Saturday, July 27, 2013

Now I'm in Fitness Gadget Hell

So a few years ago, I bought a Polar Watch. This watch was about $100 and came with a chest strap. I bought this after I totally bought into the idea of zone training. Although, I’m not really sure if I bought this because I really wanted to be able to burn fat, or because the fact that at the time I was single, and my personal trainer at Life Time Fitness was utterly dreamy and I really wanted to get in his….um warm up pants. Anyways, after about 2-3 years I started having issues with the chest band, changed the battery, but there were still several times that it didn't want to read my heart rate. Basically the Zone training concept uses your heart rate to determine the threshold at which your body burns fat as opposed to sugar. The device really uses an educated guess. Apparently metabolic threshold testing is complicated and expensive and involves medical equipment and fasting; stuff that I really don’t have to time or money for. It was nice though, to see how many calories I was burning during my tough workouts. Still, after just a few years, it is amazing how far technology has come.
Thus I give you, an accurate and unbiased review of the Fitbit vs. the Jawbone UP band.

After we returned home from Vegas, I decided that purchasing a fitbit would be the smart thing to do to help hold me accountable. I was working out, but sometimes didn't feel like it, and wasn't exactly monitoring my diet to well. Hopefully the fitbit would help in this endeavor. I was waiting and waiting for the Jawbone UP to come out and saw it at the Sprint Store the last time I was there. The problem was that the Jawbone was only for the iphone at the moment. I thought about waiting for the Fitbit Flex to come out, which is a wearable wristband, but couldn't wait. I went to Target and bought the Fitbit One, which is a clip on monitor, about the size of a standard pedometer that tracks your steps, miles walked, stairs climbed, and calories burned. The display shows your progress on the actual device. I like the app as well, but couldn't really figure out how to use it properly for about a month. I used the app more on my computer, especially to log journal entries about my progress and log my meals. It’s nice because you can enter in your goals and then the fitbit will give you the calorie deficit that you need to hit to get to your goal. The one draw back is that it syncs through blue tooth and my phone isn’t a device that is supported for that, so I always had to sync it with my computer instead. Also, to get professional advice, you have to pay for an upgraded account. This device has definitely been helpful, especially on those days when I’m working a wedding. It’s amazing how much time I spend on my feet during a special event day. Some days I walked 8 miles just working alone! Either way, it helped me loose a few pounds. In addition to the fitbit, you can also make friends with the fitbit community and have conversation on their message boards. I also purchased a body fat analyzer as well which is electronic and is one of the most accurate ways of measuring your body fat. The manufacturer is Omron and you can find them on for about $30-$40. In a few months, I've lost about 10 pounds and my clothes definitely fit better.
Enter: Blonde Moments.
The one drawback to the fitbit one is that you clip it on to your clothes, so if you’re in a hurry to change before your workout, you will probably forget to switch it from your dress pants to your yoga pants, as I did several times. Also, the device is small, easily lost, and appealing for your cat to think it’s a toy. About a month ago, I tore my house apart and upside down looking for it. Turns out, it was in a vase on my dresser the entire time. IDIOT. That’s me! I was convinced for the longest time that my dog had ate it because it was still logging calories for some reason and was still syncing up from inside the house. I’m a moron. When I stuck my hand inside the vase I use to store my cell phone cords, my Bluetooth headset, and other small electronic items, I kept feeling something rubbery, but thought it was my Bluetooth headset. I’m still convinced that my cat has a vendetta against me where she steals things, hides them in her cat house, and then returns them because she likes to watch me freak out and hunt for things. She’s an asshole. Ironically, I found my fitbit while looking for my charger for my UP band, which I found, so I’m not crazy.
In the midst of NOT loosing my fitbit, I decided to go out and purchase the Jawbone UP, which is honestly the one I wanted in the first place. What I like about this device is that I wear it on my wrist so I don’t have to worry about loosing it that easily or leaving it on my clothes, or accidentally washing it. It syncs through the headphone jack on your phone and the app is much more phone oriented. That can be a good or bad thing. I like that it is more phone oriented in the fact that you can sync it up more often and it will tell you how the battery life is doing, but it’s a little harder to log your meals that way. What I like most about the Jawbone is that it vibrates if you've sat idle too long which is a reminder to get up and move, however, I've been so busy with work and have had so much desk stuff to do, that I was forced to basically ignore it. I’ll get better. On both the Fitbit and Jawbone UP you can program both to wake you up with a vibration, but my fitbit didn't go off half the time. Both devices monitor your sleep patterns as far as the length of your sleep and the time you spent in deep REM sleep or light sleep. I do enjoy how the Jawbone gives you pop-up insights into your patterns although sometimes it’s advice you don’t necessarily want to see. It has detected that my Wednesdays are my laziest days of the week. While the Jawbone is right, it sounds like my mother and all I want to do is tell it to “Bite me”. Either way, both devices are great and worth the investment. The price point for the Jawbone is higher, but I like it just because of a personal preference. Now that I have found my stupid fitbit, I can’t get it to turn back on. I know that the battery has obviously died, but that’s not a good feature if you let the battery run down and it makes your component obsolete. Not sure what to do about it yet.
In a nutshell, technology is not the devil and in fact it can help you get healthy. For us big girls, sometimes we need all the help and motivation we can get. Why not have a friend on your side? Hey, it’s cheaper than a personal trainer and it least your fitness device can’t yell and scream at you “one more push-up! Faster!” while you choke on your own tears and try desperately to not vomit up the protein shake you had for breakfast……
For more information on this new technology, check out the links below!

Wow, my watch which is only a few years old is SOOOOOO outdated after looking at Polar's new site.

Bottom line, there are plenty of devices out there to help you stay on track, which, unfortunately means you have absolutely ZERO excuse to get healthy. Sorry! Time to put on your big girl panties!

Gotta run!