Fitbit Flex: First Thoughts

On Monday, my birthday present to myself arrived, it was a Fitbit Flex.


Initial reaction–I love it!  I haven’t been using it long enough to do a full review, but so far, it’s been great.

Here’s what I like about it:

It motivates me to move: I love tracking my steps and just knowing I’m wearing my fitbit makes the decision to take the stairs or walk to a restaurant instead of ordering from seamless easy.  The frigid weather has definitely hampered my walking a bit, so I’ll take any motivation I can get.   I was actually surprised to see how much I walk now.  I’m averaging about 14,000 steps a day with several days over 20,000 not including other workouts. I was dog sitting last week, so we’ll see if my activity level decreases this week. Oh, and I love that they make a big deal with buzzing, text messages and little emoticons whenever you hit your goals!

It tracks everything in one place: I’ve tried a few calorie counting tools before and never stuck with them past breakfast.  However, because I check my fitbit dashboard regularly to see steps, I’ve had no trouble remembering to also track my calories. I can also track water consumed, weight, sleep and activity very easily.

It’s easy to wear: While the band isn’t gorgeous, it doesn’t really bother me at all. I’ve been taking it off to sleep and shower, but that’s about it.

It can be personalized: You have a lot of options based on your overall health goals. For example, when I set my weight goal,  I could pick from 4 different program levels to reach my goal.  I went with the medium level of intensity, which helps me create a 500 a day calorie deficit through diet and exercise, approximately 1 pound of weight loss per week.  It automatically accounts for my activity and adjusts my daily calorie allowance throughout the day.  As someone who hasn’t counted calories in ten years, it’s definitely a bit strange to track my food intake so closely, but I’m enjoying it for now.   You can also personalize your goals for daily steps, water, etc.

Here’s my dashboard from yesterday.

You can see the 5 mile run I went on at 10AM is my highest activity level of the day.  Also, I definitely need to step up my water intake. On this particular day, it said my calories were low, but my average for the week was around 2,000 calories a day, so it all balances out.

Here’s What I’m Still Figuring Out:

If I’ll still be wearing it in 3 months. I’m not sure if I’ll be as jazzed about Fitbit down the road or if it’s just a novelty.

How often to charge it! It says the battery lasts for 5 days, but I had to charge my Fitbit after 4. I think the charging might getting a little annoying, but maybe I’m just really lazy.

How accurate it is: I have a hard time believing that I actually burned 2342 calories in one day. I’m only 5 feet tall, so typically when I figure out my resting metabolic rate plus activity level, it’s closer to 17,000. For now, I’ll take it. :)

What the “premium” tool is all about: I fine using their basic program for now. It’s actually fairly robust, but I’m curious to see what the premium software offers.  Has anyone tried it?

How much does the Fitbit Flex cost? Approximately $99. Mine was slightly cheaper on Amazon, but now seems to be the same cost as other retailers.  The computer software and app are free unless you upgrade to premium.

2 responses to “Fitbit Flex: First Thoughts

  1. Melissa,

    I’m very curious about these bands. I could be wrong, but I’m skeptical that they can get calories correct. I just broke down and went from doing no analytics to wearing a Garmin 910XT. It captures heart rate, pace, elevation, distance, stroke rate (swim), strokes per length, watts on the bike, and cadence. It’s the first device that works in a pool. All you have to do is bring it within 3 meters of your computer, and it stores all your data, with really cool charts and maps, and allows you to share on Garmin Connect, the Facebook of endurance junkies.

  2. I agree with you and Josh. I’m a bit skeptical about how accurate these bands are. If it really was about just heart rate and movement, wouldn’t more people be thinner/fitter? That’s a whole different conversation, right?

    Ultimately, I do like that these provide accountability. I personally am less likely to go for that extra slice or ice cream when I see something on me telling me I have to move more if I eat that.

    Do you wear yours every day? What about when you dress up? Is it waterproof?
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