I’ve been using my Fitbit Flex 2 for a month now, so I thought I’d write up my thoughts so far.
I’d been wanting a Fitbit/fitness tracker for a good 6 months but for some reason was always holding out to buy one with a screen (but that is also completely waterproof… which Fitbit haven’t actually created yet!). However, last month I asked myself whether I really needed a screen on my fitness tracker because they cost quite a bit more too.
I decided it wasn’t a necessity (I wouldn’t even be using it to tell the time, as I enjoy wearing analog watches!), so I finally bought the Fitbit Flex 2 for £49.95 from Argos. Thanks to a fitness kick and getting into running, I thought this would be a useful way of keeping track of my progress.
I’m always a little skeptical about step counters – probably because I don’t really understand how they work. Regardless, I’ve tried my hardest to cheat the Fitbit pedometer (queue image of me flailing my arms around crazily, trying to get it to register my movements) but it seems to understand the difference between a footstep vs a spontaneous arm jerk pretty well!
It’s a little more generous than the step counter in my iPhone’s ‘Health’ app, but I suppose that’s because my phone might be in my pocket where it can’t sense the same type of movement. I am enjoying have one constantly on my and not thinking ‘oh bum, I left my phone in my bag’ at the end of a walk that I wanted to track.
Counting steps is fairly trivial anyway; it’s just a bit of fun to see, and it obviously tracks distance as well which is interesting! Generally I take the accuracy with a pinch of salt, and don’t take it too seriously – remember, a step counter doesn’t register things like incline, and actually tracks less steps if you are running and burning more calories.
The Fitbit App
The app is the main reasons why I wanted a Fitbit vs other fitness trackers. I love the simplicity of it and it actually has heaps more trackable information on it that I first thought too.
You can see: steps, distance travelled, calories burned, minutes of exercise, hours of sleep, food intake, water intake and more! It even has a period tracker as well which is really detailed. You can also customise the main dashboard to display only the elements you want to view.
The sleep tracker is fascinating; the Fitbit automatically tracks when it believes you’ve fallen asleep (based on lack of movement) and when you wake up, plus shows you all the times you were restless in the night too, giving you a full view of your sleeping pattern.
The Fitbit is designed to automatically register when you are running, walking or swimming, based on movement and a time that you can set yourself on the app (ie. ‘When the Fitbit senses I have been walking/running/swimming for X amount of minutes, log it as an exercise). However, you can also log exercise yourself; either by tracking a walk or run (which will show your route and pace) or manually adding in another type of exercise, selected from their wide range of options. This will give you a rough estimate of calories burned too.
I chose the Fitbit Flex 2 specifically because it was slimline and minimal. The tracker is a 1-inch long gadget that slips easily in and out of the rubber wristband to be cleaned and charged, and it has a series of lights which are used to give you notifications and show battery life. Of course it also has the little sensors/vibrating pads on the bottom of the tracker to give you vibration notifications as well.
When you open the Fitbit Flex 2 packaging, you actually receive two wristbands inside the box! For some reason, they sell the product as ‘one size’ but include 2 sizes of wristbands within the box – which seems weirdly generous. I use the smaller wristband, which has a series of holes to adjust the sizing (I’m actually on the second to last hole due to my tiny wrists, but I like it quite tight so I think even with the skinniest wrists it wouldn’t hang loose). You can of course buy them in different colours, but predictably I went with black.
Fitbit sell official silver bracelet style wristbands too to mix up your look, but you can also buy fun patterns and styles from unofficial sellers online as well like these* below:
Online it says the battery lasts up to 5 days, but I’m personally finding I have to charge it after 3 days. This is based on my wearing it day and night, and syncing it with the app twice a day max (if you switch on all-day syncing I imagine it runs out way quicker).
Personally this is my main issue with the Fitbit; in my mind I’m always thinking of the extreme battery lives of Kindles (up to a month on some of them!) so I just expect things like this to last longer. Because it’s something I want to be wearing at night and all the time for tracking purposes, it’s something you have to think a bit harder about when you want to do its 2 hour charge time.
Features I haven’t really used
I personally don’t track my cycle due to the contraception I’m on, but in the past I have used an app called Clue and I think I would still use this instead of the Fitbit tracker as I really love the circle layout and app design. However, I do think it’s a useful thing to include so its all in one place.
