Fitbit Changes “Active” Minutes

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Fitbit has recently announced some changes to the way they count user’s active minutes.

Before if at any time you picked up your pace Fitbit would count that increase in effort as “Active” minutes, and simply sum up those minutes each day. However, in compliance with suggestions by the American Heart Association, Fitbit will only count active minutes after 10 minutes of continuous motion. This change will not affect your step count.

As a result, you may find that your Fitbit active minutes will be lower for the foreseeable future.

For more details, read the blog post Fitbit Extends Minimum Time Frame for Active Minutes.

Fitdigits User’s Fitness Habits

In the February Newsletter we sent out a survey to our dedicated Fitdigits users. In it we asked you to help us by telling us about your attitudes and habits around fitness. A month later, the results are in, and we wanted to share what we learned from you all!

Some big picture takeaways:

  • The majority of respondents to the survey are looking to get fit and stay healthy. For more information on training with Fitdigits, we have an entire page dedicated to users who’s goal is to Stay Healthy & Fit.
  • A surprisingly large amount of respondents had no issues finding the motivation to workout. The most difficult part of working out is making it a habit. Once exercise is ingrained into your daily schedule, it becomes as routine as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Only around 25% reported struggles finding the motivation to exercise.
  • Over 50% of respondents reported using a Heart Rate Monitor regularly. However, not all of those respondents were fully aware of all of the benefits of tracking heart rate. Fitdigits outlines the 4 steps to maximize the impact of Fitdigits and your HRM- Assess, Enable, Sweat and Succeed!
  • Over 50% of respondents said that there current workout program contains some Walking. Walking is a great low-impact way to burn some extra calories. We suggest recording walks and steps in general with an activity tracker like Fitbit, and aiming for 10,000 steps a day. Read 10 Tips to Walk 10,000 Steps Every Day.
  • The biggest difference between what type of workout would be part of an ideal workout routine and what respondents actually do is in Strength Training and Flexibility/Low Resistance Training. 25% did some Flexibility/Low Resistance work, but 45% thought they should. 55% did some strength training, but 75% thought they should.

 

  • The majority of respondents to the survey are looking to get fit and stay healthy, though a quarter of you are on the oft-elusive path to losing weight, and a fifth are looking to push the personal envelope!
  • Here at Fitdigits, we often go back and forth between categories as well, though the majority of us, the majority of the time, are just looking to stay healthy and be fit, and to do it in the best heart-healthy way we know. We do understand the different goals, and we value you including us in your journey! For more information on training with Fitdigits, we have pages dedicated to your goals.

Exercising-2

  • Around 65% of respondents have a deep ingrained habit when it comes to fitness, with 40% finding exercise “hard not to do” and 25% who “do it without thinking”. Around 25% have difficulty finding the time or motivation to exercise.
  • The best way to stay motivated is to have an attainable goal. A great goal is to work out 2-3 times a week, 30 minutes per sessions. If you need help finding motivation, set a Duration Goal with Fitdigits MVP.

HRM-2

  • Over 40% of respondents reported not being familiar with training with heart rate monitor. 35% reported being “very familiar” and don’t leave home without it.
  • We don’t workout without a heart rate monitor, period! In order to fully unleash the power of Fitdigits, it is essential to have a heart rate monitor. With a heart rate monitor, you can get a more accurate calorie count, custom heart rate zones and complete a Fitdigits Fitness Assessment.

Goal-2

  • Over 40% of respondents have a goal or event they are working towards, be that goal self-imposed, a goal with their workout community, or a race. However, around 50% have no goal or event they are working towards, with no plans to.
  • While working towards an event like a 5k or 10k is great motivation to give you the push you need to get your workouts in gear, everyone is different and find motivation in different ways. This goes hand-in-hand with most respondents saying they workout to get fit and stay healthy. If you are training for an event, train using duration instead of distance for best results.

Program

  • Over 60% of respondents stated that they do some other form of Cardio for workouts, with 55% doing some strength training and 45% doing some walking.
  • If you are doing an other cardio workout, we suggest using the Other Workout Type in the Fitdigits app.

Ideal

  • Everyone wants to get buff! Almost 3/4 of respondents would incorporate strength training into their ideal workout program. 45% wanted to add Yoga/Light Resistance/Stretching into their workouts.
  • We strongly suggest adding weight lifting to your workout regimen. Forget the old myth about strength training getting you bulky- lifting weights is not only a great way to get fit, it can also increase your metabolism.

Thank you so much for participating!

