Kim and DaveWellocracy: What kind of tracker(s) (device/app) are you using and when did you start wearing it?

Dave: I use a Garmin Vivofit with a heart rate monitor and my wife Kim wears the Fitbit Flex.

Wellocracy: Why did you start using a tracker? Do you have specific health/wellness goals?

Dave: The original goal was to “lose a couple of pounds.” To get things going, I bought the Fitbit Flex for Kim as a Christmas stocking stuffer gift. Kim was really interested to know how many “steps” she was taking on her walks each day in order to calculate the number of calories she should consume. Before long, Kim was analyzing her calories and losing weight. I quickly became interested in Kim’s analysis and was inspired by her progress. I ended up buying a Garmin Vivofit. The Garmin VivoFit comes with a heart rate monitor that I use at the gym and at a boot camp class I participate in each week.

Dave_Tracker 3Wellocracy: What did you learn about yourself by using a tracker?

Dave: I learned that we eat too much – or at least we used to. We found that the tracker interfaces well with other applications on our phones (specifically “My Fitness Pal”) which allows for us to track calories consumed. The combination of the tracker with the calorie counting application has been a formidable toolset for losing a few pounds.

Wellocracy: What do you like best about your tracker? What do you like least about it?

Dave: Kim likes how the Fitbit Flex tracks her steps and allows her to set goals. I like how my tracker shows me data in real time (you don’t have to sync with phone) including the number of steps, number of steps left towards goal, time/date, number of calories consumed from steps, sleep tracking and heart rate. The heart rate monitor requires wearing a strap and communicates via Bluetooth to the tracker. I only really wear it during workouts and the data it provides is not really all that relevant for my purposes, but for someone with cardiac issues, it may be useful. The thing Kim likes least about her tracker is that it requires recharging every few days. My tracker has an internal battery good for one year, much like a watch. On the downside, I’d have to say I’m not a fan of the sleep tracking function.

Dave_Tracker 2Wellocracy: Do you share your data with family or friends?

Dave: Yes we do share our data. The trackers allow for conversations about data that would otherwise be unavailable. But truthfully, who wants to hear how many steps you’ve taken or how skinny you’ve gotten – unless they ALSO WANT TO DO IT. I believe many of our friends and family are now using a tracker based on our conversations and the success we’ve had.

Wellocracy: What advice would you give someone thinking about tracking or, do you have other thoughts you would like to share?

Dave: We’ve found that tracking our steps and other data (calories, etc.) has led to other positive actions, like healthier eating decisions and working out. Kim is going to yoga classes again and I regularly attend a boot camp session with a trainer who is awesome. We now enjoy “junk food” on a more limited basis. Based on conversations in my office, some of my colleagues have come to the boot camp class and have started tracking as well. It is very hard to out-train a bad diet, and our trackers were the first step in helping us quantify and qualify. Both Kim and I have seen the results and are now believers in these tools.