You can tell your Fitbit to buzz/notify you every hour to remind you to get up and move. I imagine this is super useful if you work in an office and are completely sedentary for a whole 8 hours, however because I work from home I’m usually up and about mixing up my day with activities anyway.
FOOD INTAKE TRACKING
I used to use the app Lifesum to track my calories and macros, but over the last year I haven’t felt the need to as you quickly get a good idea of roughly what carb/fat/protein ratio everything has and I’m not strictly dieting.
However, if you haven’t tried a food/macro tracker like Lifesum before, the Fitbit food log could be super useful for you as it basically does the same as Lifesum. You enter the foods you’ve eaten in a day (you can include weights/measurements of everything to be as accurate as possible), and based on its database of information it will calculate the calories and macronutrients (ie. carbs, proteins, fats) in each meal and each day. You can also scan barcodes of foods to make it even easier.
I’ll probably do a separate blog post another time on the benefits of doing this for a few weeks, but for now I’m just saying it’s great that Fitbit has a feature like this. The reason I loved Lifesum was because its database was so huge that all the brands and products I buy were all listed in there automatically (unlike some smaller apps); I haven’t tried to see if this is the case with Fitbit but I imagine it’s also quite extensive!
I would totally be using this if I hadn’t just got myself a beautiful physical desk planner which includes a space for me to track my water intake! I think it’s so important to track how much water you’re drinking as its so easy to live your life dehydrated without even realising.
COMMUNITY & CHALLENGES
There are step and exercise challenges that you can take part in with a huge community of Fitbit users. I think one of the great things about Fitbit is its massive user-base – being the most popular fitness tracker means that there are loads ways you can motivate yourself with a bit of friendly competition online. I haven’t looked into any of this yet but will do at some point in the future!
Funnily enough, the silent ‘vibration’ alarm feature is one of the main reasons why I finally bit the bullet to buy a Fitbit! I’ve been wanting to try and wake up earlier but Alex hates being woken up to the sound of an alarm. He has a very well-trained natural body clock that will get him up on or before 8am each day, but if he is ever woken by an alarm clock it really ruins his day.
Having a silent alarm (where the Fitbit vibrates on my wrist to wake me instead of my phone making a noise) means that I can wake up earlier on days where Alex wants a lie in, or I can help Alex wake up less rudely on days where he needs to be up earlier.
Honestly it’s been fantastic and waking up with a gentle buzz (and yes, it does wake me up every time; I’ve never missed it) instead of a loud noise is SO MUCH NICER and generally puts you in a much better mood for the whole morning. I’d say the Fitbit Flex 2 is actually worth the £49.95 solely for this purpose!
I wanted the Flex 2 rather than one of the other options in the Fitbit range because it is completely waterproof/swim-proof up to 50metres, whereas the other products are only shower/splash-proof. Living in Cornwall, being in the water is a big part of being active for me, so this was really important.
Again, I’m just loving the wrist vibrations! I have set the Fitbit up to vibrate on my wrist when I have an incoming call from my phone, so if I’ve left my phone on silent or in another room, I can still get to the call in time!
Imagine how useful this would be in a meeting/conference/library where your phone needs to be on silent so as not to disturb other people, but you need an alert for yourself so that you can discreetly sneak out and take the call elsewhere.
You can also set up buzz notifications for texts and messages too, but I prefer to keep it for the really important things so I don’t get ‘immune’ to the sensation.
While tracking my runs it’s been really useful for my Fitbit to keep track of my running pace. Of course there are loads of running apps out there that track your steps, distance, routes and pace, but these are all based on you having your phone attached to you in the best place for registering your movement. However now I can leave my phone at home or in my bra/pocket and not worry because I know the Fitbit on my wrist will be tracking everything I need.
Overall, I feel like I’ve already got my money’s worth from the Flex 2 purely from the silent alarm feature, call vibrations, and wrist-based run tracking. However I have definitely found it interesting tracking my sleep as well.
It is really neatly designed (I love the minimal look) and the app is brilliant as expected (if you’re looking to keep all your health tracking in one neat place, this is epic!), although the battery life lets it down a little bit. I’d definitely recommend a Flex 2 as its waterproof and so lightweight, but also because the price is really good value at the moment!
Do you have a Fitbit? What are your favourite features?
* I have used affiliate links in this post but I am not sponsored to write about the product