Tracking Sleep with Fitdigits Apps

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is critical for boosting brainpower, peace of mind, improving your exercise and performance and even necessary if you want to lose weight. Sufficient sleep has been linked to lowering risk for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Get enough sleep to perform, look and feel your best.

Why Should I Track My Sleep?

Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or frequently waking up? Track your sleep to help identify your sleep challenges and trends. Often, making a few changes to your habits and routine can positively affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

How to Track My Sleep

Fitdigits offers two options to track your sleep. You can either use a Fitdigits compatible sleep tracker and have your information automatically sync to Fitdigits, or manually enter in the sleep information.

Sleep Tracker
Here is a list of sleep trackers Fitdigits is compatible with:

Just link your account on the my.fitdigits partners page or from the Partners section in your app, and your sleep data will fill in automatically!

Manual Entry
In Fitdigits you can manually enter in your sleep data as well.

1. In Fitdigits Apps, tap Menu > Health Vitals
2. Tap Sleep
3. Tap the “+” sign in the upper right

4. You will now be taken to the Sleep Input page. Enter in your Bed Time, Wake Time, Awakenings, Times Up, the Quality of your Sleep and any comments you may have. All of these factors will determine your sleep score.

Input your sleep data

5. Tap Save when you are finished. You will now see your sleep score.

It is important to track your sleep, and now you can with Fitdigits!

Making Time For Me- Moms In Motion

Testimonial by Jamie Allison

“Exercise is a big part of who I am. I started running competitively at age 7 and then picked up swimming and triathlons later in life thanks to my active parents. Like them, exercise has become an integral part of who I am. I feel most alive and free watching the moon set and the sun rise on early morning runs with my friends. I love the new energy buzz I have when I’m finished, and I love waking my girls up for school with sweaty kisses and snuggles.

I started Moms In Motion after listening to many of my girlfriends talk about their struggles as they transitioned into motherhood. They missed having time to workout, socialize, and pursue personal interests. Their identity was in question and it was unsettling. They loved their babies and yet they longed for the things that made them tick. My stay at home mom friends felt isolated while my friends who worked outside of the home felt they came home to a “second job.” They were exhausted and sounded resentful. I remember thinking, if my go-getter friends were having a difficult time with this transition, what was the rest of the world going through?

I decided there had to be an organization where moms could go to rejuvenate through fitness, friendship and philanthropic activities, without the baby. There were plenty of organizations designed for mom and baby, but nothing just for mom. So because I was a teacher and had my summer months open, I challenged these friends of mine to commit to a sprint triathlon training program. We met every Saturday morning to swim, bike and/or run and afterward we would grab some coffee to get that social fix. I integrated girls nights out as well because they needed this probably even more than the fitness piece. Women are wired differently, and studies show how our social/emotional connections boost our overall wellness. To deepen the experience, we adopted a local women’s shelter and painted the walls, donated clothes and playground equipment. That summer all 14 women completed the triathlon.

Moms In Motion grew to 80 and then to 200 women the following year. Our concept has spread across the nation organically and via word of mouth. Studies show that when mom is healthy and happy, her actions and influence transcend her, touching her children, family, friends, colleagues and community.

14 years later, Moms In Motion has become the #1 health & fitness community both online and on the ground for women around the world. We work to connect and empower moms through social, fitness and philanthropic opportunities. Moms In Motion has spread throughout the nation and expanded into running, trail running, walking, hiking, cycling, yoga, skiing, surfing and core strength training sports. We provide two different programs for moms.

New Mamas is for postpartum women with children age 1-2. This program provides venues such as walking, light running, flat hiking, core, Pilates and Yoga. Postpartum discussion topics are woven into each practice. Our traditional program, Fit Moms, is for mom only. Fit Moms is event focused, meaning we train for 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, triathlons, hiking and cycling events. Training for events adds a lot of excitement, adventure and accountability.

We also have a new MIM Experience App designed specifically for moms. Our App includes training plans, video-taped core sequences, health & wellness content all of which syncs sensors and workouts to the team website. Watching moms embrace our Moms In Motion concept validates a mom’s need to rejuvenate through fitness, friendship and outreach opportunities. I know I am a better mother, wife and professional when I take the time to take care of myself first. Everyone wins!

Giving back to those who give the most is the heart of the organization. We understand that moms are the primary influence in today’s family. Our job is to provide an outlet (and a Plan to follow) where she can take care of herself and role model a healthy, active, energetic lifestyle. Our kids need this now more than ever before.”

If you are interested in starting a Moms In Motion group, joining a local group, or learning more go to Moms in Motion on Facebook.

