May 06, 2014

Fitbit and a bike ride

As someone who loves gadgets and numbers, I'd been thinking about getting a Fitbit for a couple of years. A Fitbit is an activity tracker, like the Weight Watchers Active Link that I wore for a while. It keeps track of steps, calories burned, and some other stuff, depending on what model you get. I liked the WW Active Link, but I didn't like that it automatically gave me activity points (there was no override). I also didn't like the fact that there was a $5 fee per month to use it.

I'd looked into Fitbits for a long time, but just never really felt the need to have one. I used the Active Link, and, more recently, the Wii U Fit Meter. The Fit Meter is a fun little gadget, but the distance and calories burned aren't at all accurate (the step count was the only thing that I found accurate with it). 

When Garmin came out with a Vivofit activity tracker, I was really intrigued. I love my Garmin running watch, and the Vivofit has a lot of cool features. However, I am very unhappy with Garmin's customer service. Every single time I've tried getting in touch with them in regards to a question about my watch, it has gone unanswered. I would have liked to stay true to the brand, but after researching some more on the Fitbit, I decided to go ahead and get one!

There are three different models: the Zip, the Flex, and the One. After checking out the features on all of them, I surprisingly decided to go with the simplest of the three--the Zip. The Flex and the One track sleeping patterns, which doesn't interest me, and they track stairs climbed (I don't have stairs, and can't see myself going out of my way to find stairs to climb for that purpose). So, the Zip it was. And I was even able to get it in one of my favorite colors:

I like being able to track my steps. It pushes me to move more during the day when I'm not running. I was tracking steps with the Fit Meter, and it really did make me move more on a day-to-day basis, especially on my rest days. The Zip also tracks distance, calories, and "very active" minutes (intentional exercise). It gives me a goal to reach toward each day, which I like.

I've only had it for a couple of days, so I won't comment too much on it just yet, but so far, I really like it. I find the step count, distance, and calorie count to be pretty accurate. Jerry got one, too, so we can continue to compete with each other in our steps each day. I'll write a little more about it once I've used it for a while.

This morning, my mom sent me a text to ask if I might want to go for a bike ride at the Metropark. It was really nice outside, and I decided to forgo my interval run for a leisurely bike ride with my mom. It ended up being a great decision! 

We drove to the Metropark with our bikes, and we rode on the path that I usually run (the one I just did for my long run Sunday). My bike hasn't even seen the light of day for a couple of years, because I just don't like to ride, but I'm glad I took it out today. My legs were definitely feeling the workout, because I was using muscles that I haven't used in a while. 

We were riding at a leisurely pace, and at first, I felt like I could go on forever. But we rode out about 6-7 miles, and by then, my butt bones were killing me from the seat! We turned around and headed back the same way we came. We had a headwind on the way back, which made it a little more difficult, but we managed.

I'd never had to change gears on my bike before, so I was really clueless what the different gears were for. But I remember someone (probably a reader!) telling me that you shift gears to go uphill, and I tried that while riding up the overpass. It was awesome! I couldn't believe how much easier it felt. My poor mom had to ride up on her cruiser bike ;)

Yeah, it was a little windy, too

I should've taken more pictures, but this was the only one that I took--at the top of the overpass. 

When we got back to the car, we'd gone 14.6 miles. I don't know that I've ever gone that far on a bike before! We were riding for about two hours. My butt bones were really hurting by that point, and I have a feeling I'm going to be a little sore tomorrow ;)

Still going strong with my no-sweets challenge for May. Yesterday was REALLY difficult. We went to the kids' school for an open house/bake sale/raffle type thing, and as soon as we walked in to the cafeteria, I smelled a (very familiar) scent--Monica's doughnuts! They had a ton of them for the bake sale, along with all kinds of homemade baked goods. The kids each picked out a cookie, and I was thisclose to quitting my challenge, but I stayed strong. That was a big test of willpower!

Tonight, Jerry has two softball games--the first games of his season--and the kids and I are going to go watch him play. I can't believe it's softball season already! This year is flying by.


  1. Thanks for the review- I'm excited to see how you like it in the weeks to come! I'm currently trying to decide between a bunch of different gadgets for step counting or heart rate tracking, etc, and so I love reading other reviews!

  2. i adore my fitbit! i have the one. definitely better than a nike fuel band for sure.

  3. AnonymousMay 06, 2014

    Hi Katie, Just curious, since you are a member of Sparkpeople did you give any thought to their fitness Spark? Thanks!

  4. AnonymousMay 06, 2014

    I bought the fit-bit zip 2 months ago. I love it too! I am not very techno savy but had no problem setting it up. I even figured out how to sync it with my phone. My daughter was quite impressed with that :-) It is amazing how wearing that little thing has made me so much more aware of my moving. I now park my car in another parking lot at work-just to get more steps in! I also walk to my bosses office instead of calling him on the intercom to give him a message. Hope you continue to enjoy your Zip.

  5. Oh man! I used to commute to work on a bike, and I remember that building up endurance in the butt was the most difficult part of getting used to the ride!

  6. AnonymousMay 06, 2014

    If your butt was sore WHILE riding, you may be tempted to perform an act of violence against your bike tomorrow. Or give it away. You might want to spend some time sitting on a cold gel pack to head soreness off.

  7. I just bought a FitBit One today! I've heard awesome things about their brand and user interface. Taking it for a test drive tomorrow. Hope you continue to enjoy yours :)

  8. I have been going back and forth with getting a fitbit or not. I think I would really love to have one, I just don't want to be disappointed.
    This year is going super fast!! I cannot believe it!

