Why you probably don’t need a fitness tracker, but you still buy it. For example, Fitbit Blaze

This article has turned out big. In fact, it consists of two separate materials connected by a common theme. In the first part I will talk directly about the fitness tracker Fitbit Blaze, and secondly to share how my experience of using the device and thoughts regarding whether you need such solutions at all.

Part 1.

Fitbit Blaze. Is it worth buying now?

Membership

Some time ago I wanted to buy some form of fitness tracker. It was interesting to see, and justify whether such a device would be useful for me personally. As I understand certain nuances and assumed that, most likely, the device I have will not stay, the choice fell on the used market. Thumbing through Olx, I have selected a few options. Among them was the first Samsung Gear Fit, Moto 360 first, there is something from Garmin and Fitbit Blaze and Surge. Will not paint, why in the end it took Blaze, but the important role played by design. I like the angularity of the model and the decision to make a frame, not adjacent on two sides to the device. In General, in my opinion it is stylish and quite unlike the others.

After reading reviews, I learned cons Blaze. The first is the lack of support of Cyrillic (Fitbit, what the hell?). Because of this function of viewing alerts on the tracker becomes meaningless, because everything in Russian or Ukrainian, displays gibberish.

For me it’s not really significantly, because I’m sort of nedovesov πŸ™‚ I don’t use Twitter, is not subscribed to channels in the telegram (the telegram I ever made some months ago), I don’t receive hundreds of messages a day. In General, for me the lack of alerts on the tracker β€” not a problem. The second negative is the lack of smart alarm clock. And it’s strange, how to track sleep the device can. Sorry, of course, since I was wondering whether effective smart alarm clock for me personally, but there is no way.

Ability

With the introduction and the cons is finished, proceed directly to the fact that Fitbit can Blaze. The device is equipped with an average-sized screen that displays only 16 colors. But due to the cute design that’s quite enough. There is a heart rate sensor so the tracker is able to track pulse, and determines the value of VO2 Max β€” maximum volume of oxygen a person is able to absorb per minute at maximum load. The higher this value is, the higher your aerobic capacity. As already mentioned, the tracker monitors sleep, determining the phases and their duration. Can also remind you every hour about the need to walk. More specifically, in an hour you should take at least 250 steps, otherwise the device will remind you that you sat. About displaying the events from your smartphone I said. Of course, there is the ability to control music playback on the smartphone.

The tracker is able to determine the type of activity, but it works with all types of loads. Basically it is aerobic exercise like running. But before the training to select the most suitable type of loading. There are working with weights (gym), Jogging, bike, treadmill (Yes, apart from running), elliptical trainer and workout. When activated, the interface changes and displays workout time, pulse, the usual time, and calories burned. Yes, of course, like other devices, Blaze constantly monitors calorie and the number of steps. But there are nuances, which I will discuss in the second part.

There is a point Fitstar. In this the user is invited to three “workout”: warm-up, seven-minute workout and 10-minute set at the press. I don’t know for whom it is made. Probably for most beginners. There is another fun Relax mode. In it you have to breathe in accordance with signals from the tracker (2 or 5 minutes), which should reduce the heart rate and allow you to relax. Well, it remains to note the presence of a timer, stopwatch and alarm.

It’s funny, but in the tracker there is a light sensor. Works, but with a slight delay. That is, when you on a clear day, for example, turn the shirt sleeve to check the time, screen will increase the brightness only after a couple of seconds. Separately, I note the fact that the screen is not lit continuously. It is activated when you unfold a particular way to his wrist. I do not know how it is implemented at other devices, but in this case, too often the tracker will not activate the screen when you look at it. Especially when the hand was in a horizontal position, and you brought it to my face. In General, sometimes angry.

As for autonomy, it is 4-5 days depending on the type of synchronization. Good enough for me. Unfortunately, there is no protection from water, though many write that it actually is there, just not declared. To test, I did not, but spray Blaze definitely is not afraid.

I would also add that the Fitbit clearly has some sort of team of new connection interfaces. And this strike team and is very active, and obviously the roof top. Otherwise to explain the fact that every new device Fitbit new module for charging, I can’t. In my case, the tracker must be removed from the frame and insert a special block. Charges, however, less than an hour.

Β 

About brand much I will not tell. It is the same for all devices of the company (subject to certain differences in functionality). The application is simple and intuitive, although clearly asks the new design. It displays your current heart rate, average heart rate for the day (by the way, useful), your activity, weight change, if you want to track and specify the indicators, statistics on sleep, and more.

Yes, I would say that the dials of the watch less than a dozen, and activate their accounts from the app. What did it cost to develop at least 20 pieces, is unclear. But Blaze for a year was a top-end device.

Summing up, from the point of view of the parameters Fitbit Blaze β€” pretty good fitness tracker. He had no GPS, no smart alarm, water protection and support of the Cyrillic alphabet, but it is stylish, fairly self-contained, has a decent feature set and overall very pleasant to use. Buy now Blaze new on our market, I would not. It sold for 3000-4000 USD, and it’s expensive, given the nuances.

As for the usefulness of the Blaze and other similar trackers, there are a lot of nuances. About them and will be the second part.

Part 2.

Why do you need a fitness tracker?

Really, why would you buy such a device? Likely to track their physical activity. At least that’s what the manufacturers create similar products. Counting steps, calories you burn, track specific training sessions, evaluation of fitness based on increased VO2 Max and so on. But whether all of this?