3 Workouts a Week

Twas 3 nights before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a person was exercising, no workouts were planned.
The ham was carved, candy eaten without care,
10 pounds later we complain life isn’t fair.

This holiday season, before you snuggle into your bed,
Make sure to have a Holiday plan in your head.
Fitdigits is sharing the year’s best fitness tips,
To help you avoid adding winter weight to your hips.

3rd Day- 3 Workouts a Week

We get it, your busy. Like super busy. Like so busy that you don’t have time to read us describe how busy you are. Like so busy that you just stopped reading this article because your Spouse/Child/Friend/Family/Job/Fill in the blank needs you, now.

However, you are not too busy to workout.

No matter how hectic life can get, always make time to get your blood pumping. It is a great way to clear your mind, relieve stress, and of course get fit and stay healthy. That is why you should try to make yourself work out at least three time a week.

This may not sound too difficult, but it is the crazy weeks that will test your dedication. The weeks where the only break you get from the overwhelming pressure of life is when you stare at the back of your eyelids amidst the bliss of sleep. These are THE most important weeks to find time to workout.

Set a goal for yourself to never go a week (Monday-Sunday) without getting at least three workouts in. Workouts don’t solely mean going for a run.

It could be hitting the dance floor and getting your groove on. It could be going to a museum and walking for hours. It could be having a company softball game. It could be biking to work once a week.

Whatever your workout may be, upgrade to Fitdigits MVP Premium to unlock the ability to set goals. Set a weekly duration goal, and find time to help you help yourself.

Exercise, Nutrition and Activity: The Weight Loss Triad

Losing weight is hard. I do not need to throw on a stethoscope and a white lab coat to break that news to you. It takes discipline, motivation, dedication and a game plan.

In order to execute without guessing all over the place, you need to gather information. Armed with the proper weapons in the battle vs. the bulge, you will be able to appropriately plan both how often you workout and what you eat. You might as well call Fitdigits the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden because we are straight dropping knowledge on all you information seekers.

We call it the Weight Loss Triad, formed via the perfect partnership between exercise, nutrition and activity. When properly utilized, you will be able to see the exact deficit between how many calories you eat and burn. For example, one pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories, meaning in order to lose an entire pound of fat you will need to burn 3500 more calories than you eat. If you want to burn a lb of fat every two weeks, that means on average you will need a caloric deficit of 250 calories a day. That is where the Triad comes in.

Exercise

Use Fitdigits to track all of your workouts. If you want the most accurate calorie count, it is essential to use a Heart Rate Monitor along with a Fitdigits Fitness Assessment. Now you will have custom heart rate zones and a Fitness level that will help get incredibly accurate caloric burn during workouts. Fitdigits also will act as the central data collecting hub for Nutrition and Activity Trackers.

Activity

Choose from one of the many Fitdigits compatible activity monitors to track your daily activity, so when you walk around the grocery store or do chores around the house, you will get credit for the steps you took and calories burned. Fitdigits is compatible with Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, Withings and Garmin Vivofit devices, as well as the apps that come with most iOS devices (Apple Health) or Android (Google Fit). You have quite a few options to work with, including those that are free with the phone you bought.

These trackers works great in conjunction with the workout data collected by Fitdigits. Begin by linking your Fitdigits account with your activity monitor. Now all of your Fitdigits and activity monitor calories will be collected in one spot. Don’t worry, you can wear your monitor while also recording with Fitdigits and the calories will not count twice.

Nutrition

The final piece of the equation is tracking nutrition with MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal takes inventory of everything you eat. Enter in your meals using MyFitnessPal’s enormous library of foods, and it will tell you how many calories you ingested. You can also set weight loss goals so that MyFitnessPal will instruct you on how many calories you can eat based on how much you are working out. If you already have linked Fitdigits to your activity tracker, then all you need to do is link your activity tracker account with MyFitnessPal.

We have found that linking Fitdigits with activity tracker, then the activity tracker with MyFitnessPal is the best way to link the three partners. If you try to link them a different way, problems will occur. For more details, read our blog post on Linking MyFitnessPal and Fitdigits.

With these three tools you are in the drivers seat when it comes to weight loss. All you need to do is turn the key, shift into drive and get started!

Click to download MyFitnessPal from the App Store

Click to download MyFitnessPal from the Google Play Store

Forbes Mentions Fitdigits: 5 Reasons Why Good Fitness Makes for Better Entrepreneurial Leadership

by Brent Gleeson, Contributor
Forbes

Fitness has always been a part of my life. From swimming in high school, playing rugby in college, to the relentless focus on fitness as a Navy SEAL, I have always prioritized health and wellness in order to stay competitive in everything I do. I passionately believe being healthy and physically fit has a direct correlation to happiness and success, whatever your personal definition of that may be.

