Tuesday, May 5, 2015

REVIEW: Garmin vívofit® 2

A few weeks ago (honestly though, it has been over 6 weeks and I don't even really know where the time went... sure is FLYIN') I was asked to be a Garmin Ambassador (Um, can you say FLOORED?! I mean Garmin is an AMAZING company and for little ol' me to even be noticed by them is FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC!).

Not only did they want me to be an ambassador for them, they also wanted me to test out their new activity tracker, the vívofit® 2. You know me, I am never one to turn down free (well, I guess if it was meat... or drugs... or cucumbers I would pass on that grass...). I had been wanting to try an activity tracker for a while but hadn't taken the plunge because I couldn't justify "needing" one.

My overall feelings on the vívofit® 2 - IT'S IS GREAT! It gives real data on my steps throughout the day (obviously we would all like to tell ourselves we are super active, but the numbers don't lie), tracks my sleep (or lack there of) and really causes me to MOVE MORE!

I am the type of person who wants to read the manual before putting something together. I want to know the in's and out's before I use something so I know I am using all of the features (and using them correctly). Maybe it's because I'm not very tech savvy so if I don't read the instructions I won't know what I am doing or maybe it's the nerd in me... Anywho, whatever the reason, there wasn't much to read with this little bugger. The only instructions that came in the box were how to put the little "brain" into the wrist band (it came with two sizes and obviously with my tiny wrists I selected the smaller one).

Thankfully I was able to Google how to get everything ready (I mean seriously, what did we do before Google?!). I downloaded the Garmin Connect app on my phone, paired the tracker to my phone (there is also an option to do it to your computer with a little USB do-jab-y, but I opted the smart phone route), and we were up and running (yes, the pun is TOTALLY intended).

If you follow me on social media, you have probably seen my vívofit® 2 in a large portion of my pictures for the past month and a half (and if you don't follow me on social media, what the heck?! Instagram: @CarleeMcDot / Twitter: @CarleeMcDot / Pinterest: @CarleeMcDot... I mean I make it as easy as possible, come on now ;)). Wanna know why it is in all of my wrist shots?! BECAUSE I HAVEN'T TAKEN IT OFF SINCE I FIRST PUT IT ON!

One of the super nice things about the vívofit® 2 is the durability and wear-ability. It is water resistant (up to 50 meters) so I don't have to take it off when I jump in the shower {I could see myself taking it off to get in the shower and forgetting to put it back on}. It can be used to tell time (I changed my settings so instead of the default screen being the step counter it is actually the clock so I can use it as a watch). I also don't have to take it off to charge the battery frequently (Garmin says the battery lasts 1+ year). All that and I haven't even gotten to the ACTIVITY TRACKER portion of the thang!

I mentioned earlier, but it is worth repeating... I truly believe this has caused me to be more active. Sure, sure, on days where I am running 5+ miles, I hit my 10,000 step count easily, but on my rest days, cross training days and strength training days, my count is much lower so this forces me to get up and MOVE. Okay, maybe "forces" is a strong word.

If you haven't realized yet, I am a Type A personality. I like having a list and crossing things off said list (I have even been known to add tasks such as "wake up" on a to-do list just so I can cross it off... I know, it's bad... I might need to talk to someone about it). If I have something on my list - such as hitting my goal of 10,000 steps - you better believe I am going to do my darndest to reach it. I have no shame in walking/dragging the dog around our complex three times instead of my normal one loop just to get in more steps.

Another super cool feature is the "Time To Move" alarm. If you are stationary for too long, the tracker will beep at you to get up and add some steps. Once the alarm has buzzed, every 15 minutes of non-movement will give you an extra piece on the movement bar. NO ONE WANTS A RED BAR! It seems as though at work is when I become most stationary. I have had to find ways to try and combat this - whether it is getting up to refill my water (I also find the more you drink the more often you need to get up to use the restroom), pace around the office while waiting for a document to scan or print, walk in place at your desk while on a conference call, etc.

