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So you’ve finally made the big decision and bought a new fitness tracker. Maybe it’s the new year or you’re just ready for a new you. You’re going to take your health and your fitness serious! But you know that time is tight these days so you have to make sure that your workouts are productive and as efficient as possible.
So you did your research and chose the perfect fitness tracker for yourself. Now what?
Simply getting a fitness tracker isn’t going to do much for you by just being worn. On the other hand, fitness trackers give so many stats and open so many new possibilities for fitness that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Here are some great tips to ensure you’re getting the most from your new activity tracker:
1. Start Off Slow
It’s easy to get your new fitness gadget and have the urge to put it on and start tweaking your daily life immediately. But in order to know where you’re going, first you need to know where you’re at. Wear it for 2-4 weeks to get a sense of your current daily life. Put it on and don’t bother with it, simply let it do its job.
If you try to do everything right from the moment you get it, you can spend a lot of weeks tweaking different factors but not really seeing any results from it. Being overeager with fitness trackers early is more likely to lead to frustration and maybe even quitting. This is because it’s so easy to set goals that aren’t realistic to your current diet or fitness levels.
Remember, the point of making goals is to be able to reach them and make new goals.
Let your fitness tracker measure all your stats, steps, calories, distance, sleep quality, etc. Once you’ve logged enough data for the month, then you can sit down with your data and create an effective plan of action.
2. Create a Reward System that Works for You
Many of the fitness trackers on the market have their own version of goal rewarding. And while these are great, not everyone gets motivated by electronic points and badges.
The trick to using these rewards effectively is to congratulate and reward your progress in a way that works for you. When you put in real work, you should get real rewards. Create real world rewards that boost your motivation and help you towards your goals.
Mix it up and have different levels of rewards from small to large and have them pertain to each particular facet of your fitness. For example, when you meet a running goal, then you might reward yourself with some new running clothing or gear. And when you meet larger running goals, you could reward yourself with a new pair of running shoes that you’ve been eying.
But be careful! You have to be wary of creating counterproductive rewards. For example, if your fitness goals involve losing weight or looking trimmer, shy away from incorporating food as a reward. No matter how hard you say you’ve earned it. Having a cheat meal here and there is fine, but tying them into your fitness tracking rewards system will end up hurting more than it helps.
3. Cooperate or Compete
You’ll notice right away that your fitness tracker will attract some attention. Take this as an opportunity to share what you’re doing with people around you and encourage them to participate.
Having others around you that are also tracking their fitness is a great way to stay motivated and accountable. It’s also helps to get others involved if only to have them be more conscious of any new dietary restrictions you might have.
Moreover, many of the fitness trackers and separate apps have ways to compare your results to other users and even professionals. Tap into your competitive side and use the social media options to best your friends and test yourself against others.
4. Utilize the Sleep Tracker
It’s no secret that getting better quality sleep will help us be healthier. But just as we often overlook the importance of sleep in meeting our fitness goals, we also tend to forget about the sleep quality function of our fitness tracker.
Just as you did with the other metrics, let this tracker record your sleeps without adjusting anything for the first couple of weeks. This will give you a sense of the amount of quality sleep you may or may not be getting and just how much tweaking you might need to do.
Another big tip for getting the most from your sleep tracker is to remember that it will likely count long periods of idle time at night as sleep. This will undoubtedly make for inaccurate readings. So if you’re a big web browser or TV watcher from bed, you might want to consider changing those habits.
By keeping these kinds activities in check, or removing them entirely, not only will you increase the accuracy of your sleep tracker but you may also increase your quality of sleep as you’ll be removing these slumber interruptions.
5. Don’t Forget About Your Diet
They say that when it comes to losing weight and getting fitter, it’s 25% exercise and 75% diet so you’d be doing yourself a great disservice if you only focused on the fitness aspect of your fitness tracker.
If your goal is to not only perform your best but also look your best, then you should really think of your fitness tracker as a diet tracker. Be sure to log your calorie intake and utilize either the product’s software or look into one of many diet and nutrition apps available to get the most out of your tracker.
Apps like MyFitnessPal can help you make sense of all your diet data. Using these kinds of apps makes reaching your diet goals easier by providing nutritional information of particular foods so you can more accurately input your calories. They also provide tools to create meal plans and grocery lists that work towards your particular goals.
6. Musical Motivation
While there’s no doubt you can find motivation when looking at and analyzing your stats, these numbers aren’t always the biggest motivators during the actual exercising portion. Luckily there are plenty of other ways to get motivation during your workouts.
Apps like Spotify Premium and Rockmyrun are just some of the apps that utilize your tracker to make your workouts more efficient on a musical level.
By syncing with the cadence of your steps or your heart rate, these apps will create playlists full of tracks that match your current activity level. You even have the option of selecting particular genres over others.
Not only do these remove the hassle of fumbling to choose the right playlist or to skip a song, but it helps keep your workouts fresh and unique.
7. Workout Wherever
Sometimes you just can’t make it to the gym and the tools available to you are minimal.
Luckily there’s apps that can guide you and create workouts that you can do from anywhere. From yoga to body-weight workout routines, you can find an app that works for you.
By utilizing your tracker’s screen or even just the alarm function, you have the option of having a personal trainer on your wrist at all times. There are even some apps that will talk to you and push you towards your goals.
This also removes the excuses you might typically allow for yourself. You know, the one’s that are keeping you from your fitness goals.
8. Fitness Means Flexibility
If you truly want to be fit, that means not just making great lap times or eating healthy, it also means being limber and flexible. Flexibility helps avoid injury, avoiding injury ensures you can always exercise, and this helps keep you on track towards your goals.
By incorporating the fitness reminders, you can take these opportunities to create stretch routines. Stretching throughout the day will help keep your body limber and ready for when you finally get to the gym or out on the track.
There are even some apps that utilize the screen or a timer that help you practice yoga or other stretching programs.
9. A Poor Craftsman Blames His or Her Tools
Remember that a fitness tracker is only useful insofar as you put it to use. If you don’t wear it as often as you should or consistently forget to log key metrics, then tracking your progress is going to be much more difficult. And in turn, so will making progress.
As we’ve just noted, there are many avenues and ways to approach your goals with your fitness tracker but at the end of the day it’s up to you to use them effectively.
If you’re spending too much time analyzing your data and tweaking your routine to meet your goals instead of actually being out there working towards your goals, then you’re not using your tool correctly.
The more work you do, the more data you’ll have. The more data you have, the more opportunities you have for improvement. Keep this cycle progressing and you’ll be sure to get the most out of your tracker.
On top of everything else going on in life, staying fit these days can be a tight squeeze, but luckily fitness trackers offer a variety of tools that can help us. The wide range of data and apps available can make things seem overwhelming at times so it’s important to know some of the essential tips to using your tracker effectively.