Before my SEAL training began, I kept hearing that BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) is mostly mental. I understand why people said that because generally guys quit early on because of the extreme mental and emotional stress placed on the students, not to mention being constantly cold and wet. So, my philosophy in preparing for the toughest special operations training in the world was to let my fitness level be the last thing I had to worry about. I knew there would be plenty of other challenges to face. After quitting my finance job in Dallas, I moved to Crested Butte, CO. for three months to train at an altitude of 10,000 feet. The extreme training paid off. Fitness was never an issue for me during BUD/s.

The Officers in any SEAL training class are expected to lead from the front, literally. Officers need to motivate their classmates by being in even greater physical condition that the enlisted students. This is not always the case, of course, but I found it generally to be true. Fitness is part of the SEAL culture and an essential ingredient for mission success. Similarly, in a fast paced entrepreneurial organization, I believe a good leader must maintain mental and physical wellness in order to effectively drive the business forward and inspire the team.

I strongly believe that a fit leader is a better leader, and here are the five reasons why:

  1. Energy and Productivity: Maintaining a regular exercise routine will give you more energy throughout the day. Leading a growing company is tough enough. Make sure you have the energy to do so effectively. As a leader when you have more energy, you are more likely to face the challenges of the day aggressively and confidently.
  2. Confidence and Creativity: A fit leader will have more confidence and solve problems more creatively. Studies show that our cognitive ability to be creative increases with even moderate levels of exercise. Whenever I have a speaking engagement or important presentation, I make sure to exercise that day prior to the event.
  3. Facing Challenges: In SEAL training you are constantly pushed beyond your pain threshold, so much so that your “comfort zone” takes on a whole new definition. I follow the same theory when training by always pushing myself beyond my existing comfort zone. Doing so increases your stamina and mental ability to endure physical and mental suffering. As a business leader, you have to be able to face tough challenges every day while maintaining mental focus on priorities.
  4. Mental Wellness: Exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress because it boosts your brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters called endorphins. Also, by solely focusing on your body’s motions for a period of time, you focus less on the day’s stresses, at least for a while. According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, exercise also reduces symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, while also improving sleeping patterns.
  5. Influence: If all this is true for the leader of an organization, it must be true for the whole team, right? It is widely believed that healthy employees are happier and more productive. A fit workforce is also less likely to get sick; thereby, improving attendance and reducing healthcare costs. In this article, Fitdigits provides some great reasons why a healthy workforce will improve the bottom line. This, of course, takes us back to leading by example. You can’t expect to foster a culture of fitness unless you, as the leader, are physically fit and promote overall wellness. For example, I occaisionally run boot camps for team members and IMI’s Culture Club holds recess every Thursday afternoon. My business partner and I specifically chose our new office building because it has a great gym right downstairs. Our team has even held several “Biggest Loser” contests. Fitness permeates our culture.

My favorite quote from the Navy SEAL Creed is about always being physically and mentally prepared and never quitting. This paragraph is what drove me in combat and what pushes me forward every day in the chaotic environment of a growing business:

“I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.”

As a business leader what are you currently doing to ensure a happy, healthy, and productive workforce? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Click to comment.

The 10-Minute Workout, Times Three by Gretchen Reynolds

There is plenty of research that proves exercise is good for lowering blood pressure but for some people, exercising the full 30 minutes consecutively is not so easy. If you have little time to exercise, try this alternative.

The New York Times is reporting that new research shows three 10 minute sessions at 75% of your maxHR is actually more effective at lowering your blood pressure and keeping you healthy than one 30 minute session per day. It’s not only more effective physiologically, exercisers seem more willing to stick to 3 sessions per day vs 1.

Does it Really Work?
Recently, between work schedules and the hectic summer camp schedule (moms, you know exactly what I’m talking about!), it’s become harder than ever to exercise. So, each morning before camps and work, I take a quick run/walk around my block. It takes me about 10 minutes to complete the loop. When I finish, I’m warmed up but not sweaty. I feel great, too. I do the same at lunch and one more time around 3pm. When the kids are back in school, I look forward to having more time for exercise. Until then, breaking it up into multiple sessions per day has been a great back-up and motivates me to keep it going. And my blood pressure is a healthy 109/67. Try it. Let us know if it works for you.

