Is your fitness tracker making you fatter?

Is your fitness tracker making you fatter?

What do you think of this then?  My latest fitness tracker.

Yes, very er … matt black.

Cutting edge you know.  Synchronises with my phone and my iPad, counts all my activity – steps, running, sleep, the lot.  Amazing bit of kit, I wouldn’t be without it.

And how is your fitness going?  Getting better?

I don’t know what you mean.  This tells me how many steps I have to take each day, and I’m smashing it some days.  And I can challenge fat Greg from Accounts to activity challenges as well.  Stands to reason I’ll be fit.

It’s just that a study has shown that relying on an exercise tracker isn’t the best way to lose weight or get fitter.

How do they work that out then?

The University of Pittsburgh followed 500 young people for two years – half were given diet and exercise advice, and the other half were given the same diet and exercise advice plus a fitness tracker.


The group with just diet and exercise advice lost an average of just under 6 kilos each.  The group that had the tracker as well lost only just over half that – an average of 3.5 kilos.

Why’s that then?

The researchers think that it could be due to people with activity trackers rewarding themselves with a treat when they reach their target.  Or it might be that if the target is too ambitious they just stop trying altogether.

Do you think I should take this back to the shop then?

No – a fitness tracker can still be really useful in losing weight and getting fitter, just don’t make it the be all and end all of what you’re doing.  It can only track you, it can’t motivate you on its own.   That’s about how you approach the targets you set yourself, and how you meet setbacks in your progress.

Any way I must go – I’m challenging Greg to walk upstairs to the canteen, instead of getting the lift.

That sounds just the kind of thing that a fitness tracker is useful for.

It’s “Curry Club Wednesday” today, with half chips, half rice.

Bon appetit


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