Every New Year’s Day signals a string of new year resolutions, and for as long as the desire for fitness remains at the top of everyone’s list, it will remain peak time for new gym memberships. Are you one of those yearning to lose those festive kilos with thoughts turning to Vilebrequin, tote bags and the summer’s beaches? Our hot fitness tip for 2019 puts you front and center of your training regime, and it’s all delivered at the flick of the wrist. What is it? A Fitbit.
Wrist-worn trackers have been around for years, and the world has developed a somewhat love-hate relationship with them. We’ve tended to feel the same way – we kind of wanted them to work and be part of our lives but, well, they never quite cemented the relationship. Until now that is…
Enter the Fitbit Ionic and Charge 2 (there’s now a new Charge 3 which, we’ve heard, steps up Fitbit’s game even further).
Massive battery life and a host of really-useful-apps combine to make these the essential accessories for fitness tracking, knowledge, and motivation. Hook them up to Fitbit’s own app, and they become super-useful tools. We used its personalized dashboard to check daily stats, see personalized insights and got reminders that kept us moving toward our goals.
The Ionic (above) provides deeply personalized guidance and insights; plus, you can upload your favorite music to keep the legs pumping and muscles flexing. Other headlines? Built-in GPS makes it ideal for recording routes (on foot as well as in the saddle), a Gorilla Glass touchscreen keeps it safe – whatever harsh treatment you’re going to subject it to, you’ll break before your Ionic does, super-sharp graphics, sleep monitor (the best we’ve seen is Fitbit’s algorithm), heart rate and cardio fitness monitoring, plus you can connect a wrist-load of apps to connect the Ionic with your smartphone.
In use, it is light on the wrist. If you’re a watch-wearer, you’ll feel an absence of mass. Non-watch-wearers will barely feel its presence. To get the best out of the Ionic, as well as all of Fitbit’s trackers, wear it 24/7 – be aware that some models are water-resistant, meaning you could probably shower in it, but we wouldn’t recommend it – however, sleeping with it is essential in building a full wellness-story for you. We haven’t worn a watch at night since our teenage and Casio years, so while the first two or three nights felt disturbed, it was worth persisting.
Sleep is perhaps the most important and yet overlooked element to any fitness regime. Ionic helps you better understand your sleep quality by using PurePulse® heart rate to track your time spent in light, deep and REM sleep stages. It’s good. Very good. While the Ionic didn’t send us to sleep, the information we gained did train us to be more aware of bed- and waking-times. After a month, we’re waking feeling more refreshed than before. Fact.
Heart-rate monitors are simple fare for all trackers today. It’s how the information harvested is used that sets quality above the average. Fitbit’s enabled us to learn how our cardiovascular health and fitness progressed by tracking our resting heart rate and following heart rate trends over time. We got a better understanding of our cardio fitness level and learned how to improve over time with a personalized Cardio Fitness Score.
Women can use Ionic with the Fitbit app to log their period and record symptoms, track ovulation and discover patterns in their cycle. As men, we imagine this can only be a good thing.
And what of the Charge 2 (below)? Effectively, it’s a stripped-down Ionic. Gone is the big, color screen. In its place is a sharply-defined monochrome screen. Data only. There’s no significant smartphone connection, although you can set it up to receive notifications of calls and texts. There’s no storage or playback for music either.
The Charge 2 is a no-nonsense tracker for the hardcore fitness freak. Via the app, you’ll get the data an Ionic provides, but without its bells-and-whistles – and in many ways, it’s all the better for it. Fewer buttons to press (there’s only one) and a single tap-screen facility means you strap it on at the beginning of the day and forget about it until it needs recharging (three or four days, minimum) – but don’t take a bath wearing it.
It links to the same powerful app as all Fitbits and gives the same feedback and notifications as the Ionic. You can access much of the information via a few taps of the screen, but in reality, you’ll find yourself popping open your smartphone, synching, and bringing yourself up-to-date there.
You can set both models to give you a prompt if you’ve spent too long sedentary. Sounds uninteresting? In fact, it’s a great way to draw you away from whichever screen you’re looking at, walk around the office, getting the blood flowing again, and catch up with one or two colleagues using the real face-time facility nature gave us. Use it. You’ll be surprised.
Who are they for? Well, while we excel in some areas, athleticism isn’t one of these. Nonetheless, we’re fearlessly motivated and on an endless quest for information that’s going to make our lives more productive and efficient. The Ionic and Charge 2 proved to be our ideal friends. A stream of reliable information fed into our motivation to continue along our road to health and fitness. It kept us connected (to our smartphones) and engaged (with our bodies). There are few pieces of tech that have worked for us (rather than having us work for them) in such an intuitive, empowering and approachable manner. Set goals and these two buddies will keep you on the road to fitness or weight-loss. They’ve got a huge range of accessories for when you get hooked.
It’s like having a trainer with you 24/7. But this is one you can turn off and walk away from on a Friday night.
Fitbit tip: they’ve also got a really useful blog. Useful whether you’re a Fitbit wearer or not. Health, wellness and fitness tips… here