FitBit Flex Review

A few days before Christmas break, one of my coworkers was walking around handing out FitBit Flexes to all of us.

Were we beta testing something? Were we reviewing it?

Nope, just a company Christmas present.


I’d sort of thought of asking for some sort of tracker for Christmas. Yeah, I work out, but how (in)active am I really the rest of the day? I walk to work and back, but I sit at a desk for 9-10 hours a day, rarely even leaving for lunch.

But how accurate are they? Would I get really sick of it after a day? A week?

I’d thought about asking for the Nike Fuelband SE for Christmas, but that was basically just because it looked cool. It measures your activity based on a semi-arbitrary number, but I would want real-world numbers in my fitness tracker, like steps or miles.

FitBit Flex

But since I didn’t pick it, I can’t really be choosy!

And while I generally am pretty active both in working out and in general lifestyle (thank you NYC and walking everywhere), it’s a good reinforcement of healthy habits.


If not another way for me to be competitive…

The app shows you this leaderboard of how you compare with your friends for steps.

It gives you a goal of 10,000 steps, which is a general guideline of healthy activity. I’ve heard that if you’re already pretty active, 15,000 steps is a good goal, but I’m okay with setting the bar low right now.

If I walk both ways to work and go for a run, I easily surpass 10,000+ steps. Some days, I take the bus one way if it’s cold, and if I happen to do a strength-based workout like Uplift or one of our workouts at work, I might not get to 10,000, but I generally do fairly easily in the city.

This week, in NJ for the holidays, I’ve found it much harder to meet my goal with more time in the car. On Christmas Day, I didn’t even reach 5,000 steps. Thursday, I took a yoga class, and I only reached 4,000 steps. I wish that there was some sort of 1 hour of yoga=x steps formula, but at the end of the day, it’s a really, really fancy pedometer. While writing this, I looked up to see if that was the case, and there is an option to separately input activities, though I think its estimate that I burned 91 calories is liiiitle low.

Looking at my FitBit data over the course of this past week, I’ve been really thankful that I live in the city and can get lots of built-in activity without really thinking about it. I likely won’t live in the city forever, and this really solidifies that I’d one day want to live in a town that has at least some areas I can walk to.

I’m still in NJ but went back into the city this morning to lead the JuicePress run, and I took a bath when I came back and fell asleep in the bathtub. So, it can be submerged for at least a little while and come out okay. (And apparently, the same can be said for me.) I also regularly shower in it, and it’s fine.

Below this, it also shows calories burned, which for me, is more of a nice to know. I despise tracking calories (although I may do so this week for Tina’s Get Healthy, Stay Healthy Challenge to be a bit more cognizant of just what I’m eating…), but that’s also an option within the system.

I also wish you could see how many steps you’ve taken right on the device. While the app is awesome, and I check it fairly obsessively, it’d be nice to see on my wrist. (Apparently the FitBit Force lets you do so.) It lets you track sleep, too, but you have to tell it via the app that you’re going to sleep, so it doesn’t confuse that with the other time you’re spending inactive.

Do you have a FitBit or other fitness tracker? How do you track your fitness/activity?

P.S. If you’re on there connect with me here: (The interface to find people totally confuses me.)

35 comments on “FitBit Flex Review

  1. Meredith @ cookie ChRUNicles

    I’ve been reviewing the fitbit one for the last two weeks. It’s ok I can’t say I love it. While you can view stats on actually fitbit and the app is awesome, I find the info to be off for me. The miles, stairs and steps are inaccurate as I’m sure the calories are too. It’s good for an estimate and to keep you moving. I don’t track calories either but perhaps for others it would be good to have. Oh and the sleep Option- every night it tells me I’m basically restless for hours lol.

  2. Dori

    Andy and I got Jawbone UP 24s for Hanukkah and we are obsessed with the step tracking AND the sleep. I definitely think it’s worth it telling it when you’re going to sleep because it’s interesting to see how it knows when you wake up during the night and to see how many hours you sleep each night (and deep sleep vs light sleep though I have no idea how accurate that part is). It’s got us both moving more than we would have on some days because we want to hit that 10,000. During the week I never have trouble getting it, but weekends and holidays are tougher. But I want to keep my “streak” going because it congratulates me (which led to us marching around our living room for 30 minutes on Christmas day).

  3. AbI@AbsofSteel

    I keep track of my workouts the good ol’ fashioned write it down in a notebook way. However, I don’t really have a way of being mindful about getting in enough non-exercise related activities. So in that respect I think wearing some sort of pedometer can be a good way to be aware of that.

    1. Theodora

      @AbI@AbsofSteel: I used to use a paper workout log – part of me wants to start doing that again, too. I feel like writing it down and having it there on paper makes it very very easy to see what you did or didn’t do.

  4. Kate @ Coffee with Kate

    As you mentioned, I see the FitBit as a fancier pedometer. I’d love one to use while I weight lift but I’ve read reviews that the band has difficulty distinguishing weight-lifting motions and movements for tracking. Thanks for reviewing!

    1. Theodora

      @Kate @ Coffee with Kate: yeahh. Apparently you can input it, but that kind of defeats the purpose, at least for me. I wore it for a class and it didn’t register many steps. I wanted to say HELLO, I JUST WORKED OUT FOR 55 MINUTES.

  5. Gillian @ That's G

    I’ve wanted a fitbit for awhile so I bought one on sale the day after Christmas. So far, I really like it. I heard Harley Pasternak talk at #FitBlogLA and he said to aim for 12,000 steps, so that’s my goal.

    I’ve only used it for a couple of days and the only thing I’m not sold on in is the sleep tracking. You can tell the fitbit you’re going to sleep by tapping quickly on the face of the wristband for a second or two, or until it vibes. Last night, though, it stopped tracking my sleep at 1:30 am and I went on to sleep for about 7 more hours…so who knows.

