People who wear fitness trackers are still considered early adopters. Many of the best are still in their first or second versions. When fitness trackers become invisible, when everyone from the aging adult population to little kids wear them, then we’ll be there. By then, wearables may not actually be worn.
All that said, you may not be getting the results you hoped for when you shelled out your hard-earned clams for the latest and greatest wearable tech. It may not be your device. It may be you.
To help, we’ve put together a list of the most common mistake folks are making with their fitness trackers. The list goes in order, from purchase to throwing it in the trash.
You bought the wrong tracker. When push came to shove you were more concerned with style or cost, not lifestyle or reviews. You didn’t bother to consult your trainer, the internets or your more educated friends. Now you have a tracker you either can’t figure out or worse, doesn’t work as well as others. You’re uninspired by your results so you’re barely using it.
Then you fired your trainer. This was probably around the same time the salesperson was talking you into your purchase, as you considered your budget for more sessions at the gym. You just fired the one expert who could help you make the most sense of your new toy.
Your goals are dumb. Without your trainer, you are lost to set goals. Oh sure, you know you want to shed those ten pounds, but you have no idea how many steps you should take in a day. The tracker recommends 10,000, so you figure you’ll double it. Problem is, you drive to your job, which is two blocks from home.
You put it on the wrong wrist. Yes, there is a right wrist for most trackers. It’s usually the one you tell it you will use. In some cases, the tracker works best on your dominant hand, but you were too busy setting your 20,000 steps goal to pay attention to this. Now your results are off.
Forget “wrong wrist,” you never set it up – That first day you brought home your new jewelry you failed to take a few minutes to put in your data or calibrate the tracker. Similar to the wrist issue, trackers need to know some things about you, but not in the NSA way. They need to know your age, your (real) weight, and a number of other details to estimate your progress.
Wrong Again; you’re counting the wrong calories – Alright, this is a big one. Even the best trackers make their best estimate of your calorie expenditure. Couple that with most people’s tendency to underreport their food intake, and you have a recipe for disaster. You have to at least consider your calorie intake.
You’re not changing your behavior – Despite your calorie expenditure not doing what you expected, you’re not changing anything. You’re not walking more, driving less, standing at your desk, joining the circus, nothing. You thought just wearing the tracker would be like donning ruby slippers.
You’re not reviewing progress – If changing your behavior means reviewing the progress of your tracker’s reports, uh oh. You’ve been wearing your tracker, but you’ve not reviewed your reports. Sure, the first few days you checked at your steps taken, but then life got all lifey on you. You don’t have the time, you keep telling yourself.
Shortcutting – The other day you figured out that if you nervously shake your wrist all day, the calories burned really jumps by the end of the day. That’s so cool, except now you’ve rendered the data worthless. Tricking your results will not help you get to your goals.
You’re not charging it – Come on. Really? If your fitness tracker is just a fashionable bracelet, save yourself the hassle. Buy something nice from Tiffany’s. It will get you more of the attention you want anyway, plus you deserve it. You deserve all of it.
Of course, this listicle was all written tongue-in-cheek, but these are real challenges.
In general, make sure you shop all the options for fitness trackers before you buy one. Make sure you take the time to understand all the facets of your device. Then, ask around…
Ask the salesperson. Ask the internet. Ask anyone you can.
Make the most out of your investment. The right fitness tracker could save your life.