Fitbug and WalkActive – the motivation I needed (review)

Way back in June I was asked if I’d like to review the Fitbug, and I jumped at it. In fact, not only did I jump, I walked – a lot. So much so that I quickly became the Fitbug blogger with the highest overall steps and won myself these lovely goodies at the Fitbug WalkActive event:

Lovely goodies from Jason

See that pink gadget? That’s the Fitbug. See the number on it? That’s how many steps I took that day…

Let me explain: Fitbug is more than just a pedometer. I own a Weightwatcher’s pedometer, which tells me how many propoints I have earned by walking. It’s fairly motivating, unless I’m having one of those days where only bacon and ice-cream will do, in which case I don’t bother wearing it. #Fail. The same is true of the Fitbug. Except…

Once a week I get an email with my “Bugzine,” an e-newsletter that gives recipes, tips and inspiration for staying motivated. So far, so Weightwatcher’s, although weekly tips are better than the monthly email I get from WW. Where the good stuff happens is the weekly progress report – tailor-made for me, with my achievements from the previous week, and new targets based on what I have achieved so far.

Now this, I like. If I’ve struggled to achieve my steps and calories target from the previous weeks, Fitbug will moderate my targets going forward, so that they never feel out of reach. Only did 4,000 steps a day last week? Fine, don’t worry about the 10k ideal, just try and stretch yourself to 5,000. Ate more calories than recommended? We’ve all been there, try and reduce by 100 – small steps.

Equally, when you’ve averaged 15,000 steps a day (I know, I was too keen) your targets get upped, to the point where they’re not achievable, so certainly you have to be able to take them with a pinch of salt sometimes. But here’s what I really love about Fitbug. Every day, if I input what I’ve eaten, Fitbug calculate my calories in, versus calories burned, and give me the balance:

My fitbug stats - visual motivation

At a glance, I can see if I’ve met my steps target, kept withing my calories target, and whether I’m over or under on my in vs out calories. Talk about daily motivation! Everyone knows that if you’re trying to lose weight you shouldn’t weigh yourself daily as weight fluctuates depending on all sorts of factors. But we all do. I didn’t though, when I was using Fitbug daily – I could simply see every day whether I was getting it right enough to have lost weight on my weekly weigh-in.

You call the shots: you tell Fitbug your weight goals, and you log once a week, as with other similar systems. It gives you the same level of feedback and tracking, but in much more daily detail to keep you motivated. I also found that Fitbug on twitter were brilliant with tips and motivation – although this may just have been a service offered to the blogger reviewers. In any case, I found them very helpful on email whenever I had a question.

Fitbug are associated with WalkActive, and this is something I’ve really adopted. The lovely Joanna – who is incredibly fit, simply from walking – showed us all how to walk for maximum muscle toning and calorie burn. She claimed that injured atheletes, restricted to walking instead of running, have found WalkActive so beneficial that they’ve stuck with walking even after they have healed.

Fitbug and WalkActive with Joanna Hall

I was skeptical; I don’t feel like I’ve worked out if I haven’t run, but I gave it a go. The process involves using every part of your foot to ensure that leg, glutes and back/abdominal muscles are all engaged with every step. Quite apart from the postural and joint benefits, once you crack this method you really do get a workout from a walk. As I arrived home via my new walking stance, I tweeted:

“My butt hurts, and my abs ache. Who knew walking could be such a workout?”

I do still like to run – it gets the adrenalin out, and sets me up for the day, but on a morning when I’m suffering from too much bacon and ice-cream, I walk, and I still get a good muscle burn. In addition, when I remember, I use WalkActive on the school-run, round Sainsbury’s, and yes, even walking around my house.

Am I fitter? Yes. Am I slimmer? Not yet, but that’s because the school holidays hit, and my Fitbug was usurped by bacon and ice-cream. But now that school has recommenced, I’m clocking up numbers more like this:

Fitbug review

Coincidentally, and talking of the school-run, Startrite have just launched #WalkorDrive “a humorous insight into the trials and tribulations of those who drive the school run.” I am so keen for my kids to exercise naturally, and I do try to walk to school as much as possible. If nothing else, it actually takes less time – by the time we’ve queued and found a parking space, and then walked from said parking space to the school, we could have walked in less time!

One word of note. I was told that Fitbug was cheat-proof, because it measures forward movement rather than up and down movement. However, I have clocked up 200 steps on more than one occasion, sitting in the car, and that business of sitting in bed bashing your pedometer on the duvet 82 times because you’re soooooo close to your target? Yep, it works with the Fitbug too. So don’t cheat, and take it off in the car, is my advice. But overall, it’s the most motivating step device I’ve used, completely due to the website, and back up support, so I’d say it’s worth giving a go.

For more reviews of the Fitbug system, check out the links below:

Walking with my Fitbug – Being Mrs C
Bitten by the Fitbug - Verily Victoria Vocalises
Walk Fat Girl Walk – Mum of One
Fitbug Mum – A Month Later – The Life of Spicers
A Day out with Fitbug Mums – Emmy’s Mummy

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  1. says

    This sounds really interesting. I want to do something to lose my baby weight, but struggling to fit it in and my weight has started increasing again as I’m not being so careful with the food. I love charts and tables and they motivate me to so those weekly emails may really help me to keep on track.

    Do you know how this differs to the Nike band thing? Both my inlaws wear a Nike ‘bracelet’ and think it is great, but I don’t know if they get emails or can record their food.
    Kate Davis recently posted…Goodreads #7My Profile

    • says

      I don’t know for sure, but my husband has one and I know he doesn’t record what he eats. What I love about this is the visual representation you get every day of calories in vs calories out. Real motivator. And I forgot to mention, you can sync it with My Fitness Pal, so you can input your food on the go too. Good luck if you decide to give it a go.


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