I’ve been recording running workouts for over four years with a Garmin watch tracking heart rate, distance, speed, pace, elevation gain, et cetera. However, I couldn’t track indoor workouts because of the GPS and I wanted something that would also track those activities in between i.e. walking to the farmer’s market or around the neighborhood. So I started researching wearable tech wrist bands a few months ago and finally settled on the Fitbit Flex. I really wanted something that could track sleep as well as workouts so the Fitbit Flex seemed like the perfect choice.
How it Works
The Flex is very easy to use. Charge up the Flex, throw it in the wristband and get going. To download those results either use the Fitbit dongle for your computer or the iPhone app. During the day if you’d like to see how you’re doing you simply have to tap the Flex twice and your progress towards your step goal will display. From a User Experience perspective the lights that blink when you tap on the Flex provides immediate fulfillment and is very addictive. Throughout the day I find myself tapping on the Flex to see how I’m doing on steps. When you hit your step goal the bracelet does a little celebration dance by lighting up and buzzing. At first this was kind of fulfilling, but it cracks me up when I’m waving goodbye to someone and the Fitbit declares victory. Battery life is pretty good, but if you get into the habit of wearing the Fitbit every day it can be easy to forget to charge it up. Luckily it recharges very quickly.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Flex has served as a reminder on days that I’m not as active as I should be and has helped me become more active on those days. Looking at the data for my time owning the Flex there’s a definite trend of being more active, but I can’t say that the Fitbit Flex suddenly motivated me to become an active person. When I bought the Flex I was already ramping up training for a half marathon and had a 75 mile backpacking trip scheduled. I’ll have to see what happens after I finish my half marathon and if my workout trend continues. I really like the alarm clock feature of the Fitbit Flex and it’s been a huge help in helping me wake up even earlier. My body has now adjusted to the Fitbit alarm automatically and I start to wake up before it goes off.
I only have a couple of gripes with the Fitbit Flex and nothing too major. According to FitBit, I really don’t sleep. I’ve always been someone who moves around a lot at night, but those time periods are taken as me being awake and active. I’m averaging four hours a night of sleep according to FitBit. Turning Sleep Mode Off/On can be a huge pain. Sometimes it turns right on after 5-6 quick taps. Other times it just doesn’t happen without a lot of frustration. I’ve also gotten so frustrated with sleep mode that I’m avoiding it more often than not.
Although the Fitbit Flex is waterproof I would recommend taking it off when showering. The Flex band will fill up with water and stay like that most of the day. It’s not a non-starter, but it was annoying enough to make me take it off when I shower. Tracking non-running workouts is still interesting and not very accurate. I do a lot of running so the Fitbit works out perfectly for me but I can say that doing fast reps while lifting makes the Fitbit think I’m an Olympic sprinter.
Overall I would say buy one if you want to do a better job of tracking your fitness. I just ordered a Fitbit for my wife and am even buying different colored wristbands for accessorizing. I do think that wearable tech is the future of health and fitness and the fact that I’m matching my wearable’s tech style to my own is pretty fascinating.
The TLDR; I really like the device.