Monday, April 7, 2014

Mileage Monday

Back at it with the Mileage Monday posts. I'm no longer sick, and I'm done making excuses for not getting my miles in. The elliptical is no problem at all for me, and neither is just marching in place. The adult trike however, I need to be careful on. Last Wednesday I went out for an hour for a bike ride. The weather was fantastic, high was only 75 degrees. Pretty much unheard of for April.

In that hour, I did 7.5 miles (or close enough). Let me first say, anytime I'm on the bike, my neck is sore that evening and the day after. Don't know why, but that's just the way it is. Maybe I'm holding my upper back, arms, and neck in the same position for too long. Who knows. Being on the bike for an hour? I trashed my neck. It's still sore and it's almost been a week. Not sure if it's tendons, or muscles or what, but it's sore. Hurts to turn my head from side to side.

When I do get back on the bike, I need to remember to take it slow. Maybe two times around the block, and not ten. The heating pad is my friend these days. I actually think the elliptical will help my neck loosen up, so I'm on it tomorrow (well today. I'm writing this on Sunday.).

I'm got pictures from the virtual walk to share! Been a few weeks since I've done that. So, here we go. Since my last post, I've passed through Irvine, KY in Estill county. I have about 1.8 miles until I reach Wismantown, KY in Estill county.

Mile 743.6 (1 mile elliptical)

Mile 744.6 (1 mile elliptical)

Mile 745.6 (1 mile elliptical)

Mile 746.6 (1 mile elliptical)

Mile 747.6 (1 mile elliptical)

Mile 748.6 (1 mile elliptical)
(photo credit - http://exercise.lbl.gov/index.html;jsessionid=1F4E2B8269D80C6DF557FB31D1D6D77B)

There ya go! Have a great week everyone. I've got a few posts in mind for this week, so stay tuned.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

FitBit Update And Experiment

It has once again been way too long since I've posted. For the last week and a half I've been sick with a cold or maybe it was the flu. Either way, it was rough, and I didn't feel like doing much. Other than, life got in the way of posting and exercising. But, the point is, I'm back!

OK. Update time. Since I heard about the FitBit Force recall, I've thought long and hard about what to do. Yes, I am going to send it back. As a matter of fact, Monday morning I requested one of their return kits. I'm sad, but it's unavoidable. The "Force Rash" is now still appearing even covering the charging port with electrical tape.

(photo credit: Me) Not as bad as it once was

So, I need to remedy the situation. Before I requested my return kit, I sent FitBit an email with a few questions. Their support team and customer service is awesome! I've sent them questions several times, and they've gotten back to me within 24 hours each time. Even on weekends.

So, my questions were:

1. I was first wondering when the recall would end. I do have the "Force rash", but am dealing with it by using electrical tape. Unfortunately, the rash is coming back even with the tape. So, I will be returning it.
2. When are you planning on announcing your new device? The letter from the CEO on February 20 said "To our Force community, rest assured we’re working on our next-generation tracker and will announce news about it soon." I would like to know how soon is "soon"? It's been a little over a month now, and I've not heard anything.
3. If I send my Force back now and buy a FitBit One, I was wondering when you do come out with a new product if I could exchange the One for the new device even if the One still works. Would that be possible?

They answered my questions reasonably. They didn't give me an end date for the recall, but my take on their answer is that I have one year from the time I bought my Force to return it. So, I have until the beginning of December. That's fine.

Question number two was not a surprise. They have no ETA on an announcement for a new product. And question number three, all I got was I probably could not return my One when their new product comes out if there's nothing wrong with it. I'm not surprised.

So here's my thinking. I'm sending back my Force and am going to buy a FitBit One. When I'm going to buy the One, I don't know. Soon though I think. I've still got my FitBit Flex and can use that while I wait for my Force refund (4 to 6 weeks I think). But I've gotten so used to having everything on display that I may bite the bullet soon after I send out the Force. The Flex is OK, but it is just has five lights that light up as you reach your chosen goal.

