Sticking to Basics (Or, Why You’re Probably Not Wearing a Fitbit)

Remember when Fitbit first came out? 

It was so exciting! Technology on our wrists! We could get data on our activity all day long! 

A little while later: whoops, sort of, not exactly. 

Fast forward a year after your Fitbit purchase and you probably did like I did – shoved that thing into your bedside drawer and never took it out again.  


There are as many reasons as there are wearers of Fitbit-like technology but most of the reasons boil down to two: 

  1. Frustration with inexact data 
  2. Frustration with wearing something on your wrist all the time 

Fitbit is a great concept if this was still a society where we all wore watches, but there was this period between watch-wearing and the advent of Fitbit and smartwatches – and that period might as well be a chasm because those years did one thing well: caused many of us to feel the freedom of our wrists. We didn’t need wristwatches anymore, we just needed our phones.  

But even if we did not mind having something on our wrist all the time now, many of us found another problem with Fitbit – the date was a little wonky. While it was great for recording our steps faithfully, Fitbit didn’t really do as well recording our high intensity exercise, our CrossFit workouts, our team sports, or anything that required more than a plodding of our steps.  So the data was not exactly right.  

And that was frustrating. Because who wants to spend 30 minutes doing a hard workout with multiple movements and get only half-credit? 

Eventually, we started to ignore the data … and eventually many of us stopped wearing our Fitbits.  

Plunk. It went into the bedside table drawer. 

We didn’t stop working out, we just stopped relying on a small piece of technology trying to measure the statistical worth of our deadlifts and our pull-ups and our ring rows done at an intensity that a device on our wrist just cannot yet really comprehend. (And no device can really measure whether you’re trying as hard as you can. Full effort still remains shadowed by the human psyche.) 

What it boils down to is this: as much fun as technology is in the calculation of fitness, the best measuring instruments we have remain the stopwatch and the units of work themselves. You did X pull-ups, X sit-ups, X pushups, and ran X miles in X time. Do it again tomorrow … and go even faster. 

Fitbit can measure a lot of things (and it’s still great for some folks) but we’re okay with the timer and sweat. We know good things happen in the gym. And, some days, our sweat angels are all the proof we need. 


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