Do Fitbit Trackers Improve Workout Performance

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13 Ways Your Fitbit Tracker Can Help You Perform Better in Sports
Fitbit may have made a name for itself by assisting individuals in reaching 10,000 steps, but its current suite of sleep, nutrition, and exercise capabilities makes its products vital to professional athletes. It’s why Lotto-Soudal approached Fitbit for Fitbit Charge 2s to use during this year’s Tour de France and why the Australian national swim team teamed with Fitbit to outfit its more than 100 coaches, swimmers, and staff with Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Flex 2.

The top 13 ways Fitbit aids these athletes—as well as its ambassadors—and how you may benefit from these athletic-performance-boosting capabilities are listed below.

How Fitbit Devices Can Assist You in Race Preparation
Track Your Workout Stats Correctly
Because not all athletes work out the same way, not all Fitbit devices are the same. In terms of activity tracking, the Fitbit Ionic is the most powerful and will offer you the most accurate picture of what’s available. It has on-board GPS for accurate pace, distance, elevation climbed, split times, and a map of your walk, runs, or ride route without having to carry your phone, continuous heart rate, and heart rate zone reporting (see “Workout At the Right Intensity,” below), water-resistance up to 50 meters, an interval timer, and an exercise mode that can capture real-time stats of over 20 different types of activities (for any cross-training you do). Learn more about the Ionic’s comprehensive feature set here, or visit Fitbit.com/compare to choose the device that’s right for you.

Fitbit Ionic athletic performance

Continue your journey.
Is there a long run or ride planned? Your Fitbit device can go the distance—and can also assist you in getting there.

Fitbit Alta HR can last up to 7 days on a single charge; Fitbit Charge 2 can last up to five days, and Ionic can last up to five days (or up to 10 hours when using GPS or playing music). Battery life varies depending on use and other factors; for more information, see Can I Improve the Battery Life of My Fitbit Device?

Are you concerned about your batteries running out of power? If you train with Ionic, you can use Fitbit Pay* to pay for meals and drinks with a swipe of your wrist anywhere contactless payments are allowed.

Connect with Other Athletes
The Fitbit app includes a virtual community with topic-specific groups such as Cardio, Running, Swimming, Yoga, Hiking, Walking, Cycling, Strength Training, Injuries, and more, making it simple to meet new people, ask questions, and get advice.

Joining Fitbit Groups might help you improve your athletic performance.

Tap the Community tab at the bottom of the Fitbit app to join one. Then select Groups or scroll down and select “Discover More Groups.” When you join, you’ll be able to see the posts of other group members and post your own. Their posts will appear on your Feed as well.

If you own a Fitbit Ionic, you can also download the Strava app. (Would you like even more analytics and motivation? To get a 60-day free trial of Strava Premium, go to promo.strava.com/fitbit-ionic/.)

Maintain Your Motivation
Everyone has days when they can’t generate the willpower to work out, no matter how determined. On those occasions, rely on Fitbit. Open your app and soak in all the super inspirational Community selfies, skip the gym and do a Fitbit Coach workout in your living room, or listen to Fitbit’s Motivation Mixtape on Pandora** using Fitbit Flyer—listening to music before an activity can put you in the right mindset and increase the likelihood that you’ll do it.

Fitbit Flyer will keep you motivated to enhance your athletic performance.

Get Enough Sleep
A whole night’s sleep is essential for attention, concentration, physical performance, muscle memory, healing, and recovery, in addition to being healthy for your health. However, getting enough sleep can be difficult, especially for professional athletes juggling work, training, and pre-race anxiety.

What do the professionals do? Prioritize and keep track of it. “The most important thing is sleep,” says Dallas Mavericks forward and Fitbit ambassador Harrison Barnes. “I track my sleep every night to ensure that I’m rested and recovered so that I can perform at my best on the court the next day.”

Sara and Ryan Hall, a husband-and-wife distance-running team, place a high value on their sleep duration and quality. “If these two matrices are both good, I go full throttle in the gym,” says Ryan Hall, a former professional runner, and Fitbit ambassador. “However, if I haven’t gotten a couple of hours of sleep, I need to alter my training and not lift as hard as aggressively as usual.” “I’ll check at it first thing in the morning and go back to sleep if I haven’t gotten enough,” Sara says.

