Are Fitness Trackers Bad for Your Gains?

Are you thinking about purchasing a Fitbit, or a similar fitness tracking device? Or have you purchased one recently, and can't figure out why it isn't the answer to all of your fitness woes? Well, we have the skinny (pun intended) on why your fitness tracker may not be working for you as well as you had hoped. Whether you're trying to burn fat, make gains, or all of the above, using a fitness tracker in order to make progress may be hurting more than it's helping. Below are the three main problems with popular fitness trackers.

Problem #1: Inaccuracy

This may come as a surprise to some of our readers, but there have actually been class action lawsuits filed against fitness tracker producers in recent years.The main cause of the scandal revolves around the accuracy of their heart rate monitoring devices. Specifically, the ones you wear around your wrist like a watch. It turns out some of these devices can miscalculate your heart rate by as much as 10% or more. Sure, for some people that may only work out to a few beats per minute. But if you're aiming for a certain range, that much error can lead to one of two things during your workout:

  • It can prevent you from burning fat and getting shredded if your heart rate is too low
  • I can put you in a catabolic state and make your body destroy essential muscle fibers if your heart rate is too high

Personally, we prefer the low-tech version of a heart monitor: Jab two fingers against your carotid artery and count the number of heartbeats you feel in 10 seconds. Then multiply that number by 6. If it's higher than 75% of your maximum heart rate, then you need to take it down a notch. But if it's below 65% of your maximum heart rate, then you need to up your intensity!

Problem #2: They Measure Quantity Over Quality

Unfortunately, fitness devices don't take the quality of your metrics into account. The "calories in calories out" proselytizers will passionately disagree with us on this, but just because you walk 5000 steps in a day and stay under your arbitrarily derived calorie count doesn't mean you're getting healthier or meeting your fitness goals. Spending 20 minutes walking to your local Taco Bell and only eating a crunchwrap supreme for the whole day isn't going to burn a massive amount of fat or help you build a large, muscular physique anytime soon.

If you really want to get healthy, get shredded, and pack on pound after pound of lean muscle, you've got to do some research (or even better, worked closely with a personal trainer). Coming up with a fitness plan that incorporates resistance training (free weights or your body weight) and cardio (running, walking, biking, or cardio machines at the gym) is the best way to get the body you really want. Ideally, your plan should also take into account any special exercise needs you may have, such as working around joint pain or avoiding future injuries by doing the right kind of exercises for your body. But a fitness tracker isn't capable of any of this nuance.

Problem #3: They're Expensive

Your average fitness tracking device will probably run you somewhere between $150 to $350. Are there cheaper versions on the market? Yes. But most of them don't have the functionality that the more expensive models do. Maybe you're one of the lucky few who have a high-paying job, and spending hundreds of dollars on a fitness watch is merely a drop in your disposable income bucket. If so, congratulations. But for most people, that's a pretty prohibitive expense.

You What's Not Expensive? Growth Factor!

Another great fitness product you can use some of that money on is Growth Factor. This is especially true if you're dedicated to making your gains. The ingredients in Growth Factor work with your body to increase the level of nitric oxide in your blood. This helps make sure you get the other ingredients, such as essential amino acids, to your freshly exercised muscles so that they can rebuild themselves bigger and stronger. All that extra blood flow will also help your body flush away toxic by-products associated with exercise, thus improving your overall health. We may be a bit biased, but we think that Growth Factor is an excellent alternative to help you meet your bodybuilding desires.