  6. Amy

    I’ve had a fitbit (one or ulta) for years and I love it! I’m jealous of the city life that lends to more daily steps. In my regular day, I have to work to reach or break 10,000. I love the leaderboard, even though I’m rarely on top!

  7. Brittney

    I just got the Fitbit One for Christmas, and definitely agree that the interface to find people on there is so confusing (also just added you :)). Did you find that your miles walked was off? I just recalculated my stride and I thiink it helped. Overall I love mine though and can’t stop checking the app!

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Brittney: How can you recalculate your stride??? I haven’t really compared miles walked to actual miles walked, so not sure. I do know I tried to use the older one a few years ago when marathon training and it was fairly off mileage-wise.

  8. Katie

    I have the Nike Fuel. At the end if the day it’s a fancy pedometer. I actually had the Fitbit and returned it becaus It didn’t do much for me(constantly checking the app). I still have the Nike Fuel, and enjoy it, but it doesn’t do any good in the water nor register if I bike, so at the end of the day, my workout journal and heart rate monitor does me justice!

    Love the blog, Theodora, keep up all the good work, I love reading your blog 🙂

  9. Amy

    I recently bought a fitbit one. While I’m not sure it’s totally accurate, I do find that it motivates me to get moving a little more. The first week I just wore it without changing anything to see what my average days are like. I was barely making it to 4000 steps. Now I think about going up stairs at work to “check” my box a little more often and walk my dog a little longer. It’s amazing how watching that little flower grow makes working out a little more satisfying.

  10. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More

    Not really being able to walk many places is definitely what I miss about not being in a city. Every time I take the train into Chicago, I definitely embrace it and try to walk where I need to go as long as it’s safe to do so but it was also something I hated about LA, walking wasn’t as much of an option.

  11. chandra

    I just ordered a Fitbit Flex last night! My best friend has one and loves it, and I’ve been looking for an activity tracker, so between that and the sleep tracker I was sold. I used a BodyBugg for a few years while I was losing weight and race training, and while it was accurate for calories burned and I loved it, I’m not looking for that much calorie burn accuracy, and the armband was annoying at times.

    My boyfriend was questioning the accuracy of it last night and I found this “How Stuff Works” article on it. Page 3 is where it talks about how it estimates your activity and calories. I found it interesting so I thought I’d share!

  12. Katie

    I’m seriously considering the fitbit force. The clock on it is appealing to me for when I’m teaching yoga classes, I can see the time but my students can’t! I’m worried the inaccuracies will make me not like it though…I’m dreaming that fitbit would want me to review it, to show how it is helpful even though I sit at a desk all day and know I’m not hitting 10000, especially because in small town Minnesota we don’t walk far unless its above 1 degree outside!

  13. Lindsay

    I got a Flex for Christmas, too. I like the bracelet better than the Ultra, but I super miss being able to see my stats on the actual Fitbit (but, it’s not like I’m ever without my phone to check in).

    Good to know the water thing is true! I’ve been so nervous when doing dishes or getting through bath time.

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Lindsay: Well, I actually had someone comment on Facebook that hers shorted out after about two months BUT they replaced it. So…we’ll see? I may start taking it off when I shower. But then I might have to stop dancing in the shower…

  14. Mog

    I use the BodyMedia Fit to track calories/steps/sleep and can be used for food intake too, though I don’t use that aspect – I think it is pretty fantastic, except that it is still mostly steps based, so if you are doing cycling or weights or what have you you don’t always get full credit.

    So I also use a Garmin 601 HRM and watch. I LOVE that. It is so awesome all the things it can do, and it can be synced with the BMF, so if I have been doing something that still gets my heart rate up without being a whole bunch of steps (such as all the shovelling I did on the weekend) I can get credit for it.

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Mog: I love all of your tracking! 🙂 I would love to wear multiple tracking units one day and compare them all to each other.

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Cheri: I know! I was thinking of getting my mom one for her bday but didn’t for the same reason. We found an old pedometer that she wore today but it was SO OFF. We spent all day together and I’d walked about 5,000 steps when we checked, and she’d walked 500. No!

  15. janetha

    cute new name/layout 🙂 i got a fitbit zip last christmas and about 7 months later i let myself lose it. no idea where it is.. but the conclusion was that i sit on my ass way too much. 😉 hope you had a merry christmas and have a great new year filled with banana phones! xoxoxo

  16. Anne

    I have a Fitbit Force and I love it! I love that it motivates me to be more active despite having small inconsistencies (Ex. Logging 50steps during a car ride). I get my friends and sister to go for walks because I’m so determined to hit my goals!

    I obsessively check my progress throughout the day and find myself walking in place all the time!

  17. Megan

    I used to have the original FitBit – I used it for about 6 months religiously, and then stopped, because I pretty much knew by that time what my total steps were at, and I wasn’t really using it for anything else (I, too, had grand dreams of seeing how well I slept and recording every morsel that went into my mouth, but that just never happened). The one thing that I really liked about it was that it showed me just how little I typically moved on the weekend – even when I felt like I was moving around a lot, it was nothing compared to the weekdays, when I was in the city, walking to work, etc. So it was good to see that and adjust – and having the dog definitely makes it easier to get some movement in on the weekend. He’s always up for a walk around the block, or an adventure in my dad’s backyard.

  18. Sundi Jo

    I rewarded myself with the Fitbit Force for not gaining weight over the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve been eyeing the product for over a year. I’m pretty happy with it. Love that it tracks my sleep.

  19. Pingback: Christmas Giveaway: Win Your Own Fitbit!

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