Fitbit: all the functions of the Fitness Tracker
With Fitbit smartwatches and Fitness Trackers, you can monitor your physical activity and sports programs simply by looking at your wrist.
Fitbit is an American company specializing in the sale of smartwatch and Fitness Trackers, devices designed specifically for training and health, available in versions for adults, children and the whole family. Fitbit features include heart rate monitoring, sleep phase tracking, calorie burning and mobile payments, with NFC technology and Fitbit Pay apps. Here are the models on the market, prices and a guide to the main features of Fitbit trackers.
What is Fitbit?
Fitbit is a company based in San Francisco, USA, founded in 2007 by Eric Friedman and James Park. The company is engaged in the marketing of devices for the world of fitness, able to make some measurements such as the number of calories ingested, the steps taken during the day and the hours of sleep. Over time, health features have been added, including heart rate monitoring, using HR sensors that detect pulse from the wrist.
The U.S. company now produces several mobile devices, including primarily Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches, with models for adults, children and family collections. It also offers various accessories, including the intelligent Aria 2 scale, Fitbit Flyer headphones and a fitness workout application, Fitbit Coach. The app is compatible with Android and iOS, however it costs €43.99 per year, which includes access to qualified instructors, audio files and custom video exercises.
How Fitbit works
Fitbit is an integrated system developed by the American company of the same name, which involves the purchase of a mobile device and the integration of the app. Once you have purchased a Fitbit smartwatch or Fitness Tracker, you need to download the application and follow the configuration wizard. After activation, you can take advantage of many advanced features, including the planning of objectives. With Fitbit you can record the hours of sleep, to analyze weekly performance based on the values set, check the number of steps taken each day, for example to go to work or walk your dog.
It is also possible to count the daily calories, to insert these data into weekly feeding cards, create training calendars, displaying for each day the exercises to be carried out and the objectives to be achieved, or use the tracking service for excursions and trips with friends.
Sports workouts can be shared with your contacts, via SMS, email or social network, you can participate in multimedia competitions with other Fitbit members, receive notifications about workouts, measure the level of dehydration, heart rate and much more.
All Fitbit smartwatch models on the market
Fitbit devices can be divided between smartwatch and Fitness Tracker. Among the most successful products is the Ionic smartwatch, available at a price of €269.99, a device that allows you to view custom exercises, track distance and number of steps with GPS, listen to music from your Deezer playlist and monitor your heart rate with PurePulse.
The smartwatch is water-resistant, compatible with Bluetooth swimming and headsets, and features a high-resolution touch screen display with NFC technology for mobile payments with Fitbit Pay.
Another latest generation device is Versa, a rather inexpensive smartwatch that has launched the challenge to Apple Watch. The collection includes three different models, the basic version of Versa, Special Edition and Lite Edition.
They feature a 4-day battery life, a water-resistant screen up to a depth of 50 meters, beat monitoring, sleep and workout detection, compatibility with different apps, audio file playback and real-time notifications.
The Versa Special Edition version provides additional features, including streaming music and viewing exercises directly on the display, via the Fitbit Coach app, with over 15 different training modes for running, swimming and many other sports. The smartwatches can be fully customised, with leather or hybrid fabric straps, or by opting for a stainless steel case. All models allow access to the Fitbit community, more than 10 million people to share workouts, challenges and tips.
The Versa smartwatch is available for €199.99 in black, peach/aluminium and silver grey, while the top of the range Versa Special Edition comes with a price of €229.99, with two aesthetic variations in lavender fabric and pink aluminium case, or with anthracite fabric strap and graphite grey case. The lightweight version of the Fitbit smartwatch, Versa Lite Edition, is available at a cost of €159.99, in white/silver grey, lilac/grey, magenta and light blue.
All Fitness Tracker Fitbit models on the market
In addition to smartwatches, Fitbit also produces Fitness Trackers, devices similar to intelligent watches but slightly less complex, with some less functionality than more sophisticated models such as Versa and Sonic.
Among the top products there is Fitbit Charge 3, the most advanced Fitness Tracker ever made by the American company, available on the market with a price of 149.99 € and colors gray graphite and black, pink gold and blue, gray with ice white strap, or with aluminum case in pink gold and lavender fabric strap. This sports tracker offers several features, including monitoring the heartbeat on the wrist, analysis of calories burned during the day, tracking the hours of sleep, distance measurement and step counting.
There is also a panel from which to manage compatible apps, such as Fitbit Pay for mobile payments, Fitbit Coach for personalized workouts and over 15 exercise programs for swimming, yoga, cycling and running in real time.
For your health there is Fitbit Alta HR, with heart rate monitor, OLED display and notifications from social profiles, such as WhatsApp and Facebook, with a price around 144.99€. The company has also developed a Fitness Tracker for children, Fitbit Ace 2, indicated from 6 years of age and up. The device has a water-resistant structure, up to 50 meters deep, 5-day autonomy, sleep monitoring, step counter and parental control system. However, it is not yet on the market, in fact it will be launched in summer at a cost of about € 70.
