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THE FITBIT BLOG

4 Healthy Holiday Food Substitutes

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pumpkin pie copy

I’m so encouraged. Rather than viewing the holidays as a time of unbridled indulgence, then post-indulgence guilt, most people (and hopefully this includes you) are starting to rein it in.

Here at Foodtrainers, rather than clients going MIA until January, they are signing up for our Foodstalking program where we have daily email check-ins. And let’s be clear—I’m not here to insist that you avoid your favorite treats. Rather, I’m suggesting you stick to just those.

So if you’re in the healthy holiday camp, here are my “glutton free guidelines.” read more

Keeping Fit During the Busy Season

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Walking up stairs

Between holiday preparations like shopping and cookie-baking, family time, and bad weather, there are so many excuses not to work out this season. In fact, December is the least active month of the year for Fitbit users! Unfortunately, this is also a time of year when we tend to overindulge in the sweets and eggnog. After all, we’re all going to get healthy next month, right? Wrong: if you’ve ever successfully completed a New Year’s resolution before, studies have shown that you’re in the minority.

We know you’re busy, but here at Fitbit we’re all about creating a lifestyle that works for you even when taking 2% of your day to get fit sounds like too much. So today we’re focusing on fitting in fitness wherever you can.

  1. Short & sweet is better than none: So maybe you don’t have time to go on a 5-mile walk. Or a 1-mile walk. Or… you get the picture. But even if all you can do is get up and take a lap around the block — or even the house — make the commitment to at least do that every day. You can always increase your workout length if time allows, and as long as you don’t let your exercise time diminish to zero you can go to bed each night knowing that you did something.
  2. Take the stairs: If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know that by taking the stairs you’re upping your efficiency by burning about 5x more calories. And while it can be tempting to hop into an elevator or step onto the escalator, you need to get up to the next floor one way or another. So why not count it toward that day’s workout?
  3. Exercise during phone calls: One benefit to cordless phones? You can pace while getting work done! Turn phone time into fit time by walking around or stretching while talking.
  4. Think quality, not quantity: One way to maximize your workouts all year long is to be as efficient as possible with the time you have. If you can manage a run instead of a walk, go for it. Or if you can handle a 15-minute high-intensity workout, try that instead of the same old workout routine you’re used to. Search online for “15-minute workout” or even “4-minute workout” and you’ll come up with plenty of options that can work for you.
  5. Be prepared to eat healthy: Fast food is popular for a variety of reasons, but you can find the same quick and easy meals in your own home if you plan ahead. Be sure to keep your fridge stocked with healthy foods that are easy to turn into a meal, and don’t underestimate the power of a slow cooker.
  6. Turn everyday tasks into mini-workouts: Even when you’re busy there are certain things that you get done each day that involve standing around, like brushing your teeth or doing the dishes. Take these moments to fit in some exercise by doing squats, balancing on one foot, or pressing onto your toes for a calf workout. If you really want to step it up, try doing some of these lunge variations while walking around the house!

How are you keeping fit this season? Let us know in the comments!

 

Rocco Dispirito: Training, Holiday Eating & Staying Active with Fitbit

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We’re super excited to have award winning chef and best-selling author, Rocco Dispirito, on board as our latest Fitbit ambassador. You surely know Rocco from shows such as Extreme Weight Loss, The Biggest Loser and Restaurant Divided…and have read one of his many highly acclaimed cookbooks.

Rocco has made it his life’s work to prove that healthy and delicious are not mutually exclusive. To that end, he created an innovative fresh food delivery service sought after by celebrities, fans and foodies alike. read more

The 2014 Fitbit Holiday Gift Guide

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2014FitbitGiftGuide Blog

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It’s December. And you know what that means: it’s holiday gift guide time, y’all! With all the products in the Fitbit family, you may be thinking, “What Fitbit product is best for the active peeps in my life?”

Fear not—we’re here to help. Enter the 2014 Fitbit Gift Guide, designed specifically to map your path to the perfect holiday Fitbit gift. So click on the image above for the full-size version and have at it.

You can purchase your Fitbit products right here, including the brand new Fitbit Charge. And don’t forget, we have a limited-time-only selection of new Fitbit apparel—get it before it’s gone!

Bouldering: Your Favorite New Workout

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SONY DSC

Rocking climbing without ropes—sound intriguing? Bouldering is like climbing’s close cousin, less high-flying but equally demanding. And a heck of a lot of fun.

