Do I need an activity tracker? Which one is best? | Activity Tracker Review

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“I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to purchase a fitness tracker, and if I do, which one to choose?” – Heather Miller

I definitely have mixed feelings about activity trackers. On the one hand they can offer some valuable insights into your true daily activity level and may inspire you to get up and moving more often.

On the other hand, they could cause you to get a little obsessive about exercise and, they aren’t always accurate. One recent study found that some of the top brands can be off by as much as 23 percent. Click here to check out the full study: http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Citation/2014/09000/Validity_of_Consumer_Based_Physical_Activity.20.aspx

Here’s an excerpt from a recent guest post I did for Sarafit that sums up how I feel about activity trackers:

These days digital devices are changing the way view our workouts, food and even sleep! As a certified personal trainer and wellness coach, I’ll be the first to admit there are some pretty amazing gadgets out there that can track everything from your calorie burn, step count and even sleep cycles, but how much good are they really doing for you? If we end up relying on devices to tell us what’s going on with our body, could they be doing more harm than good? Are we losing touch with our body’s true signals by placing too much importance on what that wristband says?

Here are three reasons I don’t personally use a tracker:

1) You may not realize it, but that little device could be putting an awful lot of pressure on you.

RELATED: Why You Should Forget How Many Calories Your Workout Burns http://bit.ly/SAQMuj

2) You know that saying, “a watched pot never boils…?”
Well, there may be some truth to that.
I understand that it can be helpful to track calories, distance, heart rate, and all that jazz, and that it can help you lose weight (especially if you had no previous idea of how many calories you were eating and/or not burning off), but if you’ve been using your device for awhile and the scale seems stuck, focusing all your attention on those numbers could be hindering your progress rather than helping it. Here’s why – in my years of coaching and training (not to mention my personal experience with being 40 pounds overweight), I’ve found that usually weight gain isn’t just a matter of calories in, calories out, but rather a symptom of something beyond what you can measure with a tracking device. For me, I find that the harder I work to “diet and exercise,” the more weight I gain! Instead, when I start tuning into my body in all areas of my life I’m able to find the right balance of work, play, food, rest and movement that made me feel healthy, happy and full of energy. To get to that place where losing weight simply becomes a positive outcome of a positive life, you may need to ignore what the numbers and data say to truly find what makes your body, mind and spirit feel the absolute best.

3) You don’t need a device to tell you how far you can (or should) go.

Sure, it’s nice to know that you ran 5 miles or burned 500 calories with that last workout, but the truth is, you don’t need a device to tell you when your workout is done or how far you have left to run! Tuning back into your body could help you push yourself even further without that much extra effort. By honoring your body’s need to rest on certain days (no matter what that activity meter says) you may be able to replenish a depleted gas tank and push yourself even further or faster on your next workout. By eating when you are hungry (instead of skipping a snack because you’ve reached your calorie intake for the day) you may be able to starve off a binge attack later.

Not to mention ladies, you know that there are certain times of the month where your energy levels drop, and that’s a natural part of your cycle that is worth honoring, not fighting through just to make a certain daily goal.

TELL ME, DO YOU USE AN ACTIVITY TRACKER? IF SO WHICH ONE? HOW DO YOU LIKE IT? HAS IT HELPED YOU REACH YOUR GOALS?

Got a question for me? Leave it in the comments below and I may answer it in an upcoming Q and A episode!

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