For those who don’t know or remember, I won this technological fitness toy, MyTrak, by participating in a Fitblogger challenge in the spring. I had been wondering about similar gizmos for a while, thinking maybe they could help me figure out the whole calorie burning math that didn’t seem to be adding up for me. But I was too cheap to buy one. Especially since I had no idea if they really worked or if I’d even use one with any consistency. So I was thrilled to win one. Particularly because I am challenge challenged and only entered to get my hands on the prize!
Anyhoo, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it! And want to share some of what I’ve learned with this thing stuck to my waist. This post is not intended to be a review of the MyTrak. Rather, I’d like to tell you just enough about how it works so that you can understand the stuff I really want to talk about. If you are interested in getting one for yourself and would like to know more about my thoughts, send me an email and I’ll fill you in on all the gory details, or read Rita’s review, chock full of great information.
If you want to skip the nuts and bolts, jump ahead past the next paragraph. Otherwise, here is a very brief overview…
The MyTrak is marketed as a “personal health coach.” Users set goals that can be weight loss, weight maintenance, lifestyle (increasing fitness over time), or maintaining lifestyle. You wear the unit on your waistband and it measures your activity. If you want, you can also track calories with their online program. There are actually many features and functions that I didn’t explore or take advantage of, since my goal was pretty much to measure my calories in vs. calories out. You can, for example, at the push of a button, see how close you are to meeting your fitness goals each day. And you can participate in an online community of users. You can also input what kind of exercise you like or plan to do and be told how many minutes you’d need to reach a goal. I have no idea how the thing actually works. It somehow magically “uses a set of sophisticated sensors to measure the intensity of your active life in multiple planes and dimensions and calculates the energy burn using your personal biometrics.” All I know is it is tied to your hip motion, which I’ll talk more about later.
As for what I learned… lots, actually.
Since I have so much to share, I’m going to split this into two posts, talking about exercise today and my food tracking next time.
What I can unequivocally tell you is that wearing the MyTrak absolutely was a motivator to keep up with my cardio. I loved seeing the charts and hated if my daily numbers dropped below my trend line. I don’t understand the difference between what it measures as heart activity vs. calorie expenditure, since the two were not equal. But, bottom-line, I liked having the stats and I liked having a measure of how many calories I was actually expending.
As for how accurately it measures – I have no idea. One thing I did not like is that the calculations are tied to hip movement so with activities like biking or strength training, it may not give an accurate calorie burn or show the energy expenditure expected and it does not add them to the daily “steps” measurement. But all in all, I am totally loving seeing a visual representation of my workouts! I also realized that outside of my cardio sessions, I get very little exercise. I guess maybe I need more shopping outings to add to my daily steps:) And, it only confirmed what I already knew and have shared here before, I need to work harder, not just longer.
The stats below are for the period between June 8, when I first started wearing the unit, through August 14, the day before I left for our college road trip.
- Overall calories burned: 41,390
- Average calories burned per day: 608
- Personal best day for calories burned: 840
- Overall heart activity minutes: 7727
- Average heart activity minutes per day: 113.5
- Personal best day for heart activity minutes: 171
- Overall steps taken: 1,290,895
- Average steps taken per day: 18,983
- Personal best day for steps taken: 26,288
- Overall miles traveled: 690.8
- Average miles traveled per day: 10.15
- Personal best day for miles traveled: 14.4
The day I got back from my trip I clipped the MyTrak right back on my waist. How long will I keep using it? I haven’t decided yet. But for now, I’m having fun and finding motivation, so the gadget stays.
As for what I learned about my eating and if I’m still tracking food… stay tuned.
Have you used a fitness gadget? If so, what do you like about it?