If you’re serious about your fitness goals, whether that’s losing, gaining, or maintaining (and if you’re really modern with your approach, “maingaining”), you should stick to just one fitness tracker or smartwatch.
This is not brand A vs brand B or model X vs model Y. Whatever your preference is, it is crucial to stick to the device you opted for, regardless if it’s made by Apple, HUAWEI, Samsung, Fitbit, Honor, or any other manufacturer.
Why should you stick to one fitness tracker?
I’ve been marinating this idea for quite some time but never got to actually writing this short opinion piece, or, dare I say, piece of advice. The idea resurfaced when I started wearing a device I recently got in for review while continuing to wear my Apple Watch daily driver.
You see, when it comes to using a fitness tracker or smartwatch, these are not categorized as professional fitness equipment, but rather a more hobbyist approach. Hence, it’s not about accuracy, but about consistency.
Not one fitness tracker or smartwatch is accurate
Before you stop reading, just think about it for a second. Yes, they are all striving to get as accurate as possible, but unless you train in a professional lab environment with medical gear attached to your body, you’ll never know your accurate heart rate, VO2Max, recovery times, and so on.
…and that, in and of itself, is not necessarily a problem. The problem, as I alluded to, is consistency, or lack of it.
While wearing two smartwatches I realized the rather large difference between the readouts. We’re talking about a 2,000 step count deviation between the two, which, if you take the recommended 10k per day, is a 20% deviation.
The same goes for heart rate. From 130bpm to 110bpm there’s an approximately 15% deviation. Extrapolate that to an entire day, and your complete estimation of your calories burned is way off. So now you need to adjust your calorie intake.
And, just so you know, the calories reported as burned on your device are estimated, based on several readouts, one of the most important being heart rate, but it takes into consideration your step count, height, weight, age, etc.
Not to mention that on one device it appears that I have slept close to 8 hours, the other one reported 6 and a half hours.
Why consistency is more important than accuracy
You see, if you take all of the above into consideration, you might say “heck they’re all off!”. And you might be right. However, the advantage of sticking to just one device isn’t knowing that said device is inaccurate or believing that it’s accurate. The advantage is knowing that the inaccuracy is consistent.
If your watch over or under-reports your steps, heart rate, or even calories, you can know for sure that it will do the same thing tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, every single day, every single workout.
That is the key to properly adjusting your training intensities and durations, as well as your calorie intakes, subsequently. You get rid of the variable.
This is pretty much the same with scales. A scale that will be off by 1kg or about 2.2 pounds will be consistently off by the same amount (no, we’re not talking fluctuations on the same scale due to water intake or retention).
The bottom line
In the end, all that matters is to know your device is wrong all the time, by the same factor of magnitude, which makes it more of a constant accuracy in its inaccuracy, rather than mixing up your devices and throwing you completely off your target, or your journey in getting there.
Apple fan? Go with the Watch. HUAWEI fan? Go with their Watch. Any other fan? Go with whatever your heart desires, just make sure you stick to that, knowing you can turn inaccuracy into an advantage by making it consistent.
Let me know what you think, and how your devices help you or prevent you from reaching your goals.
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