What am I doing in the meantime? I'm treating my Force like a One. And I'll do the same with the Flex. My reasoning is, having a step tracker on your wrist doesn't quite cut it. You want to track your steps, not your arm's movement. I intend on wearing the One on my shoe or my sock. That should get an accurate step count. I tried this out with my Force and was shocked. When I thought more about it, it's not really all that shocking. I strapped my Force to a hair tie and put the hair tie around my ankle. At first, I put the tracker in my sock, but my sock was tight and it was uncomfortable. During the day the tracker was in my sock, my step count was so low. I was sick, yes, so I wasn't up an moving all that much. One day, I had a step count of barely 2,000. Yikes. So having the tracker on your wrist really isn't an accurate way to track your fitness level.

(photo credit: me) Yes, that's my lovely left foot, hehe. The display screen in facing my leg. This is the tighter hair tie.

I'm still experimenting with the hair tie thing. I was using a loose hair tie, and when I did my mile on the elliptical today, my step count was higher than it should have been. My mileage was higher also. When I had my Force on my wrist, I went 1.1 miles on the elliptical. When I had it on my ankle with the hair tie, my mileage was 1.44 miles. Yeah, big difference. However, I was using a loose hair tie, and I think the tracker was bouncing around a lot more because of that. I found a tighter hair tie, and will see what happens the next time I do my mile. I also had 20 or so Very Active Minutes. I normally only register Active Minutes on the elliptical, not Very Active.

There you have it. Things are going to be resolved with the FitBit soon for me. I'm excited actually to get the One. Since discovering just how many more "steps" I achieve by having the tracker on my wrist, it feels like I've been cheating when I have reached 10,000 steps. I'll have a lot more work ahead of me to get 10,000 steps from now on. That's OK though. The more I move the better.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mileage Monday And My Experiment Results

Last week, I mentioned I was a bit bummed to discover I was only gong 1.8 miles instead of 3.1 with Leslie Sansone's 5K With A Twist DVD. I said I would do an experiment with the 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk DVD and my elliptical. I didn't do the DVD, but I did do the elliptical.

I am happy to say it's much closer to being accurate than the DVD. I checked my mileage on my FitBit Force before I got on the elliptical, and checked it again when I was done with my mile. My FitBit said I went 1.1 miles. That's acceptable to me. Even if was one a tenth of a mile less, I would have been pleased. And this result is consistent because I did a mile on the elliptical two days in a row.

I'll see if my body is up for the 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk this week. It most likely will be since I saw the chiropractor on Saturday. It had been way too long. He and I both agreed 7 weeks was longer than I can take. Three to four week is my limit.

Only have two pictures this week. I got kind of bummed out by my mileage findings and learning about the Force recall. Here are the pictures from the virtual walk site!

Mile 741.6 (elliptical for 1 mile)

Mile 742.6 (elliptical for 1 mile)

Onward to a productive week. Going to get on that elliptical this week. And I made my decision about my dilemma as to follow the mileage on my FitBit or the DVD. I plan to follow my FitBit. I'll still do the DVDs, but I'll go with the mileage that my FitBit is telling me. I'll try and get the 5 Mile Walk DVD done this week and see how accurate that is. I'm guessing I'll only go 2.5 miles at most with that one seeing as the workout is about 75 minutes long. We'll see.

Keep moving!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

FitBit Force Voluntary Recall

(photo credit - blog.matthews.com.au)

Well, I’m a bit bummed. A day after I posted my FitBit Force review, FitBit came out saying they’re conducting a voluntary recall. They’ve already pulled the Force from their store website, and are no longer selling it. Here’s the letter from the CEO. Here's a link to the letter.

As far as I know, the only other product they no longer sell is the FitBit Ultra. However, even though they don’t sell the Ultra anymore, they still support it. They don’t say whether or not they will still support the Force, but my guess is they won’t. So I have a few options.

