Being a Fit Bottomed Girl means trying out all the latest gear including wearables that track your fitness. A common question we get from readers is which tracker is best for their personal needs. Having collected a few of them over the past two years, I decided to find out how each performs individually by wearing them all at once all day, every day for seven days.
In case you are wondering — yes, I got quite few quizzical looks. This was especially true after teaching my classes where my students demanded I show the results from each one.
My rule was to put them on as soon as I got up each morning and take them off at 10 o’clock every evening. I knew I would tire of wearing four trackers on my wrists for hours and being a notoriously wonky sleeper, I decided to not track my sure-to-be-bad sleep cycle each night.
Below I list every tracker I wore and the base level I set for each including 14,000 steps (I’m a New Yorker and we walk everywhere) and measure at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
Below I list the pros and cons of each tracker.
One of the first products offered by this brand, the Fitbit Flex at $79.95 is an inexpensive tracker that will count steps, measure the quality of your sleep, give you approximate calorie burn and light up when you hit your goal. The Fitbit app is fun for tracking the progress of your fellow Fitbit-wearing friends, plus you can enter your meal plan each day to make sure you are staying withttps://www.fitbit.com/shop/flexhin the desired calorie count.
Pros: Relatively inexpensive and easy to use. Tracking my weekly progress against (ahem — I mean along with) my friends and family is a fun way to stay accountable.
Cons: The band is not attractive and there isn’t any heart-rate tracking. Some people pop the tracker out of the band, take a rubber band and wear around their ankle in spin class to get more steps, but this never worked for me.
Fitbit Charge 2
The Fitbit Charge takes the tracking up a notch with a heart-rate monitor and measures the number of floors you have climbed along with approximate calorie burn. The newer Charge 2 (that cost $129.95) comes with removable bands and “guided breathing sessions” and also works well with the Fitbit app.
Pros: Accurate step count and heart-rate measurement.
Cons: It’s not very attractive to wear during the day and I didn’t realize it is set up to receive call notifications from my iPhone, which I disabled quickly. It lacks the “cool factor” as well.
TomTom Spark 3 Music
For $169.99 the Tom Tom Spark 3 Music is also a fitness tracker for multiple activities (running, cycling, treadmill, swimming, etc.), will count your steps, measure heart rate and calorie burn. It also has GPS capability, can hold up to 500 songs and includes wireless headphones.
Pros: Sturdy design with tons of cool features including the ability to import playlists. Also, comes with an easy-to-figure-out app for tracking your weekly totals. Best of all, it usually states first that my 14,000 steps were achieved!
Cons: It’s a sporty look so not fun to try to wear with a nice outfit. The exercise tracking doesn’t really work with indoor cycling so you must set it to “gym” mode and hope it is an accurate count. Also, it uses a 24-hour clock as a display, which I sometimes found confusing.
The Series 2 Apple Watch costs $369 and not only counts your steps, the approximate number of floors you have climbed, is water resistant up to 50 meters, Bluetooth compatible, has 18 hours of battery life and comes with a plethora of apps to help you track your fitness including calorie burn reminders to breathe and stand up from your chair throughout the day.
Pros: Of all the trackers that claimed to calculate the calorie burn, this one was by far the toughest. (It once gave me credit for only 400 calories after teaching three back-to-back classes!) This is a pro for me because I think it is much more accurate to the actual calorie burn. Plus, it’s an Apple product so it feels cool to own.
Cons: Like most trackers, they are not pretty to wear. (Check out these ideas from Cool Mom Picks for cute tech gear to dress up your tracker.) There are some not useful apps here (I really don’t need Twitter and Facebook notifications when I work out.) It’s also rather expensive compared to what else is on the market.
So, which one will I wear from now on? I am guessing it will mostly be the Apple Watch (just need to buy new bands to dress it up) and the TomTom for my outdoor workouts. Funnily enough, I think I am going miss wearing them all at once. If nothing else it was a fun conversation starter!
Do you own a fitness tracker? What were the deciding factors for your ultimate choice? —Margo