What's the Deal With Activity Trackers?
By Mark Luskus

I’ve been hearing so much buzz about activity trackers that I knew I had to check them out! But when I started doing some research on what they are and which ones are the best, I felt so overwhelmed. You wouldn’t believe how many apps, wristbands, and other gadgets are out there.

To help you navigate the world of activity trackers I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned so you can figure out if an activity tracker would be good for you! I’ll also point you in the direction of some of the coolest apps and gadgets out there today.

What are they?

Fitness trackers are devices and apps that help you keep track of your diet, exercise routines, sleep, and much more! They aim to increase your health by giving you a better understanding of what you’re doing to your body and how it’s responding.

Get instant gratification

Given the busyness of daily life it can be pretty hard to keep track of what you’re doing to your body. Maybe you have trouble keeping track of how many sets you did at the gym or what you ate for breakfast. Whatever it is, you’re not alone!

Keeping track of this information is supremely important to hitting your health and fitness goals. A recent study showed that people who track their diet and exercise using a mobile device lose more weight than people that do not. The study concluded that mobile devices are a scalable and effective method for assisting people to hit their weight lose goals.

They make exercising fun

Just like your smartphone or latest electronic gadget is fun to use, so are activity trackers. Scientists aren’t running any studies to see how much fun people have with their devices, but a brief look at the reviews out show that people are having a blast. Seeing your progress day to day is a great way to stay motivated and feel accomplished, and many companies will even send you a weekly progress report so you can really see how you’re blowing away your health goals.

Having fun doesn’t just make you feel good. It drastically improves the effectiveness of your workouts. A new study shows that people who have fun with their workouts lose more weight by reducing their cravings for high-calorie, unhealthy food. Additionally, when you have fun you’re triggering reward pathways in your brain that makes it easier to form and maintain a habit!

Activity trackers make it easier to exercise with a friend

Many activity trackers let you sync up with your friends so that you can share your workouts and see each other’s progress. As we discussed in a previous blog post, having workout buddies super charges your workouts by making them more fun, holding you accountable to your health regimen, and reducing stress levels.

So, what should I get?

If you think an activity tracker is for you, it can be overwhelming when looking at all the options. But there are a few shining stars out there that we recommend!

Our absolute favorite activity tracker is MyFitnessPal, which a number of Grokker employees swear by. MyFitnessPal offers a free (yes, free!) mobile app and online service that lets you monitor your calories and workouts so you can stay on track and reach your fitness goals. Not only that, but you can invite your friends, see their activity, and keep each other motivated!

If you’re leaning towards wearable tech, FitBit is often considered one of your top options. Their top of the line Flex model tracks your steps, sleep patterns, and a plethora of other metrics that will help you in your pursuit and maintenance of health. If you’d like to read about other wearable devices, check out this comprehensive review on the top 5 leading devices. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

My choice!

I’ve decided to open up an account with MyFitnessPal. I’m currently revamping my diet to reduce my meat consumption and increase my intake of plant based whole foods, and MyFitnessPal has great tools to easily track what I’m eating so I can see how well I’m doing. If you have MyFitnessPal or are looking to try it out, add me (my username is markgrokker) so we can keep each other honest!

What are your thoughts on activity trackers? Id love to hear your experiences and thoughts, or try to answer any questions you might have about what to buy. Come on over to the forum and join the discussion!