Last fall I started hearing about the newest rage in fitness; fitness trackers. There are so many available. Everything from a little device that fits in your pocket (or attaches to your bra/waistband/pocket) to elaborate devices that could track everything about your day. In the beginning I didn’t really think much about them but the more I heard about them and the more that people started talking about them on Facebook and Twitter the more interested I became. Then one day my husband (who is a gadget geek, but not for specifically for fitness) called me into his office and asked me if I knew about the newest devices available for tracking weight loss, called “fitness trackers”.
I told him “yes”, and that I was doing some research on possibly asking for one for Christmas. Then he showed me one that he had discovered. The “Fit Bit Force” was it’s name and it did everything you could imagine! Yes, that’s when I officially fell in love with an inanimate object. The more I read about the “force” the more I fell in love. It would track your steps, flights of stairs, activity level, sleep and you could link to My Fitness Pal, document your water intake, calories. I was in love! Once I discovered that you could make connections with friends through the online friends list, I was convinced this was for me. I was looking for another way to help me as I continue on my fitness journey and this tracker was perfect for helping me do that. I asked for the “Fit Bit Force” for Christmas and left it up to him to handle the rest, once I measured my wrist and discovered I have a “bigger than average” wrist size and would need the large band. I made sure I told him of my color preference (slate) and size large band, by the beginning of December to make it easy for him to make the purchase. Before the middle of December, I started “helping” him locate some locally as they were sold out online (his preferred method of shopping).
(I’m such a good wife, huh?)
Christmas came and we opened our presents! I was thrilled when I opened the Fit Bit Force. I immediately started trying to get it set up and ready to use, but he had mistakenly gotten the smaller band. Sadly, I couldn’t wear it! I had to wait to exchange it on the 26th! 🙁 Happily, I was able to exchange it and get the larger band on the 26th. I rushed home and set it up and got started on my happy journey of connecting with my friends and getting some more movement into my day! All was right in my little world for the time being (except that I had to say “see ya later” to my Marine son earlier that day, but that is beside the point of this story). I connected, walked, chatted, worked out and anxiously anticipated my wrist buzzing to alert me to the fact that I had achieved my 10,000 steps! Then, something tragic happened. I heard that some people were reporting a “rash on their wrist” where the force was. It was reported as a blistering rash that was occurring in some users, caused by a ‘nickel allergy’. I happily went about my days, ignoring most of the report.
Yes, I love denial…as I have very sensitive skin and can usually only wear expensive jewelry made of gold or sterling silver, I kept myself in my happy little denial for as long as possible. Sadly, that day was no longer possible after wearing it for 6 weeks. 6 weeks after starting to wear my force I noticed a rash on my wrist. I thought it was because I had gotten hot and sweaty. But, a few days longer and I could no longer deny I was one of the un-lucky ones that was allergic to the Force!! I tried to see if I could just flip it over, thinking it might go away. No, it only grew larger and redder, almost to the point of blisters. I took it off and cried as I returned it! Fortunately, I was able to return it without any issues. In fact, the store where we had gotten it were intrigued as they had heard of the rash/recall but had not seen it. I became a specimen for them to examine!
I was frustrated at my body for rejecting my Christmas gift. (I was never mad or frustrated at Fit Bit as they were great, about announcing the recall and taking immediate action in making the best out of a bad situation.)
I waited for a while before looking for a “replacement” device because I wasn’t sure what I wanted and I wanted to let my wrist heal. I researched several different devices; the Polar Loop, the Nike Plus, the Garmin Vivofit, and the Fit Bit Flex. I continued researching and tried to not make a rash (pun not intended) decision. In March, I decided to get the Polar Loop and went into a local running store to purchase it. The running store didn’t have the Polar Loop but had just gotten the brand new Garmin Vivofit in. It was number 2 on my list to try out so I decided to go ahead and buy it.
