Monday, 18 January 2016

Fortnight with a Fibit Charge HR

Two weeks ago my Fitbit arrived and I've barely taken it off since. In the past I've used pedometers and found them useful for tracking my steps but a little impractical. They'd fall off my work trousers, I'd accidentally hit the reset button halfway through the day and lose my work for the day. I did have the Nintendo Walk With Me one but having to sync it to your DS at the end of each day or two was a little inconvenient at times (if you were away from home and your DS, you'd risk losing your total after a couple of days).

Until now I've been using the Samsung Health app on my phone, which is good but only counts steps while you're carrying your phone. As my phone spends its time at work in my locker, and frequently is left in the bedroom or on the coffee table when I'm at home, I knew I was missing out on steps. I did consider knitting a little pouch so that I could carry it around with me when I was home at least, but I'd heard about Fitbits and I liked the idea of having something I could wear on my wrist.

I also liked the idea of something which could track things like floors climbed, calories burned and even your heart rate. There's a fantastic range of Fitbits available. They advertise that there's one for literally every lifestyle. I settled on the Charge because if I'm going to wear something on my wrist, it might as well act as a watch. But it wasn't that much more for a Charge HR which tracks your heart rate and I thought that would be a nice little feature to have as well.

I read online that it's useful to download the Fitbit app and set up your profile before you get your device and I'm glad I did because it meant that as soon as I got it out the box, I was able to set it up. It took about an hour and a half of charging to be ready to wear. A full charge lasts roughly five days and you simply plug it into the USB charger. I kind of begrudge the time I'm not wearing it when I do have to move around, so I try and time my charges for times when I'll be sitting down at my laptop anyway. So far they've tied up pretty well.

I should add a note on the sizing of the Fitbits because, aside from which sort to get, the wristband sizing caused me the biggest headache before I bought it. The Charge HR comes in large and small and I seemed to be at the large end of small or the small end of large. By the looks of things, most places are fairly helpful when it comes to swapping if you get the wrong size.

In the end, I got Mr Click to measure my wrist and compared it to the sizing chart on the Fitbit website. This suggested that I should go for the small, and I'm glad I did. It fits comfortably on my wrist and I normally wear it around the middle hole; if my wrist gets any larger I've got four more holes, and if it gets thinner I've got another five to go. I suspect that if I'd gone for the large I wouldn't have anywhere to go if I lost weight.

I'll be honest. For almost the first week that I had it, I found myself constantly aware of this thing on my wrist. It's not heavy or particularly bulky once you get used to it. It was just a lot larger than the watch I had been wearing before. I also felt the need to keep checking how I was getting on throughout the day. Now I regularly forget that I'm even wearing it.

One of the first things that I noticed was that I do take more steps than I thought I did. The step counter on my phone would count somewhere between 200 and 4,000 steps on the average weekday, depending on what I was up to and whether I had my phone on me. My Fitbit shows that I do closer to 7,000 most weekdays, so it's not that much more of a push to get up to 10,000 from there.

With the Fitbit app you get badges for certain achievements. On my first day I picked up the Happy Hill badge for climbing 10 flights of stairs; the Fitbit is able to tell when you are climbing a slope or staircase and the hill I live at the top of is roughly equivalent to eight flights of stairs. I've also received a 'Boat Shoe' badge for walking 5,000 steps in one go and a 'Sneaker' badge for taking a walk of 10,000 steps.

The sleep tracking function is really useful as well. Have you ever woken up feeling like you've had an awful night's sleep but you're not sure why? The Charge HR tracks your sleep and registers when you're awake and restless. One morning I woke up feeling exhausted and like I'd hardly slept; my Fitbit agreed saying that although I'd only been awake twice, I'd been restless twenty-one times.

So far I've not really used the calorie or water trackers but they're something that I might play around with in the future. I have started tracking my fluid intake in my journal because I know I don't always drink as much as I should. It would be good to get into the habit of tracking it in the app as well.

The feature that I am using quite a lot is the silent alarm. You set an alarm through the app and then the Charge HR vibrates to alert you. I use one at 6:25am on a weekday to wake me up before the main alarm goes off, and one an hour later to remind me to get up and take the dog for a walk. It's the same thing that alerts you when you achieve your day's goal, except the daily step goal is accompanied by a little firework display on the face of the Charge HR.

Being able to see my progress throughout the day is a fantastic motivator for me. For example, on the day I wrote this post, I had hit 8,400 steps so I did everything I could to squeeze in the 1,600 steps that I needed to get that firework display, up to and including walking up and down the living room whilst checking my phone to keep on getting those steps in.

It's only been two weeks so far, but I'm really enjoying it and I'm constantly looking for people I can add on the Fitibit site. I'm terribly competitive and I'm determined to get more floors climbed badges than any of my friends. If you've got a Fitbit of any sort, I'd love to add you on You can view my profile here.


  1. Really useful information! I definitely want one of these now.

    1. I'd definitely recommend it. It's certainly got me moving more.

      Like yesterday, I was horrified to discover I'd only walked 525 steps by lunch time, so I went for an hour long ramble in the afternoon and did some marching on the spot later in the day to get up to 10,000 steps!

  2. Hey Cait. I am on my second Fitbit I find that for food and drink, myfitnesspal is the best. It links well into Fitbit.

    1. Thanks for reminding me of myfitnesspal. I did use it in the past so I have got account details for it somewhere.

  3. I've debated getting one for a good long while now. But I hate the thought of adding even more technology to my already tech-heavy life though.

    Also...can we bring back fortnight into everyday language again? I think this was the first I've seen it used outside of romance novels in forever!

    1. I waited a long time before going for one as well. I'm not much of an early adopter when it comes to new technology because I like to see whether or not something will fit into my lifestyle before I spend the money on it.

      For the first week I felt like I was checking it all the time, but now it just feels like a nicer version of my old watch. Except this one also tells me how many steps I've taken, what my heart rate is and wakes me up with a gentle buzz rather than an incessant beeping noise.

      I think I use fortnight quite a lot in everyday life. I'll have to try and work it into a blog post every fortnight or so. ;-)


Let me know what you think. :-)