I have had my FitBit Flex for something like five months now, long enough to grow comfortable with its benefits and quirks and so I thought I’d put together a list of some tips that can help people who have one (or are thinking about getting one) get the most out of it.
1. Wear it and forget it
Perhaps the best thing about the FitBit Flex is that you wear it on your wrist. No need to clip it onto your clothing the way you had to with a FitBit Ultra, for instance. And since the FitBit Flex is waterproof, you can shower with it, meaning there is little need to take it off. This means you can wear it and forget it. You won’t find that you’ve left the house for the day only to leave your activity tracker on the dresser.
2. But set a recurring reminder to charge it
That said, I have found that I need to charge my FitBit Flex every 5-6 days. The battery has only run completely down once. The way I avoid the battery running completely down is by proactively reminding myself to charge the battery.
I use the reminder feature in Google Calendar and have created a recurring reminder to send a text message to my phone every 5 days, reminding me to charge my Flex.
When I get the reminder, I typically charge the Flex in the evening when I am doing my writing and getting the kids ready for bed. It doesn’t take more than 2 hours or so to get a full charge and by the time I go to bed, the device is once again fully charged.
3. Track specific activities
You can (with the latest firmware update) track individual activities with your Flex, which is useful if you want to know some detail about that activity. You do this by putting your Flex into Activity/Sleep mode (tapping it rapidly until you get the two flashing lights). When your activity is finished, you tap it rapidly again until you see 5 blinking lights.
What this does is sets a “start” and “end” marker. Your FitBit is constantly recording your activity and these markers allow you to look at a specific section of that activity to see the details. When you log into the FitBit dashboard, you will see those activities listed in the day on which you captured them. I’ve used this to capture the distance of my walk from my house to my office, for instance. Or how long a particular hike took. Here is what an activity record looks like for my lunchtime walk, as seen from the FitBit website dashboard:
4. Track your sleep after-the-fact (if you forget)
If you track your sleep, the Flex is great because there is no bulky wristband needed like with the older FitBit devices. All you have to do is remember to put the device into “sleep” mode the same way you put it into “activity” mode. You also have to remember to turn off sleep mode when you wake up in the morning.
But what if you forget? FitBit has you covered. Since it is always recording, the start and stop times only tell the system when your sleep started and stopped. It still records your “sleep” activity. So if you forget, you can go into the FitBit app, and add a sleep record for the previous night. Tell the app when you went to bed and when you woke up, and within a few seconds, you will see your night’s sleep, complete with how restless you were and how many times you woke up. Once you backfill the sleep and wakeup times, you will see something like this:
5. Invest in spare wristbands
The FitBit Flex comes with two wristbands, a large and a small. It is possible that my large wristband was defective but it only took about three months before it came apart. I switched to the small band, which, fortunately, fits on my wrist at its widest setting. But given that I had one wristband come apart, I invested in a 3-pack of additional wristbands just to be safe.
But do it sooner rather than later: when I ordered my 3-pack, the wristbands were back-ordered 8-10 weeks.
Anyone else using a FitBit Flex and have tips? Share them in the comments.