How does Fitbit work? (A complete guide)

In this guide, we will discuss “How does Fitbit work”, what is Fitbit, what is Fitbit pay and some additional considerations if you are planning on getting a Fitbit or if you already have one.

How does Fitbit work?

If you wonder ‘How does Fitbit work?’ well, it is all about the technology it uses. The Fitbit has a 3-axis accelerometer which means it can track the number of steps you take a day and a few other features such as the distance travel, the calories burned and the number of floors climbed. If you are not familiar with what an accelerometer is, let us tell you that it is simply an electromechanical device that measures acceleration forces where the more sensitive to it is, the more movement and vibration it can sense.

As you may know, there are several bands and smartwatches on the market but why would you buy a Fitbit instead of an Apple Watch, for instance. Perhaps, you have decided to get one based on the concept other people to have about the product (i.e. friends) or you have done your research comparing the features offered with other bands or smartwatches. 

However, in terms of how it counts my steps, it is said to use an algorithm that detects unique motion patterns. As indicated by Megan Tung from, “The motion patterns must be large enough to meet the specific threshold of the algorithm, meaning that some steps could go uncounted if walking on very soft carpet or steps may be added if driving on a bumpy road and the algorithm’s threshold is met”.

When you first buy a Fitbit, and this probably is common across other devices, you need to insert information such as your weight, age and gender. However, when you do this through the app, it will allow you for the program to generate data such as calories burned based on the step count, type and the duration of the exercise. 

What is Fitbit?

Fitbit is an American company created in San Francisco, California by James Park and Eric Friedman with the name of ‘Healthy Metrics Research, Inc’. They offer several products such as activity trackers, smartwatches, wireless-enabled wearable technology devices which measure the number of steps walked, heart rate, quality of sleep, steps climbed, and other metrics concerning physical activity and health. 

Additionally, there are four lines: Charge, Alta, Flex and Ace. The first line, the Fitbit Charge, is said to be the most advanced and costly when compared to the others. It ships with two bands in size small and large, and they have a few colours available. Furthermore, the Charge fitness bands have features such as touchscreen display, smartphone notifications, activity and health tracking and automatic exercise detection, among others.

However, you may have heard of other companies that have stepped up their game to produce similar devices such as Samsung, Apple, Huawei, etc. Every day, it seems there are more and more consumers wanting to buy these types of products which promise to help improve their health.

Fitbit Pay

Fitbit devices have their own operating system so they don’t have access to any of the most popular payment platforms such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google pay. However, Fitbit operates on Android, iOS and window phones. However, to use Fitbit Pay, you need to connect your account to a compatible bank and it works just the same as other payment platforms you may be familiar with. 

Most people believe this feature is helpful but for some, it can pose a risk in case your device gets lost or stolen. 

Which Fitbit is the best for me?

There are many options available and we can start by saying that all of the models have wireless syncing, are water-resistant and are believed to have long battery life. One of the simplest options Fitbit has to offer is the ‘Zip’, which can track your steps, distance travelled and calories burned, when you are active. The Zip will also allow you to see your daily stats and the time. It is also considered one of the most affordable models. 

Next, we have the Fitbit Alta, which can also track your daily activities such as the number of steps, distance walked and calories burned. However, this model can track sleep and has a silent alarm, a tap display and a feature called SmartTrack. This model is a bit more advanced than the Zip because it can recognize and record when you are exercising. Additionally, it can track your sleep and has a silent alarm which vibrates to wake you up. 

One of the most advanced models is the Fitbit Surge, which comes at a higher price when compared to the other models. The Fitbit Surge has the same features as the Fitbit Alta, however, it can also count how many floors you have climbed, control music. Track your heart rate, and have a GPS tracker. 

Tracking your sleep

This is probably one of the most compelling features. Many users are worried about the quality of their sleep and they often wonder if they are getting enough sleep or if they normally wake up and how many times. However, we have to consider that the Fitbit is not the only brand that offers such a feature and there are even apps that are said to track your sleep the same way the Fitbit would.

One of the most popular apps available is Sleep Cycle. This app is free to download but it will contain in-app purchases for more detailed data. Some people find it easier to have an app installed in their iPhone or Samsung than carrying a device with them since no matter what, many of us carry around our phones as if it was an extension of us. 

However, if you are going to use your phone to track your sleep consider what Megan Tung from indicates:

“Currently, the Fitbit has the same type of systematic errors that could happen with the iPhone tracking, but the features are already developed into the iPhone so one does not have to purchase another device. Although the Fitbit does a fairly accurate job tracking movement (steps, stairs climbed, etc), it is not a perfect device due to it being possible to misjudge whether or not the person wearing the device took a step”. 

Why is this blog about How does Fitbit work important?

Fitbit has an array of products and devices that do different things such as counting calories, tracking your sleep, recognizing exercises, among other features. However, remember that the features will depend on the device you have purchased so not all of them will have the same functions. Additionally, Fitbit covers the user’s fitness and health needs, letting you see and track your progress day by day, week or month, allowing you to adjust your personal goals accordingly.

In contrast, as we have mentioned, some users may not need to use a fitbit or any other device since they can have some of the features included within their phones or apps that can be downloaded.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How does Fitbit work,

What is a Fitbit and how does it work?

Fitbit is a company that manufactures a range of devices such as fitness bands, smartwatches, and accessories that you can use to track your exercise, steps, heart rate, weight, among others. The company has mobile apps compatible with iOS and Android devices and an in-browser dashboard where you can see your profession over time.

Do Fitbits help you lose weight?

Fitbit can really help you lose weight since it is a great option to keep track of your physical activity. The Fitbit weight loss plan can help you achieve your weight loss goals if you wear a Fitbit regularly, collect all the data and use the info to make healthy changes not only implementing an exercise plan but also a diet.  

How useful is Fitbit?

Fitbit can become very useful since fitness trackers are believed to help people be more aware of their health, make changes in their lifestyle and increase their physical activity.

Is there a monthly fee for Fitbit?

There is a monthly fee for Fitbit premium which is a new subscription service that can offer specialized service offering personalized goals, challenges, coaching and guidance available in certain countries. The cost is $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year and it will be compatible with Fitbit fitness trackers and smartwatches. 

How many steps should you take a day to lose 2 pounds a week?

The number of steps you should take a day to lose 2 pounds a week will vary. First, it is important to determine how much weight you’d like to lose. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has recommended slow weight loss for lasting results, usually ½ pound to one pound per week. If you complete an extra 10.000 steps a day, it traduces to 2000 to 35000 calories burn per week.