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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts

Lose Weight With A Fitness Tracker

Posted: April 16, 2015

Last week we looked at using MyFitnessPal to keep track of your calories. Knowing your calories IN is one of the keys to losing weight.

But that’s just half of the story. It also takes a lot of activity, and calories OUT. Usually more than you think. So how do you know if you’re burning enough calories every day?

I like to use a fitness tracker. There are quite a few brands, ranging from $49 to several hundred dollars. There’s even a new Apple iwatch coming out.

But the two trackers I like the best are the Fitbit Charge and the Garmin Vivofit. Both are right around $100. A slightly more expensive version is available for both, called the Fitbit Charge HR and the Garmin Vivosmart.

The main purpose of a fitness tracker is to measure your total calories burned during the day. It does this by tracking your total steps taken during the day. They also track total mileage.

This is very useful because it takes at least 10,000 steps to lose weight. A mile is about 2,000 steps, so that means you need to walk a total of 5 miles throughout your day.

It doesn’t have to be all at once. You can walk 2-3 miles during a workout, and then get the rest of the steps during your other activities.

Worn on the wrist like a watch, the trackers measure steps by sensing the pendulum motion of your arms. This lets you track other activities, in terms of the steps associated with it. It really works.

I was surprised by how many steps I got while teaching our new Adult Martial Arts class. Every time I kicked, punched, or blocked, it gave me a step. Lots of them.

Assuming your diet’s under control, if you can get up to 10,000 steps a day, you’ll lose weight. If you can get up to 20,000 steps, you’ll lose it even quicker.

I’ve been using my Fitbit for a month now, and I’ve lost five pounds. I think it’s because I’m paying more attention to the total number of steps I’m getting each day. Now I can can make sure I hit my step goal before ending my day.

Another popular feature is the ability to see your sleep patterns. The trackers can tell you how many hours you slept, and also how often you were restless. I’m not sure how this helps you lose weight, but it’s pretty interesting.

All your information shows up on an app on your smartphone. It also syncs up with MyFitnessPal, importing your calories burned right into your diary. This gives you a really accurate picture of your total calories IN versus your calories OUT.

I have the Fitbit Charge HR, but most of my friends have the Garmin Vivosmart. I bought the HR because it measures heart rate at the wrist. The Garmin requires an extra heart rate monitor band that you wear around your chest.

But I think the Garmin’s are actually a little more comfortable, and they’re also water resistant, while the Fitbit’s aren’t. This is a nice feature if you don’t want to mess with taking it off when you shower.

It would also be nice if you want to wear it during an event like Warrior Dash, Spartan Sprint, or Tough Mudder, where you know it’ll get wet. But I like the heart rate monitoring on the Fitbit. So it’s a trade off.

In the end, a fitness tracker will give you more control over your weight loss, because you’ll have more information. Now you can know for sure whether you’re moving enough to generate weight loss.

When used together with MyFitnessPal, you’ll have even better results. Weight loss can become predictable. So let’s get tracking!