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Using an Activity Tracker for the First Time: My Experience with Garmin vivofit 2

Activity trackers have gained popularity over the last few years and it seems like “10,000” steps has become an everyday term. It’s been great to see so many workplaces embracing fitness trackers, creating challenges for their employees and rewarding them for being more active. I think corporate wellness is a HUGE area for growth in this country where we operate with a culture that thrives on working and sitting long hours and eating convenience foods that are often high in sugar and carbs. We need to move more and understand better the power of the foods we put in our bodies.

 While I strongly believe in the value of activity trackers, I never considered wearing one myself. I assumed that with a career in the fitness industry, my daily movement and activity habits were something I had a good handle on. Oh, was I ever wrong!

Garmin VivoFit 2

Recently, I was invited to try out Garmin vívofit 2 activity tracker and I agreed because I thought it would be beneficial to experience using one so I could relate my experience back to my clients. What I didn’t expect was to discover so much eye opening information about my movement and sleep habits.

One of the things that appealed to me most about the Garmin vívofit 2 was that it’s extremely easy to use. I had it out of the box and operational in under 20 minutes (that includes downloading the app and syncing to both my iPhone and Macbook). Also, there’s no charging. I feel like I go through a daily cycle of constantly charging all of my various devices so it’s so nice that the vivofit 2 doesn’t require charging. The battery that comes with the device lasts for a year. And I can vouch for that because I gave my dad one for Christmas last year and he still hasn’t had to replace the battery.

I was sent the basic black band and a variety pack of colored bands that you can easily switch to but I’ve been all about the black. Another thing I really like about the vívofit 2 is that it includes a display so you have your stats right there on your wrist. It tells me time, date, steps and calories burned. It can also sync with My Fitness Pal and heart rate monitors for extra information.

Garmin Airport

Okay, can we take a moment to discuss the fact that getting 10,000 steps in one day is a lot harder than I thought!? I have found that my vívofit 2 encourages me to walk a lot more. On my recent trip to Florida, I skipped all the trains and moving sidewalks in favor of my own two feet in order to get more steps in. There was one night where I looked down at my vivofit while I was brushing my teeth to see that I was at 9,100 steps and proceeded to do laps around the house with Zoey to get to 10,000 at 11 p.m. True story.

Garmin Step Tracker

I have found it so interesting to see the difference between my steps.

  • Far left: long run day followed by walking around running errands. I got 26,000 steps but most of that was my run.
  • Center: work day where I trained clients, taught two yoga classes and took a yoga class. Steady activity through the day.
  • Far right: work day where I sat A LOT! I taught yoga and trained a client early in the AM and then proceeded to sit for the bulk of the day in front of the computer. The only way I got my steps in was going for a 3 mile run and then training another client that night.

I will say though that the distance/mileage covered doesn’t quite match up with what my GPS tracker says on my runs. The Garmin usually comes in a little under.

Garmin Sleep Tracking

More fascinating than the steps is the sleep tracker. Each night when I get in bed I just click the display over to sleep mode. The tracker isn’t uncomfortable to sleep in at all. When I wake up in the morning I do a manual sync to the app on my phone (because I’m too impatient to wait for it to do it at its regularly scheduled intervals) and check out the data. The vívofit 2 measures your sleep based on activity levels. It doesn’t measure heart rate or temperature but I’ve gotten some good information from it.

Rarely does a night go by that I don’t wake up sometime around 3 a.m. with my mind racing. Let’s compare the two sleeps above. On the left is the first night I was visiting my parents in Florida. I slept through the night and had more deep sleep than light sleep. On the right is a normal night at home in Charlotte. More light sleep than deep sleep and wake ups around 3 and 4 a.m. I think my quality of sleep is very much so linked to my stress levels.

Deep sleep is important because it’s the time when your body rebuilds and repairs itself, restores energy supplies and releases hormones.

Garmin VivoFit

In conclusion, I am so happy that I tried the Garmin vívofit 2. It has motivated me to better understand how and when I move my body as well as my sleep patterns. I will definitely continue wearing my Garmin vívofit after this review. My dad and I had so much fun when I was visiting comparing our steps. He gets well over 10,000 every day because he walks so much! He takes the dogs on 3-4 walks every day and usually goes out for one on his own too.

Goals moving forward are to continue my mission to get 10,000 steps daily (which is going to take motivation when the temps drop!) and try to improve my sleep quality.

Have you ever tracked your steps or your sleep? What did you learn?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Garmin through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about vívofit 2, all opinions are my own.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Emily @ My Healthyish Life December 2, 2015, 7:53 am

    Great review! Sometimes I check the Health app on my phone for steps but I don’t carry it everywhere so it’s not 100% accurate. But without running, hitting 10k is really hard for me! I’d be curious about the sleep thing, I assume I sleep really well.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 3, 2015, 6:29 pm

      You should try it! A lot of what it told me about my sleep I already knew, but it’s interesting to see it in such detail.

  • meredith @ Cookie ChRUNicles December 2, 2015, 10:52 am

    I once reviewed the fit bit and although it’s pretty cool, it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like knowing so much about my every movement and didn’t want to feel guilty for not reaching the 10,000 steps a day. Sometimes, I need a break and need to sit! lol

    • Jen DeCurtins December 3, 2015, 6:28 pm

      I totally get that! For those of us who are already mindful of our fitness and activity habits, it can just become an unnecessary source of stress.

  • kate December 2, 2015, 2:32 pm

    It really is hard to get in 10/day! We got free fitbit trackers at work, the had a 200 person challenge. Even days that I worked out two hours, I couldn’t get to 10k sometimes! Really made me realize that lots and lots of barre with a few spin classes mixed in wasn’t really enough. I have really tried to change it up more often to move a little more!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 3, 2015, 6:32 pm

      I know! It’s hard to accurately reflect your activity when you do workouts that may be intense but don’t involve many steps.

  • Laura M. December 2, 2015, 5:20 pm

    I just purchased one of these for my boyfriend for Christmas. Thanks for the review!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 3, 2015, 6:33 pm

      Yay! I hope he loves it!

  • carolyn December 2, 2015, 6:37 pm
    • Jen DeCurtins December 3, 2015, 6:34 pm

      Haha! I love it!

  • tara December 3, 2015, 1:22 pm

    i can totally relate to being a bit nutty over getting to 10K and pacing at night. it makes me feel a little weird and my boyfriend thinks im nuts. i try to do it while reading emails but i do think it can have a small negative side when you are doing that or feeling guilty for taking a rest day. 10K is truly hard ! i have the fitbit charge hr which has everything you have with the garmin plus heart rate. which again is only semi useful because it can make you think that something cardio wise like running is “better” for you than say yoga where you dont get as many steps or raise your heart in the same manner. overall though i’m with you i love the sleep info ! i thought i slept really great but what i found is i really only sleep average. i did notice on nights where i had a few glasses of wine i slept like a baby : ) i do like the graphics on the garmin you are showing a bit better than fitbit though. good to know everyone else has a hard time getting 10K too !

  • Shawn W September 14, 2016, 12:02 pm

    I’ve had the Vivofit 2 tracker for a few months now and I can’t say that there are hardly any disadvantages to it and I really enjoyed it so far. Garmin connect app for the most part has been a pretty good app and shows graphical representations of useful information to be able to analyze the tracker data. You can also add friends on the app and compare results. Battery lasts a year and the best thing is that you do not need to charge it after every few days.

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