Small steps. Big impact.


Fitbit Halloween by the Numbers


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

Halloween Final Final web


Fitbit Charge, Charge HR & Surge: Welcome to a Whole New World of Fitness



Today is an exciting day for Fitbit, and we’re so happy to share this news with you, our fans. Today we unveiled three new activity and sleep-tracking products: Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge. Continuing our mission to inspire people to lead healthier, more active lives, we’re releasing these three new innovative devices to help reach everyday, active or performance health and fitness goals.

So let’s take an in-depth look at each new product. read more

6 Dynamic Workouts You Can Do Outside the Gym

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hiking blog

Not everyone has the time or inclination to make it to the gym on a regular basis. And let’s be honest—sometimes the simple act of breaking a routine can be inspiring enough to create new habits.

So before the winter weather sets in, why not take advantage of the outdoors and take your workout outside of the gym? If you find yourself wanting to shake things up with a new outdoor workout, here are six favorites from celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak: read more

World Series Workout: Train Like an MLB Athlete

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mlb image

The World Series kicks off today, and with America’s favorite pastime in the limelight for a seven-game series, we wondered: how do Major League Baseball players train to keep in top shape on the diamond? Believe it or not, the answer is rather simple.

We asked the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach Brendon Huttmann how he’s helped players stay trained for October. Here’s what we found:

Aside from weightlifting, which is an entire program within itself, we keep our preparation very simple.  We stick to simple movement exercises to keep several muscle groups engaged. Think squats, lunges, core exercises and other simple movements.

We stick to this—and adjust the types within each category—every day for our pre-game activation program.

Want to put in into action? Here’s a workout that will have you on your way to field shape.

Do 1 set of all exercises at 10 reps each. Keep it simple:

  • SquatsSquats are one of the best exercises you can do on a regular basis. A simple, full-body workout that trains the quads, hips, hamstrings and glutes (and improves flexibility and mobility), squats are incredibly efficient and provide multidimensional benefits. Especially important for MLB players who uses the aforementioned muscle groups to accelerate from dead stop to full sprint.
  • Lunges – Another lower-focused exercise that works the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Are we noticing a trend? Lower-half strength is extremely important for baseball players to generate extreme power from hitting to throwing to sprinting.
  • Abdominal and low back exercise of choice – With abdominal and lower back core movements, you don’t need more than 10 to feel the burn. Try varying your core workouts each day — there’s a seemingly endless amount to keep it varied and interesting.
  • Chop and lifts – When you use a machine, rope, bar or band in a movement that’s crosses over the mid-line of your body, that’s a chop or lift. It’s a great baseball exercise because it’s effective at creating core strength for sports that require body rotation. Again, think about all that rotational, core and lower-body strength used when swinging a bat to generate ballpark power.
  • Medicine ball movements - Try a squat with a chest press, lateral throws, lateral throw-downs and other medicine ball exercises. This is a unique Pirates training component that finishes off the workout.




Fall Fitness Tips to Keep You Active


fall fitness

Changing weather can also mean a change in routine, which is the perfect time to update your fitness habits. While it may be tempting to let things become more relaxed when schedules fill up and sweaters come out of the closet, keeping up with your fitness goals (or creating new ones!) is the perfect way to stay healthy all year long. To make the most out of your Fall fitness plans, here are some tips to keep things going:

1. Try a Morning Workout. For those who live somewhere with daylight savings, you’ll be getting an extra hour to your mornings in just a few weeks. Instead of sleeping in, try moving up your wake-up time and using that extra hour to go for a run or hit the gym. With the sun going down earlier, it’s also great for those who don’t have the gear (or desire) to work out past sundown.

2. Wear Reflective Clothing. If you ARE someone who’s sticking to a later workout schedule, be sure to invest in reflective clothing. A setting sun can make it hard for cars to notice someone crossing the street, so stay safe and do your best to stay visible.

3. Start Using a Scale. Bulky clothes and jackets can make it harder to notice when our bodies are changing. Know where you stand by making a habit of weighing yourself once a week (without the heavy clothes) so that there are no surprises when you go back to spring fashion. The Fitbit Aria will even sync your weight stats to your Fitbit account so you can track your trends over time!

