I’ve never really been one for the gym. I did ballet throughout my school career so I never developed that “go to gym” mentality. Once the dancing extracurriculars stopped, I didn’t really change my lifestyle to maintain the exercise. I’ve always been active, but probably not as active as I should have been.
Last year November I discovered that I have high cholesterol, a gene I had inherited from my father. Fortunately, if I improved my diet and exercise routines I would be able to treat my cholesterol without medication. This forced me into a gym. I loved it, but the motivation to actually go 5 times a week slowly started to slip in the past few months.
Meet the Fitbit Ionic
The latest watch to be added to the Fitbit ranks, the Ionic is a “fitness first” wearable with smartwatch features. I got to test it out and give my two cents about it – with a small part of me hoping that this wearable was the push I needed to get the gym motivation back.
Looking at the Active Fitness stuff
You can choose from “10-Minute Abs“, “7 Minute Work Out” or “Treasure Chest“. Each comes with their own reps, instructions, and if you have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing (like me most of the time), there are on-screen examples of what you’re supposed to do. These adapt based on the feedback you give after each workout and will push you harder or take it a little easier on you the next time you do that workout. They are very hectic on battery usage though, so make sure you’ve charged your Ionic before starting. What’s even cooler is that in 2018, we can expect Audio Coaching on the Ionic using Bluetooth headphones. I’m amped.
Swim, with your watch, and have it tell you how many laps you’ve done
Yes, the Ionic has a swim work out mode. With it, you can keep tabs on your laps, duration of works out and calories burned during your time in the pool.
Right off the bat, I was interested to find out how accurate the lap tracking would be for a user who isn’t able to tumble (that cool flip swimmers do to turn around when they reach the end of the pool. Yeah, I can’t do that either).
The Ionic boasts “industry-leading lap counting” so I jumped into the pool to find out for myself (jumped is a lie. Realistically, it took me about 25 minutes to “make friends with the water”. I’m not big on swimming).
I was super impressed by the Ionic’s performance. Despite being in a smaller pool and needing to do more laps to make up the distance of one Olympic lap, the watch tracked everything perfectly. It tracked the appropriate amount of laps I had completed, along with the correct distance equivalent, even without a fancy turn or tumble.
The Ionic’s auto exercise recognition even picked up the warm-up lap I had done to convince myself I could actually do this before I started the work out on the device. Unlike the running companion, that auto-pauses when you grab some water or take a breather and automatically resumes when you start running again, I did notice some inconsistencies in my swim data when taking longer breaks between laps.
What about if I’m training for a triathlon?
Although the Fitbit Ionic now has running, cycling and swimming modes, there isn’t a triathlon mode. You would still need to record each of those workouts individually, but I can only imagine with the introduction of swim mode, triathlon mode isn’t far behind.
Music, the best motivator
The Fitbit Ionic has 2.5 GB of storage for more than 300 songs to keep you motivated during your workouts. You can play these by connecting your Ionic to any Bluetooth device.
The everyday stuff
The all-time favourites
Step counter, calories burnt, sleep monitor, reminders to move, they’re all there. In fact, with a new fancy, high techy tech sensor installed, your Ionic can pick up more details about your health and wellbeing, even being able to pick up things like sleep apnea.
Between the reminders to move and the sleep monitoring, I’m not actually sure which one is my favourite.
Make your Fitbit Ionic your own
I’m all about customisation and personalisation. With the Fitbit app, you can choose from different watch faces to select the one best suited for you.
Take a moment to breathe
Remember how I wasn’t sure which feature was my favourite? I was actually just saving my personal favourite for its own paragraph.
The relax app is my ultimate favourite since it allows me to take a two-minute breathing session and calm me down. I used this app before going to bed each night since I have issues with slowing down before trying to sleep, and I felt a difference when using the app. You’re also motivated to keep your breathing in the green – something I struggled with in the beginning but seem to have gotten the hang of now.
The Fitbit Ionic boasts a 4+ day battery life, and I can confirm this. Depending on how much you’re using it, and how many workouts you’re doing, obviously, the battery will take more strain.
All the rest
Like other devices, the Fitbit Ionic has the call and text notifications – I only really made use of the call notifications though since 90% of my texts come through WhatsApp which isn’t supported, unfortunately.
There is also a new feature called Fitbit Pay which, like the name suggests, allows for payments to be made with your Ionic wherever contactless payments are accepted.
The watch itself
The Ionic comes in three neutral colour combinations;
– Silver grey tracker and clasp with blue grey band,
– Smoke grey track-er and clasp with charcoal band,
– Burnt orange tracker and clasp with slate blue band.
Additional accessories will be available in a black and charcoal or cobalt and lime two-toned breathable Sport Band, as well as a hand-crafted and perforated Horween leather strap in cognac or midnight blue.
What I can appreciate is that the watch comes with two sets of bands; Small/Petite and Medium/Large.
But let’s address the elephant in the room (er, on my wrist)…
The Fitbit Ionic is a big watch. I am a petite person. Having the watch on my wrist made it look and feel even bigger.
Do I love the watch and everything it can do? Of course.
Did the size get annoying at times? Yes. However, I’m not a watch-wearer to begin with. That might also have something to do with it.
The price? R5,499 in select stores.
I loved getting to try out the Fitbit Ionic, even with the size of it on my tiny wrists. It’s probably not for everyone since it is a fitness first device, but if you’re looking for a fitness tracker that packs a serious punch, the Ionic is seriously great. I’m also happy to report that my short time spent with the Fitbit Ionic definitely reignited the motivation I needed to keep on track and continue to live a healthier lifestyle.
Disclaimer: Tech Girl was given a Fitbit Ionic to review.