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.

Fitbit Calories and Fitdigits

Fitdigits and Fitbit have a great partnership that lets you see how many calories you burn daily. Recently, we have had a lot of questions regarding our Fitbit and Fitdigits integration, so I figured I could take some time to answer some FAQ.

For questions regarding MyFitnessPal, Fitdigits and Fitbit Integration, read here

Q: Can I wear my Fitbit during a Fitdigits workout and not get double calories?
A: Yes! Fitdigits and Fitbit are integrated so that whenever you begin a Fitdigits workout all Fitbit calories accumulated during the duration of your Fitdigits workout will be ignored. During workouts, Fitdigits gives you a more accurate caloric burn, so we use this instead of Fitbit. Make sure to keep your Fitbit on so you still get credit for your steps!

Q: I see my Fitbit calories on my.fitdigits.com, but why are the calorie totals several hundred calories lower then what Fitbit shows?
A: On my.fitdigits, we only display the calories burned when you are active, and not when you are sedentary or asleep. If you would like to see these calories included on my.fitdigits, click the “Options” arrow under the chart and make sure “Sedentary/Sleep” has a check next to it.

Click Sedentary/Sleep to see a calorie total equal to what Fitbit displays

Sleep/Sedentary Calories added!

Q: Do my Fitdigits workouts get sent to Fitbit.com?
A: Yes they do! Whenever you sync your Fitdigits app, the workout will be sent to Fitbit.com so you have a record in both places

Related Links: 

Linking Fitdigits & Fitbit

Fitbit Charge HR, Surge and Jawbone UP3 Compatibility

Fitbit & Heart Rate Compatibility

Some new health and fitness trackers have emerged onto the scene that combine both activity tracking and heart rate monitoring. Chief among these are the Fitbit line of heart rate trackers.

Many users have written in asking if we are compatible with Fitbit, and the answer is both yes and no. Yes, Fitdigits will get steps, activity and sleep data from these monitors. However, Fitdigits will not receive heart rate, either during a workout or resting heart rate from Fitbit devices.

These sensors do not transmit their heart rate data like other Bluetooth Smart HRMs like the Scosche RHYTHM+, so the Fitdigits app is not able to connect to them to use the heart rate data during your workouts. This data is instead sent, along with your other recorded activity data, directly to your Fitbit  account where, at the time of this post, we do not have a way to retrieve that data.

I went from a size 16 to a size 4!

I was ready for serious change

Testimonial by Fitdigits user Heather K.

I am a 43-year-old, married mother of two. I had my children in my early 30s and was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty easily. My weight had stayed pretty level through my 30s, hovering around 135 despite my bad eating habits, until around 38 when the female metabolism typically starts to slow down. It snuck up on me at first. Then it was obvious I’d been gaining weight, but I still did nothing to help myself, so the weight gain continued. In November 2012 (the date of the picture on the right), I was just about to grow out of yet another size, and I’d had enough. I was 5′ 3″ and around 179 pounds. I started making small changes, but I wasn’t really serious yet.

January 2013 rolled around, and I made my annual “I’m going to lose weight” resolution, only this time I was ready to make some serious changes. My weight at that point was 174 pounds. I found MyFitnessPal via a news article about highly-rated weight loss apps. My intent was to do this the “right way” — I didn’t want to do a special diet that I couldn’t maintain long term, and I didn’t want to use any pills or gimmicks. I needed to do this in a way that would be healthy and sustainable, and I really believed that meant a combination of diet and exercise. The first step was a reset of my perception of food portions and how many calories were really in the food and drink I was consuming. MyFitnessPal made it easy to record intake and see at a glance how good or bad I was eating. And I could eat what I wanted, keeping my calorie goals in mind. That didn’t mean I could hit fast food every day, like I used to, but it did mean I could have it occasionally.

Not too far into this plan, my husband purchased a heart rate monitor that interfaced with an app on his phone. I thought it was a pretty cool gadget, and I borrowed his HRM a couple of times before deciding to purchase my own. I purchased the Polar H7 in early February, and I discovered it would interface with Fitdigits, which would then feed the information back to MyFitnessPal. Easy peasy! While it was a little depressing at first that the HRM showed fewer calories burned than my elliptical did, I felt it was better to have real data based on real effort than a result based on assumptions. Seeing clearly how many calories I was burning in Fitdigits allowed me to better determine how long I needed to work out. Or whether I need to step it up or dial it back a bit, depending on my heart rate and calories burned. I used it also to track my weight training.

In July, I started running. At first, I hated it! But I was very sore the next day, so it obviously worked different parts of my body than the elliptical did. That was probably a good thing, so I continued running. With Fitdigits, I could track my routes and know exactly how far I’d gone and how fast. Seeing my progress real-time motivates me to go just a little bit farther each time. Last weekend, I ran 6.25 miles straight! Considering I was “dying” less than 1/2 mile into my first run, that’s real progress.

Eventually, I added the Fitbit to the mix. It also interfaces seamlessly with MyFitnessPal, so it seemed like a no-brainer. My job has me sitting all day long, and knowing the Fitbit is tracking my steps motivates me to get up a little bit more during the day or move more at home at night.

