HR+.  I've only had it for 2 weeks and it's been working well for me. 

The HR+ is the same as the HR, but with the addition of GPS.  I've used it while running and I'm pretty happy with it.

Glad you like it.  The wife and i have been thinking of getting something too.  After a month or so of heavy use, give us a good honest review please!  We look forward to hearing about it.

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2017, 08:48:38 AM »
Glad you like it.  The wife and i have been thinking of getting something too.  After a month or so of heavy use, give us a good honest review please!  We look forward to hearing about it.


I love mine.


I went on a hike a couple of weeks ago with a new group, and I was a little surprised to find I was having trouble keeping up (fast paced and uphill - almost scrambling).  Since we still had four miles to go, I thanked them, but headed back.


When I got home, my Vivoactive had not only mapped the trail, but showed me I had hit a new heart rate high of 168.  So I was probably right to turn around and not get stranded a couple of miles later on some rocky trail on the back side of a mountain, needing medical help.


Offline scoob

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2017, 07:45:55 PM »
My wife and I each got a Vivosmart hr+.  Shortly afterwards,  I broke my leg, so I'll have to get back to you when I can actually get after it again. So far, so good though.  I like checking my sleep patterns.  I'll have to compare the heart rate when I get on the warm up bike at physical therapy.
Gotta admit, I like the GPS, the ability to load apps, and of course the Punisher watch face!  ;-)  Actually, I use the calendar watch face now.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2017, 09:20:12 AM »
and of course the Punisher watch face!  ;-)  Actually, I use the calendar watch face now.
Uh, huh?  I can change the watch face?  I'll have to look into that now.

Looks like that's for the VivoActive.  I don't see any different watch faces for the VivoSmart.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 10:13:17 AM by fritz_monroe »
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Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2017, 01:13:51 PM »
Uh, huh?  I can change the watch face?  I'll have to look into that now.

Looks like that's for the VivoActive.  I don't see any different watch faces for the VivoSmart.


Look for the widgets when you hook it up to your computer.  There are a whole bunch for the Vivoactive.  I've got a digital version of an analog watch face on mine.  Figured it was kind of ironic.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2017, 04:29:11 PM »
Yep, lots for the VivoActive.  I have the VivoSmart.  There's none that I find for the VivoSmart.
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Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2017, 04:35:01 PM »
I can get you some paint if you want...

Offline scoob

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Re: Fitness trackers
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2017, 09:34:01 PM »
Oops...sorry, yeah we have the VivoActive.  :-/