Finally, among the Fitness Trackers there is the device for the whole family, Fitbit Inspire, which allows you to connect several devices to the same account, to monitor the results of your children and partners, training together but setting different goals. Fitbit Inspire’s features include PurePulse and HR sensor pulse detection, training modes with custom exercises, social notifications, sleep phase monitoring and calorie burning logging. Purchase price from 69,99€, with black, lilac and white colours.
How to download the Fitbit app
When you buy a Fitbit device, the first step is to download the fitness app and download the app from Google Play Store, App Store or Windows Store. The Fitbit app is compatible with almost all versions of Android, with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, equipped with iOS operating system from version 10.0 to the following, or with PCs, tablets, smartphones and consoles that use at least Windows 8 or Xbox One. Fitbit really supports many different devices, in addition to the devices made by the company itself.
Fitbit configuration procedure
After downloading the Fitbit app to your device, you need to proceed with configuring the app and creating an account. Depending on the type of device you have purchased, you can choose between a personal, family or children’s account, the latter available with the Fitbit Ace device, which allows you to link several profiles to the same account, download your child’s data and monitor certain parameters, such as heart rate during sports activities and positioning via satellite tracking.
To do the same procedure from a PC, you only need to download the .exe file from the official Windows Store website, install the Fitbit app on your computer, create an account by entering your credentials, or log in with the old profile at https://www.fitbit.com/login. Fitbit is compatible with Windows 8 and 10 Home and Pro operating systems, so it is essential to check the version of your system, otherwise it is necessary to proceed first with a Windows update.
How to customize your Fitbit account
Once you’ve installed the Fitbit app on your device, you can customize your account by entering some information to create goals, training plans and programs tailored to your needs. For example, it is important to put data on weight, height, gender and above all choose certain goals to be achieved, such as the hours of sleep you want to sleep each night, the minimum number of steps to be taken every day or the minutes of running to be respected during training at the park.
Fitbit is also compatible with other systems, including Amazon Alexa, Strava, Runkeeper and MyFitnessPal, so you can connect these applications to synchronize your data and results. An interesting feature is the calculation of calories, which can be obtained automatically via Fitbit and MyFitnessPal, but to ensure greater privacy you can limit access to personal data by setting permissions for each application within your account.
Fitbit: How to calculate calories burned
Every 24 hours Fitbit monitors the calories burned, starting from the daily requirement estimated on the basis of the age, weight, height and sex selected during the configuration of the account. To do so, it takes into account your basal metabolic rate, sports activities and workouts, or any other manual instructions given to your application. At the end of the day Fitbit resets all data, providing new information every 24 hours.
An interesting feature is the possibility of recording food, by inserting in the main panel the calories of each food consumed more frequently. In this way it is possible to create food plans, to monitor progress according to the established objectives, taking into account not only the workouts but also the calories burned. Within the food plan are shown the daily calorie consumption, data of calories consumed and burned, notifications to see if you are meeting the targets selected, including feedback on macronutrients ingested.
To register a food you can take a picture of the barcode, in fact if the product is present in the database of the application will automatically show all the nutritional values. Alternatively, you can enter the food manually from the Fitbit web panel, by selecting Food Plan > Calories taken or burned, clicking on the arrow symbol at the bottom right and entering the products in your diet.
From the app, the procedure is even simpler, all you have to do is tap on the + icon and on the Register food item.
How to count steps with Fitbit and measure distances
Fitbit is able to measure distances covered thanks to the step counting system. It is an automatic feature, which is set when entering height, sex and weight data, using the GPS of your device for monitoring. If the pitch measurement seems to be wrong, you can proceed manually. In this case, all you have to do is go to a place whose distances are known, for example a park or an athletics track, choose a section with at least 20 steps and count.
After that you have to divide the total distance by the number of steps, thus obtaining the final length. To change it in the Fitbit app, tap on the account symbol > go to Advanced settings > Walking length > adjust the present value. Fitbit uses an accelerometer to count your steps. The accelerometer can give you a fairly accurate figure for the total number of steps by moving your body and measuring your step.
At the heart of the system is an algorithm, which selects each movement to determine whether it is a step or not. The computer system is continuously updated, refining the measurements in complex conditions, such as in the mountains in particularly steep stretches or with strong differences in height. To calculate the distance Fitbit uses the pedometer and GPS of the device, crossing the data to obtain an almost exact value of the distance travelled.
How to recharge your Fitbit device
Every Fitbit device is sold with a UL certified battery charger, so just connect it to a normal power outlet to restore the complete autonomy of the device. Through the settings of the notifications you can receive a warning, to know when it is necessary to recharge the device. The battery life depends on the operating system, the type of device and the functions used, but on average you can have an autonomy of about 5 days, for example with the Fitness Tracker Alta.
How to switch off Fitbit
To improve battery performance, simply turn off the device, without losing the stored data, which is not deleted. To turn off Fitbit, simply activate the smartwatch or Fitness Tracker, go into the settings and select the items Information, Stop, Confirm.
To turn on Fitbit, press and hold the back button for a few seconds. Some devices such as Blaze may lose synchronization, so you may need to restore some data such as the time. To turn off Fitbit One, press and hold the power button for 12 seconds, and it only takes a few seconds to turn it on.