A week of Fitbit

I’ve had my Fitbit for a week now. Fitbit is an electronic pedometer that tracks your steps and stairs and from them attempts to estimate your calorie burn and miles walked. It syncs to a website via USB dongle which tracks your daily metrics1. It allows you to set goals with the intent of encouraging you to increase your overall physical activity.

The past week I made a concerted effort to not increase my activity beyond the usual to get a baseline (I’m a performance engineer – this should surprise no one). I ended up walking 92,132 steps, climbed 167 flights of stairs, and traversed 43.1 miles. 4 mile and 8 mile runs were included in this as well as my regular gym workouts — a fairly normal week. Interestingly Fitbit vastly underestimates my mileage, by about half, when I run so I consider the distance metric to be of dubious value.

Fitbit starts you out with a daily step goal of 10k/day and 70k/week. I generally, but not always, hit the 10k/day goal. Some days I ended up only walking 8k, and then there were days I did 21k and 18k. I’ll be bumping up my daily goal to 15k steps now that I have a baseline. I’m not all that interested in tracking stairs at the moment. I get plenty of that type of exercise with my lower-body workouts at the gym, much of which Fitbit doesn’t track (it seems to get confused with my weighted traveling lunges for instance).

The Fitbit website incorporates a social aspect to it as well (what doesn’t these days) and lets you compete with friends. As with most social sites you can tweak what friends and the public can see about your profile. Here’s mine if you’re curious. I’m interested to see a few more weeks worth of data. You can’t optimize what you can’t measure!

1 I have the Ultra which requires the dongle to sync, albeit wirelessly from the device to the dongle. At the end of October they’ll be releasing the One model which is suppose to sync to ‘select devices’ wirelessly without the dongle — similar to how the Nike+ FuelBand works.

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I'm a gay geek living in Seattle, WA.

4 thoughts on “A week of Fitbit”

    1. There’s an option to set your walk and run stride lengths which may allow for more accurate distance measurements. I assume that having these unset means they use some default calculated from your height. As soon as I can figure out how to semi-accurately measure these I’ll put them in and see if it changes it.


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