26 October 18

Can a Fitbit Really Help You Burn Fat? Yes, But Only If You Use It the Right Way.


First of all, this is not a marketing post. We will make no money if you buy a Fitbit or Apple Watch today.

But we’re dedicated to helping you be your best, lose weight, reduce your risk for disease, and even improve your cognition. This guide should help.

 

Fitbits, Apple Watches, and other fitness trackers may help you burn fat.

Unfortunately, many people who start using these smart devices are shooting themselves in the foot by focusing too much on the wrong information.

And it’s not your fault: the Fitbit app puts the number of steps you take at the very top, in the center of the screen. It seems to be the most important.

In reality, someone taking 10,000 daily steps isn’t necessarily going to lose weight, and someone who takes only 2,000 steps can still burn fat and get a better body.

Here’s what you should pay attention to in order to get the most out of your Fitbit or Apple Watch.


#1: Sleep

Tracking your sleep might not seem super important for burning fat, but it’s actually one of the worst offenders for many people.

One study found a 6% increase in the risk of obesity for people who slept less than 7 hours a night.

And one thing you’ll learn if you get a Fitbit: just because you went to bed at 10pm and woke up at 6am doesn’t mean you actually got 8 hours of sleep.

It’s normal to wake up 4 to 6 times during the night, but you probably don’t remember those times. For the most part, these are short, undisruptive moments. However, it’s possible to lose several hours of sleep due to these nocturnal wakings.

This means that even if you keep a normal sleep schedule, you may be at an increased risk of gaining body fat because of poor sleep.

In order to improve your rest and spend more of the night actually sleeping, try these strategies:

  • Refrain from using electronic devices within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • Use a blue-light filter on devices after sundown to help your brain adjust its chemicals correctly.
  • Do not eat within 2-3 hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed. While alcohol can help you fall asleep, it reduces your REM, or rapid eye movement, which is the most rejuvenating.

#2: Heart Rate

The heart rate monitor on your Fitbit is infinitely more important than the step counter.

100 steps up a mountain will obviously burn more calories than 100 steps in your kitchen.

As an example, let’s take a 30-year-old man weighing 180 pounds. If he exercises for ten minutes, he can burn very different amounts of calories (and fat) depending on his heart rate:

  • 100 BPM = 72 calories
  • 120 BPM = 100 calories
  • 160 BPM = 160 calories

While 100 BPM is technically called the “fat burn” zone, you get a huge increase in calorie-burning at 160 BPM.

In fact, he would burn more than twice as many calories by getting his heart rate up to 160 BPM, and he might achieve that by simply moving his daily steps to the stairs (or by carrying some weights with him while he does it).


(You can use this quick calorie calculator to find the calories burned by your own exercise.)


#3: Weight Lost. (Huh?)

Bear with me.

Yes, your Fitbit can help you track your weight. But how does that help you burn more fat?

By having a device attached to you 24/7, it’s easier to keep track of your water, calories, exercise, and weight lost.

And if you notice that you aren’t losing weight after a week, you can start to make adjustments to increase your fat burning.

Maybe you need a supplement to improve your metabolism. Maybe the foods you’re eating aren’t right for you, or you simply aren’t calculating the calories correctly.

Whatever it is, having a record of your progress will help you stay focused and make constant improvements to your health.


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