50 pounds lighter and feeling great!

So we come to today. I’m around 124 pounds and feel like I have so much more energy than I used to. My BMI is firmly in the “normal” zone, which is such a great feeling. I also feel so much stronger. It’s amazing to me how far I’ve come from the couch potato of last December. I’ve lost 50 pounds since I got serious at the beginning of January and went from a size 16 (almost 18!) to a size 4/6. I’m not sure when I last wore size 4/6! My original goal was to lose 40 pounds, but once I got there, I knew I could continue. I’m currently in “maintenance mode” in MyFitnessPal, and I still exercise 4-6 times a week: elliptical/weight training during the week, and running on the weekends, using Fitdigits to track it all. My friends tell me I’m an inspiration to them, which makes me feel good.

I’m honestly not sure I could have made it this far without the help of technology. If I hadn’t been using the HRM and Fitdigits, I likely would have been overstating my calories from exercise, based either on what the elliptical told me or some generic formula found on the internet that can’t possibly know how hard I worked (or didn’t). Since the exercise allows me more calories in a day, that might have really slowed my progress (assuming I ate all the extra calories). I feel like I have a better handle on what I’m doing and what I need to do with the real-time feedback from Fitdigits.

The only downside to all of this has been the many shopping trips required for smaller clothes! New clothes are fun, sure, but somebody has to pay for them! Small price to pay for a healthier life, I suppose.

I need a new wardrobe!

6 Times a Day Leave Your Desk

Twas 6 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.

6th Day- 6 Times a Day Leave Your Desk

Computers are awesome. We have an all on one calculator, typewriter, art studio and more in a 7-pound shell. We have compiled centuries of thoughts, feelings, epiphanies, darkness, love, hate, innovation and introspection, all within the neat confines of a 17-inch screen. We have the information of the world at our fingertips, allowing for more and more jobs to be tied to a computer screen then ever before.

This is a great thing for the mind. Not so much for the body.

The ubiquity of computer-driven professions has led to a boost in those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. We are chained to our desks, unable to pull ourselves away. Well you need to break the chain.

Break the Chain

Numerous studies have championed the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, with the implication that daily activity is just as important as exercise.

Something as simple as walking around the block a few times a day can do wonders for your short and long term health. With that in mind, make a point to get up from your desk at least 6 times a day, everyday. If you tend to get lost in your workday, set alarms or reminders for yourself.

It may seem like a minor annoyance to break the rhythm of the workday for a set of jumping jacks or a walk around the block, but all of those little actions add up to a larger result. A great way to track daily activity is with a Fitbit Activity Monitor.

11K Steps a Day

Twas 11 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.

11th Day- 11K Steps a Day

Fitdigits, Fitbit and a variety of other health and fitness outlets have long stressed the importance of getting 10,000 steps in each and everyday. We have posted 10 Tips to Walk 10,000 Steps Every Day in the past and in general stressed the importance of reaching that nice, round benchmark. Well, it might be time to rev things up a bit.

If you have been using an activity monitor for awhile and hit 10,000 steps regularly, really challenge yourself this holiday season and in 2014 to hit 11K each and every day. If you added an extra 1,000 steps everyday, that adds up to burning an additional 5 pounds a year!

Fitdigits is not only compatible with Fitbit. We now boast compatibility with a plethora of fitness sensors, such as the Withings Pulse, BodyMedia and Jawbone UP. To connect these trackers with your Fitdigits account, check out our partners page.

Fitbit Sleep Data Syncs to Your Fitdigits App

One of the cool things about Fitbit Activity Trackers, is they also track lack of activity, otherwise known as sleep. If you have a Fitbit One (or other Fitbit tracker that can record sleep), it is pretty easy to track your ZZZ’s:

  1. Place the tracker into the slot on your wristband and wrap the wristband around your non-dominant wrist.
  2. Click to purchase the Fitbit One

  3. Once you are in bed and ready to fall asleep, press and hold the tracker’s button for 2+ seconds. You will see a stopwatch and the other icons blink, indicating that you are in sleep mode.
  4. When you wake up, hold the button down for 2+ seconds to stop the sleep recording. Your tracker’s icons will stop blinking to indicate you’ve exited sleep mode.
  5. Once you exit sleep mode, your Fitbit One will resume displaying your daily totals.
  6. Sleep records will show up on your Fitbit Dashboard the next time you sync your tracker. Last night’s sleep will appear on today’s page. Graphs on your Dashboard will reveal how long you slept and the number of times you woke up. Over time, you can apply what you learn to help you sleep more soundly.

For quite some time Fitdigits has synced Fitbit sleep data to My.Fitdigits, but now the sleep data will sync right into your Fitdigits app! Just link your Fitbit account with Fitdigits, and then perform a sync. Once you have done so, you will be able to view your Fitbit sleep data in the app under Health -> Sleep Tracker.

Start recording and tracking your sleep with Fitbit and Fitdigits today!

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