Hey everyone! I had a birthday this month and received a FitBit Alta as a gift. The FitBit Alta is one of the latest FitBit models, along with the new FitBit Blaze. It comes in four basic colors, but I had the black one (there were customizations you could purchase for it later if you wanted). At first, I loved it! It was slim, unlike other FitBits I had seen before. I was also excited to get reminders to move throughout the day, during my sedentary desk job, and to see how many calories I burned. However, the usefulness of the fitness wristband stopped there for me.
As an aerialist, I wanted to see how many calories I was burning and how hard I was working out. Unfortunately, I can’t wear it when I’m practicing aerial silks, because of the risk of snagging or tangling up the silks. I was able to wear it on the aerial hoop (lyra) with my instructor’s approval, because if anything, I’d break the FitBit on the metal hoop, not the other way around, haha. Additionally, I haven’t been practicing any poses that would’ve interfered with the FitBit on the lyra. I discovered that even during a difficult workout practicing the aerial hoop, the FitBit doesn’t notice I’m doing anything. I’m not doing “steps,” and it didn’t track my heart rate, so while I was lifting myself and using upper body strength on the apparatus, the FitBit thought I was barely doing anything.
I still had hope, though, that when I would go to my indoor cycle class, that my steps and calorie count would go way up! I went to class and worked out to a sweaty mess, only to check my FitBit and see that it said I still only had zero “active minutes.”
Active minutes according to the FitBit website are minutes in which the activity you’re doing is more strenuous than regular walking. The FitBit gave me no active minutes for two types of workouts that I do, even though I know I’m working hard. That is extremely discouraging. It seems only useful for someone walking or running, but not someone doing low-impact, cardio-intensive cycling or strength training.
I know FitBit has a product that tracks heart rate (Charge HR), which would be more useful for what I do, but I’m kind of bummed out using the FitBit Alta. The Alta is much more useful for someone who just wants a step counter that tracks sleep. I also know that I can manually track my activity to contribute to the “calories burned” amount, but what would be the point in having a fitness tracker if I had input all that information myself?
My boyfriend, who gave me the FitBit Alta for my birthday, understood that the lack of heart rate tracking could’ve been an issue when he purchased the wristband, and understood my dissatisfaction with it. We will be returning it, since instead of encouraging me to get “steps,” it just discouraged me on the actual physical activity I was already doing.
If you walk around frequently and don’t care about tracking your heart rate, then maybe the FitBit Alta is for you. However, I would prefer a product just as slim, but tracks heart rate and calories accurately for the exercise that I’m doing.