Now, normally when an email arrives offering me diet or exercise products I politely ignore them. It's not that I don't want to be fitter and lose some weight – I've had two kids, so of course I do – but I just really struggle to find the time in my day to fit in formal exercise. When the email came from Fitbug I initially wrote a similar response, but then something made me stop and re-read their original email and look into it a bit more.
So why was Fitbug so different? Very simple, I saw the word "walk" in what they were saying. Now, whilst I hate running, I LOVE to walk. I walk all over St Albans with the kids and the buggy and in my days before children Mr C and I used to love going out for a long walk together, either close to home or as we explored another city. Walking is something that I can still easily do with the children and I therefore saw a possible way to get fit without having to make any drastic changes to my lifestyle and that appealed.
When my Fitbug air arrived I was impressed – a small little device that easily fits in your pocket (or even slips inside your bra if you're wearing something without a pocket. Once you've set it up telling it how long your stride it it counts your steps throughout the day, and also counts your "aerobic" steps too – these being the ones when you're going faster and really buring the energy.
The Fitbug air then links via bluetooth with my iPhone so that I can then display on the Fitbug app all the details of that day's exercise and I can keep track of where I am against the targets that Fitbug set me each week.
The other element of Fitbug is that you can log on to their website to keep track of what you eat as well, so that you are tracking the calories going in as well as the amount of exercise you're doing. That helps you understand what you need to change to make out greater than in and hence lose weight.
As there are several mums who have been involved in the Fitbug campaign it's actually become quite addictive and competitive to take photos of the number of steps that you manage each day and share it on social media. It's also addictive to keep checking how many you have managed that day and that in itself makes you think "oh I'll just go out for a walk to get my steps total up", so in other words it's making you do exercise that you might not have otherwise done! Sneaky.
At the moment I'm really enjoying using my fitbug to keep track of the exercise I'm doing, and whilst I may not always be hitting my targets it is definitely making me walk more than I might otherwise do.
I do have a couple of niggles with it though. Firstly, it's not possible to enter what you eat via the iphone app. That means you have to actually sit down at your computer to enter it and as a result I just don't always get around to doing so. It would be so much handier if I could do it whilst on the go.
The current marketing campaign is focussed on mummy bloggers and whilst I realise that mums are not necessarily a huge part of their target market overall there are a couple of small changes that would make it even better. Firstly when you set it all up you need to enter your weight and waist circumference. Now, I had a baby ten months ago and there's still a bit of mummy tummy there that needs some work. I know this. My son is a daily reminder that I had nine months of carrying him. Therefore getting a message when I enter my waist circumference telling me that it's far too big for my height and weight wasn't exactly encouraging. Maybe being able to say when you gave birth in the set up would be useful.
The other thing that I would like to take into account is that when you walk as a mum you're often not just walking. On some occassions I may be pushing a buggy with two children in it – so probably 4 to 5 stone in weight. Other times I may have a child in a sling on me whilst walking. I'm sure that both of these burn more energy than just walking so what can't we have an option somewhere to say that a certain period of activity was done in this way?
I'm really enjoying using my Fitbug and need to spend a bit more time keeping track of what I eat so that I can try to get rid of some of this remaining baby weight. At the open day that they hosted at the local Westminster Lodge leisure centre I enjoyed hearing from Joanna Hall about Walkactive and now I just need some time with her book and DVD to put that into practice a bit more too. If you're a mum looking to walk off some of that baby weight and get fitter then in my mind this is a perfect way to try to do so.
Disclaimer: I was sent a Fitbug Air for the purposes of this review and also went along to their open day along where I received a goody bag.