Review: Fitbit Alta

Fitbit-Alta_Family_GoldFitbit launched two new devices this spring; the watch-like Blaze and the chic and stylish Alta. Each device has the signature Fitbit capabilities, like step counting, activity monitoring, and sleep tracking but each has its own features too. What’s the difference between these new devices, is it worth it to upgrade to a newer, better Fitbit, and what can they do for you? Click here to read my review of the Blaze, and for what the Alta’s all about read on.

All about Fitbit Altaimg_1586

The Alta is the fashionista version of an activity tracker. Slim and bracelet-like, the Alta actually looks a lot like the original Fitbit Flex (and comes with all the basic activity tracker features you’d expect), but with some improvements:

  • more sleek bracelet/band options including more watch/jewelry style options
  • vertical display on the front of the band with built-in watch
  • smart alerts come directly to the bracelet

The Alta is meant for a person who wants to be fashionable and not be seen to wear an ‘ugly’ rubber athletic band all the time. The band does the physical tracking and it pairs with a free smartphone app where you can store and access stats from day to day and long-term.

This band charges using a special clip that attaches to the band, and can be plugged in to a USB port on a computer, or using an AC plug.

img_1588What can Fitbit Alta do?

Fitbit Alta is an activity, step and sleep tracker that will:

  • count steps
  • track activities like walks, running, biking
  • measure sleep length and quality
  • receive smart alerts (calendar, text messages, etc)
  • send you ‘fun’ reminders and motivational messages to remind you to move more.

Smart Track

The Alta has a great feature called Smart Track which knows when you’re doing activities like a walk, or a run, even aerobics. It will automatically register duration of the activity, calories burned, pace  and fat burn. Previously (like with Flex) you’d need to add these activities manually, but it would still count just the steps.

What it doesn’t do:

  • measure heart rate
  • display full length text messages
  • give you fancy options for display

With the Alta, you need to rely more on the app than you would with, say the Blaze. That’s because the band’s display is narrow and limited, so for detailed stats and to make changes or adjustments, you need to log in to the app.

Limited Display options  ee5ccf08-0635-437a-b034-44c5cd579bc7

To view the data that is available on the Alta, you tap the display; twice to access the built-in watch/clock, and once to advance through data which is limited to steps, kilometers traveled, calories burned and  active minutes.

The display is black and white and also has very limited options for customization; you can change it from vertical to horizontal, add a black and white flower, or change “2:00” to “Two o’clock”, but that’s about it.

 How does Fitbit Alta differ from Fitbit Blaze (and Flex)?

img_1691Let’s start by comparing Alta to the original Flex. (Read my review of the Flex here) The Flex tracker can be popped out of its rubber band, and the Alta tracker can too; both trackers are tiny units that can be slipped into a bra, sock or pocket if you don’t want to wear one on your wrist. While Fitbit doesn’t brag about this capability, due to the fact it’s likely not as accurate as wearing it properly, I found it’s a handy option for the four years I’ve been a Fitbit owner.

The Alta and Flex are nearly identical in width,  but while Alta has the aforementioned limited-ability display, the Flex has no display whatsoever, so the Alta’s already an upgrade. Alta can also receive shortened message alerts, while again, original Flex has no such abilities.img_1710

Both Alta and Flex track all the same data, but where the Alta wins out over the Flex is on the style front. Alta can easily be snapped into a nicer metal, leather or custom coloured band. Really, you can make this band so pretty, and so jewelry-like, you won’t ever need to remove it for nights out or formal events.

When compared to the other new Fitbit offering, the Blaze, there are more striking differences. Blaze has a full colour screen, it can show longer alerts and reminders, and you can adjust some settings right on the tracker. While both Blaze and Alta have a built in watch, Blaze’s can be changed to a much different variety of faces.

Both Alta and Blaze have much more attractive band options (at extra cost) so they can be dressed up, or back down or for more vigorous use in the gym

 Is it worth it to upgrade to Alta?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need/want to get alerts on my wrist?
  • Do I just want basic fitness tracking?
  • Do I care more about having a tracker that looks like jewelry?
  • Do I need/want a watch?
  • Do I want ‘wardrobe options’ for my tracker?
  • Can I live without monitoring my heart rate?

