You have probably seen and heard about Fitbit but in case you haven’t they are a device you wear like a watch and it counts how many steps you take each day. There are several different models, I started out with a Fitbit Flex and have currently got a Fitbit Surge, my Flex mainly counted my steps, and showed me visually by 5 LEDs that would glow with every so many steps (250 for each LED if you kept it on the default settings) when you hit your daily target (again the default is 10,000 steps but you can customise this) the band would vibrate on your wrist and the LED’s flash in a sequence to cheer you. If you use the app on your phone as well then it tells me how many calories I have burnt and could also tell me how well I slept during the night. To Charge the device you had to pop the actual Fitbit out of the band and put it into a charging dock. I went through several bands because of the way the Fitbit came out of the band, it made the band snap in the same place after a while. The amount of times I have walked around with it taped together whilst waiting to get a new band was getting silly so I finally decided it was time to upgrade last November. There were lots of other models available but I saw the Surge and decided I wanted it. Annoyingly it was the most expensive model available on their website, until Black Friday happened and it was reduced so I bought it!
So what does my Surge do that my Flex didn’t? Well it tells me on the screen the time and date, I swipe my finger across the screen and it shows me how many steps I’ve taken, then my heart rate, then the distance I’ve travelled, then how many calories I’ve burnt, and finally how many floors I’ve been up or down! When you open the app it will still be able to tell me how well I’ve slept and various other bits of information. When you hit your daily step target with the Surge, the screen congratulates you! It has stars and a message and it also vibrates on your wrist so even if you aren’t watching to see the screen you feel it and then want to check the screen!
Shortly after I got my Surge through, I found out they were releasing the Fitbit Blaze in a few months, I was a bit annoyed as I’d only just got the Surge and a similar thing had happened when I got my Flex, the released a new model shortly after I got my Flex!
I checked the specification of the Blaze and thought it looked fairly similar to that of my Surge, apart from 1 key detail – the screen is in COLOUR! I then was annoyed again but decided that I could live with my Surge as it was basically the same just the screen is black and white digital. That was until my Surge band started to get bubbles appear… Wouldn’t be a massive problem apart from one minor detail – you can’t change the band on the Surge. The Blaze on the other hand has replaceable straps, much like a regular watch strap can be changed, the actual Fitbit part of the band comes out of the band to charge and sits in a proper dock, this means the band doesn’t get in the way when you charge it either.
Luckily Fitbit customer support is great and after I got in contact with them and explained what the issue was, including a photo of the problem, they got back to me to inform me that they were sending me a replacement product. That will no doubt tide me over for a while but I am still lusting after a Fitbit Blaze!
Why get a Fitbit at all? Well we all know or have at least heard somewhere once or twice maybe that we should be aiming to take at least 10,000 steps every day to ensure we are getting some exercise and keeping active. In the past I have had a couple of pedometers that have come free from a promotion or ones that I have bought, but I have given up on them because they haven’t seemed very accurate for me and would be very temperamental in recording my steps at all. They would also need clipping onto your waist band – and that for me was not the safest place to keep anything very long as I tend to walk into things and couldn’t just wear any old trousers or skirt with the pedometer as it would be too heavy or look odd or whatever. My Fitbit is worn on my wrist, now you can still get a Fitbit that clips on to you, there are a couple of different models that do, but they are not like the old pedometers that were heavy and cumbersome and used some sort of ball bearing to clack this way and that to count your steps as it went, so even one of the clip on Fitbit would still have got me wanting one, just lucky for me they had the wrist ones already! I got mine in September 2013 (that’s 2.5 years ago!) and could see that I was already doing over 10,000 steps on days I was at work, on days when I wasn’t working then I would have anywhere from 1,000 to 6,000 steps or possibly more if I had been out somewhere shopping. I wish I had one before I started working at a pub because I lost at least 2 stone in the first year I was there – just from increasing my activity levels at work (I was always on my feet when I was teaching but when I started working at the pub I REALLY started rushing around, carrying heavy plates of food across the pub – every day was like having a cardio and weights workout!). I have also seen the effects of a knee injury to my daily steps and the knock on effect it has had on my weight. In the past 6 months, I have gone back into the classroom and again had a rubbish diet eating mostly carbs just to get me through a long and exhausting teaching day with little time to think about eating let alone to actually eat. Then came the foot injury. Still having no idea what I’ve done to it – well I know what I did that made it injured but I don’t technically know what the injury is because my doctors just keep telling me they don’t know what I have done, I am still in pain from it 6 months on. I can tell you mostly when I will start having more pain in it (after a long all day shift on my feet funnily enough) and I can tell you that it will still be hurting the following day or two depending on how many days I spend on my feet all day at work. I can also tell you exactly where it is hurting as it is always in the same place, and that sometimes taking the pressure off my foot causes as much pain as standing still with weight on my foot. It is therefore probably not a surprise that I have been walking funny and trying not to put pressure on the ball of my foot. Add walking funny to rubbish, cracked pavements around the place where I live and bear in mind I have to walk to the bus stop to get to work, and oh look, my foot just went over and if it hadn’t been for the fact I was wearing boots I am pretty sure I would have fallen over as well. So now my ankle/side of my foot keeps waking me up from the pain at night/in the morning but still I have not gone to get it checked out. You can look at my Fitbit stats and you could probably tell me exactly when each of these events happened. It’s a shame I didn’t also have the heart rate monitor on my Fitbit initially as it would have been really interesting to see the changes in my heart rate when I was initially losing the weight to when I had to start slowing down again when I hurt my knee.
I have been at the top of the leaderboard among my Fitbit friends for quite a while, despite being less active than I was, however as so many of my friends have now got a Fitbit and have seen me at the top of their leaderboard for too long, they are all getting very competitive and with the addition of my latest injury forcing me to have more rest time when I’m not working I am yo-yoing up and down the leaderboard at present!
The Fitbit Blaze has a colour screen, interchangeable straps, has a dock charger and all the other things I have come to enjoy on my Surge, particularly the heart rate monitor. I am going to get myself checked over and then will treat myself to a Fitbit Blaze when I have got myself mended. The added bonus is that they are cheaper than the Surge!
What are you waiting for get yourself a Fitbit Blaze today, add me to your friends list and while you’re at it, sign up to Bounts and get paid for the steps you take! I have already earned a £25 iTunes voucher for all my steps since I joined Bounts – I wonder how many vouchers I could have earned if I’d have been signed up to Bounts since I got my Fitbit!