Cycle Fit. Bit By Bit.

31 August, 2018

It's been a whole year since I got my first wearable tracker and I wanted to give a fair review of the tech I now rely on for all my training gains. At first, I was skeptical of the reliability of tech wear but from what I have noticed in my behavior, it's as much in your mind as it is in your day to day effort. In the space of 4yrs of wearables, the market has grown from niche to the next ‘must have’. Every step is now counted, every heartbeat recorded and the future of health is on the curb of a major redesign and I can see why as there are many benefits to our monitoring our health.

Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, Microsoft Band…the list goes onWith so much choice, it’s hard to understand the large and small differences between them. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Apple Watch, is ruler of the roost. This however is not the case and the crown is actually held by the growing USA company Fitbit, delivering massive growth in Q2 of this year alone, making it the best sales period in their entire history. I believe it's doing so well because it's affordability makes it accessible to everyone.
You’ve no doubt read other blogs or articles on the best fitness wearables, each claiming various technological advances over the other; some are just for workouts while others will plan your day, with calendars and email integrated, but the question you should be asking is which really feels like something you want to wear. Something that not only blends seamlessly into your life but also makes a profound impact upon it. Make no mistake; these gadgets aren’t cheap. Some are prettier than others but if you are going to wear something 24 hours a day then it has to be more than visually pleasing. It has to have personality and heart.
Personally, the Fitbit Charge 2 is by far the most life-changing piece of technology I have ever owned and here’s why.
Packed into this sleek device is: automatic and continuous ‘PurePulse’ heart rate monitoring, exercise tracking with real-time stats and summaries, step counter, gps, auto sleep tracker, silent vibrating alarm, caller ID, floor climb counter, calorie counter, distance counter, 5 day battery life and it even tells time.
The best part of my Fitbit Charge 2 experience is that it doesn’t dominate everything. It’s so sleek that sometimes I forget it’s there and I’ve never had someone look at my wrist and say ‘oh my, is that one of those Star Trek apple tracking watches?!’. It has performed consistently, continuously tracking and giving the greatest insight into my day I’ve ever had.

My Fitbit Charge has now become so linked to my fitness, that I am genuinely annoyed when I’ve accidentally forgotten to recharge it and realise it has died. It has come to the point where I consider the whole endeavour of exercising a complete waste of time without it on, kind of like "No Garmin, didn't happen". There is something magical about training and seeing your results instantly: how high your heart rate was, how many minutes were spent in a ‘Fat-burning’ or ‘Cardio’ zone, the calories destroyed – how active you really were.
When It comes to using the Fitbit Charge 2 for cycling, you can set it to start tracking. It's gps automatically recognizes when you're riding, even when you're just running errands. It can monitor more cycling specifics like cadence and elevation climbed. If you have a Strava account, you can also link it so that it automatically loads up your data, however, I find that Strava data is more reliable than the Fitbit Charge 2 data so I usually will use both trackers to compare results. 

I’ve just finished my morning training ride, as I sit here typing away while my Fitbit comfortably monitors my every heartbeat - the app on my iPhone links instantly and is showing that I’m still in the fat burning zone, 10 minutes later, and that I’ve burned 496 Kcals and counting. Would I have slipped into a cardio zone more, burned less calories or just not tried as much without my Fitbit Charge? Regardless, it is exciting to know. This wealth of information really does help you get a more complete understanding of your workout.Throughout the day, it monitors my heart rate, steps, stairs climbed, all of which give me the most complete understanding of my activity. 

With all this information syncing to the Fitbit app it’s easy to see how this compares to yesterday, the week before and even last month. On Sunday, I had the feeling I had been quite sluggish on my rides the past week and not on the top of my game. I popped open my fitbit app and scrolled through the week. Sure enough the graphs and figures backed my feeling and throughout the week I hadn’t reached any of my daily goals. This didn’t make me feel worse. Instead, it empowered me to find out why. Going through the app, I quickly checked my calendar and Fitbit period tracker. Sure enough I was just a day away from starting my period. I could have realized that I needed to do something more active but just by looking at my calendar I saw the previous weeks results of how my training had an impact on my body, making me feel better about my sluggishness.
Will these devices make you instantly thinner? I've lost 10 lbs this last year. Will they make you squat better? My legs are stronger from timing squats. Cycle faster? Fitbit motivates me to go against my previous time. Or even feel happier? Cycling = Happiness. Anyways, that debate may carry on. What I can say is that my Fitbit Charge 2 is something that has changed my life for the better and the best part is that it doesn’t require constant attention and, bit by bit, it fits seamlessly into my life, an extension rather than an addition.

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