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March 24thSetting goals can be easy, but keeping those goals and following through can be a little daunting and challenging. After seeing some of my favorite friends and fitness enthusiasts wearing fitness trackers, I decided to give them a try. I wanted to see if using one of these trackers would help keep me on my fitness path. By letting your device track your heart rate & pulse, sleep patterns, calories burned, and steps taken, you’re free to focus on getting in shape and enjoying your health.

What do these trackers do and how do they work? The best fitness trackers monitor your pulse and movements, and display information via Bluetooth to your smartphone or on the screen of the device itself. Instead of stopping to take your pulse or manually reviewing the distance you’ve walked or run, the fitness tracker will record and document everything for you.

There are a ton of different options for a wearable fitness trackers. Jawbone UP, Fitbit, and Garmin are just a few. There are ten major companies that now offer trackers, but here are two of my favorites: The “UP” by Jawbone and the “Fitbit” Charge HR. Yes, it takes a few extra minutes to enter in daily workouts and meals. Believe me, I don’t have those extra minutes to spare, but my health and well being are vital to my continued success. How much time are you willing to spend on better health and fitness?

The Fitbit Charge HR and Jawbone Up are some of the best fitness trackers on the market and are reasonably priced. They are easy to use, comfortable to wear, and accurately account your fitness progress. The Fitbit even teamed up with designer Tory Burch to offer a stylish and super chic accessory for your Fitbit Flex tracker.

Jawbone UP – The UP tracker by Jawbone uses advanced sensors to capture how you move, sleep, and more. You connect the UP app to your tracker to see the big picture of your health.

Fitbit Charge HR – Fitbit tracks every part of your day-including: activity, exercise, food, weight, and sleep. This will help you find your fit, stay motivated, and see how small steps make a big impact.

After only wearing the new Fitbit Charge for a week I learned some very useful information. First off, my sleep was very erratic. I was not sleeping enough, and I was not getting enough deep sleep. I woke up tired, cranky, and desperate for caffeine.

Secondly, I learned I was eating way more calories daily than I thought and never drinking enough water. The body needs water. It is recommended that you drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. So I decided to keep a bottle of water near me at all times during the day. This way I could track how many glasses of water I drank each day.

March 24 1Key things to look for when purchasing a new fitness tracker:

1. Tracking Features – What kind of features does it give you? Pulse, heart rate monitoring, sleep patterns, etc.

2. Design – Is it comfortable to wear? Is it lightweight and versatile?

3. Syncing or Interface – Does your tracker sync well with the smartphone app or your computer?

4. Apps & Additional Accessories – Does it sync with Bluetooth or with a plug?

5. Customer Service and Support – What kind of warranty does the company offer?

If you don’t think a tracker is your cup of tea there are also some basic smartphone or computer apps that can track your daily progress. Here are some of my favorite fitness apps:

My Fitness Pal


So, whether you are using a fitness tracker or a free app on your smart phone you’re continuing to take a look at your health, well being, and fitness. Looking at our lifestyle and how we sleep, eat, exercise, and deal with stress are crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The most enjoyable thing for me was reviewing my week on my smartphone app – seeing how many steps I took, how many workouts I did, and all the water I drank! It makes me feel good to write it down, to track it, to see small goals. Having a fitness tracker and logging progress daily really helped me to see what my strengths and weaknesses are. This also shows me what I can do to assist myself in better living and how to continue to “Live in Grace”!

‘Til next time, Michelle Gierst, Fitness Editor

This post was originally posted on Downtown Magazine.