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Activity monitor fun
Old 03-24-2014, 11:29 AM   #1
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Activity monitor fun

DW got me this for my birthday. Before this I've only had a pedometer and wondered what all the fuss was about the Fitbit. Now I get it. I just had to tell someone about the Garmin Vivofit so you guys are it.

This device is very cool and has some features that are right for me:
- Just put it on the wrist and you have your readout right there.
- I can readout in steps and my preferred miles. Also calories, date, time.
- Can sync it to a computer or smartphone (which I don't have).
- Battery lasts for a year or more. No recharging.
- Looks kind of nice. Other color bands available, mine is slate grey.
- Shows some red bars when you are inactive as a reminder to get up and do something (see photo below).
- Monitors your sleep too if you want to go that far.

Here is a very good review of the Vivofit (plus a good site for general fitness items): Hands on with the new Garmin Vivofit & Vivoki Activity Monitors | DC Rainmaker

Here is a picture of the Vivofit:



And here is some of the reports you can get by sync'ing your device with a computer:


On the step report Wed and Fri were run days, Sunday you can see I was down with a minor virus. The sleep profile for last night was my first stab at it. You can see I got up a lot to take a leak but between these times I have pretty deep sleep I think. I remember reading you don't need that much sleep hours if you get some really deep sleep. Doc says I'm OK on the frequency stuff.

I also took it to the track and it was right on the button. A walk of 1 mile was read out as 1.00 mi. Wow! It might not be as accurate on hilly walks but for level walks it looks great. One of my friends said "Only you would take it to the track".

There is suppose to be a software update that adds a run setting to get more accuracy on runs. At this point it read about 18% higher for my 1 mile run on the track.

Anyway, I am enjoying playing with it.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:42 PM   #2
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Looks cool. When they incorporate a Tricorder into it, I'll get one.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:52 PM   #3
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It looks like you can wear a heart rate monitor strap and it will show that too. Pretty cool gizmo!
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
It looks like you can wear a heart rate monitor strap and it will show that too. Pretty cool gizmo!
I have a Basis watch that displays heartbeat in addition to steps. The problem is it is a clunky looking thing. DW had and liked a Fitbit Force that looked more like the Garmin lsbcal posted. She returned the Force during their recall and it is no longer available. I will refer her to the Garmin page as a possible replacement.

Edit: having read the accompanying article I would venture that the best thing about the Garmin is that it uses a one year battery. Both the Fitbit Force and the Basis are rechargeable which sounds nice but they easily run out of juice. If you wear this thing all the time (and particularly want to use it as a watch) not worrying about charging is an advantage.
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:10 PM   #5
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There is a better review article now on the same site I mentioned: Garmin Vivofit In-Depth Review | DC Rainmaker
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:49 PM   #6
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LSBCAL I saw someone else talking about the Garmin the other day. I like the idea of it working with the HRM. However, while it wasn't clear in what I was reading, I had the idea that you can't record food with it. Or, rather, you can't import food data from other sites. Is that correct?

I had a Fitbit Force (sent back under recall) and am now using my Fitbit One, which I had before the Force. But, I really prefer a wrist based monitor so I'm looking for alternatives.

However, seeing my ongoing calorie deficit is really important to me (I'm working on weight loss). With my Fitbit, I record food at My Fitness Pal. MFP talks to Fitbit and tells it what I ate. So, on Fitbit I can see my calorie deficit at any time.

Does the Garmin allow you to do that?

I do like the idea of interfacing with a HRM though.

Donheff - I also read some reviews of the Basis. The two big criticisms I read were (1) you have to wear it really tight to get the heart rate function and (2) it tends to not read heart rate during activity or reads it inconsistently. What have you found?
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:06 PM   #7
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Hi Katsmeow (cute login BTW). I'm always amazed by how different we all are in what we are interested in regarding things like this. I don't have a clue about it myself but I do see that the article I just referenced says:
Quote:
It should be noted that while today Garmin doesn’t include ‘calorie-in’ information (such as the ability to log nutritional foods like cookies, Snickers bars, and cupcakes), that does sound like something that’s on the way. Which…is about all they’d say about that piece.
So I guess this is a work in progress.

