How To Actually Get In Shape With A Fitness Tracker

by Shahrzad Warkentin

So, that brand new fitness tracker you got for Christmas is still in its box, and maybe it’s because you’re not sure what to do with it. Just strapping it on gives you some information about how you're moving through the day, but how does that translate into getting fit? Try these simple tips to turn your fitness tracker into a useful tool that actually helps you.

Never Take It Off

The ultimate purpose of a fitness tracker is to collect data on your daily activity level. You can then use that information to determine what you need to do differently to meet your personal fitness goals. In order to have the most accurate data, it's important to wear your tracker all day, every day. Many trackers are even equipped to monitor you while you sleep and see if you're getting enough rest, so you can literally wear it around the clock. 

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Team Up With An App

There are several fitness and food apps available that can work in conjunction with your fitness tracker to help you lose weight and get fit. Apps like LoseIt and MyFitnessPal can sync with your tracker and use the data collected to do things, like set up a calorie budget based on your activity level and help you plan workout routines. 

Get A Partner

Challenging yourself to get fit can be a lot easier when you have a partner. A little friendly competition comparing steps with a spouse can help motivate you to stay on your goals and work even harder. Use your tracker's app or other fitness apps to share goals with family or friends on social media too. You can challenge each other to specific step goals and even cheer each other on along the way.

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Make Mini Challenges

If you've set up a daily step goal, but find meeting that number difficult, try breaking down the day into mini-challenges. Meeting smaller goals, like taking 2,000 steps over your lunch break, can help you build to your daily goal, and keep expectations digestible. This is also a great way to determine what hours of the day are more flexible in terms of adding in extra steps, like breaks when you’re not sitting, so that you can make the most of that time.

Personalize Your Tracker

Checking off a few items in your tracker’s settings can help you get the most accurate information. It’s important, for example, to specify which wrist you’re wearing it on. Everyone has a dominant hand and if you wear your device on that one, it may get an inaccurate read from excessive motion. You also need to enter your personal information, like age and weight, and keep it up to date. Some devices also include a calibration function that can be adjusted for your specific stride.

Studies have shown that one-third of people in the U.S. who own fitness trackers will give them up after six months of use. Avoid becoming part of that statistic by thinking of your device as a tool. It won’t just magically make you fit on it’s own, instead you have to find the best ways to utilize it to reach your goals.

What are some tricks you’ve learned to getting the most out of your fitness tracker? Share your own tips in the comments.

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