Do you really need a fitness tracker? These days it seems like everyone is using some kind of device to track steps, sleep, heart rate, etc. You name it, you can track it. I encourage you to keep reading as I will share my experience and hopefully help you decide if a fitness tracker is right for you.
As we go through this article, I will give you my take, and I will also be curious to get your experience with fitness trackers. Be sure to leave a comment at the end.
Phone-based app vs. watch style tracker
There are a lot of different options to choose from when it comes to fitness trackers. You can download an app on your phone to keep track of your activity, or you can buy a watch-style wearable.
I have used both types of fitness trackers. There are a variety of different apps available for download in your app store.
I use Google Fit and find it quite handy. You can also sync a fitness tracker with other apps as well, something like Noom.
I have also used a watch style tracker. One thing I really like about the watch is it would tell me when I had not been active for a certain amount of time. This was my queue to get up and take a walk.
If you don’t want to spend the money on a wearable, you might just try downloading an app for starters, to see if you like it, or think you might use it. A lot of people use a watch style tracker and mostly use it to tell time.
What are your goals?
Whether you want to get in shape, lose weight, or build muscle, or just live a healthy lifestyle, fitness trackers are great for helping you meet goals. If your goal is weight loss, knowing exactly how many calories you are burning vs. taking in is a huge help. These statistics can help you be more aware of your activity.
Maybe you have a step goal, a tracker is beneficial with that.
So much data
Trackers can provide you with a LOT of data. All of this information can be overwhelming, at least that has been my experience. You can measure things like steps, sleep, heart rate, calories burned (although this can be hard to estimate).
But whether or not you want all of this data, or will actually use it, will go far in determining if you really need a fitness tracker. I find that data overload can actually distract me from the goal at hand, which leads to my next point.
Do you need all of this data?
If your primary goal is to lose weight, all of this information is great, but it’s not the end-all. The data can help create awareness and make sure you are moving your body to burn more calories than you are taking in.
Again, this depends on your goals or what you are tracking. I don’t necessarily need an app to tell me if I had a good night of sleep or not, I feel it when I wake up.
Some people get so fixated on data, they lose track of their actual goals. There will be natural ups and downs in long-term progress, and a fitness tracker might make you think you are not making progress.
When I am working out at the gym, I know when I have a good workout, I can feel it. But some people want stats after a workout.
Nice to see progress
Absolutely, fitness trackers can help you see progress from one week to the next or month to month. A fitness tracker can help you figure out when you plateau and need to kick it up a notch to reach the next level.
Or trackers can help you maintain a certain level of fitness, like maintaining a specific heart rate while you are on an elliptical machine.
What fitness trackers won’t do
Fitness trackers will not help you change behavior. I like data, data is great, but it’s not the end-all, if you are trying to lose weight or live a healthy lifestyle, a fitness tracker will not change your behavior.
Managing your weight, or living a healthy lifestyle often comes down to changing habits. Changing your behavior requires education and overcoming barriers that keep you from living a healthy lifestyle. You can’t just rely on a fancy gadget to tell you that you haven’t accomplished your step goal that day.
If you force a specific set of statistics on yourself, this may not be sustainable, and you will get frustrated and quit. You need to have sustainable, long-term goals.
Just like start an unrealistic “crash” diet where you have to cut out all the foods you love is not sustainable.
A comprehensive, well thought out plan is the best course of action when it comes to nutrition and sustaining healthy habits. A fitness tracker is not a complete, one-stop-shop for losing weight. You need a comprehensive program.
Conclusion: Do you really need a fitness tracker?
Fitness trackers can play a role in helping you meet your goals. If weight loss or living a healthy lifestyle is your goal having data at your disposal can help create awareness. But a gadget alone is not going to do the job, you need a plan to help you get there.
If you are interested in a customized weight management plan that will help you create sustainable habits, I encourage you to check out my complete review here.
Noom offers a customized plan to help you achieve and maintain your weight loss goals. You will team up with a coach who is there to help guide you through the program.
If you are interested in an online diet program that will help you lose weight and keep it off, I encourage you to take the 14-day trial for Noom and give it a try.