I think the feature I was most excited about was tracking my sleep. See, I have fibromyalgia (was diagnosed back around 9th grade). With that, I tend not to fall into a deep enough sleep to let my joints/ muscles/ body get fully rested. Although I have been told that (and obviously feel the ramifications of it on a daily basis), I was interested to see how it would translate on the tracker. Well, just one look and you can see what I am dealing with... For some reason I don't think "sleep" is supposed to look like this.

One "issue" I sort of had with the vívofit® 2 was how it seems to calculate steps. Obviously since it is on your wrist, it is more of an "arm swinging motion" that it is using to figure out how many steps you are taking throughout the day. I noticed when I was grocery shopping and pushing the cart it wasn't calculating my activity (it actually buzzed at me saying I hadn't moved in the last little while, yet I had been huffin' my grocery cart all about the store). If you often do things such as push a stroller, mow the lawn, etc, there is a possibility your daily counts will be off (thankfully I only grocery shop once a week so it isn't a big deal, but did want to mention it so you are aware if this tracker fits your lifestyle). {It also doesn't track my biking unless I am really moving my handle bars a lot. I guess most of you are probably saying "DUH" right about now, but when I hear "activity tracker" I am thinking all around activity, not just physical steps on the ground.} I also noticed that if I am drying my hair or doing similar activities my step count goes up because of my arm movement - but figure it evens out for times I am walking and not swinging my arms (like if I am carrying something or trying to pull Walt on his leash).

As I am sure you could see from the plethora of photos with me wearing the tracker, when I run or bike I also wear a GPS watch (currently I am using the Garmin Forerunner 110, but just last night I ordered the 220 as an upgrade). I noticed that although the vívofit® 2 is tracking my steps, it tends to be off a bit when calculating overall distance. When I am walking it seems to be pretty precise, but if I am running it isn't 100% accurate (probably to do with my stride or something). I wouldn't have purchased the vívofit® 2 as an alternative to a GPS watch, so wasn't expecting it to be as exact as my Forerunner, but did want to throw it out there in case some folks thought it could be used for both.

Garmin does offer a heart rate monitor for the vívofit® 2. Although I am sure heart rate tracking is muy importante (I have a friend who must keep track of her heart rate and cannot let it exceed a specific limit for health purposes and others who use their heart rate as a gauge for their workouts), I have never actually looked at mine. You can pair the vívofit® 2 with a heart rate monitor (you can buy a package with the tracker and monitor or buy them separately) to record your heart rate and zone data which helps to accurately determine calories burned during fitness activities. If you have a heart rate monitor attached, when you are syncing your tracker with the Garmin Connect app your information will be transferred.

Although I would consider myself to be an active girl, I definitely see the draw of these trackers (and much appreciate having one on my wrist at all times now). I totally believe having the constant reminder is a nudge in the right direction. As I mentioned, I have never had an activity tracker before so I can't completely compare the vívofit® 2 to other trackers but I know that this seems to have all of the features I would be looking for when it comes to an activity tracker.

Do you have an activity tracker? If so, do you think it helps you to become more active? If not, have you ever considered getting one?


Unknown said...

I have always wanted one, but can't afford it right now. So I just keep reading reviews and once I have enough cash I will buy one! The vivofit 2 sounds like a great choice!!!

Sally @ Sweat Out the Small Stuff said...

I have the vivofit (not the 2) and have the same feelings. I love it so much for everything it does except when I bike :( but considering I mainly just want to reach 10,000 steps on non workout days it's ok.

Sara Elizabeth said...

First, LOVING your blog redesign! Second, what a great review. I was just talking to the hubs about activity trackers this weekend and how Garmin's version is different from the Fit Bit but I learned a lot of things I didn't already know. Not sure if I'm ready to commit to becoming addicted to another piece of technology though. :)

Scarabocchio Girl said...

We have the same Garmin passion, I own a Forerunner 220 since last year, as a reward for my first 10k. And this year I've got Vivofit2 and I'm really happy about my choice :) what is your Garmin username? So I can add you on Garmin Connect! I am Doodlemarti :)

Lil said...

For activity using legs and no arm swinging, could I attach the vivfit to my ankle, of put in my side pocket?