Fitbit Cycling Fits

I believe in health bands they do so much to help keep me on the right path helping me to balance my activities so that I can stay healthy. I couldn’t have lost weight, mastered my insomnia or kept track of my food or exercise without them. They are meant to be a tool in helping us get an idea of how we’re doing not a medical device but if used correctly they are very useful.

Recently I bought a Charge 2 Fitbit band and I love it. It gives active (during exercise) and resting heart rate, sleep stages (REM, deep sleep, etc.) it tracks diet, has a Relax (deep breathing) mode, gives you a Cardio Fitness Score and more. It’s put together well and easy to wear even while sleeping.

Fitbit has a good community of users behind their products. They have many groups one can join to exchange information and share your ups and downs with on your journey to good health. One such group I joined was Cycling and it was clear that some of these people needed my help.

The first few times I tried tracking my cycling on the Fitbit it was a trial and error period for sure. My Fitbit uses my phone’s GPS to track rides and has a feature where it will automatically track cycling after so many minutes of riding. It sounds so simple but it wasn’t.

I was already using Mapmyride and Myfitnesspal so when buying my Fitbit I made sure the app connected and shared data with Under Armor products and apps like my Jawbone UP3 had. The food data worked flawlessly but the cycling was another story.

The first time I used Mapmyride everything was good until I looked at the Fitbit app. The Fitbit mapped my ride, I couldn’t enlarge the map and the info was limited. The info from Mapmyride did not show up. The data had not exchanged and I was stuck with 2 different versions and maps of my bike ride in 2 different places. I wasn’t happy with that.

After some thought, I went into the Fitbit exercise tile and changed the settings turning auto-tracking OFF. When buying bands everything is enabled after setting up and people don’t always look at settings until something goes wrong. It’s always good to know what your band offers and set things up the way you want to.

So the next time I biked my Mapmyride data was right there under my exercise tile on the Fitbit app and I was thrilled but then I noticed something. It said that the data came from Myfitnesspal, not Mapmyride. Just to see I took Myfitnesspal out of the equation and sure enough I had problems seeing my cycling data again. So, if you don’t have Myfitnesspal connected even if you don’t use it, your data won’t show up like this.

Myfitnesspal is all about nutrition and how many calories you can eat for the day adding and subtracting calories from what you burn (or don’t) changing many times in a day.  I think because of this it’s more active in sharing data between Mapmyride and the Fitbit app so I’m thinking that’s why it works this way. It’s just a guess but if it’s not broken I’m not fixing it.

What does all this mean? If you have a Fitbit and cycle outdoors it’s very easy to get your ride turned into steps, see your normal ride stats and have it all show up under your exercise tile on the Fitbit app if you just follow these instructions. Also, many people talk about putting their Fitbit bands on their ankle, shoe or other places while biking. I don’t know what started this nonsense but you can keep your band on your wrist.

Get Your Cycling Data Here

  • download Mapmyride and Myfitnesspal
  • fill out the profiles on these apps
  • make sure all 3 apps are connected to each other
  • on the Fitbit app press the exercise tile

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  • Under the exercise tile settings tell the Fitbit to IGNORE Outdoor Bike.

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  • When IGNORED it will look like this (above)

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  • next time you bike use Mapmyride
  • when finished, sync with the Fitbit app under the exercise tile
  • your workout will be there and look like this (above)

If you want these results you must follow my instructions including using Myfitnesspal in the loop. The Fitbit can map bike rides using your phone’s GPS but I like more stats about my rides, I can go and look up my past rides, the maps can be enlarged and much more on Mapmyride.

My hope is this helps the many friends I make and have in the Cycling Group on Fitbit. I have written these instructions too many times in comments on posts asking for help so this is a selfish attempt to save time and my hand from cramping. Lol!

After riding my bike I can’t wait to pour over my statistics about my ride and find out how I did. The easier it is the better. Enjoy your rides!

For more info on what Mapmyride can do for you follow the link and read my post on it and best of all it’s free.

I don’t use Strava, or other biking apps so if you do, experiment using them instead of Mapmyride. I’d be interested in the outcome if you do.

You Got To Hit It To Get It!

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A Balancing Act You Can Do

Since September of 2015 I’ve lost over 56 pounds and in August of this year was thrilled to hit my target weight of 145, even going a little below. I didn’t time it that way, it’s just the way I lost weight. Everything I did was a balancing act, do a little of this, a little of that and practice leads to good health. If I can do it anyone can.

The time it takes to lose weight is not divided into weeks or months. I wanted to lose it as fast as possible but my body had its own ideas. I had plateaus at 180 pounds and later at 165 where I thought I’d NEVER lose any more weight, gained back weight, (without over eating) and more. I just stuck to my plan of logging my food and bike riding. If I messed up one day I’d start again the next.