1. I can send my Force back now, get my refund, and put that money towards a FitBit One right away.
2. I can wait until they announce their new device, decide if it’s something I want, and then send my Force back for a refund.
3. I can send my Force back now and wait for them to announce the new device.
4. I can keep my Force and see what happens.

OK, so obviously option 4 is not going to be what I choose. If they’re no longer going to support the device, why should I keep it? I don’t really want to go with option 3 because if I send back my Force now and they don’t announce the new product for a month or two, then I would be stuck with no tracker. I’ve gotten so used to having a tracker, I’d go nuts without one now.

So, it’s either option 1 or 2. They say they’ll be announcing the new product soon. But how soon is “soon”? A week? A month? Longer? If they keep supporting the Force and will accept returns until then, fine. Otherwise, if I wait until they announce, and they no longer accept returns, I’m stuck.

My guess, and this is only my guess, is that they’ll accept returns for a while after they announce the new device. That would be the smart thing they could do. They didn’t put an end date as to when you could send the Force back, so I’m hoping I’m right in my assumption. I hope they announce it soon.

For now, I’m still wearing and using my Force, and I’m still loving it. I am so bummed that this is happening. Hopefully the new device will be a lot like the Force only with a different metal and material. We shall see.

Friday, February 21, 2014

FitBit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale Review

(photo credit - Me)

I’ve had two or three scales over the last 15 years, and I have to say the FitBit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale beats them all. My first digital scale (I can’t remember the brand name now) worked for a while, but the readings began to be unreliable. I would take four or five readings in a row and the results would be all over the place. A difference of five to ten pounds. That’s when I switched to a needle scale. Worked well enough, and that’s how I tracked my weight progress when I lost 35 pounds. But the needle scale is kind of hard to read, unless you’re on a big number that ends in a “0” or “5”.

When I heard about the Aria scale, I had my doubts. Was it going to be like any other digital scale? Were the readings going to fluctuate a lot? Was it going to be worth it? The FitBit Aria syncs all of the readings to your FitBit account through Wi-Fi. You can view all of your stats (weight, body fat percentage, and BMI) on your FitBit account on your computer (you can see your weight and body fat percentage on the app).

You can have up to eight people on the same scale. That’s eight users (people with FitBit accounts), but more people can use it certainly. They’ll just be “guests”. If you don’t have a FitBit account, you can still use the scale (You might get an account just by having the scale, I don’t think you need a fitness tracker. I don't know for certain though.).

This sucker is accurate. I tested it out on several surfaces, and there’s only a slight variation in the readings. The biggest fluctuation was using it on carpet and then using it on tile. It fluctuated about one or two pounds. Not bad. So, pick your area and stick to it. I use tile to weigh myself on. I also tested it by weighing myself several times in a row. Slight variations, but nothing over a pound.

You can check your stats on the computer, tablets, and smartphones. I know for a fact that the iPad 2 does not support the app, I’m not sure about the “new” iPad (iPad 3?) or the mini. I think any iPad after the mini does support the app. My iPod Touch 5 and iPhone 5s both support the app. There are certain smart phones that don’t support the app yet, but I don’t know which ones those are. Over time, they should though.

I would definitely recommend the FitBit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale, particularly if you have one of their fitness trackers. It’s reliable, light-weight, and sleek-looking. It does take time to get it set up. We did have some problems with that, but I think it was my fault whatever went wrong. You set it up with your mobile device, and you need a Wi-Fi signal. Wi-Fi is how the scale uploads data to your online account. It takes batteries, and so far mine is still reading a “full charge”, and that’s after a few months of use.

Love my FitBit scale, it’s great! Another good motivator to keep me moving.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

FitBit Force Review



I’ve had my FitBit Force fitness tracker for about two months or so. I originally got the FitBit Flex, and I loved it. However the Force has more display options. Whereas the Flex only displayed five dots to show your progress on your chosen goal (you can choose to display either a step goal, mile goal, calories burned goal, active minutes goal etc.), with the Force you can display all of these goals. Plus stairs climbed and the best of all, a clock! I haven’t worn a watch in years, so I was definitely interested in the Force just for the clock aspect.


