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Fitbit review, sort of

Posted May 16, 2013 into Sport by John Birmingham

How totes ironical that after linking to the Power Paunch story, I get a nudge from Attendly that a long piece I wrote for them about the Fitbit has just gone live. Here's the opener:

I used to be a fat man. Not Biggest Loser fat, but fond enough of my bakery treats to have spent more than a decade on the wrong side of morbid obesity. It would have killed me eventually.

But about four or five years ago I got rid of most of the weight through a combination of brutal exercise and calorie control. (I know, who’da thunk it?) And since then I’ve (mostly) kept it off.

You too could look this svelte if you weren't so fat.

But it’s a struggle. It’s a hell of a struggle to change the habits of a lifetime in the first place, and even more so not to relapse. So anything which helps keep me out of the bakery and going to the gym, or the dojo, or just walking the damn dog a couple of times a week, is welcome.

That’s why I rushed to embrace the Fitbit earlier this year. It’s why I’m still wearing it right now, even though it’s not a magic device that melts fat and builds muscle like an action movie montage.

So, for those of you unfamiliar with the technology, what the hell am I talking about?

The Fitbit is just one of a whole bunch of wearable gizmos — digital pedometers really — which have been selling like the hotcakes I shouldn’t be eating anymore. I can’t speak to the usefulness of competitors like Nike’s FuelBand because I’ve never used them, but I’ve been wearing my Fitbit since getting it last Christmas. It’s basically a small black lozenge-shaped device, a little smaller than your little finger. You can slip it into your pocket, or put it in a clip-on holder and attach it to a piece of clothing. Your jeans pocket, a bra strap, whatever. It measures not just the number of steps you take, but the intensity of your movement. There’s also a quite sophisticated altimeter to keep track of the number of floors you have climbed—(although ‘floor’ is really just an estimate).

As somebody who works in front of a screen all day I can attest to the accuracy of the Fitbit in tracking how much energy I burn—or don’t. On days when deadlines see me slumped in front of my keyboard, it lets me know all about my complete lack of mobility.

And here's the rest of it.

6 Responses to ‘Fitbit review, sort of’

pi ducks in to say...

Posted May 16, 2013

OT, but someone has written an open-source newsreader to replace google's shutdown. If interested :

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w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted May 16, 2013

Good article! Write that, Dan Brown!

I like that old observation.

What is the best day of a diet?
Tuesday, because it is over by then.

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Dave W mutters...

Posted May 16, 2013

I got me a watch that links up to one of those wanky elastic chest strap heart rate monitors. The effect of knowing the estimate of how many calories I burnt and my heart rate in a sesh has helped me to shift a couple of kilos in the last six months.

My bet is that anything that makes us conscious of our energy output also makes us conscious of our energy input and whether we're doing enough about either.

The suits that I bought in Vietnam a couple of years ago need replacing because the trousers keep sliding down and that is something that I'm cheering about. The alleged Power Paunch can get fucked, I want to live and move in the manner to which I was always accustomed.

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Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 16, 2013

stop wasting time with gagets science and hurry up and give me my supersoldier serum that turns me into a buff superman with no effrot.

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JG swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 16, 2013

Great review, JB. I wear my Fitbit all the time too. Found out about it from you, so thanks. I love it but the manual food entry and the limited range of foods is a pain. Thanks for being my Fitbit pal, JB. I'm into week one of Michelle Bridges 12wbt. I using other fitness apps too: Endomondo and FtitnessPal. Typing on phone, so please excuse typos

JG :)

P.S. I have lost 12kgs since January thanks to my Fitbit. Now 58.6kgs. I ran 8kms in the Mother's Day Classic Fun Run in Brisbane last Sunday. Thanks for getting me back to health and fitness, John.

Joanna G.... Long P.S. ;)

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Tim Milfull asserts...

Posted June 10, 2013


I know this is only a few weeks after you reviewed The One, but I wonder if you have heard any feedback about FitBit's Aria scales or the Flex? I already have a set of fancy scales, but the Flex looks pretty intriguing, particularly the alarm - I'm curious about the lack of a screen, though...

Would apprecite your thoughts or direction.

I also agree with your final pars in at the end of the review - I recently lost fifteen kilos after eight solid weeks of intense boxing and diet, and then smashed 2/3 of it back on in response to work strees and the black dog. Bring on the emotional re-engineering, I say!


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