Complete Pilates & Fitness Blog

Can I really rely on what my fitness tracker is telling me?

Aug 2015

It depends what, exactly, you're tracking!

These fitness devices claim to track everything—from calories burned to steps taken. However, they are really designed to detect changes in motion, and not exertion.

So, hold a feather in your hand and move your arm, or hold a 10-pound dumbbell in that same hand, and your tracker can't tell the difference in exertion, and will therefore register the same reading. If you've ever taken Pilates class with a tracker, you've noticed that the majority of your workout doesn't even register despite the fact that you can feel that you just had a challenging workout that burned hundreds of calories. This is because your tracker could not measure the exertion it took you to perform the Pilates exercises and had no way to know how much tension you had on the machine.

It's true that many of the trackers have apps that allow you to program the exact exercises you are performing and then use your height, weight, age, and gender to estimate the calories you would burn performing that exercise. However, these are only estimates and are not actually tracking your own personal exertion. Also, it is time consuming to have to find all of your exercises, especially if they vary from session to session.

When the trackers are measuring motion, they getting better and better, but the calorie count can still vary by up to 15%. It's for that reason we wouldn't suggest basing your dietary intake solely on your tracker's count. You can end up thinking you burned more calories than you did, and then eat too much, causing weight gain instead of loss.

All this being said, we do believe that trackers can be a positive valuable tool that can have a positive impact on your health. We've consistently seen that they motivate and challenge people to be excited about moving (and that's a key component for good health). They are very predictable in their although they may not be completely accurate, you can trust that they will have the same readings when performing the same movements. With that in mind, you can then add additional movements to your day to increase your activity level.

So, strap on your wrist-based motivator and get your body moving today!

Come visit Complete Pilates & Fitness in Santa Clarita / Valencia CA today!

22800 Lyons Ave. #120

Santa Clarita, CA 91321