I'm sure that someday there will be a great fitness device that does all kinds of amazing stuff. Apple has apparently hired experts in this area and I'm sure the other tech companies are hard at it too. We can all sit back and pick out our favorites. That's cool.

Still we have to do the exercise and moderate our food desires. That's the tough part.

I've run for years without ever trying an HRM. Then again, I don't have a heart condition and seem to be OK physically.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:12 AM   #8
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These activity monitors are clever gadgets, but I don't see how they help you keep fit. I understand monitoring your heart rate while working out to allow you to use the feedback to modify your workout regime. But why monitor everyday activity? What decision would you make based on such information? Would you go out of your way to walk the long way home or take the stairs? It doesn't seem useful.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:13 AM   #9
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These activity monitors are clever gadgets, but I don't see how they help you keep fit. I understand monitoring your heart rate while working out to allow you to use the feedback to modify your workout regime. But why monitor everyday activity? What decision would you make based on such information? Would you go out of your way to walk the long way home or take the stairs? It doesn't seem useful.
Why monitor every day? Because I like to measure things and this is explicit. Those little red bands develop when you've been sitting on your ass too long. Encourages me to take a walk or go out and garden a bit more. Before DW got me this thing I was skeptical about the uses of this stuff.

When we go on vacations we often find that we've lost weight. That's because we generally are moving around a lot more. We don't skimp on good meals so it must be the activity. The idea is to make this more measurable. Can view things like calories burned (rough estimate of course):


I have a red band right now. Time to step away from the computer, move a bit, and go get a cup of coffee.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:51 AM   #10
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Just in the past few days I've talked with 3 friends who recently got Fitbits. I'm geeky enough about this stuff that I think I'll start looking into it for a birthday or Christmas gift request for the fall. Hadn't heard about the Garmin, will look into it as well.
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Old 03-29-2014, 03:34 PM   #11
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These activity monitors are clever gadgets, but I don't see how they help you keep fit. I understand monitoring your heart rate while working out to allow you to use the feedback to modify your workout regime. But why monitor everyday activity? What decision would you make based on such information? Would you go out of your way to walk the long way home or take the stairs? It doesn't seem useful.
Maybe not to you but it has been extremely useful for me. And, research has shown that if you give people activity monitors and they see their activity they do indeed increase their activity.

It is a very clear visual in the moment indicator of how much I've moved around during the day. Maybe if I had an active job or lifestyle where I naturally move around I wouldn't care. But, I don't. I have a sedentary lifestyle since I work very part time from home.

In my case I set a goal for how many steps I want to average over the course of the month. And I follow the monitor to see how well I'm doing on it. Yes, I most certainly do increase my walking so that I meet my goal.

The other thing that it does that is super helpful for me is help me with weight loss. Losing weight involves both what you take in and what you burn. It is the calorie deficit that is important. I record my calories eaten in MyFitness Pal which talks to Fitbit. Fitbit then tells me what my calorie deficit is. I find that useful to know. It is really easy to kid yourself and think that you have a big calorie deficit for example because you ate little that day. But if it was a sedentary day you may have a very small deficit. Likewise people often overestimate their calorie deficit based upon activity. They exercise really hard for an hour and think they have a huge calorie deficit. Often that is not the case however if they haven't also cut back on eating.

I like seeing the actual calculated numbers (yes, they aren't exact but I'm looking more at trends).

I also like seeing how Fitbit classifies certain activity. Is it "very active" or "light active" for example. Again I set goals based upon these things so it is helpful to see if I am meeting or not meeting my goals.

I've lost about 20 pounds since I got my Fitbit and I really do believe the Fitbit has helped me to do it.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:38 PM   #12
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Maybe not to you but it has been extremely useful for me. And, research has shown that if you give people activity monitors and they see their activity they do indeed increase their activity.

It is a very clear visual in the moment indicator of how much I've moved around during the day. Maybe if I had an active job or lifestyle where I naturally move around I wouldn't care. But, I don't. I have a sedentary lifestyle since I work very part time from home.

In my case I set a goal for how many steps I want to average over the course of the month. And I follow the monitor to see how well I'm doing on it. Yes, I most certainly do increase my walking so that I meet my goal.

