Sunday, June 11, 2017

A new fitness device

About four years ago, I got a Jawbone Up (wrote about it here). Pretty quickly I realized that I didn’t like the interface or the looks so I returned it and got the Fitbit Flex I’d originally planned to buy. I wore my Fitbit faithfully, and manually entered my runs and workouts online. Last summer, it quit holding a charge so I got a new one. I (briefly) considered getting one with more bells and whistles but went with what I knew and was already comfortable using.

But over the last year or so, I’ve gotten frustrated with the Flex. It’s not designed to provide anything more than a relative scale of activity—you get your steps, you get some sense of whether the steps were light, moderate, or intense, and you get a very rough guide on the amount of time you spent doing your steps at that level of effort.

When I say rough guide, I do mean rough. For example, in Yuma I ran the same route twice; the first time Fitbit thought I ran 3 miles, and the second time, Fitbit thought I ran 2.65 miles. That’s a pretty big difference. It's the same with the amount of time; the Flex tracks in 15 second slices (I think?), so if you stop a run at the beginning of a slice, you'll look like you took more time. And you have to do the math to get your average pace per mile (assuming your mileage is tracked halfway accurately), and you still have to enter the info yourself.

So I’d been thinking about other fitness device options. While we were in Yuma, Jen showed me her Garmin Vivosmart HR+ device, and I was intrigued. Turns out Ben had done a lot of research to find a device that would do what Jen wanted it to do, and it turns out that what Jen wanted was pretty much what I was looking for. AND it turns out that I was able to buy a refurbished one for about $80 less than new. Although honestly, this device sure seems new to me—I’m pretty sure whoever bought it didn’t use it more than once and then returned it.

The verdict? I love it. I love that the device is fully synced to my phone, that my runs get uploaded automatically, and that I can enter something manually if I need to. I love that I know what kind of elevation gains I had on my runs in Provo (49 feet if you’re curious, there was an overpass I ran up and over every day), and what the starting elevation was too (4498 ft). I love that I can see my total average pace per mile, where I was slower and where I was faster. I love knowing my heart rate, resting and while working out, and I love that I can set the device to alert me if I'm not in my target heart rate zone, or I can set it up for running sprints.

All in all, I’m very happy I made the switch. Now I need to figure out what to do with my Flex.

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