It was a balancing act that I found my body and I could do! Along the way, I learned oodles about myself and my body that I use today to keep my hard-earned figure.

A Little Of This

Water is my “go to” drink now. It’s all I drink and when I get tired of it I add fruit. I bought a water container that has a ball in it that crushes the fruit when I shake it and it works well! I put raspberries, blueberries, any fruit I want in it and take it with me. I call it my Jammin’ Juice. Drinking water can keep you feeling full and helps your body function properly.

I quit most sugary drinks including fruit juices (except OJ) and soda. At first, I wondered how I’d do this but now I don’t even notice it’s gone! My biggest problem is fat but it makes things taste good and I use the better fats versus the bad.

Of course, I’ll have an occasional soda, milkshake or even an alcoholic drink. I make sure and log them.

I also quit snacking. Many new diets now have “days off” or teach you healthy snacking. I think learning to expect snacks between meals can go wrong. For me, it’s 3 main healthy meals and for snacks, it’s a piece of fruit, carrot sticks or a handful of nuts.

The diets that promise you “days off” are not what you think. It doesn’t mean you can have days to totally go off of your diet. These diets have strict rules for your days off they are not days you can just eat what you want.

The best thing is to find something that is doable for you. Be honest with yourself about what you can eat or drink and find a good application that will help you keep track.

A Little Of That

I bought a Jawbone UP3 health band I’ve been wearing since October of 2015. I used it to learn how to improve my sleep by changing my bedroom and sleeping habits. I use it to monitor my REM, awake time, light and deep sleep.

I used to be an insomniac but now I sleep like a baby and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. The recommended is 7 1/2 to 8 hours a night.

New studies say sleep is important for weight-loss and good health. If you don’t get enough sleep there’s a good chance you are overweight. Sleeping well will make you live longer. Sleep is something we all take for granted but if you get enough quality sleep for a period of time you will notice the difference.

A Little More Of This

I’ve been on a 1,200 calorie diet since September of 2015 and learned to eat more healthy foods. At first, I walked and watched steps to lose weight. I lost over 30 pounds but needed something more to tone up.

In February I started riding my bicycle every other day. I would ride however long I could stand it until I got better at it. Every other day was good because I had a day off in between. It wasn’t easy and sometimes I had to walk my bike up a hill.

I started to see small changes to my body that were adding up. Since cycling is aerobic it takes fat off of many parts of the body especially the legs, waist, stomach, and butt. It gives you a good core workout. One thing about regular exercise, you will gain a little weight in muscle but muscle burns more fat so in no time you will start losing again.

I wanted to lose as fast as possible but I still took days off and went over my calories for the day. I just made sure not to lose my head about it and go hog wild with the food and drink. In August I hit my target weight.

Some More Of That

I have to exercise if I want to keep my weight off and I do that by bike riding and walking. It’s not easy to motivate every other day and I do miss a day sometimes due to weather or life but it works for me and keeps me going.

Now that I’m in such good shape I can walk without a cane ( I still need both knees replaced eventually) and further than I have in years. I find on my days off from cycling that I get bored if I don’t have a lot to do. I decided that a walk on my days off can be something I really enjoy. I can now walk up to 4 miles and I like to hike on nature trails. It makes me so happy to be active spending my time outside and I sleep like a baby.

A Bit Of This

Because I’m happy with my diet I’m sticking to it. The foods I eat now on a daily basis are the foods I love. I still log my food and stick to a set amount of calories while I ride my bike or walk every other day. My weight has been stable around 142 and my health is wonderful. I’ve been extremely happy although my life is pretty much the same with the same issues. I just can’t be unhappy and I’m thankful for it. Be positive!

This balancing act you can do! Each of us has our own road getting to our target weight but it is so doable. You’ll feel like quitting, you’ll be hungry and you’ll have cravings but the weight will come off. Take before and after photos so you can share your story with others when the time comes because you’ll be so proud of yourselves.

I urge you to get back on a bike or find something you like to do because it’s so much easier to lose weight with exercise. We must do aerobics and weight bearing exercises to stay fit into old age. Picture yourself at 70, or 80, do you want to do things for yourself? Someone told me to visit an old folks home for motivation. You’ll never forget it.

It’s a balancing act you can do!

Sleep 101

If you’re going to bike or do any kind of exercise sleep is something you’ll want to get enough of. Without sleep, you won’t have the energy or concentration needed for your day or ride. There are things your body needs to do that it can only do while you sleep. Many people have trouble sleeping or take sleep for granted but it’s one of the most important things you can do for your body and future health.

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This is a screenshot from my Jawbone UP3 showing a typical night of sleep for me. Let’s see what we can learn from it. As you can see there are 3 kinds of sleep cycles during the night.

Sleep cycles are important.

Not everyone gets the same amount of REM, deep or light sleep a night. It depends on age, the individual and quality of sleep but everyone has these cycles of sleep during the night.