The other thing that it does that is super helpful for me is help me with weight loss. Losing weight involves both what you take in and what you burn. It is the calorie deficit that is important. I record my calories eaten in MyFitness Pal which talks to Fitbit. Fitbit then tells me what my calorie deficit is. I find that useful to know. It is really easy to kid yourself and think that you have a big calorie deficit for example because you ate little that day. But if it was a sedentary day you may have a very small deficit. Likewise people often overestimate their calorie deficit based upon activity. They exercise really hard for an hour and think they have a huge calorie deficit. Often that is not the case however if they haven't also cut back on eating.

I like seeing the actual calculated numbers (yes, they aren't exact but I'm looking more at trends).

I also like seeing how Fitbit classifies certain activity. Is it "very active" or "light active" for example. Again I set goals based upon these things so it is helpful to see if I am meeting or not meeting my goals.

I've lost about 20 pounds since I got my Fitbit and I really do believe the Fitbit has helped me to do it.

Katsmeow,
I like the same features as you. Will miss my Force but I did develop a serious rash and don't want my wrist to fall off. I ordered a Flex. Just got it today. I like it. It seems to be identical to Force except it doesn't have the display on the band that shows the time. That was never a feature I cared about. But all the features including the calories burned and calories eaten are still there. I recommend you consider the Flex.
These devices do serve as motivation. I was already active but additional motivation never hurts. And I never really bothered with calorie counting until Fitbit. But now I find that very useful and it's helped me to drop 8 pounds over the last 3 months.
Muir
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Activity monitor fun
Old 03-30-2014, 12:24 AM   #13
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Activity monitor fun

Just realized the Flex doesn't have the altimeter so no floor counter capability. That is a feature I'll miss but not having the rash trumps that concern.
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Old 03-30-2014, 01:20 AM   #14
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Katsmeow,
I like the same features as you. Will miss my Force but I did develop a serious rash and don't want my wrist to fall off. I ordered a Flex. Just got it today. I like it. It seems to be identical to Force except it doesn't have the display on the band that shows the time. That was never a feature I cared about. But all the features including the calories burned and calories eaten are still there. I recommend you consider the Flex.
These devices do serve as motivation. I was already active but additional motivation never hurts. And I never really bothered with calorie counting until Fitbit. But now I find that very useful and it's helped me to drop 8 pounds over the last 3 months.
I returned my Force as well. I didn't get the rash but with the recall felt it was best to return it. My husband has a Flex. I like that it is smaller than the Force and also the changeable bands. Also, he can wear it in the shower. The lack of altimeter is not a deal breaker since we live in a one story house. However, I really do want to be able to see a display.

I had a Fitbit One before I got the Force so I've gone back to it temporarily until I see what replaces the Force. I've looked at other brands and just not happy with them.

I just bought a Wahoo BlueHR heart rate monitor that talks to my iPhone when using it. I have the HR data uploaded to Digifit which then uploads the calorie burn data to Fitbit. Fitbit steps govern but it uses the calorie count from the HR monitor. This tends to be a bit more accurate and also is much better for non-step based activity.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:42 AM   #15
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....
I also took it to the track and it was right on the button. A walk of 1 mile was read out as 1.00 mi. Wow! It might not be as accurate on hilly walks but for level walks it looks great.
...
An update on walk over terrain. I think the Vivofit is very accurate on hilly terrain because:
- It is very accurate on the flat as shown by my track test
- It has almost identical readings when I compare going one way on terrain and then back over the same terrain e.g. 1.75 mi one way 1.73 mi the other way.
- It has repeatable measurements over multiple days.

Their are some things that might be dependent on the person. For instance, when I count steps going up a hill, my stride is almost the same going up and going down. I wouldn't have guess that one. Is it the same for others?

Lastly, my testing is only for my 1 unit.

A note for runners: I got an 18% higher reading on distances at the track. So far it is about 21% higher for terrain runs (versus walks), but repeatable. So I can probably just divide my distance run by 1.21 to get an accurate reading.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:50 AM   #16
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Also forgot to mention that the Vivofit bands can be purchased in a separate package at Amazon. So one could change off colors. The readout module is easily removed from the band.

Do I seem obsessed or what?
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