Product Review: Charge HR

About a month ago I was incredibly bummed when my Fitbit Flex decided to stop counting my steps. When I contacted support, they told me the battery was fried and I was out of warranty–basically, out of luck.

Luckily, they gave me a discount and because I fell in love with that sleek rubber bracelet on my wrist every day, I was undoubtedly going to replace it.

When I visited the website to make the purchase, I decided to upgrade and buy a Charge HR.

Let’s call it an early Christmas present.

It arrived a few days ago and I’m already in love. It’s comfortable and it has a lot more features than the Flex–like showing the time!

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Why should you own a Fitbit Charge HR?

The Charge HR doesn’t have GPS capabilities, but if you want to use the smartphone Fitbit app, you can track your routes and more on that.

I prefer my Garmin for GPS tracking, but it’s all about preference.

The Fitbit is here for tracking daily steps, calorie count (for food and exercise), plus I’m excited to start tracking water intake again. Believe it or not, it’s really hard to reach your daily water intake goal. My goal is 64 oz–or four water bottles.

Hydration is extremely important and can make or break a run.

You can also track sleep. I still haven’t quite decided if I’m comfortable wearing it to bed. I do have small wrists and it’s a little bulkier than the Flex. However, it is nice to wake up and see how many times I was restless throughout the night.

All the fun features:

  • Measures heart rate
  • Tracks all-day activities + workouts
  • Counts food + water intake
  • Tells time and shows who’s calling
  • Silent alarms
  • Syncs wirelessly to your phone

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Bonus! Gather your Fitbit friends for some challenges within the mobile app for a little competition.

Which apps integrate well with Fitbit?

I’m currently using Fitbit, Apple Health and Strava to track on my phone as well as the desktop Garmin application (it unfortunately doesn’t sync wirelessly).

Out of all my exercise + health apps, Fitbit only integrates with one of them: Strava. I use Strava strictly for cycling and tracking my routes. Between the Garmin for running, Strava for cycling and Fitbit for daily use–my bases are covered.

Fitbit works with the following apps:

(Find the full list here.)

Recap: Love or hate?

It’s not perfect for everyone, but it solves my problems–or wants–for a wearable.

The great thing about Fitbit is they offer a 100-day, money-back guarantee. So you’re able to test it out in your day-to-day routine before making the full commitment or regretting spending roughly $100 on something glued to your wrist.

Happy Walking!

How eight races in one year inspired my addiction to running

It all started about two years ago when I was juggling three jobs at odd hours and after all my college friends had moved away, so I had some free time to fill.

My boyfriend would run occasionally and I thought I’d test the waters with him. Turns out, I really enjoyed it.

Despite the fact that he’s much faster and more graceful than I am, I knew it was something I could grow into.

For starters, I downloaded the Nike+ app and purchased a pair of shoes (luckily, I had a nice discount at FinishLine). From there, I would run a few miles around the neighborhood when I felt like it.

Once the air got a little crisper and the days got shorter, I went into hermit mode and gave up real quick.

Come January, I knew a few people registering for Grandma’s Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. I said, “Why not?” and joined their team.

Let the “official” training commence!

Along with everyone else in the universe tackling their resolution to get healthier, I bought a membership to Snap Fitness. Went a whole five times and canceled.

The real, consistent training started about three months prior the race in the great outdoors. It was my first long race and I wanted to do it right. Plus, my boyfriend was holding me accountable because he didn’t want to walk any of it with me.

Training was successful, and so was the race.

I ran 13.1 miles without a problem and that moment I crossed the finish line–I realized why people run these races. The runners and spectators alike bring on an atmosphere that I didn’t NOT want to be part of. And the free shirt, beer and bling were all an added bonus.

That’s when I became addicted to running.

Still on runner’s high, I signed up for another half marathon in October (four months away). This time around, I let the weekends at the cabin and coolers full of beer distract me from training.

Despite the painful run/walk race and tight calves afterwards, it was a beautiful route! Highly recommend the Whistlestop.

Learned the moral of the ‘no training method,’ but I knew I wanted to continue running.

My friend mentioned a race series called Team Ortho. I looked into it and decided it was the only way I’d kick my butt into gear and keep up with the miles.

We signed up for the Monster Series (five races), starting New Year’s Day and finishing the last race on Halloween. Anywhere from 7K to a half marathon, I had seven races total lined up for 2015.

We started training in November–running once a week–and kept at it into the new year. Mid-January I joined a running group to keep up the momentum and was now running 3-4 times a week. With a race every two months, I was really happy with my training and finisher times.

Eight races later–yes, we got sucked into another one–I am sitting here pondering what 2016 will bring.

Will it be a relay in wine country? A ragnar in Hawaii? Or a few local 5K races? Who knows!

Well actually, I did just register–for my third year in a row–the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. Lottery just closed, but you can still sign up for the full marathon or 5K!

See how easy and exciting it can be!? Well, it isn’t always easy. It takes serious commitment, but once you cross the finish line you’ll realize those tempos, hills and long runs were worth it.

Here are a few things that have helped me along the way:

  1. Find a partner or join a running group
  2. Stick to a schedule
  3. Sign up for a few races throughout the year
  4. Stay hydrated
  5. Brag about the free beer and bling

Trust me, it’s totally worth it.

Happy running!