Improve your athletic performance by sleeping more.

What amount of sleep do you require? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per night, but you may require more or less based on your personal body chemistry and activity levels. Fitbit sleep consultant Allison Siebern, Ph.D., consulting assistant professor at The Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine and director of Sleep Health Integrative Program at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville, NC, recommends paying attention to your sleep duration and Sleep Stages in the Fitbit app (available with any heart-rate enabled Fitbit device) and then asking yourself how you feel to zero in on what’s best for you.

If your sleep stages are out of the norm, but you feel refreshed and engaged, you’re probably getting the amount and quality of sleep you require. Set a Bedtime Reminder and a silent alarm to help you stick to a consistent sleep pattern after that.

Maintain Your Hydration Levels
You’ve probably heard the 8-glasses-of-water-a-day rule, but do you know how much water your body requires? Unfortunately, it is not a fixed number. “Because the quantity of sweat and sodium athletes lose is so diverse,” says Lauren Antonucci, a registered dietitian and triathlete, “it’s crucial to recognize individual needs and design a personalised [hydration] strategy that includes both fluid and salt.”

Perform a sweat test to determine your sweat rate, and try to restore 75 percent of lost fluids if you are a heavy sweater. You can set a water consumption goal in the Fitbit app and quickly track your intake by glass or bottle. When you reach your target, the app will notify you.

To boost your athletic performance, stay hydrated.

Providing Your Body with the Right Nutrients
What you eat can have a big impact on how your body works and how you feel while competing. So eating healthily is essential—something Barnes is currently working on.

“Diet is kind of the one thing you can do a better job of controlling when you travel as often as I do,” Barnes explains. “This season will be different. Not necessarily paleo—because I believe that when you eliminate carbs, your energy levels plummet—but anything along those lines. Simply eating healthier will be a major deal.”

Food journaling can help you improve your athletic performance.

Read up on how to fuel for your sport, and then commit to food logging for at least a week to evaluate what you’re eating and where you can improve. According to research, competitive athletes can benefit from customizing their calories and macronutrients to their exercise intensity and level.

Workout at the Appropriate Intensity
For endurance athletes like Ryan Hall, exercising based on heart rate is second nature: “Tracking my heart rate while the workout is a terrific tool for me to make sure I’m staying in the zone I wish to be in,” Ryan explains. “So, if I’m running easily, my heart rate should be in the 120-130 beats-per-minute (bpm) range, and if I’m running hard, my heart rate should be 150-170 bpm.” It can, however, be beneficial to sport-specific athletes like Barnes.

Barnes recently told Fitbit that he started utilizing target heart rate training last summer to get fitter and recover faster. “Attaining a heart rate of 130 and holding it for 45 minutes is critical for my off-day training,” Barnes explains. “It’s aided in taking my conditioning to the next level.”

Fitbit can help you whether you’re a seasoned target-heart-rate-training veteran or new to the technique. The first step is to identify your heart rate zones. If you have a Fitbit device with PurePulse, the Fitbit app will make the calculations for you using a standard age-related formula (details here). You can, however, use these instructions to create bespoke heart rate zones.

After you’ve established your zones, all you have to do is stay within the one that corresponds to your goal. During the activity, you can quickly check your tracker or watch—for example, if you have a Fitbit Charge 2, the location of the heart on your display (and the associated text) will inform you which heart rate zone you’re now in. However, you may look at your post-workout summary on the app to see how much time you spent in each area. Improve your athletic performance by using target heart rate training.

Keep Track of Your Fitness Level
Setting a new personal best in a race or undergoing an expensive stress test isn’t the only method to tell if you’re becoming fitter. Fitbit’s Cardio Fitness Score feature assesses your VO2max, the standard gold assessment of how well your body uses oxygen during exercise if you have an Alta HR, Charge 2, Blaze, or Ionic. Use multisport mode on your device to track a 10-minute (or longer) run on a flat course with GPS (if it’s available on your device and you haven’t done so previously) for the most precise score. Your Cardio Fitness Score will be immediately updated as the workout syncs with your Fitbit app. To get this data, go to your Fitbit app dashboard, tap the heart-rate tile, and then slide left on the top graph.

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