Fitness Trackers – Stay motivated, just don’t let it control you

7_best_new_fitness_trackers_2015_mainI used to be a FitBit owner. Unfortunately, the quality of the product didn’t live up to the daily wear and tear of my life. Swim, bike, run, repair! I would have to send it back and get a replacement every few months. That gets old quick. While the customer service for FitBit was up-to-par, the constant replacement process wore on me. So FitBit and I got a divorce in early 2016.

I was fortunate enough to have an awesome friend gift me a Series 1 Apple Watch. Who can argue with that? It’s been awesome. The quality of the build, the visual prompts and the overall synchronizing with the iPhone has made me a happy camper. If you are a fitness tracker kind of person, it has its value especially when you have a network of active friends whose activity achievements can get you out of bed.

I read a fascinating article in the Washington Post about the different types of people who use a fitness tracker. The hypochondriac, the competitive tracker, the slacker tracker and the mindful tracker. All of these “types” of tracker users can be defined by the name itself, but which do you fall into? Something to think about, but at the end of the day, there are some fundamental ideas to keep in mind for new and current fitness tracker users;

  1. Stay accountable to yourself. That’s important for your personal satisfaction.
  2. Make your health and wellness a daily activity. Carve out that time first.
  3. Don’t be obsessed with the data. It’s an estimate.
  4. You can do some workouts without your tracker on. It won’t kill you.

That last part I wanted to touch on. If tracking is doing you wonders and the guilt of not having a “record” encourages you to exercise, then it’s beneficial. Unfortunately, there is the dark side to the trackers. Have you ever packed your gym bag or left for the gym to realize that you forgot your trusty tracker? (insert angry face…I know!) What do you do when you’re already in the gym? You have to continue putting one foot in front of the next and not let the tracker be your motivator. In order to avoid this nagging feeling of incompleteness, alternate days when you have it on and when you go “naked”. Hey, not that naked. The nakedness of not having your heart rate monitor on or anything on your wrist is actually liberating and encouraged. It does go against the grain, but it likes Facebook, there are days when you need a break. Enjoy the moment and remember that if a battery dies in the middle of your workout or a strap breaks and you cannot accurately track your calories, life goes on and you will not die.

Here are a couple of tips;

  1. Use the tracker on certain days only (ie. Weekdays and one weekend day).
  2. Spend a day without your tracker on at all. Feel what it’s like to not be dependent on activity alerts or just distracted.
  3. Remember that your “why” and motivation comes from within and not be a watch/tracker.

Have fun tracking and you can always share your Apple watch data with me for a boost of motivation or occasional guilt:) Look for email address shawnchev (at) gmail.com.

Yours in health,
Shawn “Chev”

Leave a Reply