Your target is a short series of individual moves, laid out in a specific route. It’s physically challenging but also mentally tough; you’re always thinking a few moves ahead. Plus, you can boulder solo—no belayer needed.

Indoor bouldering gyms are a great place to start, but outdoor facilities are also popular. Still not convinced? Here are 5 great reasons to give bouldering a try.

  1. It’s a freakin’ workout. If you think 5-10 climbing moves will be a breeze, think again. Bouldering is a full-body workout…arms, shoulders, back, core and legs. Everything’s working. First-time climbers often over rely on arm strength, but properly utilizing core and legs is essential so you’re not taxing individual muscles.
  2. It’s as much mental as physical. Yes, after a few routes you’ll likely be physically taxed. But properly thinking out each route is essentially to success and stamina. Head to a bouldering gym and observe. You’ll find groups of boulderers conversing, pointing, and staring intently at the wall. This is pre-planning. Knowing where you’re next move will be is the key to completing a route without burning yourself out.
  3. Body positioning is key. Attacking the wall straight up and down is a bad strategy. Instead, keeping your body in a sideways position will help you with fluid motions and use less precious energy.
  4. Stay hydrated. Water is key. Keep your fluids near as you’ll need them. Believe it or not, two minutes on the wall will often max out your heart rate.
  5. Step up your resistance training. When you’re starting out, you may feel like you don’t have the stamina to tackle more than a few routes. And that’s OK. What can help is stepping up your strength and resistance training. Think pull-ups, push-ups, squats and planks—easy to do outside a gym and crazy effective in building a foundation for the wall.
  6. Don’t skimp on gear. Climbing is relatively low-tech. But grabbing a nice pair of climbing shoes is a solid investment. These will immensely help your wall positioning and movement, and keep your feet comfy enough so that you’re not worrying about foot pain or slipping. And you’ll want clothes allow for a full range of motion, and here cotton reigns supreme, holding up best against the abrasive surface of the wall.

What Type of Yoga is Right For You?

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yoga

As a yoga newbie or even a seasoned yoga veteran, deciphering the studio schedule can be baffling. And that’s often an understatement.

Luckily, there’s a yoga class out there for everyone and every body. Here’s a quick guide (in order from active to mellow) to help you navigate the yoga maze. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different classes to figure out what type of class is best for you. You just might be surprised by what hooks you in.

Ashtanga:  Expect a similar sequence each class with vigorous and gymnastic transitions between poses. The origin of vinyasa/power/flow classes.

Vinyasa/Power/Flow: These terms are used interchangeably for sweaty and faster moving classes. Best for folks already familiar with the basic poses and who are seeking a workout.

Hatha: A garden variety term for yoga. Expect moderate to low intensity. A good class for beginners or folks returning to yoga. Hatha can be a great branching off point to more advanced classes.

Iyengar: Detailed, slow instructions, lots of props (blocks, straps, bolsters, etc.) and plenty of teacher demos. Great for students wanting to master or return to the basics.

Gentle/Therapeutic: Expect a mild and slow class with lots of time on the floor. Great for older, injured, or just plain burnt out students. A solid yoga reset…

Restorative: Wiped out and need a nap? In this class you’ll cuddle up on bolsters and get a serious recharge. And if you think you’re above a restorative class, think again—you’ll be surprised at just how much you need a reset every once in a while.

Prenatal: Great for anyone who is pregnant, prenatal yoga is a great way to prepare for childbirth and may even promote good health for a newborn baby.

Each teacher shares his/her own take on the yoga tradition, so these class descriptions are a general guide. Research teachers by talking to other students, asking the front desk staff, and reading the bios on the studio website. Remember each teacher writes his/her own bio so if a teacher’s language resonates with you, it could be a good fit. Your alchemy with a teacher will matter more than the type of class listed on the schedule. If you find a teacher, a time, and a location that works for you, you’ll soon get hooked!

Sadie Chanlett-Avery is a certified yoga and kettlebell instructor, as well as the in-house yogi at Clif Bar & Company here in the Bay area.

Fitbit Inspiration: Jennifer C.

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Tough Mudder image

Running isn’t a hobby it’s a career, and on February 27, 2014 my career got a little more interesting. That was the day I got invited to join a work group to complete Tough Mudder.

In the beginning, I was thrilled telling myself that it’s just like some of the other obstacle races I had run, only longer. At the time, I was averaging 10K steps per day, using my Fitbit Zip to calculate each move I made.