If you answered yes to three or more of those questions, you’ll probably be pretty happy with an upgrade to the Alta, from a device like the Flex.

Overall review of the Fitbit Alta

For me personally, I like the Alta as a small scale upgrade over the Flex, as I found myself becoming very reliant on the built-in watch, just for starters, and the alert function is also handy. I also really, really like the options for making it look more like jewelry and less like an activity band.

However when factoring in price, if I was ready to upgrade, I’d probably just go all the way and get the Blaze. (Fitbit Flex is $129 and the Alta is $169 plus significantly more for fancier bands. The Blaze sells for $249. Fancy bands are extra here too) If price is a major factor for you, in my opinion, I’d get the Flex over the Alta, since they’re very similar and the display isn’t so much more advanced as to make it as must-have for the price. However if alerts to your wrist are a priority, it’s Alta all the way.

If you’re looking to get your first Fitbit or fitness tracker, either the Flex or the Alta are great starting points; the Flex is the most inexpensive option but the Alta does more. If you want a tracker with a few more features, and you’ve got the budget, go for the Alta since it can be more beautifully customized. If you need a device with more options, check out my review of the Blaze to see if it’s right for you.

The Fitbit Alta sells for about $169 from Fitbit’s website. it’s also available at London Drugs and Best Buy.

Read more from my archives about Fitbit bands, and apps that work with the device.

Fitbit Blaze Review

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The new Blaze (right) beside to well-worn Flex.

I’ve been a Fitbit owner ever since I bought my Flex. It’s been a staple for me, not so much because I’m a gym junkie, but because it sit at a desk for the vast majority of my day. I try to keep active and get in my 10,000 steps, and my Fitbit keeps track so that I can get in an extra walk, park at the back of the parking lot, or hit the gym when I get too sedentary.

I was excited to hear about the two new Fitbit models announced this year; the Alta and the Blaze, primarily because my Flex is starting to look a bit worse for wear, and because I feel like I’m ready for some new features. While I was instantly attracted to the Alta because of its slim profile and similarity to the Flex, I was a little less interested in the Blaze. It seemed big, bulky, dated-looking and boxy. Nonetheless I was willing to put it though its paces.

Getting started with Fitbit Blaze
To use the Blaze you’ll need the Fitbit App if you want to keep long-term stats. With the app downloaded, you pair the device to your phone.  While it took me a few tries to get it to connect to the phone, it was soon connected and ready to go.img_1456

The Blaze has an interesting configuration; it’s essentially two parts; the band (which is interchangeable, more on that below), and the tracker unit, a flat, square device just over an inch square and slightly thicker than an average watch.  The tracker pops out of the band to allow for changeover, and must be removed and placed inside a tiny box for  charging.

At first I thought this band would be heavy and bulky, but after less than an hour, I had already forgotten it was on my wrist. Really, it doesn’t feel any heavier or bigger than my original Fitbit Flex, despite the obvious size differences.

I also like that the tracker unit itself can be popped out of the band, and tucked into a sports bra, sock, or pocket. This was one of my favorite features of the Fitbit Flex; it allowed me to hide the tracker if I didn’t want to be wearing something obviously athletic and rubbery on my wrist for a nice night out or a formal event. While the accuracy of the device may not be as exact if it’s worn elsewhere since it’s been made to be worn on the wrist, in my experience it wasn’t off enough to throw my day out of whack. And besides, the better looking these devices get, the less likely we are to want to hide them anyway, right?

img_1454-1What Fitbit measures

Before we go too much further you may be wondering what a Fitbit will keep track of for you.

  • Sleep: both duration and quality
  • Steps, including number of steps and distance, and active minutes in your day
  • Activity: record activities from running to cycling
  • Weight: the app will chart your weight either manually, or automatically when paired with the Aria scale.
  • Calories: when paired with apps like MyFitnessPal, you can share food info and match it up to activity levels.
  • Water Intake: again, a manual input item but can help you keep track of if you’re drinking enough water
  • Floors Climbed
  • Heart Rate: Fitbit devices with heart rate monitoring will keep track of your resting and active heart rates.

