With more and more people using fitness trackers or smartwatches nowadays, wearables are enjoying a huge success. There are many kids of trackers, from wristwatches to bracelets, clip-on, chest-straps, and even trackers that can be put in your shoes. If you are set on joining the trend and reaping the benefits of having a trustworthy training aid, then knowing how to get the most out of your fitness tracker is something you should learn and put into good use.
In this article, I will share some of my best tips on how to use your tracker and show you their true potential. Here is a brief summary:
- Reading the manual
- Wear it consistently
- Connect it to your phone and use different apps
- Keep it charged
- Put it on your non-dominant arm
- Embed its functionality into your weekly workouts
- Keep your stats up-to-date
- Compete with friends
Reading the manual
I know that a lot of you will be really excited about your new training gadget and will most likely quickly skim through the manual (or not read it at all) but these few pages often contain a ton of useful information. It can be something regarding the tracker’s functionality or, more importantly, how to use it to its maximum potential.
These manuals often point where exactly should the devices be placed on your wrist to get more accurate readings on your pulse or movements.
Many trackers also have features that aren’t too obvious at first. Sure, they all record your heartbeat, steps, and other vital information, but some models like the Fitbit Inspire HR also have sleep tracking capabilities and even silent alarms that know exactly when to wake you up based on your current sleep stage.
Other trackers might allow you to control your music playlist, take calls, or even answer messages. My point is that finding all this out on your own will be much harder as opposed to just spending a few minutes reading the manual.
Wear it consistently
Any activity tracker is only as good as you allow it to be. That being said, the more you wear it, the more accurately will it be able to present you your workout and daily data.
This is why wearable trackers nowadays emphasize on the design aspect as well. The better looking it is, the less likely is that people will take them off, which will allow the tracker to do its job of actually tracking your progress throughout the day.
Taking it with you on the workout might seem obvious but people tend to sometimes forget them and that can lead to simply losing a day worth of data that will later leave a hole in your progress statistics. Bottom line is that the more you exercise with it, the better idea you will have of your capabilities and how much further you can push yourself.
Connect it to your phone and use different apps
Some trackers are really complemented by their phone apps and having them pair to your phone really unlocks a whole other realm of possibilities. Bigger display aside, the phone will allow you to skim through all the collected data in a breeze. Most trackers can connect to your laptop, tablet, or other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Connecting it to your phone also allows you to use or control some of the phone’s apps such as Spotify, Google Maps, or third-party fitness tracker apps like Nike Run Club.
Keep it charged
Even though trackers are getting better and better, one of their consistent weak points has to be the battery. Even the high-end models nowadays won’t last you more than a week of continuous usage, that is assuming that they have a display. Trackers that don’t have displays can usually last more than a month. Some sports smartwatches barely have any battery left after an intense day at work and the gym.
This is why you always need to start your day with a fresh battery. If you are one of the forgetful ones like me, getting a nightstand charger for your tracker might be the best idea since you can simply create the habit of putting it there every night and it will always be at 100% battery every time you wake up.
Pro Tip: If you are constantly on the go, get a small portable battery pack that can quickly juice-up your tracker via its micro USB port or USB-C port. Some trackers that support wireless charging can even benefit from the reverse wireless charging of the newer Samsung phones.
Put it on your non-dominant arm
To be able to better handle your tracker or smartwatch, you will have to be able to navigate through its small screen. If it doesn’t have any hard buttons to ease the process, you will rely solely on the touchscreen. Now, imagine you are running and you don’t want to stop but you have to adjust something on the tracker. Doing it with your dominant hand will be much easier and this is why most people wear their devices on the non-dominant one. If you are ambidextrous, then more power to you!
Embed its functionality into your weekly workouts
When you are creating your own running plan, you can surely rely on your tracker to keep an eye on your progress and remind you for your upcoming workouts. If you’ve created the plan on your phone’s calendar, most sports smartwatches will let you pair that and even show it on the watch instead, as well as set up alarms for each workout in case you forget.
Keep your stats up-to-date
When you set up a tracker and pair it with its app, it usually asks you to input your metrics in it. These include weight, age, height, exercise frequency, etc. Some of these are important for your heart rate zones and the tracker can use them to accurately present your workout information. Now, if you lose some weight over time, this can slightly mess with your data and the way your tracker calculates calories burned and other metrics.
That is why you need to update this information from time to time and be on top of your progress.
Compete with friends
This one is perhaps my favourite feature of some trackers that have the option. If your fitness app has the option to add friends and compete with them, make sure that you make the best of it. Nothing gets you more pumped up for a workout than knowing that you will beat your friend’s miles for the week or beat his/her workout intensity or duration!
If you are looking for a fitness tracker that is also waterproof and can handle swimming and intense sweating, head over to my full Buyer’s Guide for some of the best models for this year.
Knowing how to get the most out of your fitness tracker is going to significantly improve your user experience with it. That, on its own, will reflect on your training progress and your health by giving you accurate information which you can use to properly gauge your workout intensity and other stats. Still, remember that one of the most important parts of putting your fitness tracker to use is actually staying active!