Is There Life Beyond The Fitness Tracker?

Is There Life Beyond The Fitness Tracker?

My Jawbone UP24 died on me two weeks ago. That silicone bracelet has been a mainstay since I got it last September 2014. And I was more than happy to have parted ways with it.

For months I have debated whether I should simplify my fitness trackers and apps. I was, and still am, a regular user of Runkeeper, Fitocracy, Withings, and my Polar RCX3. Sometimes I wondered what tracking all of it did for me and whether all this data was for naught.

So when my Jawbone UP24 decided to go kaput, I thought, “Fine. Be that way. Good riddance.”

However, like a phantom limb, I miss it. Perhaps it’s the—now visible—deep tan line on my left wrist that constantly reminds me of its absence.

It’s weird. I have only had my Jawbone UP24 for roughly nine months. Then again, that’s nine consecutive months of fitness tracking. And to be honest, those nine months have been life-changing for me.

I don’t think the Jawbone UP24 has single-handedly helped make fitness part of my lifestyle and my identity. But it’s when I acquired it that I can pinpoint 100% the beginning of this journey. What started as a way to keep track of my daily steps, has snowballed into a consistent home yoga practice, and a regular dose of running, swimming, and strength and functional movement training.

Now, I cannot imagine not making movement a part of my day. I feel even stranger if I let a few days go by without at least doing some form of exercise.

Although now that I’m without a Jawbone UP24, there are less reminders to do so. I used to get constant buzzes whenever I’ve been idle for an hour. This feature was helpful especially at work where I have a tendency to sit for hours in front of my laptop. With the regular buzzes, it was my cue to stand up and climb up and down the office stairs, stretch, or rehydrate.

In the evenings, I’d get sleep reminders. If there’s one thing I loved about it, it’s the sleep tracking feature. I used to feel exhausted without understanding why but after getting the Jawbone UP24, I realized I was operating on four hours of sleep or less every night. Since then, I’ve bumped it up to six hours and am constantly trying to improve my sleep.

Now, for the questions.

Is there life beyond the Jawbone UP24?


Can I live without it?

Yes. I think fitness trackers are enablers. Once you've got the habit down, transitioning to life without it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Although, I do miss the data tracking and being able to use that information to improve.

Do I want to get a new one?

If I had the budget, I’d get the Jawbone UP3 in a heartbeat (pun intended as it comes with a heart rate tracker). The Withings Activité Pop is looking pretty cool with that swim feature but I'm not into trackers that look like watches. And I think this is where the Jawbone UP truly shines because it's inconspicuous, looks like a bracelet, and becomes a complimentary accessory. It can join the wrist party (wristwatches and other bracelets) versus it having to replace them.

Can I substitute the Jawbone UP24 with standalone apps?

Sure I can do that but I don't want to check multiple apps. Nobody got time for that. The reason I'm using Runkeeper, Fitocracy, and Withings is because they all talk to each other and they're all aggregated on my Jawbone UP app.

DO you use a fitness tracker too? If so, Which one and has it changed your life? What do you like about it?

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