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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Little Fit Bit


In the past week, several friends have brought up the topic of fit bits. The sudden interest in horse bridles had me stumped. But when the word “calories” worked its way into the conversation, my light bulb came on.
For those of you who are not up on the latest “gage-rage”, the Fitbit is a gadget that helps you feel guilty about the amount of food you ingest and exercise you don’t get. This innocuous little device calculates everything you do, when you do it, how you do it, how long it took you do it, and why you should have done it more.
From what I understand, there are two styles of Fitbits. The “Zip” and “One” Fitbits dangle from your waist band like a giant key chain fob worn by gang-banger wannabes. Be aware that many Fitbits come in bright colors, so if you’re trying to “go gangsta”, be sure to select the correct color option for your "hood". 
The downside of the dangler style is that it only does three things: tracks the number of steps you’ve taken, the number of calories burned and how far you’ve traveled. I don’t know how it figures out this last calculation, unless it doubles as an odometer when not attached to a part of your body.
For my taste, the “Flex” type of Fitbit is a better choice. First, it disguises itself as a wristwatch so others can’t guess you’re counting calories. Second, this puppy tracks it all: steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled, active minutes, stairs climbed. It even tracks how many hours you’ve slept, if you slept well or not, and how many times you’ve awakened during the night to visit the bathroom (like you couldn’t figure that one out yourself).
The big question is—how does it know what I’m doing in my bed? Maybe it has a built in camera that’s hooked into the NSA system. I think it has something to do with the fact that it syncs automatically when your tracker comes within 20 feet of a dongle.
One model has a built in LED light. That feature must come in handy if you enjoy running in the dark waving your wrist in front of you to see where you’re going.
I think the Fitbit with a vibrating alarm is the most social-conscious option. It helps you to be more considerate—it will wake you in the morning so you don’t disturb your significant other. It helps you to be more calorie conscious—it will remind you when it’s time to eat in case the hunger pangs in your stomach neglected to accomplish that task. It helps you to be a more relaxed person—anything that vibrates can’t be all bad.
This gadget is really appealing to a game oriented person. You can compete with your friends by setting goals, collecting badges and checking the leader-board on your phone to see how your stats stack up against theirs. Note that an online disclaimer mentions that this particular feature can result in a substantial loss of calories … and friends.
If all this wasn’t enough, the Fitbit magically sends all the stats to your computer, phone and Bluetooth. It then forwards them to you in an e-mail to tell you how many times you worked out, what you accomplished each week, and flashes an alert when you miss your goals (like you needed another reminder of that).
Even if it is all about me – I think this Fitbit gives TMI (too much information). I’ll just stick to the old fashioned ways of counting calories in my head, nudging Garth when the alarm goes off and doing sit-ups until my stomach muscles scream for relief.
Or maybe I’ll invent my own gadget and call it an “I don’t give a fit.”
Either way, if the wristband doesn’t match my outfit, there’s no way I’d wear the darn thing anyway.
So, what do you think?  “Fitbit” or “I don’t give a fit”? Tells us why you love it…or not!

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