Let’s start with the most primitive of counting steps. Fitbit started with pedometers that were considered among the best. Logically, activity trackers companies also have to count the steps. Probably should, but it’s not. A few days after the purchase of your Blaze, I had quite a long drive in a minibus. Already being in the way, I once again glanced at the time and noticed that the tracker shows like I walked more than 3,000 steps. I just this morning reached the bus that the force was comprised of 1000-1500 steps. And then I noticed that the tracker right now, as I sit in the bus, continues to throw me the steps. It is clear that the problem is in the vibrations of the bus, but they were very modest. Why during many years of existence on the market of pedometers manufacturers and have not learned to create algorithms that do not consider these here vibration? After reading the forums, I realized that this is a problem of such devices in General, not just mine. By the way, if you have a tracker, write, have you noticed like. So, it turns out that the existing error in step counting (she’s under ideal conditions is about 5-10%) is added, and there is a trouble. And if you frequently use public or private transport, check, likely, flattering you 10 000 steps a day is really good if turn into 5000 excluding extra cheats in transport. Simply put, for many, a pedometer turns into a completely useless function.

The second simple example is the counting calories. This feature is even in the most primitive trackers. And it you can safely score. Why? First, without the heart rate sensor it is useless more than full. But even with sensor benefit from it very little. The fact that the tracker counts your elapsed calorie based on two indicators. The first is your rate of energy exchange, subject to formal absence of loads. That is how much your body needs energy just to maintain its existence throughout each day. It is calculated based on your gender, age, height and weight. And here is all conditional, since two of the same person of the same sex, age, height and weight can have completely different metabolism. Then even more interesting. The second indicator of costs activity during the day. And it’s not only the same difference between people due to different metabolism, but that is simply impossible to accurately count how many calories burned specifically your body but for this moment, running, swimming, walking or anything. There is no such technology, as it is impossible to look into every cell and track all processes of energy exchange. Therefore, all these indicators of burned calories that you shows tracker, very, very rough. They will not help you when losing weight or when weight. They are just beauty.

Went on. Pulse. Everything in General is very funny. Yes, I previously knew that the optical heart rate sensors used in all of the trackers and smart watches, it is highly inaccurate. But the main problem is not malfunctioning. The problem with these sensors in their “inertia”. Simply put, they are simply not capable of tracking rapid changes in heart rate. And it puts a fat cross on the feasibility of using such devices for those who have a workout mean intervalnode loads. And this is gym, workout, crossfit and stuff like that.

I’m doing first, so explain by example. I come into the room, warm up and start training. Your tracker I unfold so that he was on the inner side of the wrist. There veins closer to the skin surface and the sensor sensitivity even increases a little. Well and further all is simple. To approach, for example, I have a pulse of 70. The approach takes from 15 seconds to a minute, depending on the exercise. Most often it is about 30 seconds. I am completing approach and what do I see? And I see about the same 70 beats! Worse, sometimes after the pulse allegedly even falling, which of course is wrong. I feel that he raised to 120 and above. I’m waiting… still waiting… then a little more… well, still quite a bit… finally! Seconds after 20-30-40 tracker is starting to show a growth pulse. The only problem is that at this point, the pulse you already will begin to decline relative to the peak value. Make it easier to understand, I drew a graph.

Black denotes the real pulse and the red pulse is recorded by the sensor. As you can see, the tracker is not just detects the peak value, but simply does not “see” most of your activity and, most importantly, misses the peak value of the pulse. And if you have, for example, superset (two exercises one after another) or are you just a rest between sets for 20-30 seconds that takes place in some training modes, a situation may arise when you have the second exercise worked, and the pulse, according to the testimony of the device is still somewhere under 80. So you can’t use the heart rate sensor to monitor heart rate during exercise, you receive false information about burned calorie (although, as I said, this data is useless), you may not use the readings on the heart rate monitor in order to determine the beginning of the following approach (this option is most useful from the point of view of health). So why do we need such devices if we are talking about training?

They can be useful for other types of loads. Where you do most of the workouts are approximately the same pulse area. For example, when you run. Here the inertia of the heart rate sensor special not be a problem. You reach your pace, you stabiliziruemost pulse and everything. Yes, the sensor will detect it with a delay of a minute, but what’s the difference if you will still be run as 10 minutes or half an hour. To clarify, it concerns those who run at a stable pace. Well, or just ride a bike.

In the end, for me personally, the tracker in the process of training is completely useless. Yeah and you get that much use from it. Except that I was able to look at your sleep cycles and see how changing the average pulse rate during the day, in the presence and absence of stress. Well, to make sure once again that in calm state I have a heart rate below 60 beats per minute.

What are the results in General? No wonder the market is now shifting towards smart watches. Yes, all of the above too, but they have much more opportunities unrelated to sports. In addition, some manufacturers of trackers realized that it is possible to position the device primarily as a fashion accessory and not as a sports assistant, and it works, too, judging by the sales of the group Fossil. If you are thinking to buy an activity tracker, or God forbid, a smart watch just to track your steps, calories and sports activity, you have much to think about, because in most scenarios, obtained by the device information will be completely useless. Although, why do I say this? You’re still going to buy them, right? πŸ™‚

Perhaps some specific trackers or smart watches are a little more precise other, but the main problems are not associated with a particular manufacturer, and technologies that are used, and they are identical.

If you have activity trackers or smart watches, and you use them for training, write whether you are satisfied with your devices and you have the problems described above.

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