Fitness Tracking

Doing a little research this morning on fitness tracking electronics, I came across this little gem of a paragraph.

“[The] vast majority of activity trackers are roughly accurate. By that, I mean that no activity tracker on the market is perfect. None. Instead, they are estimations – treat them as such. Each company tries to fine tune their algorithms for various use cases. Some might be better at guarding against false positives in the shower, but less so doing dishes. Others the inverse. What matters is that at the end of the day if your activity tracker said you only did 2,000 steps, and your goal was 10,000 steps – then you were…lazy. Meanwhile, if it says you did 9,782 steps and you think you really did 9,923 or 9,458 – just go walk around the block an extra time. It’s about tracking trends – not exacts.”

-Ray Maker “DC Rainmaker”

Also, keep in mind this other quote from Ben Bergeron, CrossFit coach to Katrin Davidsdottir and past coach of Matt Fraser (They won the CrossFit games… a lot)

“What gets tracked, gets improved”

(I can’t emphasize this quote enough)

I know my old Garmin that would tell me I’ve reached my goal when I was driving to Bastrop with tires that were a little out of balance. We tend to rely on devices quite a bit to measure our fitness, but at the end of the day you need to actually use that device between your ears.

The devices out there are getting tremendously better every year though, and if you aren’t sure which one you need, I’m going to paraphrase Ray again.

1) Get what your fitness friends have

I have my tools and apps that I like and have been using. I prefer Garmin, Strava, SugarWOD, and MyFitnessPal. If you come to the gym and want to track things along with the gym, these are what I prefer. If you have a group of friends on FitBit or MapMyRun, then by all means stick with your group of friends. Accountability doesn’t always mean they are going to call you to work out, but it means you just want to collect more internet points than them.

2) If you are already running one platform, stick with that platform.

I use Garmin. I’ve thought about using other products at some times because they had a feature that was cool, but soon that didn’t matter because Garmin came out with it shortly afterwards. Also, Pepper has had 2 Garmin watches, but she just switched to Apple (I think some relationships have ended over less). She got that watch for other reasons besides fitness tracking, but we have years of data and experience with her Garmin that we are trying to figure out how we are going to put all that together. Not that Garmin is that much better than Apple, FitBit, Samsung, Suunto, etc. It’s just what we use. We have accounts, metrics, etc. all built in to one brand and now we have to do some workarounds to get it all back in one place.

Those two can be a little contradictory, but with the way that apps are today, they can be reconciled. So while it may take a few mornings to get it to where I can see my friends on multiple platforms, it is possible. The key takeaway is “What gets tracked, gets improved.”

Also, one of the most valuable resources I’ve found for this topic is DC Rainmaker. It’s mostly focused on triathlon, but this guy goes into incredible detail on everything.