You can rearrange the order of the goals too. You can set it up so you can see your steps first, or your mileage first, whatever you want. I’ve got it set for the time first, then my step count, next miles, calories burned, stairs climbed, active minutes, and lastly my alarms. Now I arrange those however I want to just by going to the website or by going to the app. With the Flex all you had was one goal at a time, and dots that lit up. The more you got to your goal, more dots would light up. That was nice for a while, but I think over time, it would have gotten boring. With the Force, it’s much more user friendly.


The Force updates in real time. Say you check your step count and then walk for 20 steps. You check it again right away, those 20 steps are there. Nice way to keep track of miles too. Everything updates as you go. No need to check the app or the website like you would with the Flex.


As I said in my Flex entry, the FitBit syncs with SparkPeople (as well as with other health and fitness apps). My food log is transferred from SparkPeople to FitBit, and my fitness minutes and miles are transferred from FitBit to SparkPeople. I tend to use the calorie range on FitBit because it’s a lower range than what SparkPeople gives me. Both calorie ranges scale up the more activity you get in, but I like to keep my range lower. So far that tactic has worked. I’m now back down to 135 to 137 instead of 140.


One downside to the FitBit Force is that some people are having reactions to the nickel in the charging port. They are developing contact dermatitis, which is a skin rash. FitBit has help page on their site if you are one of these people. Check it out here. Unfortunately, I am one of those people. It didn’t happen right away, but about three weeks of having the tracker, I developed the “Force Rash”. I developed an itchy, red, and scaly patch right where the charging port rests on my wrist.


Good news is, there are ways to deter this rash. Just put a barrier of some sort between the tracker band and your skin. I’ve heard clear nail polish works, as well as mole skin, and even Band Aids. I use black electrical tape. It took a few weeks for the rash to completely go away, but it DID go away.


I’m not parting with my Force. Now, if the rash didn’t go away over time, I may have considered sending it back and getting a FitBit One (that is exactly like the Force I believe only you clip it to wherever you want). Luckily, my rash went away. My husband also has the Force and so far he has no rash. I’m willing to pay 3 bucks for a roll of electrical tape that will last forever. We had a roll laying around the house already, so I gave it a shot. I take the tape off when I charge the tracker, and then put another strip of tape back on when it’s charged. Easy peasy.

Please do not let this “Force Rash” deter you from trying it out. If you do develop it, there are ways to combat it. If you are wary to try out the Force, try one of their other trackers. I’ve heard good things about all of them.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Late Mileage Monday

Better late than never though, right? Today I've been getting side-tracked by one thing after another. But in the end, everything is still getting done...for the most part. I have some more pictures from the virtual walk, so there's your proof than I AM still moving!

Oh! One thing I did want to mention here on this blog. I did a little experiment last week. I have always been suspicious of how many miles I actually do during a Leslie Sansone DVD. So I marked the mileage point on my FitBit from when I started the DVD, and then marked the mileage point when I was done. Turns out the 5K With A Twist isn't a 5k. It's more like 1.8 miles. Ugh. Far from 3.1 miles. I could have handled it only being 2.75 miles, maybe even 2.5, but 1.8? Really? Ah well. I had a feeling I wasn't really going that far, but this just proved it. I need to do the same with the 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk and also with my elliptical mile. I'll have those results next week, well at least the elliptical.

On to the mileage pictures!

Mile 730.4 (watp for 5 miles)                                        Mile 735.4 (watp for 5 miles)

Mile 737.4 (Marched in place for 2 miles)                     Mile 740.6 (watp for 3.1 miles)

So, I'm now I need to figure out if I want to really be strict about my mileage. Should I go by the mileage I get from my FitBit Force or stick with the assumed mileage from the DVDs? I'll still do the DVDs, but I feel like I'm cheating on the virtual walk now by saying I'm going 3.1 miles and only going 1.8. Thoughts?

Either way, keep moving!