Fitness Trackers: Reality vs Fiction


[dropcap]F[/dropcap]itness trackers are the rage these days, especially among the cubic dwellers. It seems like everybody has that fancy gadget on their wrist and are being prodded to walk a few steps more…..a few more steps… a few…more…steps. From design, to modelling, to customization the wearable market has evolved dramatically in a very short span of time. The promise of sharing all the vital health stats, to monitor your steps and heart rate; and perhaps even to receive your phone notifications right at your wrist is an alluring one.

Shiny and new the gadget looks fancy and we engage. Few months down the line when the novelty wears off reality bites back. Majority of the individuals with passing time left alone the gadget and are using it as nothing else than a fashion accessory. If you are passively wearing your gadget without engaging with the data, you are losing out on a potential chance to note your lifestyle trends and probably make good changes to the same.

  1. Be realistic

[highlight]It’s not Hogwarts school of Witchcraft, its Reality. You have just bought a fitness tracker not any magic wand.[/highlight]

It’s vital to approach your wearable gadget with a right mindset. Just because you have started wearing a millennial generation gadget doesn’t mean you can get fit. Just like any Fitness membership it’s a tool that will help you reach your fitness goal while providing you with right information, it is an aid for motivation.

Just like a yoga mat lying on the corner didn’t change you so wont a Fitbit, or a Vivosmart or some other brand. The moment you start engaging with the device it starts reaping in its benefits. Hard work and habit remain at the podium position of lifestyle changing gadgets.

  1. Calorie count

Your few vital stats like Age, Gender, Height and weight are majorly accounted while calculating your calorie count readings. This means the results aren’t a true representation of what’s your calorie burn count. Pairing your device with a heart rate monitor might help you a little to reach closer to the number but will never be able to zero down on the right number. While doing an arms workout your gadget often undergoes a compressed nerve and is unable to account for the pumping heart and similar fluctuations are seen in other weight lifting sessions. Avoid calorie count numbers via fitness bands.

Wearables and weight loss

The core of weight loss remains same always, track your calories and create a calorie deficit. What this means is you will consume lesser calories and push your body into a mode where it will run towards deposited fat stores for energy.

Post purchase of a wearable the next thing we do is to download an application and feeding our basis structural data into it.  With the structural data, the application will compute the Active Metabolic rate which tells you how many calories you burn in a day accounting both baseline Metabolic rate and any activity over it. Fortunately, the gadget works out all the numeric for you. Unfortunately, what it feeds you is a little far from reality. The problem with gadgets is they do not account for muscle mass and fat percentage, just a numeric number of weight as per your height. So, you might be having a six pack and heavy muscle mass but you will be always overweight.

  1. Set Goals

Given the ongoing market researches going around trackers and their effectiveness in counting steps its best to analyze trends rather than absolute numbers. As the outside environment, doesn’t change overnight individuals are best advised to follow absolute numbers rather than exact count to see their steps patters and count a growth on it. Set incremental targets to register growth and be more demanding from your body as time progresses.  The new line of wearable allows you to calibrate step length. Doing so will improve the accuracy of data on distance tracking.

[pullquote-left]Focus on the trend rather than absolute numbers.[/pullquote-left]

The gadget also helps you analyze your long sitting hours and times where you have a potential to add in more steps.


  1. Get Social

If IVR’s were so good to interact with why will we have a human correspondent. If you are done with those pre-loaded badges and beating yourself consecutively for weeks is wearing off, it’s time to get the gadget online. It’s time to deep dive into the social media groups and start comparing progress with others. It will get that extra spark you need a new way of engagement with the device. Get your friends and family involved and form your own group of fitness and chit chatter.

Having other people invested in your progress has been shown to help people stick to long term fitness plans. It’s not just the encouragement and support you get, it helps bring out a competitive edge that can make fitness a lot less lonely and far more fun.

  1. Food Log

This is not to specifically pen down the calorie intake number but to quantum the portion size you have eaten. It’s just like logging in the journal so that you don’t forget stuff.  Noting down things, you consume makes you conscious about your consumption. Just like our parents in childhood told note down things to remember and recall them. No surprise but if you would note down every item you ate you will find a dramatic difference between your perceived consumption and between actual consumption.

  1. Try not to take it off

To plot a trend and complete data you need to make sure you are with the gadget always.  You went for a shower took the gadget off and the next time you think about it you are already half way to work. Few days pass by you didn’t get time and the gadget has hit the closet. To plot a trend, you need to gather data all day around for a specific period to eventually analyze patterns.

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