Bit by Bit

I kind of caved to the fitness tracker craze. I didn’t buy one, but I was able to obtain one through my work’s health and wellness program, which provides financial rewards that can either be redeemed for money or stuff. I probably should have taken the money, but I seized the opportunity to get another GPS-capable fitness tracking device.

Behold, the FitBit Surge.
I don’t foresee a career in hand modeling unless I give up cats.

There were two options for the band size, small and large. I ordered a small and I either have chubby wrists or the company severely misunderstands the size of people’s wrists. I can only fasten it on, like, the third from last notch, and that’s only if it’s fairly close to my wristbone. It’s recommended to wear it a finger’s width from the wrist bone, or even farther away during exercise. It seems unreasonably small, if that is the case. Or again, perhaps I have fat wrists, I don’t know.

I wear it on alternate wrists. Generally I wear it on my right hand, and when it starts to irritate the skin a little, I switch over to the left for a few days. That’s sort of irrelevant but I did notice I was getting a ton of “steps” accomplished in the morning before I realized I was getting credit for brushing my teeth and my hair.

I find the overall concept of the fitness tracker sort of patronizing. The interface on the website/app is sort of juvenile. Get badges for getting steps! Compete against your friends! Here’s how many staircases you “climbed!” Get up and walk 250 needless steps an hour, just so you can meet this or that goal!

I do find it useful for a few things. First, as a watch. It’s sleek enough to wear daily, although it usually gets covered up by my long sleeves. I haven’t worn a watch in awhile, but I like it more than digging my phone out of my pocket to check the time.

I also use to to monitor my heart rate, both for fun and for informational purposes. I have gotten a better idea of my resting heart rate, and I can use that to see how my training is going, as well as to predict when I might need to rest/back off training. I also like to see what kind of an effect certain things have on my heart rate. Yesterday I had to present in a big meeting, and before hand my heart rate was around 90 bpm sitting down. Yikes!

Even though I mock the steps counter a bit, I have noticed that when I’m not working out, I’m pretty sedentary. My job doesn’t require a lot of walking, and even adding in some unnecessary walking to add in steps doesn’t make much of a difference. My house is small, and laid out so that the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom are all close by. I don’t have any interest in pacing my house just to get in “exercise.” I also like to sit on my butt and watch TV, and I don’t see that changing. I guess it’s a good thing I run, then.

I don’t use the GPS tracker at the moment when running, because I wear my other watch, but I would use it on longer runs where I might run out of battery on my primary watch. I don’t know when I’ll be running those races, but someday. I should give it a shot on a run sometime, just to see what kind of variance I get between it and my Suunto.

Overall this is a mostly-unnecessary piece of technology that has given me a bit more insight into my fitness, but I wouldn’t have paid for it. Also, I have fat wrists according to FitBit.

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