With only seven months to train, I knew I had my work cut out for me. My primary goal was just getting up to a 12-mile run, about three times longer than my usual distance. Each week I added 1K steps to my run until I hit my 12-mile goal, I then decided to make it a little more challenging.

My weekends began to fill with 10-mile trail walks on Saturdays and 12-mile trail runs on Sundays. At this point, two months before Tough Mudder, I felt I was trained and ready to go. But then I started browsing the race website and quickly realized: I was not ready.

My Zip pushed me to get gradually increase my steps/distance, betting my time and training.

Needless to say, I increased my workout intensity lifting weights, swinging kettlebells, kickboxing, and completing various core workouts to increase my upper body and core strength as quickly as possible. The ultimate goal was preparing for a Tough Mudder obstacle called Everest—a quarter pipe climb covered in mud and grease. With just one month to train for this terrifying climb,  the one tool that I used the most was my Zip.

I found the highest hill near my house and ran all-out wind sprints. I started with just a few feet, but gradually increased to sprinting the entire hill and back several times. My Zip pushed me to get gradually increase my steps/distance, betting my time and training.

On the morning of race day, I was nervous and excited. At 9am we were on the road and by 10am, at the starting line to the Tough Mudder in Montgomery City, MO. In the back of my pants was a zipper pouch where I had my most reliable tool, my Fitbit, in two plastic bags hoping that it would survive along with me on our 12-mile obstacle race.

With my husband by my side, we completed one obstacle after another—even one where I had to carry him 500 feet!

We jumped in the arctic enema (think tank full of ice water) diving underwater, shaking as I moved through the ice bath to the opposite side.

The final obstacle—a muddy sprint through a barrage of hanging, electrically charged wires—stood between me and the finish line. With a couple shocks to my frame, I crossed the finish line, hoping my Zip was still in one piece.

Through all the mud, water, and obstacles both me and my trusty Zip and survived. It tracked all 12 miles, validating one of the most physically challenging days of my life.

It’s amazing what a person can accomplish by overcoming your fears with the tools and team to help achieve your goals.

 

Cold Weather Training: 6 Tips for Running in the Fall & Winter

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winter running

We recently wrote about Fall fitness tips to help you keep pumped and active all season long. But today, let’s take it a step further with specific tips for all you runners/joggers out there!

If you’re planning to stay on schedule with your running as the weather’s getting cold, there are some extra things to keep in mind. Race season may be months away, but keeping up with your running goals now will help you pick up your training right where you left off once the weather warms up.

Here’s how to stay focused:

read more

Fitbit Success Stories: Jonathan B.

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Fitbit Success Stories is a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition.

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“Fight! No matter what happens in the next 24 hours I want you to fight and never give up. You hear me?”

Those were the words whispered to me on November 4, 2013, and they shaped the last year of my life. You see, that was the day I was rolled back into an operating room for a gastric bypass surgery. Everyone was scared of what would happen once I came out of surgery. The doctor was preparing everyone for the possibility that I would wind up in the ICU for a couple days or longer.

It was a surgery that not only saved my life, but gave me a new body and a new lease on life. I never went to the ICU. Though I had no major complications from the surgery and my recovery was a breeze, that comment about fighting has stuck with me this last year. It has become my motivation and my credo.

No matter what happens, each and every day I need to fight. I need to fight to get my body back. read more

Fitbit Halloween by the Numbers

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This is a guest post from Robert da Silva, a data scientist on the Fitbit R&D Team with a PhD. in Astrophysics. His favorite Halloween candy is Reese’s Pieces, just like E.T.

It can be a challenge to stay healthy during the holidays. Mostly it’s eating too much turkey or holiday desserts. And the king of all the unhealthy holidays just might be Halloween, a day entirely based upon collecting buckets of candy. But Halloween is also a holiday where walking plays a large role. Whether trick-or-treating or just walking with the kids, people go door-to-door collecting candy and racking up steps.

As members of the Data Science Team at Fitbit, we wanted to know how all those steps stacked up against that extra candy. We used our massive database of user step data, which allows us to analyze the impact of Halloween.

We started by exploring anonymized data from Halloween last year (2013), which fell on a Thursday. We found that, on average, users that went trick-or-treating gained 2,750 steps—that’s nearly 1.25 miles. And we know everyone loves Halloween candy, so we put together a few easy ways you can offset those extra calories by increasing your daily steps or engaging in a holiday workout. What else did we find? See the infographic below to find out.

So go out and rack up some spooky steps, just make sure the scariest part of your day isn’t your calorie total

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