4. Make a Plan. Don’t just set goals – set up a plan to help you accomplish them. If you want to walk 10,000 steps a day but usually only walk 6,000, plan on taking a walk on your lunch break or heading to the gym and not leaving until your goal is met. Make sure any gear you need (workout clothes, running shoes) is packed up and ready to go the night before so that you don’t have to rush in the morning. Or if you want to eat healthier, plan your menus a week ahead so that you aren’t scrambling while hungry later.

5. Try Something New. Whether you’ve always wanted to try yoga or are looking to expand your recipe book, Fall is a great time to learn new things. Commit to trying one new exercise class or looking up healthy recipes to learn (or even serve during the holidays!).

6. Layer Up. It’s getting colder outside, but you’ll soon warm up if you’re exerting yourself. So make sure you dress in layers so you can keep yourself comfortable when working out outside.

7. Wear Sunscreen. It might not be summer, but it’s just as important to protect your skin in the Fall! Make sure you put sunscreen on before any sweatshirts and jackets so that you’re ready if you need to remove your top layer of clothing.

8. Stay Hydrated. Hydration is important in every season. Just because it’s not hot out doesn’t mean you should drink any less water. Try keeping a bottle next to you at all times and tracking how much you drink throughout the day on Fitbit to hold yourself accountable.

9. Try Tea. If you get bored of plain water, you can keep hydrated AND warm with herbal teas! Teas have also been known to have health benefits on their own, so read up on different kinds to give yourself a boost in other areas of your health as well. Plus, just sitting with a hot cup of tea can help you get a little extra R&R as well.

10. Reward Yourself. One way to stay motivated is to give yourself rewards when you meet certain milestones. Whether you’re motivated by treating yourself to a healthy meal out or a trip to the spa, find things to let yourself indulge in along your path to fitness.

And whatever you do, have fun! It’s easier to keep up with something when you enjoy what you’re doing, so find a way to combine fitness with fun.

8 Ways to Avoid Common Gym Mistakes with Harley Pasternak

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gym mistake

With the weather cooling down, getting into the gym might be the best way to keep your fitness routine going. But the ins and outs of gym etiquette can be daunting if you’re new. Rather than let any gym anxiety get the best of you, we asked celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak for his tips to avoid typical gym mistakes. Here are 8 easy ways to keep your routine going. read more

Stay Active While Keeping Up With Your Favorite Fall Shows


Indoor workout

Fall sometimes means a change to routine; with kids back in school, the weather quickly changing, and the holiday season just around the corner there’s plenty of new things to disrupt our workout schedules. But even with a busier schedule and cooler weather, there are still plenty of ways to keep up with your daily goals.

One way to work fitness into an otherwise-sedentary routine? Work out during your favorite Fall shows! There’s no reason you can’t keep up with your favorite series and get off the couch at the same time. So to help you move more, here are just a few ways work in a little extra exercise in your day.

  • Walk laps during commercials. If you aren’t able to fast-forward through the ads, why stick around to watch? Unless it’s Super Bowl time, you won’t be missing much. So get up and walk laps for the two minutes or so they’re running, and you’ll probably boost your step count by a few hundred at a time! We bet you can reach 1000 before the end of an episode if you do this for every commercial.
  • Finish a 15-minute workout between episodes. Not into commercials, and binge-watching something on Netflix instead? Promise yourself to get up and do a quick workout between episodes. It could be as simple as completing a circuit workout you like, or try something new each time. If you need some suggestions of where to start, there are plenty of workouts we’ve shared that can be easily modified.
  • Create a workout game. Create a game that lets you work out when certain things happen in the show. So every time Prince Charming and Snow kiss you do 10 crunches, or get up for 20 squats whenever they start a new workout on Biggest Loser. Figure something out that will see you sweating by the end of an episode!
  • Switch up sitting/standing between commercials. Sitting for most of the day is bad for your health. Even though it’s tempting to collapse on the couch after a long day, try to minimize how much you’re sitting by standing up every other commercial, and staying standing until the next commercial.
  • Use TV time as a reward for exercise. Sometimes you just need some downtime, and we get that too. But if you want that half hour of uninterrupted couch time, AND want to motivate yourself to exercise more, try using your time with the TV as a reward for working out. So tell yourself you aren’t allowed to watch the latest episode until you complete a workout, and you’ll have a regular workout routine in no time!

