Fitness tracker gizmos

I’ll be the first to admit I like my electronic gizmos, and when my Fitbit bit the dust, I started looking for a replacement. As I work to change my lifestyle from sedentary to active, I found the information the device gave me very helpful.

I liked the Fitbit, because even though I had the one without a display, the information it transmitted to the accompanying app on my cell phone was great. Still, I thought I could do better than the Fitbit, especially after it croaked within a month or two of my using it.

There is another device I had my eye on for months, called the Leaf, by Bellabeat. It’s marketed to women, and can be worn as a bracelet, necklace or brooch. It’s pretty and it looks like a piece of jewelry.

Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing I like about it.

What I’m after in a fitness tracker is data. Lots and lots of data. I want to learn, over time, what I’m doing wrong and what I’m doing right. When am I active, and when am I inactive? How many calories am I burning in a workout, or while I’m working at my desk job, or overall? Can I set an alarm? Can I get alerted by the device if I’ve been inactive too long?

The Leaf does not do much of that.

It will vibrate as an alarm, but every alert is the same vibration. And wearing the Leaf as a brooch, I find that I miss almost all of the alerts even though it is in contact with my skin.

It does not track calories burned. It does count steps but gives me no data in real time, and it only syncs to the app manually. So if I’m in the middle of the day and I want to check my status, I first have to sync to the app. Activities like running have to be entered manually to the app, and the list is quite limited. One day I tried to enter squats, and was flabbergasted to find squats were not on the list.

It has one feature just for women: a menstrual cycle tracker that will predict the onset of my next period and let me know which are my fertile days. That could be a great feature for someone a lot younger than me, but for me, at the onset of menopause, it’s just not that useful.

The Leaf’s app also includes several pre-recorded meditations, for inner peace, energy, deep sleep, confidence, focus and others, along with pre-recorded breathing exercises. I did my best to test those out this week, I really did. But I don’t like them. Something about having a machine tell me to meditate strikes me as very anti-meditation.

The Leaf is marketed to women, with the message being about a holistic approach to health—hence the extra features like menstrual tracker and meditation and breathing exercises. I like a holistic approach, which is why I bought this tracker, but it didn’t live up to its potential.

The device is not water resistant. For someone who sweats as much as I do, that’s a consideration. I have seen ads for the new Leaf device marketed as water resistant, however.

losing it 20160808-134611The Leaf has a sleep tracker, which is about the same as the Fitbit’s. It will track how long I slept, as well as whether that sleep was active or quiet. It keeps track of the average number of hours I sleep in a night. (Side note: I am pleased to report that is more than 8 hours a night. Go me.)

The long and the short of it is that while I like the ability to wear the device as a brooch, I will be trading this one in for another fitness tracker this week. I did not like it as a bracelet, because the strap was hard to fasten and the Leaf is too bulky for me to wear that way. I also didn’t like it as a necklace.

With a price tag of $119, I expected the Leaf to have a lot more functionality. It’s not that I hated it, just that it is not the device for me.

With the aid of—or in spite of—the data provided by my snazzy gizmo, this has been a pretty good week for me in terms of my health goals. I made it into the gym to lift weights after weeks of playing outside in the sunshine to work out this summer.

I have now built a solid habit of lunch prep for my work week on Sunday afternoons, which has saved me tons of money in addition to improving the quality of my diet.

It felt great to lift weights again. I forgot how much I enjoy lifting weights. I’m good and sore as I type this, which I like, because it reminds me that I’m working toward my goals.

Due to a snafu involving my car, I was not able to make the 6:15 a.m. Insanity Live class in Edgewood, but I plan to keep that one on my schedule until that becomes a habit, too. It’s a fun and hard workout and I loved the way I felt after starting the week out that way.

Do you have a fitness tracker? Do you love it or hate it? You can reach me at leota@lobo.net or 505-286-1212, or by joining the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.