Customizing your Blaze

Customizable watch faces are an option for the Blaze, but you can’t switch them up form the watch itself, like other bands. Instead you’ll need to do this though the app in ‘Account’ menu. Not intuitive but at least the feature is there. It takes about 15 seconds from the time you select a new watch face for it to update on the watchband.

By default your Fitbit Blaze adjusts brightness based on the ambient lighting conditions. You can change the default in the settings.

You can set the Blaze to light up when you turn your wrist towards your face. I found this feature didn’t work as well as I had hoped. If I was taking a casual look, sometimes it didn’t recognize the gesture. If I was more deliberate about turning my wrist over and pointing it at my face, then it seem to work. But it took about a second before the display would light up. My experience with this feature was hit or miss.

Who’s the Blaze for?

Fitbit wants you to be clear; the Blaze is not for an elite athlete. The Blaze is for an average consumer who wants to do basic monitoring of fitness statistics, sleep, and activities while not looking like a track star. The Blaze is fashion and fun, with a fitness core. Fitbit suggests the more seriously minded athletes pick up its Surge device instead.

Basic operation
Alerts
A great new added feature of the Blaze is its ability to deliver notifications and messages right to your wrist. While I very much enjoyed getting a subtle buzz on the wrist when a text message or calendar alert popped up, this feature does have limitations. While you can read incoming text messages, you cannot respond to them. (At least not using my iPhone.) similarly, you can accept incoming calls, but you must have your smart phone with you as well, or you won’t be able to talk. While this may seem very limiting, the price point of the Blaze is far less than Apple’s watch, so you’re getting what you pay for if messaging and conducting business from your wrist is something you’re after.

Menus
By pulling down across the watch face, you get a menu which will allow you to turn notifications on or off, as well as play music if it’s connected.
Swiping up gets you a list of recent notifications such as calls, text messages, calendar alerts and more. These alerts will stack up and stay in the watch until you clear them.

Swiping right to left across the band will give you a series of other menus:

“Today”: The today menu will show you your fitness stats; such as steps, heart rate, kilometres traveled, calories, and floors climbed. To return back to the menu list, you hit the back button on the watch band.

“Exercise”: this menu allows you to register different activities like workout, elliptical, treadmill,  weights, bike, and run. You tap the exercise you are about to take part in and the Blaze will connect to your smart phone’s app to register the activity. Push play on the watch face to begin logging the activity, then stop it when you’re done. While technically Fitbit already knows when you’re doing some kind of exercise, having this connection to the app allows you to keep watch in real time on your statistics, such as distance or time.  When enabled, the Blaze will also use GPS tracking to follow your route on a run or a bike ride for example.

img_1564
One of the FitStar exercises.

“FitStar”: FitStar is a series of guided exercises that the band will walk you through. You can do a warm-up, or a seven minute workout. The watch band shows you a visual example of each short exercise, and a timer counts you down through it.
While three workouts are included in your Blaze’s software, if you want more options, you’ll need to buy them from Fitbit for a $46 annual fee.

“Timer”:   This gives you access to a countdown or stopwatch function.

“Alarms”: Here you can turn silent alarms on or off. But adding or deleting them requires your phone and the app.

“Settings”: A very simplistic version of the settings menu, here you can turn the QuickView feature on or off, adjust brightness, turn heart rate monitoring on or off, as well as shut down the device.

Accuracy

As I’ve written about previously, I very much like Fitbit  and choose it as my preferred activity band, because I find it extraordinarily accurate.

I’ve tried numerous bands and compared them both with each other, and done testing to see if the band accurately matches my steps, strides, and activities. Part of this accuracy lies in the ability to calibrate the Fitbit to your unique stride length, which is key for accurate tracking. (For more on how to adjust your stride length with Fitbit click here.)
No surprise then that the Blaze was just as accurate as my old standby Fitbit Flex.

