Getting fit with a Fitbit Flex - a week in


Those paying attention may remember how last week I started something of a health kick. With a very active 1-year-old and a ridiculously sedentary job, I've come to realise that if I don't make an effort now, I'll not be able to play football with the boy when he gets older!

The last post on here was to say that I'd picked up a Fitbit Flex. It's a sort of pedometer that you wear on your wrist, but with a healthy dollop of extra features and, importantly for me, a distinctly competitive angle.

I'm not going to get into the arguments for and against spending £80 on a glorified pedometer here. I've personally always fancied one but never been able to justify actually buying one. That changed last week.

The Flex actually arrived on Saturday, making now a good time to offer my thoughts both on the device itself, and whether or not I think it will do what I need it to do; keep me interested enough to stay active.

First off, let's cover the Fitbit Flex itself.


At £80, it's not cheap. It is, however, cheaper than the competition. I'd originally have liked a Jawbone UP, if only because I think it's the nicest looking activity tracker there is. At three figures though, it's not the kind of thing you buy when you don't even know whether you'll be using it in a month'a time.

Thankfully, the Flex has received some stellar reviews, even beating the UP and Nike's Fuelband on the process, so I didn't feel like I was scrimping when choosing the cheapest option. Decision made, I just had to wait for Amazon to get it to me.

Once they did, setting the Flex up was easy. I'd already installed the iOS app, tied it to a Runkeeper account for all those fancy maps it can make. Charging the Flex via its proprietary USB caddie and shoving the thing on my wrist was all that remained to do.

A word about syncing at this point, I think. Attaching the a Flex to a Fitbit account requires pairing it either using the mobile app, or the supplied USB Bluetooth adapter. Once that's done, syncing either happens whenever you get close enough to your computer, or you use the mobile app.

The Flex using the new low-power Bluetooth implementation too, so you shouldn't see a huge battery drain on your phone, either. That means it won't work with all Android phones, but will work just fine with Apple's latest and greatest.


Now, as something that I readily admitted was entirely likely to be something that I got bored with pretty quickly, the Fitbit Flex has actually changed the way I've behaved during the last week. I've been parking further away from my destination so that I can get some more steps in. I've been walking to the supermarket whereas I'd usually get into the car and drive it. It's not far - a couple of miles round trip - but it's activity I wasn't doing before. It's more steps than I'd be doing normally. And that's surely what it's all about.

Whether that will continue remains to be seen, but I've seen results from just making a changes to the amount of activity I do, as well as cutting out a few milkshakes and the like. This week I've lost 5 pounds, and while that's entirely likely to slow, it's a potential sign of just how little walking and general activity I was doing. Hopefully this is just the start.

As for the Fitbit Flex, I've still got three weeks to return it to Amazon and get my £80 back. Having said that, I'll probably keep it just because it's a constant reminder to keep moving and to not have that doughnut. I've come to terms with the fact that it will count steps when I change the baby, or have a shower - it is meant to be worn 24/7, after all. Fitbit justify this by saying that they want to give credit for all activity, even when you're not actually moving and the use of the word 'steps' is what's causing the confusion. I argue that it's just a bit keen, but seeing as they're all the same it doesn't really matter when it comes to the gamifacation aspect of the thing. If you're even more OCD than me though, you'll spend all your days trying to work out whether you've actually done as much as the stats seem to think.

I'm buying into the whole Fitbit thing so much that it's even crossed my mind to buy some of the Aria WiFi-enabled scales to go along with the Flex, but common sense may prevail there.

At least until next week.

Feel free to add me on Fitbit and Runkeeper, too!

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