When we are in REM our bodies are paralyzed and we dream. This is why our bodies don’t try to run when we dream about running. REM is not only for dreaming it’s when the mind does it’s sorting of what’s happened during the day. Whether you remember your dreams or not everyone has deep sleep. Our mind needs REM, it makes up sharp and helps us to learn complex things.

For more information on REM sleep: https://www.utzy.com/blogs/blogs/rem-sleep

Deep sleep helps our bodies repair themselves. During deep sleep, our bodies chemically do all the good things we’ll need for the daylight hours. There are functions our bodies can only do at night while in deep sleep. Cells repair themselves and hormones are released. Deep sleep restores us physically and mentally. Deep sleep heals the daytime wear and tear on our bodies.

For more information on deep sleep: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleepless-in-america/201010/the-mysterious-benefits-deep-sleep

Light sleep makes sleep cycles possible. During light sleep our bodies transition between deep and REM sleep. The body rests during light sleep and we can wake up easily.

For more information on light sleep: http://www.sleepdex.org/light.htm

For all of this to happen, we need to get enough sleep each night. We need a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Finding the time for this in our busy lives isn’t easy but if you want the benefits that sleep offers you’ll have to make the time. It takes good sleep planning.

Bedtime is not just for children. 

Give up the late TV shows, get off of the computer and if you go out, plan to get home early. Pick a bedtime you can do every night and stick to it. Set an alarm so you can get ready for bed and be in bed when it’s time to go to sleep. Now that we have On Demand TV it’s not important to stay up for TV shows or movies. Life has its ways of getting in the way be firm about your bedtime.

Before bedtime read or meditate in the dark. 

Some people have problems quieting their minds before sleep. To make sure you’re relaxed enough to sleep after getting ready for bed meditate or read a book for a 1/2 hour or more before your bedtime. Turning the lights out in your bedroom ahead of time and lying in the dark can help bring on a good night’s sleep. Drinking alcohol can help you get to sleep but will play havoc with your sleep cycles giving you a bad night’s sleep.

Here is a good article with tips for better sleep. It states that you shouldn’t read before bed but new studies have found that it can actually help. I read before bed and it puts me right to sleep. It still gives a lot of good information: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20011004/12-tips-better-sleep-troubled-times

Set up your bedroom for sleep.

The bedroom should be as cool and dark as possible. Keep your blinds or curtains shut. I have a window open even in the winter, a stuffy hot room will not help you sleep well. It’s good to keep your bedroom around 50 degrees. I love being warm under a big blanket in a cold room, makes me sleep like a baby.

I make sure all electronic devices with LED’s are off or I put tape over the LED’s so I can’t see them. Blue LED’s or TV/stereo box lights can keep you awake by stimulating your mind just by looking at them in the dark. The darker the room the better.

Make sure your bed is comfortable. Dress in something loose and cool you want to be as comfortable as possible.

If you still need help getting to sleep.

Scent can help you sleep. Lavender is wonderful for sleep I have a spray I can spray on my pillowcase and it puts me right to sleep. Before you go to bed you can take a hot bath and put lavender in it. Either way, it’s heavenly.

Nature sounds of any kind are very relaxing and playing them while you go to sleep can help. There are many applications for cell phones that include timers so you don’t have to turn them off after you fall asleep. This is good if you can’t relax, or if your bedroom tends to be noisy. Do not play music it will keep you and your mind awake.

Make sure you get enough sleep.

I like to get 7 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep a night including weekends. The recommended amount is a full 7 to 8 hours a night. I set my alarms so I go to sleep at 10:05 and get up at 7 am. That leaves me about 9 hours leeway and most of the time I can sleep 8 hours or more. Part of that time is spent reading. I used to be an insomniac now I sleep like a baby but it didn’t happen overnight it took some time and planning.

It’s up to you!

You need to find what is right for you and stick with it. It might take you as long as a few months to get settled into it. Sleeping well is hard work for us folks that have trouble sleeping. It will happen! Things will come up that mess with your sleep plans but the next day get right back at it. As long as you leave time to get ready for bed and have your bedroom set up for sleep you’ll be doing awesome in no time.

Sleep has superpowers.

There are new studies coming out all of the time about the powers of sleep. It’s been proven that getting enough sleep makes you live longer. People who get enough sleep actually eat 300 fewer calories a day when they were well rested. Sleep brightens your mood for the day. People who get enough sleep don’t get sick as much. Your blood pressure goes down when you sleep giving your heart a break. Sleep helps you make better decisions and boosts your creativity. It also gives you more energy. They are finding out new things about how sleep helps us all of the time.

Let me know how you’re doing or if you have any questions about sleeping better.

Now, get some sleep!

Links from howsleepworks.com, psychologytoday.com, sleepdex.org, webmd.com. and The Utzy Blog.