Styling Options for Fitbit Blaze

With the Blaze, you have several options for wristbands. You can stick with a more traditional athletic wristband (“Classic”) which is made of rubber attached to the metal watch bezel, or there are also leather options in brown, grey or black. These bands will cost you about $140 and that’s on top of what you’re paying for the tracker. A gorgeous metal link watch band will set you back nearly $180. So while there are stylish options for making your band look less like a fitness accessory, and more fashion forward, they are not cheap.

Overall Review of Fitbit Blaze

One of the things I like most about my Fitbit Flex, is that it’s very subtle and still contains all the major tracking features I want. The Blaze is a whole different type of gadget for me, because it’s much larger, and more like a wristwatch then I’ve been used to wearing. But since this activity band also features heart rate monitoring as well as time display, it’s natural this device would look more like a watch them like a traditional activity tracker. It is bigger than I’m used to, but as I noted earlier despite its size and boxy shape, I quickly forgot I was wearing it, and didn’t feel that it got in my way or was overly noticeable.

I enjoyed the additional features, and definitely found myself checking in on my heart rate through the day. Having a built-in watch was a great feature, as is the notifications option. It was nice to get a subtle buzz on my wrist when I had a text message or alert.

In short, while I didn’t think I would be interested in this band as my go to activity device, I found myself liking it more and more the more I tried it. I could definitely see adopting the Blaze in my future.

Fitbit Blaze is available at Best Buy and London Drugs for $249. You can also get it from Fitbit’s website, or find more info there.

In the next couple weeks I’ll be reviewing the new Fitbit Alta too, so check back for more info soon. Already a Fitbit Fan? Check out my Fitbit Apps you’ll LOVE.

img_1443
Charging your Fitbit Blaze

 

Fitbit launches 2 new trackers: Blaze and Alta

img_1453One of my all time favourite gadgets has to be Fitbit. The slim Fitbit Flex fitness and activity tracker has been my go-to for step counting, sleep monitoring and basically helping keep me active. (Read why here)

I haven’t looked at upgrading my Flex until now; mainly because it continues to work great, and I like its slim profile and the ability to pop the tracker unit out of the band, and hide it in my sock or bra if I want to ditch the rubber band-look. The recent addition of Tory Burch accessories has helped bring a more fashion forward look to the athletic devices, (see Tory’s Fitbit accessories and read more about Smart Jewelry here) but with Fitbit’s launch of two new bands, it seems everyone can be happy with both the looks and the functionality. In fact, Fitbit’s made these two new bands for people who are less hardcore about fitness (a serious athlete would want to look at the Surge), and more interested in keeping active while looking stylish.

Meet Fitbit Blazeimg_1443

The Blaze is Fitbit’s first foray into what could be thought of as a smart watch. The styling of this band makes it look more like a timepiece and less like an athletic tracker. There’s a colour screen, and improved exercise tracking, plus smart alerts from your phone.

I’m currently testing the Blaze, and will post a full review soon, but one of the things I’m already loving about it is that it to has a removable tracker unit that you can hide in your clothes, or slip into either an athletic band or a more jewelry-inspired band.

Fitbit Alta is fashion and functionFITBIT ALTA ONE

The other new band introduced by Fitbit is the Alta. This slim band looks a lot like the original Flex, but it comes with a variety of slick and pretty band options. I’ll be reviewing this Fitbit too, so watch for a full story soon.

Do you have questions you want answered about either of these new bands? Let me know!

Brand new Fitbit Alta is slim, pretty and does more

Fitbit-Alta_Family_GoldFans of original Fitbit Flex’s low profile, slim design and ease of use, rejoice!  The best things about the Flex have been carried over and improved upon in a brand new band, the Alta.

Fitbit Alta is a new stainless steel tracker, with a satin finish and a sleek, modular design that includes a quick-release feature that allows you to swap in new bands.  Fitbit-Alta-Family-2

You can now pick from classic fitness bands or  chic-er versions, like luxe leather bracelets or a  silver bangle. One of my favourite parts about the new bands? Tory Burch has once again partnered with Fitbit to design new styles specific to the Alta. I just love the Tory Burch jewelry-style accessories released last year for the Flex, and this only looks like there’s more options to love.