If you’re already finding ways to get extra steps at home, let us know in the comments!

From Steps to IRONMAN: Running for Melanoma Research


IM Kona Nicole

Hi, I’m Nicole Serraiocco. I’m a wife, mother of three adorable maniacs, and soon I’ll be an IRONMAN. I’m not a fitness expert or a lifelong devotee to sport. In fact, I only completed my first marathon less than a year ago. But the universe seems to have conspired to present me with this challenge and I’ve decided to accept.

I spend most of my days wrangling three young children, carting them to school and their various activities, trying to keep the house in some kind of relative order and squeeze in workouts when I can. I’ve found that being a part of a class or a group keeps me accountable and motivated, and it was as a member of one of these groups that I met the man who threw the proverbial IRONMAN glove in my face; my rockstar coach, Thad Beaty.

Thad and I discovered that we had the same shared history of losing loved ones to Melanoma cancer, myself having lost my father shortly after I was married, and now supporting a dear friend and mother of three who has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma.

The other day I realized it was only 9am and I had already logged close to 30K steps.

After losing his IRONMAN Kona-inspired teammate Naomi Cermak to the cancer last year, Thad wanted to make an impact on this common disease that seems to get so little attention in the press. He saw something in me, some crazy fire and determination, that prompted him to team me up with the Melanoma Research Foundation as their official IRONMAN athlete for the World Championships at Kona, 2014. Together, we’ve committed to raising $50,000 for the awareness and prevention of Melanoma.

A Day In The Life

My challenge, (aside from tackling the biggest, scariest endurance race of my life) is to find the balance between taking care of myself, taking care of this commitment and taking care of my family.

Taking care of my family means I have to do most of my training early in the morning. If I want to squeeze in a 14-mile run before the kids get up, that means I get up at 4:15am for a run, to be done in time to get the first kid on the bus at 6:30am.

The other day I realized it was only 9am and I had already logged close to 30K steps. I’m bound to get some helicopter badges here, right? read more

The Mindful Marathon: How to Stay Mentally Composed During a Race

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blog image slow mo steps

Fall race season is officially in gear. There are some great training plans out there to help you reach your physical goal, but what about the mental aspect?

People often ask me what I think about when I run and what I do when a race is going badly. In ultra-running, we call it going into the “pain cave.” It happens in marathons too, usually around mile 20 (or as early as mile 13, if you’ve started out too fast, which I’ve definitely done).

Here’s my trick for staying in a positive place. It’s my running meditation, and I do it constantly throughout all my races — from 5Ks all the way to 100-mile finish lines. read more

#FitFall: 10 New Ways to Find Your Fitness Inspiration


Fall photo

OK it’s here. Fall that is. And poor fall—it’s met with so much dread and disappointment of summer’s end. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Fall brings new challenges and inspiration. And when it comes to making progress with your fall fitness, routine is best. If you’re still not convinced and need a little extra motivation, here are 10 great “fallspiration” tips to keep you going right up to winter.

  1. Hoola hoops aren’t just for kid. Believe it or not, there’s a big movement of integrating play into your activities. After all, working out should be fun. So we keep our Canyon Hoop in the office, and we even got our doorman to give it a whirl (or a twirl). Bonus: they’re weighted and great for your core.
  1. Exercise whenever you can fit in it. We love goal setting at Foodtrainers. That’s probably why we love our Fitbits so much. You’ve surely heard of 30 day fitness challenges. We’re doing the pushup challenge for September; and it’s a hard one. Last week we were on our way back from the Natural Products Expo East (over 8,000 Fitbit steps walked during the conference) and we realized we hadn’t done our 28 pushups for the day. So yes, that was us doing pushups on the Amtrak train. These types of fun daily challenges take very little time each day and are incredibly rewarding.
  1. Try destination races. In our office, there’s training going on for the Philly Marathon and the Big Sur half. If you tend to hibernate when the weather is cooler, put a race on the calendar. Or if that sounds worse than winter, try a yoga or meditation retreat.

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