my five-day fling with FitBit

Disclaimer: I know millions of Americans, a few whom I dearly love, enthusiastically rely on FitBit to count steps and monitor activity in the spirit of accountability. While [spoiler alert] this method didn’t work for me personally, my intent is not to disparage anyone’s efforts, merely to share my own experience.

As the clock ticked in the new year, I decided to change how I quantify fitness goals. Two years out from a devastating ankle break that still leaves me stiff in the mornings, with shooting pain up the inner leg on cold days or if I happen to step funny, the time feels right to get back into the routine I had before black ice pulled me down. My best friend had just bought a new FitBit and talked me into doing the same.

The piece arrived on January 4th, a day I spent in bed with a killer cold. The 127 steps I took consisted primarily of dragging my body from bed to kitchen to bathroom to bed. But I didn’t fret over failure, filled with confidence I’d move my body more the next day.

And I did.

For the next five days, I wore that FitBit religiously as I set about meeting my real 2018 goals that have nothing to do with steps: 100 yoga, fifty barre, and 40 spin classes. (Note: 2014 Chelsea would have been able to hit the spin goal in a month but 40 classes is 37 more than 2017 Chelsea accomplished.)

At first it was fun to watch the steps add up. Given I work from home, I appreciated the hourly reminder to get up and move. But I got frustrated when steps didn’t sync with the corresponding app I constantly monitored on my phone. One night, I marched in my kitchen at 10pm; earlier in the evening, I’d done a barre-bike double. Seriously, I took an hour-long barre class and a 45-minute indoor cycling class but still felt compelled to walk in place before bed to make an arbitrary step goal.

The kicker came when after an intensive hot yoga class, sweat dripping in my eyes, I checked the FitBit app and realized I didn’t get credit for an activity hour. But driving home in the car, swinging my FitBit wearing arm up and down as I sat in bumper to bumper traffic, I managed to cheat meet that hour’s goal.

Swipe left.

Here’s the thing: FitBit increased my screen time. FitBit messed with my head. For example, I learned that I burn more calories teaching a barre class than taking one. So should I take more classes or teach more classes? But then again, I’m not a calorie counter either and I never will be. And steps? How is marching in my kitchen or swinging my arm better than barre or hot yoga? Who decided 10,000 steps was the gold standard? (This article was particularly illuminating.) FitBit made me competitive in an unhelpful (bordering  on unhealthy) way.

If it works for you, bravo. But I packed mine up and returned to sender. With the Amazon credit back on my birthday gift card, I bought books, which rarely make me feel bad about myself.

 

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Triple Workout Styling

Here it is. A compilation of what I decided to wear to my spin+spin+barre workout at Biker Barre today.

To the left is a great to and from the gym jacket, or in today’s case, what I wore to recovery breakfast with spin sister Monica of Blue Print for Style in the air conditioned Ted’s Bulletin so that I wouldn’t freeze from my sweaty workout clothes.

For the workout itself, the No Limits Tank from Lululemon provided the support, freedom and inspiration I needed for today’s mental and physical challenge.

What two hour and 45 minute workout would be complete without a Sweaty Band to keep your hair out of your face? That mine has pink skull and crossbones on it just makes it more cutely fierce. I swear, it doesn’t move out of position at all.

And barre socks are totally a must for me. I don’t tuck barefooted. I like that this pair has a little message to remind you that if your legs are shaking, you are doing something right.

It all worked so well that I am already signed up for the same adventure next Saturday.

Hope to see you there.

current obsession: biker barre

Spin in the morning. Spin in the evening. Barre at lunch. Spin-barre doubles on the weekends. Anytime of day everyday of the week is a good time for a class at the newly-opened Biker Barre in the Barracks Row district of Capitol Hill.

I won’t ever be able to run again, but a year and a half after my back procedure, I can finally spin. Varoom, just like that, I have found my new favorite cardio.

While I still miss the flexibility of being able to lace up a pair of running shoes regardless of the time of day, in any location, to hit the road for a run of any length, the robust schedule at Biker Barre presents numerous opportunities to get your workout in, whether you are a morning, noon or night worker-outer. And while my runs typically lasted longer than the 45 minutes you spend on a bike in spin class, the instructors (especially co-owner Katie Fouts) are especially diligent at ensuring you don’t leave an ounce of energy untapped. But if you do have something in the reserves at the end of your virtual bike ride, I recommend following spin with a barre class. The perfect combination of pilates and yoga, barre’s emphasis on core strength has been key to alleviating the residual back pain I still get from time-to-time. And it tones you in all the right places.

I truly consider both exercises lifesavers.

But don’t take my word for it. Find your way to the Biker Barre studio. There are several pricing options available, whether you want to buy a one-class pass (with the second class free for newbies) or do what I did and buy the one-month unlimited option (there’s a special on that too).

Come to class. Prepare to sweat. Just don’t take my favorite bike.