As for the new features that take the Alta up a notch from the Flex:

  • Reminders to Move to help you stay active and reduce stationary time
  • SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition, weekly exercise goals and all-day activity and automatic sleep tracking
  • Call, text and calendar notifications right on your wrist when your phone is nearby through on-screen messages and a gentle vibrating alert
  • An easy-to-read, vibrant OLED tap display shows your activity stats and the time
  • Works with Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices and computers

Fitbit-Alta_Cooking

Fitbit Alta is available today for $169.95 (CAD) for presale with retail availability starting in March 2016, joining the recently announced award-winning Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch. Alta will be available for preorders at Best Buy, Indigo and London Drugs, and at a number of other retaillers later on.

I’m hoping to get my mitts on one to test and review. Watch this space for more when they’re released! Meantime, read my review on the Fitbit Flex, or the Misfit Shine, or the Basis Peak.

Fitbit-Alta-Lineup

5 Top Fitness Wearables & Trackers

misfit shine
The Misfit Shine

You’ve probably got at least one friend or coworker who wears one; a fitness band, pedometer, step counter, heart rate monitor or clip. You may have wondered why they’re so great and what they can do for you.

In short they’re ultra-smart, ultra portable monitors that can give you information on things like how much you move, how well you sleep, some can show your heart rate, how high you climb and even how many calories you’re burning.

There’s several models out there; the Nike Fuelband, the Magellan echo, Pebble, plus health tracking is also built into the Apple watch (whenever it comes out) and the Samsung Gear watches. Wearables are big business — fitness monitoring has become a billion-dollar industry.  Most fitness bands are compatible with the biggies; iPhone and Android phones, and each one pairs with an app that displays your data.

tech talk feb

On CTV Morning Live, we took a look at several options for fitness and health bands.  I’ll note a bit about each, but check back here in the coming weeks for detailed reviews of each band shown on TV. You can watch the video HERE.

FITBIT Flex and Charge

The Fitbit Charge
The Fitbit Charge

Full disclosure; I’m a Fitbit owner.  The Fitbit Flex was my first ever fitness band purchase, and it’s still the one I wear all the time.  Recently I was able to try out the Charge, the newer band with a couple more bells and whistles than the basic Flex; namely a watch on the band. They track steps, calories burned, and distance travelled.  The Fitbit Charge also tracks floors climbed, and has the added benefit of a display face you can also use as a watch.

I also showed you the wireless scale; the Fitbit Aria. It’s a simple and easy to use scale, that will automatically upload your weight and body fat (if you weigh-in in bare feet!) to your Fitbit app.  A handy way to keep tabs on your step goal progress.

 

 

JAWBONE

jawbone up moveThe Jawbone UpMOVE falls into my category of fitness trackers that can be separated from their bands and/or clips and moved wherever you want  so they can be hidden.  A great option if you’re going to a fancy dinner and don’t want people gawking at your rubber wrist band.  The band encourages you to “Get fit, lose weight and have fun doing it. UP MOVE comes in a bunch of brilliant colors that you can mix and match with accessories. Clip it on and wear it anywhere. And with an LED display and Smart Coach to guide you, the UP MOVE tracker doesn’t just count your steps and track your sleep—it gets you over the hump and moving on your path to a better you.”  This device tracks activity like steps and distance, as well as sleep.

 

MISFIT Shine

I LOVE the simple beauty of this band, called the Shine (pictured above).  The lights are like a subtle constellation, and the band is smooth and won’t catch on anything, it’s easy to wear, light and very easy to forget you have on.  The app is easy to read and understand, and while it measured calories on par with what some other bands did, I found it under-counted steps and distance, compared to other bands like the Fitbit. It should be noted this band has not been calibrated, as I was unable to figure out on my own how to do it. Watch for a more detailed review here soon.  One aspect I DO like about the Shine; you can hide the tracking disc in jewelry, tuck it in your bra, or sock, and no one will know you’re wearing one.

