A couple exciting things have come down the tubes from Fitbit this week. The most recent, announced today, is for all you Android users out there. The (long-awaited) Fitbit app for Android is now available (for free) here. For all intents and purposes, it looks like this app offers the same features and functions as the iOS version, which, for me, has been easy to use and is one of the better-made fitness-tracking apps I’ve come across. Note that having the app does not mean that you will be able to sync your Fitbit to your phone. You will still have to use the base station attached to a computer to upload/download information to/from your Fitbit, but any info that you do upload will be instantly sent to the app as well as to your account on their website.
The second, and (I think) more exciting, thing to be released this week is an update to the Food Goal (now called Food Plan) feature available on Fitbit’s website. The Food Goal was, undoubtedly, the weakest part of the Fitbit experience, primarily due to its inaccuracies. Before, I often noticed that the Food Goal was overestimating how many calories I would end up burning that day if I happened to have a particularly active couple of hours early in the day. This means that instead of ending up with a 750-calorie deficit for the day relative to what I burned (equal to 1.5 pounds of weight loss per week), I was often ending up with only a 400-500 calorie deficit.
The updated Food Plan brings with it some great changes that, among other things, address my problems with inaccuracy. These changes include “smarter calorie estimates” and a clearer way to monitor calories in vs calories out throughout the day. The new program sets your calorie intake estimate at the beginning of the day based on your historic activity levels. Then, as before, the amount of calories you can eat will adjust during the day depending on how active you are. The new “Calories in vs Out” feature provides you with another check on whether you are on track to hit your food goal for the day. It shows you the calories you’ve burned so far for the day vs the calories you have eaten, and uses a dial to tell you if you are under, over, or within your goal zone at that moment. The goal zone is equal to the calories you’ve burned so far, minus your daily calorie deficit, plus or minus 50 calories. For example, if I am trying to maintain a 750-calorie deficit per day, and I have burned 1500 calories for the day come lunch time, my goal zone is equal to 700-800 calories. This allows me to judge how many calories I should be eating for lunch, or, if I am above my goal zone, motivates me to get moving to burn more calories before the day is up!
For a more detailed look at the new Android app and the updates to the Food Goal feature, check out Fitbit’s blog here. The new Food Plan features are currently available for all users online, and are already included in the new Android app. A forthcoming update will bring these features to the iOS app by the end of this month. Happy stepping![suffusion-widgets id=’1′]