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Your Fitness Tracker and You - Dos and Don'ts

Updated: Jan 30, 2023



So you've finally got a Fitness Tracker. Congratulations! This is the largest step you've taken into investing in your health and fitness goals since the Moon Landing, and, dammit, you should feel proud. Make sure that your Apple Watch/Fitbit is secured tightly onto your wrist, as to avoid any potential moments of despair because the harmless (?) radiation beaming into your lower forearm couldn't calculate your heart rate accurately during the online Zumba class that KO'd you in your living room this morning since you forgot how regalia from the 1800s should be worn (don't worry, I won't tell anyone [that knows you] you still do Zumba).

All kidding aside, having a Fitness Tracker is very useful, and, in my very humble estimation: just about any person with fitness goals should wear one. No need to splurge. Get an older model of a Fitbit (or some Orwellian Chinese knockoff equivalent) that merely calculates basic metrics - calories burned doing activities such as jogging/steps taken/total calories burned for the day - essentially, your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). One can be procured for only a few 10s of dollars on Amazon.

 

(Need to know your TDEE? Easily find out yours with a copy and paste of the link below: )

https://calculator-online.net/tdee-calculator/

 

But, there are a lot of misconceptions about what these little guys can do and what they can't do. They are definitely no magic pills that are going to replace the need to be habitual and progressive with your training routines. Here are some very basic "Dos and Don'ts" of your shiny new Fitness Tracker that totally won't languish on your kitchen countertop alongside this year's fitness goals.

DOs

DO - Use your Fitness Tracker to help you with Accountability in terms of staying in motion. For the average person, getting into better health and better shape, is often a simple matter of moving more than they currently do. Going for more walks, jogs, hikes; playing some pickup basketball games at the local park, paddle boarding, skateboarding, rollerblading, gardening, protest/rioting, etc. - A Fitness Tracker can help ensure that you engage in movement not only more consistently, but in a more measured fashion. The only thing worse than not exercising enough is exercising too much. A Fitness Tracker can help us find that third bowl of porridge we often yearn to loiter in.

DO - Use your Fitness tracker to provide a consistent barometer for your progress. While these devices are not completely objective measures of calories burned during exercises performed, they do have fairly consistent internal logics - assuming they are worn properly, as aforementioned. Similar to using the same weight scale everyday because scales vary in performance - your Fitness Tracker is going to be more of a celestial navigator than some hard and objective determination of your progress. Are things generally heading in the right direction or not? Your Tracker is just one of many aids that you can utilize to answer that question.

DO - Use your Fitness Tracker to make fitness more fun/interesting for you. For some, simply seeing the metrification of their daily routines is a sufficient motivator for them to go a little bit harder than last time. A little bit farther than last time. A little bit longer than last time. Actually "seeing" the calories burned or steps taken as "scores" to be met or beaten. If that sounds like you, this could go a long way in helping to keep you moving. Devices like the Apple Watch even have functionalities that allow you to compete with Friends/Online Strangers' exercise goals, adding a networked social aspect to your daily movement goals (who doesn't like working out with friends [this guy]?)

DO - Treat tracking your activities just like tracking your Macros. Just like that important habit, contrary to popular belief, tracking what you do, and knowing what your goals are for the day is actually much more liberating than restricting. You don't have to take one tact in meeting TDEE goals. Started jumping rope and got bored 15 mins. in? Make up the other 15 mins. of your daily 30 minutes activity goal with some walking, light jogging, swimming, or coitus.

DON'TS

DON'T - Worship your Fitness Tracker like a Slave Master. Some become a bit TOO accountable to their Fitness Trackers to a point of unhealthy fixation/obsession. Nothing is worse than feeling even a touch of despair due to not meeting fitness goals for a particular day... because that's not what getting into better health and better shape is about. Fitness is there to improve all aspects of your life - not become the be-all and end-all of it. These instruments are no different. These are supplemental tools and guides - not overseers.

DON'T - Take your Fitness Tracker as gospel. While it is great for aiding in creating a basic guideline for how to approach your day-to-day health and fitness regimen - they are not perfect representations of the laws of thermodynamics. Quantifying calories expended is very difficult and beholden to old and questionable scientific methods. The step tracker is a different story, as the accelerometer technology that governs them is far simpler and more well understood. But you should see TDEE/exercise caloric expenditure numbers as mere estimates and guidelines. Little else.

Forever Better!


- Kye

Please follow this blog on Substack @substack.com/Kimosabae


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