5 best Fitbit tips to get loads more out of your Fitbit

Go beyond the basics of fitness tracking

According to those in the know, millions of Fitbits have been shifted in recent years - and many of you reading this will be using one to track your steps, sleep, and various other daily life metrics, with all the company's various devices feeding into the same mobile app.



Part of the appeal of Fitbit's trackers and smartwatches are the ease with which you can configure and use them, but if you want to do more with your device, then there are lots of possibilities - from third-party plug-ins to advanced settings - some of which we'll outline below.

1. Add greater accuracy to your Fitbit

Fitbit

Your Fitbit device will do a great job of tracking your steps right out of the box, but there are ways to make it more precise. If you open up the mobile app then select your synced device, you'll see options for both Wrist Placement and Handedness: tell the app which is your dominant hand and where you're wearing your Fitbit for a greater level of accuracy.

That's not all you can do. If you open up the Account entry from the main mobile app menu, then tap the cog icon (top right), and choose Stride Length, you can tell the app the length of your walking and running stride for a little extra precision. Head to the Fitbit website, log into your account, and you can configure the same options from the web.

2. Export your data manually

Fitbit

Good news! Fitbit lets you export your data out of the official apps and web interface in case you want to use it in other places. Head to your Fitbit account on the web, click the cog icon (top right) and then pick Settings from the list. If you go to the Data Export tab on the left, the interface likes you pick which data you want to save from which time period.

Exported data can be saved in standard Excel (.xls) format or the simpler CSV (.csv), which stands for Comma Separated Variables and leaves you with a very basic table. You can then log, chart, analyse and study this data to your heart's content - put it into Excel and you could do some advanced number-crunching covering the whole year, for example.

3. Export your data automatically

Fitbit

If manually exporting your data time after time sounds like too much effort then there's an automatic option you can take advantage of. IFTTT (If This Then That) enables you to build up custom links between a whole host of well-known apps and services, and Fitbit is one of the channels you can activate. The whole IFTTT service is completely free to use as well.

IFTTT is built around the idea of recipes that combine triggers with appropriate actions. Choose Fitbit logging as your 'trigger' and then Google Drive as your 'action' and it's possible to have your daily activity summaries added to the end of a Google Doc or a Google Sheet, again giving you more ways to export and analyse your collected Fitbit data.

4. Set up customised reminders

Fitbit

The aforementioned IFTTT can come in handy in a host of ways besides logging the data from your Fitbit. For example, one of the triggers is activated when you haven't reached your daily steps goal by a certain time - you can use IFTTT to send you a reminder text or email about this, or even tweet out a motivational message to get you back on track.

The list of potential recipes is a long one: you might want to get an email summary of your weekly Fitbitting, send a text to someone when you've reached your daily targets, or set up iOS reminders to get an early night if you haven't been getting enough sleep. You can even turn on your Philips Hue lights when your Fitbit notices you've woken up...

5. Get extra motivation from Fitbit

Fitbit

If you're heading out for some exercise then the Fitbit app has a built-in feature to help make sure you're really pushing yourself. If you tap your most recent exercise from the dashboard, then tap the stopwatch icon (top right), you have the opportunity to start a walk, hike or run, complete with GPS tracking and some extra voice cues along the way.

What are voice cues? Well, if you enable the feature inside the Fitbit app and then tap on it, you can enable or disable prompts for current distance, time, average pace, split pace and calories burned. If you're regularly being reminded through your headphones just how well (or otherwise) you're doing, then you might find it's easier to keep going for longer.