  9. Good choice on the fitbit. I got a garmin vivofit thinking I would like the ease of all garmin products and ended up returning it. I am also having issues with my fitbit but their help is awesome, they are sending me a new one with hardly any questions asked. Really helpful folks. My husband and I both have fitbits and ill admit we are slightly obsessed but it made a huge difference to my overall activity. Now I walk all the time, whereas before I just ran and thougt that was good enough. Enjoy!

  10. I love my Fitbit Ultra (which is no longer even sold) and have been wearing it everyday for over two years. I am sure you will love your zip.

  11. AnonymousMay 07, 2014

    Excited you got a FitBit! I have had mine even before I started running and it was really a good tool to help get me moving. I have found FitBit customer service to go above and beyond - I lost my first FitBit One several months after I received it (as an XMAS present). It was completely my fault and not due to any failure of the clip or anything. I called them to see if they had a discount replacement program and they just sent me another one, totally FREE. I was so impressed with that! I noticed that Garmin released the Forerunner 15 today which looks to be a blend of the Vivofit and the basic GPS watch - sort of a Garmin you can wear every day to monitor activity/steps but also distance. I thought that was a pretty good idea for them...but I'll stick with my FitBit!

  12. Coincidentally I just reviewed the Fitbit One and the Fitbit Flex on my blog on Tuesday. I love my Fitbit One. I don't have stairs either, but I live in a hilly area so it does count the hills as climbing stairs so that is motivating for me.

    By the way to get a more precise calorie count for exercise or when doing non-step based activities, you can wear a heart rate monitor that will upload data to Digifit (I use a Wahoo Blue HR). Digifit will then talk to Fitbit and Fitbit will use the calorie count from the heart rate monitor (you still get your steps from the Fitbit). I just love being able to do that.

  13. I had the Fitbit Ultra for a few years. It didn't survive the washing machine. :) I bought a Zip to replace the Ultra. I don't mind not having it counting floors. I'm addicted to Fitbit.

  14. I don't have a fitbit but I have the vivofit and I love, love, love it :) I've had it for about 2 months now and it's made me so much more active all day. I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them, they are all great tools to stay active.

  15. I really like my Fitbit One and actually use the sleep tracking more than I thought I would. As someone with narcolepsy, it's made me better at keeping a consistent bedtime and wake up time and seeing a trend over time.

    If anyone would like to add me as their Fitbit friend, feel free ( It's more fun the more friends you have and I'm always trying to walk/run a little further to get back or stay at the top of my leaderboard so yea, it's made training a little more fun in that aspect.

  16. I got the vivofit recently - it definitely gets me up and walking from my desk during the day, though sometimes I ignore it if I am really busy (not good!)

    We all got new bikes this year - I can't wait to ride it - I really have riden a bike in over 15 years. Maybe a triathlon is in my future after all!

  17. AnonymousMay 07, 2014

    Can't wait to hear your updates about the FitBit. I've been debating on getting one for the past several months.
    Keep us up to date about how you are or aren't liking it.

  18. I got a FitBit flex back in February. I love, love, love it! It has definitely made me more aware of my movements. I get in steps whenever I can. I have been a long time WW subscriber, but just recently canceled my online subscription and started tracking calories on the FitBit site for free. I have finally started losing some of the weight I regained last year. :)

  19. I loved my fitbit! We even got the scale to go with it and it was great. However, about 3 weeks after having it, I lost it. =( saddest day ever

  20. I got a Fitbit One for Christmas. I really like it for tracking steps with walking and running, and just being more mindful of how active I am overall in the day, especially since I work a desk job; however, it doesn't do much for me in my spin classes (which is the form of exercise I do the most), so I'm looking at getting a heart rate monitor for that. I do like that it syncs seamlessly with MyFitnessPal, which I use as a food diary and to track exercise. Also the sleep tracker is an interesting feature, but I was too aware of wearing it while I was sleeping and I think it had a negative effect on my sleep! ;)

  21. AnonymousMay 07, 2014

    I'm looking forward to hearing more about your experiences with the fitbit. I went back and forth with my decision as well, but ended up with the Spark activity tracker. I love how small it is, and so far I have been VERY impressed with it's accuracy (both with steps and distance). My favorite part is the dongle that is plugged in to my computer, I only need to walk by my computer for it to upload the results.

  22. I just wanted to drop in an say I have a fitbit and that they have THE BEST customer service ever. I accidentally washed my One about a month ago and they replaced it for free. I didn't even have to pay for shipping.

  23. I love my fitbit. I dont know if anyone has mentioned it yet but link it up at and you can earn point to get free things with. Legit. I have gotten sooo much stuff from sears.

  24. Curious to know more about the FitBit. I have read many mixed reviews on it, and I also can't "justify" it yet.

    I had a coworker that had the One and had to return it after a week because it kept zeroing out.

  25. I just ordered a FitBit Flex yesterday. However, I read that the flex does not track stairs. I wish it did, but oh well. My preference would have been the Jawbone Up, but I've read so many things about them crapping out in a couple months or less. The vivofit - it looked to me like you get the most benefit wearing the HR strap and I wasn't up for wearing one of those all day. I can't wait to get my flex! I hope I love it. I'm on a slow weight gain and I was hoping that this would make me get a bit more active and be a new motivator for me.

  26. I got a Zip a couple of weeks ago and love it!! I picked the magenta one and named her Madge:) She is very accurate and definitely gets me to move more! I also love that when I finish my long runs she is smiling at me:)

  27. For your bike ride, where did you put you FB zip? I put mine on my hip / shorts and it wasn't incredibly accurate. Thanks!

    1. I always put it on my left hip, hooked to my underwear so it's snug against me and underneath my clothes. I'm not sure if that will change the accuracy for you, but it's worth a try!


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

Featured Posts

Blog Archive