Don’t forget to track your heart rate with Fitdigits. iPhone | Android

Your Stories: When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

Often, I feel incredibly lucky working for Fitdigits. It’s very rewarding to be able to inspire and help people get healthy through fitness. I’m regularly moved by users who made difficult life-changing choices to exercise and improve diet to overcome health-related issues or to simply improve their quality of life. When ordinary people achieve extraordinary things.

It’s true that these changes help Fitdigits users live longer, more healthier lives but that’s not really why I enjoy it. For me, it’s seeing the excitement, confidence and pride that comes from the weeks/months/years of sweat and hard work. During that time, users push themselves to exercise harder, longer and keep it going despite the daily events of life. And the positive affects almost always carry over into other aspects of life.

One user, who lost 55 pounds, was so excited to tell me that she had completed the “Beachbody Insanity” program twice. I didn’t understand this accomplishment until I tried it for myself. Another user reported that she convinced her doctor to allow her to lower her blood pressure through exercise and diet instead of medicine. These stories and many more illustrate the extraordinary changes that Fitdigits users are accomplishing each day.

If you have been working hard to lose weight or trying to improve your overall health and fitness, send us an email. If you have tried out a new exercise program and love it, share it. If you just finished your first 5K or half marathon, share it. We want to use your story to inspire the 68% of overweight Americans and the 1/3 of overweight worldwide population to get healthy through fitness.

Email me at kelly.lazarus@fitdigits.com.

Sources: Worldwatch Institute, Voice of America, Center for Disease Control.

I Don’t Diet. I Exercise and Lead an Active Lifestyle.

Testimonial by Fitdigits user, Loren C.

After gaining 30 pounds last year due to various stresses in my life, I decided that I needed to lose weight. On August 10, 2011, I weighed 252 lbs, which was 67 pounds overweight. I decided to join Team Weight Loss at Lifetime Fitness in the Bloomington North facility.

Loren at Lifetime Fitness

Part of its program is journaling what you consume and your exercise. However, I had a problem keeping the journal up to date because I did not carry it everywhere with me. I was using the polar heart strap and watch, but started to experience problems. I decided to start searching for heart monitor alternatives.

I carry my iPhone with me all the time, so I started looking for apps that would help. I found MyFitnessPal, which took care of the journaling. I kept looking for ways to use polar with my iPhone, but I never found a solution. Then I found Fitdigits. Fitdigits is an iPhone app that uses a transceiver (Fitdigits Connect) that plugs into the dock connector of the iPhone. I upgraded to the Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor which uses ANT+ technology to communicate with Fitdigits and picked up the transceiver, too.

Once equipped with Fitdigits, I was able to track my food diary (MyFitnessPal) and my exercise progress. I also wanted to make sure that my heart rate zones were accurate, so I had a CardioPoint* fitness test. The information from the CardioPpoint was uploaded to the NewLeaf website. Fitdigits synchronizes with NewLeaf and downloads the heart rate zones into the phone.

I am an information junkie. The data feedback that Fitdigits provides helps me track my progress. I get to see my heart rate during my workouts. Not only that but the information from those workouts is share with NewLeaf, Facebook and friends. I can see that I am making progress and I can quantify that against my program. I am not on a diet, but I have made significant changes to my lifestyle that have improved my overall health and fitness. I am still enjoying the occasional beer, but I am more conscious of the effects it has on my fitness program

Working Hard Using Fitdigits

I added a FitBit to my program on January 30th, 2012. This tracks all of my movement throughout the day. The wonderful thing about the Fitbit system is that the website awards you badges for your level of daily activity. When I look at my total activity for the day I am always motivated to do just a little more activity in order to get the next badge. At first I was reaching 50 floors in a day, but then I wanted to see if I could get to 100 floors in a day. Then I tried for 150 floors. Then 200 floors. When we had our first warm day of the spring in Minneapolis I wanted to go reach another achievement level for the paces per day. I was able to get to 40,209, which allowed me to receive highest badge you can receive in a single day, the 40,000 pace badge. The trail system in the Minneapolis/St. Paul is excellent. I have been making use of it and will be continuing the use of the trails throughout the spring and summer.

I started in August 2011. As of March 8, 2012, I have lost 30 lbs and have 35 more to go.

*CardioPoint is a cardiovascular fitness test available at Lifetime Fitness that determines key cardiovascular training markers including anaerobic threshold, aerobic base and V02. It identifies optimal heart rate zones and the best zone for the most effective exercise. It also provides a more accurate caloric burn formula.