BASIS Peak

basic peakThe Basis Peak was one of the only fitness bands I tried that had a built in heart rate monitor. I loved it, and according to the other heart rate monitor I usually use (on the treadmill at the gym) it’s just as accurate.  I loved the subtle simplicity of the white-on-black watch face.  In addition to heart rate, the Peak also counts all the usual stuff like steps and sleep.  Peak automatically detects your sleeping cycles, including REM & deep sleep, which it says gives you in-depth data on the quality of your night’s sleep. The Peak automatically adjusts weekly goals based on your performance, and it comes with habit notifications on your phone or wrist when you’re on track or need a nudge, which is a nice addition to give you motivation. This device will also send your alerts and texts to your band, letting you stay in touch when you need to be.

 

 

GARMIN Vivosmart

Not only does the vivosmart track steps and movement, it also sends messages from your phone to your band.  A light vibration lets you know you have alerts. Each time you receive a text, email or call on a compatible Bluetooth device,   vívosmart gently vibrates and automatically displays the information. You just touch and swipe the screen to read more.

The Garmin Vivosmart was lent to me by MEC, where you can pick up one of your own.

Garmin vivosmart
Garmin vivosmart

 

The trackers above are all available at any number of stores in Canada, including Future Shop.

 

My pick is Fitbit; and for me it’s the Flex.  I’ve been wearing it reliable and enjoyably for over 2 years now, and I have no plant to change.  Click HERE to read more on Fitbit apps you’ll love, or click HERE for my review of the Fitbit Flex.

Do you have a favourite fitness band or device I  should look at?  Send me an email via my contact page or add one in comments below.

erin tech talk

Fitbit Apps You’ll Love!

I LOVE my Fitbit Flex, and have worn it daily for nearly 2 years.  It keeps me honest on the fitness front, and gets me moving each day by buzzing me with silent alarms.  While the band does all the counting, there are some great apps it integrates with to make your life, health, and fitness management easier.

fitbit.jpg

 For starters, you’ll want to know about the Fitbit App itself.  It’s a very easy to read and understand interface that counts your steps each day, tracks your sleep, records weight, and activity, and as you’re about to see, meshes with many third-party apps. The app syncs with your wristband via Bluetooth each time you launch the app on your mobile device.  While it syncs your steps automatically, you’ll need to input things like weight and water consumption yourself, and use one of the apps below if you want to track your food.  The Fitbit app also syncs your sleep pattens automatically so you can get a good sense of how many hours you’re getting, and what times of night you might be restless, or awake.

The Fitbit app is clean, streamlined and easy to read at a glance, and configurable to some extent, allowing you to keep or discard certain metrics, depending what you want to see.  Need a crash course in what the Fitbit is or how it works? Check out a great Tech Blog about the Fitbit line.

 Health & Wellness

 

My Fitness Pal (My personal favourite)MFP.jpg

Probably my #1 app for use with the Fitbit.  My Fitness Pal tracks your food and exercise, and also meshes that information with the movement and steps you get from the Fitbit. You set up an account, and tell it if you’re looking to gain or lose weight, or just keep things where they are.  It then tells you how much you should be eating in a day.  From there, the easy to use (and recently improved) interface allows you to manually enter your food, or to scan a barcode, and it will input the food for you.  It keeps track of your calories, then adjusts your calorie count for the day, based on how much or how little exercise you do.  So if you have a particularly busy day, it actually wants you to consume more calories!  The Fitbit, once you set the app up to link with your Fitbit, makes all the adjustments and shares any info with the app for seamless info flow.

Price: Free

Other Fitbit-compatible apps like it: Lose It, Foodzy

 

TactioHealth

This app snagged “Best App Ever” in 2012. tactio.jpg It’s said to be the #1 Medical App in in over 10 countries, and in the  Top 10 Medical App in over 25 countries.  Tactio tracks all your body stats, from weight, to body fat and BMI, and your body measurements.  If you’re looking for something more in-depth than My Fitness Pal, this is your app, because it also tracks blood pressure, glucose levels, and cholesterol to give you a much better handle on your personal health markers.  It also counts steps and syncs with Fitbit to share the data, and allows you to make meal plans and count calories.  The app will even remind you to weigh in, get to your annual physical and deliver news updates (based on your profile), from the CDC and WHO. When I went through the set up, the questions were detailed and specific; it wants to know how many veggies you eat, what your waist measurement is, how much you move at work and in workouts, if you smoke, and more.  Be warned; if you’re going through the set up and get interrupted it doesn’t save what you’ve already input, so finish this before exiting, or before letting your phone go to sleep! Once your account is set up, link it to your Fitbit.

