12 Tips To Maximise Your Fitness Tracker

Unlock the full power of your tracker...

Fitness trackers are so much more than step counters and heart-rate monitors. When used to their full potential, they have extraordinary capabilities which will motivate you to smash your goals all year round. They’re not just about workouts: smart connectivity, social elements and lifestyle tracking make it easy to integrate your fitness tracker and live an all-round healthier life. We’ve put together some tips to help you get the most out of your tracker and everything it has to offer.


1. Discover ‘If This, Then That’

IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a handy app which helps to link all your smart devices together using ‘applets’ – rules which are triggered by a particular action. For example, an applet to help you monitor health and fitness goals could be “send me a notification if I don’t meet my step goal by a certain time”. IFTTT can also help you analyse your fitness more closely, such as by uploading your exercise data into a spreadsheet each day, or help you live a healthier lifestyle by sending you reminders to go to bed at a certain time based on how you slept the night before. The applets you set are totally personalised, and can be adapted each time you reach a goal to keep you pushing forward!


2. Set reminders

Most fitness trackers are equipped with notification capabilities, and will give you a nudge if you’ve been dormant at your desk for too long, when you have a text or call, or when a reminder pops up on your phone. This means that you can set reminders for anything – when it’s time to go for a run, have a healthy snack, or even go to bed – to make sure a busy lifestyle doesn’t stop you remembering to stay healthy and active.


3. Get rewarded for moving

There are a variety of apps available which reward you for getting active and reaching your goals. One which is recent and already-popular is Sweatcoin, a UK-based app which lets you earn a virtual currency as you move, and then exchange them on the app’s marketplace for goods, services and experiences: anything from fitness classes to Apple watches!


4. Sync with other apps

Linking your tracker to other apps and existing profiles gives you access to a world of data. For example, syncing your tracker with Strava allows every movement to count towards your fitness goals, and lets you access all the additional metrics that Strava measures on your runs or cycles.


5. Challenge your friends...and the world

Most fitness trackers have an app which allows you to see all your data and connect with friends; however, this isn’t ideal if your friends all have different brands of trackers! Apps like Stridekick and MyFitnessPal allow you to sync tracker data with friends, regardless of what tracker they have, so you can get more people to join the challenge. Most apps integrate with social media, so it’s as easy as simply adding a friend.

 

If you’re really up for a challenge, why not step the competition up a little – not just against friends, but against a whole global community?! These apps are also great for maintaining motivation by offering thousands of fitness goal ideas, and global leaderboards to see how you stack up against people from all over the world. Communities also allow users to suggest new exercise routes, to help you discover your local area while getting fitter!


6. Track your sleep

Fitness trackers’ sleep monitoring features are widely misunderstood as unnecessary, but in fact, the data they collect can reveal a lot about your current habits and how you can achieve a healthier lifestyle. Many wrist-worn trackers not only record the times at which you fall asleep and wake up, but also the time spent in each sleep stage (light vs deep sleep). This helps users decide when to go to bed to get their optimum sleep (and set those handy reminders to go so!), as well as spotting correlations which offer insight into health: for example, does sleep quality improve as number of steps increases?


7. Log your food

Another common lifestyle-based feature of fitness trackers is the capability to track your food, which can be entered as estimates or by scanning barcodes to get exact nutritional values. This can help with comparing calories consumed with calories burned, and identifying where too much snacking can be getting in the way of your goals!


8. Keep it charged

This may seem an obvious one, but it’s very easy to get so used to wearing a fitness tracker that you forget it needs charging! An easy solution is to work charging the tracker into your daily routine, such as while you’re in the shower, so it’s always kept topped up.


9. Keep it clean

How To Clean A Fitness Tracker

Keep your tracker clean to prevent dirt and germ build-up, as well as make it last longer. Please check your model’s manual before cleaning as advice may vary.


10. Fit it correctly for accurate heart rate reading

Make sure you're wearing your tracker on the correct band tightness to make sure your heart rate readings are accurate. Wearing it too tight can inhibit blood flow; too loose and it won’t detect a heartbeat.


11. Remember, it's not just for workouts

Fitness trackers weren’t created just to log work outs. They’re wrist worn so they can track your movements around the clock, and indicate your overall activity level. There are plenty of easy lifestyle changes to make us all less sedentary. Try taking the stairs instead of the lift, parking at the far end of the car park or taking a loop of the office if your tracker nudges you after sitting for 2 hours or more.


12. Stay motivated

The most valuable and obvious tip is to stick with your goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a few steps, a workout or a day. And if you’ve hit your target, set a new, more challenging one, and keep up your good work!