I liked the easy set up of the Garmin, and I loved that it was a “Garmin” product. I figured it would be a great device because it was a Garmin. I set the tracker up and connected it to my phone. I was happy with it for the first 24 hours but then I started having issues getting it to sync. I couldn’t get it to sync to my phone. I couldn’t get it to sync to my computer. It didn’t matter what I did it would not sync! I didn’t like that the only way I could see my progress was on the device itself. I couldn’t connect with friends because the Garmin was so new no one else I knew had one. (I know that’s a pretty petty reason to not like something but I’m a social person!) I also was having a huge problem dealing with the fact that it looked like a heart rate monitor! It looked terrible if I was dressed up and it wasn’t syncing, regardless of how hard I tried to sync it! If I couldn’t sync it, what good was it going to do me. I also couldn’t figure out how to get it to track my sleep habits. When I reached my 10,000 steps there was no notification that I had reached that goal unless I could get it to sync.
I returned it to the running store and got my money back after owning it for four days! Yes, I was that frustrated! Next, I turned to the Polar Loop. I decided to order the Polar Loop through Amazon Prime as I couldn’t find it in any local stores. Let me just say right now, I LOVE Amazon Prime! I ordered my Polar Loop from Amazon Prime and it showed up in 2 days! The biggest issue I had with the Polar in the beginning was that I had to “size it” myself, so my husband and I set out to size it and we cut it too small for my wrist. It was so tight I could not really wear it properly, so I sent it back to Amazon and asked for a replacement. They sent me a replacement, no questions asked!! Once I got the new one I cut it down one tiny step at a time to make sure I didn’t cut too much off of it. I got it cut to a size that seemed to be about right and plugged it in to go. I set it up, linked my phone to it and was ready to find some friends. I knew one of my friends had a Polar Loop so I was excited to connect with her on there to cheer each other on to a healthier life. Problem was I couldn’t find a way to connect with her. I thought I was just not looking in the right place, but it turned out that if you don’t have the Heart Rate Chest Strap you can’t find your friends (from the best I can tell). Neither of us had the chest strap so we couldn’t connect. I also got frustrated with the tracker because it took me getting over 16,000 steps to hit “GOAL” and since I’m just a regular girl with responsibilities and a family and not hours and hours a day to workout I can’t hit that kind of goal every day! I let that little frustration slide but day after day I was more discouraged when the goal calendar told me to move more and that I needed to work harder to get to my goals. I would hit 10,000 steps frequently but the tracker would only tell me I’m at 40% to 50% of my goal. It was just too discouraging to me to be told I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I was. I let it slide for a while but after about 3 weeks I was noticing it didn’t seem to count all my steps and I was getting more and more frustrated with it.
So, I returned the Polar Loop on DAY 30 of having the tracker. I’m so thankful that I bought it through Amazon and that they were so good to work with. After I received my refund I ordered by newest (and hopefully last) fitness tracker; the Fit Bit Flex (in pink)!
I’ve had the Flex now for two weeks and so far I have been happy with it. The battery charge lasts anywhere from 4-7 days, which is a big deal to me. (The Polar Loop only lasted 2 days and was a big pain in the arse to charge and it took more than 30 minutes to charge.) Having a colored band that I like is a vanity thing, but it is important to me. I reconnected with all my friends that I had originally connected with when I got the Force, so I already have a network to cheer me
or taunt me. I love how it vibrates when I reach 10,000 steps, like the force did! It makes me feel special and it makes me feel like I have accomplished something of significance. It also helps me keep track of my sleep (which the others were supposed to do but didn’t do well). It lets me know I need to get more, better sleep. My biggest issues with the flex is that it doesn’t have a feature to tell time and I have to use my app on the phone or computer to tell me how I’m doing. BUT, it syncs up super fast so it doesn’t take more than a minute to tell me I need to get moving to reach my 10,000 steps or I’m almost there for the day. I almost always have my phone with me so I can use my phone to tell me what time it is! 😉
I’m glad that I have been able to find a tracker that is helping me become a healthier me, to encourage me to move more and to connect with friends at the same time. I hope some of my adventures are helpful to others.
***This post wasn’t written to trash or support any particular fitness tracker. It was written strictly to let you know my adventures in seeking to find a fitness tracker that I like and can feel comfortable using. I wasn’t paid by Fit Bit to like them, nor was I paid to dislike the other devices. My husband bought me what I asked for as a gift for Christmas and I’ve got to have all the joy of finding a tracker to replace the Force once I got a rash from it. I didn’t sue or file a complaint against the makers of the Force, nor do I have any intention of doing so. It was not their skin that got the rash and I suffered no true trauma from the rash. I hope my adventures helps someone else to find a tracker that will help motivate them to move more and become healthier!
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