Price: Free

Similar to : My Fitness Pal (but much more in depth)

 

Beeminder

We all know the feeling; you set some goals, make a plan, and after a few weeks, boredom (or real life) sets in, and your carefully orchestrated fitness plan goes kaput.  Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 7.10.00 PM.pngWhat if you had to pay for missing a workout?  That would probably make you think twice about your lame excuse.  Beeminder ’stings’ you for missing a workout, by making you pony up a cash penalty. “If you go off track, you pledge money to stay on the road the next time. If you go off track again, we charge you,” says the company’s app description.  Basically, if you flake, you pay. It’s not just for workouts.  If you want to learn Spanish, ballroom dance, or just to commit to doing something on a regular basis (call your mother!), Beeminder will make it your top priority, and penalize you if you don’t follow through.  Worth noting: I had a great deal of difficulty getting the app set up.  The only setup options are via Facebook and Twitter, and it kept giving me an “Authentication failed” message saying it didn’t recognize my profile. I’d love to know if it works better for any of you, and I’d be willing to give it another try.

Price: Free

Games

 

Tappy Fit

You’re the kind of person who likes to gamify your life, so this is right up your alley. photo 2-1.PNG

This low-res faux-80’s era app uses your Fitbit data to improve your game experience as you navigate your flying shoe around your 2-bit world. Take more steps, some tasks get easier.  Skip them, and you have to work your thumbs a lot harder.  It’s a very basic (and a little dull) app, but fun for those who might need an extra boost.  I deleted it almost immediately after testing.

Price: Free

Similar to: Welly (which is basically a digital pet who gets cared for via the steps you take)

 

For Runners

 

Map My Run

I’ve been looking for an app like this for weeks, and was pleased when my research led me to this one. photo 1.PNG
Map My Run geo-locates you, and finds different routes you can take nearby, to cover a particular distance you might want.  Looking for a 5K near the office?  It lays out a handful of options.  Just want a quick 2-mile close to home?  Take your pick from the displayed maps. The app is colourful and very user-friendly.  Just touch, and run! And of course, it syncs with your Fitbit!

Price: Free

Similar to this: Digifit,  Endomondo and…

 

Runtastic

photo 3.PNGA really great pedometer app.  It uses the accelerometer inside your phone to track distance, speed, steps and calories burned.

You click it to start it when you go out for a walk, run or bike, and the app automatically sends your data to the aforementioned My Fitness Pal.  Technically this app doesn’t sync to Fitbit but it’s a great app to try out to see how (and if!) you might use a pedometer like a Fitbit.

Price: Free

 

Fitbolt Web App

You work a desk job, and you spend 7.8 hours per day sitting.  Need some motivation, maybe a reminder to get up, move, and do some stretching?  The Fitbolt desktop app claims to be just what you’re looking for.  It puts a tiny counter in your browser, and counts you down to a pre-set interval.  It will also display recommended stretches and movement activities you can do at your desk.  While the elbow/arm stretches were fine, I wasn’t about to do a plank on the dirty office carpet. I also didn’t like the fact that when the counter hits zero, there’s no alert, or alarm to remind you to get up.  It (in my Firefox browser, anyway) just reset it self and started counting again.  Also annoyingly, when do do remember to remember to look at the clock and try out a move, if you click that you’ve done it, it rewards you with …an ad.  Not to mention it kept crashing when I tried to log in to the dashboard.  Great idea in theory, but don’t waste your effort on this program.

Price: Free

 

Do you have a Fitbit-connected app you LOVE?  Tell me about it in comments.  I’d love to check out your favourite.