How many steps have you taken so far today? If you can answer that question, you’re probably wearing a fitness tracker. They’ve become a common way to collect all kinds of data about yourself - how long you sleep, how many steps you take, what your heart rate is during exercise, and what distance you walk each day.
All that data must be extremely helpful in planning your fitness strategy and reaching your weight loss goals, right? Maybe. But maybe not.
As you work hard to lose weight, build muscle, and stay healthy, make sure your fitness tracker and the data it provides are truly helping you. Here are several questions you should ask yourself to make sure all that activity tracking hasn’t become a distraction and a hindrance to your health.
Are you a runner who can’t hit the road without a GPS watch strapped on? Or a fitness fanatic who won’t start a workout until you’re sure your heart rate and calories burned are being calculated? Regardless, becoming dependent on your tracker is not a good thing.
Understanding how you perceive your own level of effort during a workout is key to becoming a strong and healthy person. If you can’t do that without a fitness tracker, you should wean yourself off the data little by little. Sure, it’s great to know how many calories you’ve burned. But you should be able to complete a workout without that information too.
Exercising causes a release in dopamine - it’s one of the many mental benefits of working out regularly. It turns out that checking your smartwatch as you work out also gives your brain a hit the feel-good hormone. This creates a cycle in some people where they have to constantly check the details of their fitness tracker data while working out. It can get to the point that you are constantly looking down at your wrist, having checked out mentally from the workout itself.
Again, data is great. Knowing how far into a long run you are or what your current heart rate is can be extremely helpful mid-workout. But dependency on that data becomes an issue, especially when you aren’t present mentally. Ignoring how you feel to focus just on the stats of your workout can even lead to injury, since you’re not thinking enough about how you feel to properly react to weaknesses or strains.
Activity trackers have their place, but they’re not the be-all, end-all of fitness tools. What about something much simpler, like a mirror? Using a mirror to check your form during a warm up or while you lift weights is a great way to make sure you’re staying strong and healthy. Those visual notes are data points you can’t get from your fitness tracker.
Sure, knowing about how many calories you’ve burnt through during an intense workout is important. But so is knowing what you’re putting into your body and how it affects your fitness potential.
Use the best supplements for weight loss and the best muscle building supplements to enhance your results. Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein too - a whey protein supplement can help. If you want to stick to a data-driven approach, you can log your meals with an app or in a plain old journal. Just remember, nutrition is one of many important fitness details that your activity tracker can’t tell you about.