Time to get fit



What you need to know:

  • Waterproof up to 50m
  • LCD Screen
  • Year long battery life
  • interchangable bands
  • Accelerometer fitness tracking

What we think you should know:

I’m not very good at being fit and healthy. I have a far too much love for chocolate and if you see me running, there’s a good chance you should start running as well, because I’m likely running from something. When the Garmin Vivofit arrived on the Tech Girl desk I decided it was time to get fit… and toss the McDonald’s coke immediately.


Let’s get into looks first. The Vivofit is pretty. It’s extremely light weight and fits on your wrist much like a watch (it helps that it tells the time as well). The coloured bands are easily interchanged so you’re not stuck with boring black or a bright colour that may not match your cocktail dress.


The first thing I loved about the Vivofit was that it didn’t need to be charged regularly. It has a normal watch battery which lasts for about a year. The problem with a few other fitness bands is that you have to charge them daily – many a time you’ll forget to plug it in to the charger at night and end up not being able to collect data on a regular basis. Saying that, much like many a timepiece, there is no backlight. This didn’t bug me all too much though. If I need to check the time at night I’d usually use my phone and I can’t see when I’d ever need to check my step count at 3 in the morning in the dark.

I decided that if I was going to use the Vivofit for two weeks I was in for the long haul and downloaded Garmin Connect on my phone. It’s a great app that allows you to customise your fitness goals and calculates what sort of activity you need to do each day to meet those goals. It also links up to another app I loaded, My Fitness Pal, which lets you plug in the food you’re eating each day and tells you where you’re going wrong. I’m not going to lie; the food recording lasted all of a day before I forgot. Who has the time to get all this info recorded? I liked that the Garmin Connect app synced really easily with the Vivofit each day (all you need is Bluetooth and to run through a really easy set up process that involves holding a button in).

vivofit9 vivofit10

The Vivofit records your sleep patterns, measures how many steps you take each day and sets you relevant goals, has a heart rate monitor, tells you calories burnt, what your goal is for the day and the kms you’ve done that day. So for the average user, this is great. For me? Not so much. Every morning I wake up before work and go exercise my horses as I showjump. Now, if I use the Vivofit heart rate monitor (there’s a strap you need to wear) it will tell you that I’m exercising. But I have to take the band off because the step counter gets completely flummoxed by me on a horse. This was the recording after I jumped ONE horse in the morning:


My goal for the day was 9890 steps (likely set from all the other times I hit close on 20 000 steps after jumping 3 or 4 horses in a row.

Time to get fit? Or time to question whether these are accurate stats? To be honest though, I’ve tried a few fitness bands and they all tend to fall for the horse trick. How are they to know right?


Oh and if you’re wondering about that red bar across the top of the Vivofit it goes like that when you’ve been sitting on your arse for long periods of time. It’s an awesome way to get you off your chair and away from your laptop. I’m spending far more time getting up and moving between articles and work.


Overall, I really liked the Garmin Vivofit. It was an easy and no fuss device to use. I loved the way it looked and felt on my arm and I did like monitoring how often I wasn’t getting away from my desk. It made me realise how much more moving I need to do. It is time to get fit and I’m definitely keeping the Vivofit around to help me. It’s a great little fitness companion… if we ignore the horse step measurements.

So rad:

  • Always on
  • Water resistant
  • Has a heart rate monitor as well
  • Phone app that accompanies it is one of the best I’ve used

Makes me sad:

  • I need a smarter band to tell the difference between human and horse steps



  • Reply Emma Deetlefs July 15, 2014 at 18:05

    Hi 🙂
    I also ride and must admit I had exactly the same thing, also it annoyed me that if I went to gym and did, say sit ups and push ups it didn’t pick that up either. (Although I didn’t use the heart rate monitor.)

    If you find anything that actually works from a horse point of view please let me know because there must be a way to gauge the rider and horses fitness, calories consumed etc???

    Thank you

    • Reply Sam Wright July 16, 2014 at 11:14

      I’m going to look into it. Heart rate monitors work and you can take that data and figure out calories and the like. But it would be SO much easier to have an app or piece of wearable tech right?

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