How to Use a Fitness Tracker to Lose Weight

Wearable technology is packed with ways to help you lose weight and stay fit. When you use a fitness tracker or smartwatch in combination with a solid plan backed by a set of actionable goals the dramatic improvement to your health and drop in weight can be astonishing. Cutting-edge fitness trackers divulge valuable information on every aspect of your body and well-being but without intelligently using these insights we miss out on many of the latent benefits.

A fitness tracker and the info it supplies alone are of very little help. But approach any weight loss challenge armed with the advice, guidelines and key considerations we will be listing for you here and you’re guaranteed results. Here’s a concise but comprehensive overview of how to use a fitness tracker to lose weight and achieve your goals.

How a Fitness Tracker Can Help You Lose Weight

Your fitness tracker can help you lose weight in countless ways. It’s up to you to take the first step and start using the full feature set of your chosen tracker. The built-in apps, exercise programs, reporting and metrics are all invaluable to a well-planned weight-loss strategy. However, by themselves they offer very little value. Here we look at how you can use your fitness tracker’s features to support and strengthen your weight loss efforts.

Detailed Calorie Counting

Almost every diet centered around weight loss will bring your daily calorie intake under scrutiny. Gone are the days of notes, paper and charts. Good fitness trackers featuring a calorie counter which can calculate your lean body mass will be the most accurate of them all. This is due to how lean body mass is the main determiner of your basal metabolic rate which is directly relative to the number of calories burned while doing absolutely nothing. Your fitness tracker will most likely support more than one calorie-counting app. Be sure to check our upcoming wrap-up of the best calorie counting apps for your fitness tracker.

Every tracker will use a different calculation to determine the rate at which you are burning calories. Always check that the method used is one that makes sense to you. Not all fitness trackers divulge how they track calories burned yet exhibit results deemed highly accurate by the community. One had need just look at the Nike FuelBand which is loved by users for such an example, yet not all devices can be trusted. Always get an overview of the accuracy of your fitness tracker before committing to a purchase.

Custom Cardio Workouts

Fitness trackers featuring heart rate monitors come at a slightly higher cost than run-of-the-mill fitness bands but the information which they supply can help you develop a workout which is not only optimal for weight loss but your heart as well. Most cardio-sensing fitness watches emit an audible tone notifying you of fixed points within your heart rate elevation. The very best fitness trackers even have voice coaching taking full advantage of the detected BPM of your heart rate and its fluctuations. By accurately monitoring your heart rate during exercise you can determine when you are in the ever-sought-after fat burning zone, fine tuning your training regime from therein out. To figure out what the perfect heart rate is for you to burn calories as in individual simply follow this easy calculation:

Finding Your Fat Burning Zone

  • Determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220 (E.g. 220 – 40 =180)
  • 70% of the value obtained is your target heart rate ( 180 ÷ 100 X 70 = 126 BPM target rate for a 40-year-old)

Most experts suggest that you exercise at 70% of your maximum heart rate with fluctuations up to 85% of your maximum still classified as safe rigorous exercise. Sticking to a 70 percent average will give you the stamina that you need to sustain your workout long enough to burn a good number of calories.

Coaching and Guidance

Fans of fitness trackers will mostly agree that the coaching and guidance features of most good trackers are an immense asset to their weight loss. Coaching and guidance scales all the way from alternating LEDs indicating performance patterns on basic devices to voice assistants adjusting and reporting performance information audibly.

Always see if you can find a coaching app for your physical activity of choice. There are assistants available for almost all fitness trackers from Fitbit monitors to smart rings and watches. Take advantage of the personalized training assistance as most apps factor in your daily activity as well as sporting metrics, whilst compensating for any irregularities in your exercise by adjusting your program on the fly.

Even if your biometric data is limited to the info pulled by your iPhone, there are personal coaches which can help hone your form and support weight loss. Lumo Run is a great coach requiring a sensor which clips onto your shorts, while the Moov Now may be dated but remains a tracker with one of the most comprehensive coaching programs around.

If your fitness tracker does not feature a personal coach, consider downloading a coaching app for your phone. Regardless of whether you’re on Android or Apple, there are some fantastic coaching apps available which you can use in combination with the metrics obtained by your device to fine-tune your training and optimize your weight loss strategy.

Comparative Statistics and Competitive Motivation

Never underestimate the power of motivation and community in weight-loss. Studies show that more than half the people who buy a fitness tracker abandon it completely eventually, while about a third of all people quit using it within just six months. What this indicates is that we need to purposefully use our trackers. The more features we can take advantage of to keep us hooked on using the device the more likely that we’ll fall into a regular pattern of use regardless of our individual habits.

We all know how motivating competition can be and when it comes to metric sharing, all info can be shared anonymously, or selectively with a small group of friends. The data benefits you directly adding to the value of coaching assistants and customized workout programs provided. The same apps and features will keep you on target throughout the day as you keep your profile in check, akin to a social media update. Those who dislike interaction can reap the rewards of detailed charting and comparisons, while those who are used to frequent status updates can now bolster their own inner-motivation through a sense of community.

For example, if one looks at the Misfit Shine’s total tracking and journaling feature which provides a collective picture of your health including a daily photo food journey with links to your diet and exercise, we can soon see how sharing data can motivate weight loss.

The journey is made interactive with milestones and goal-sharing being transformed into an activity which inspires the next action along your weight-loss challenge. Google Fit compatible apps and services are another prime example of metric sharing for motivation at its best.

Many Google Fit apps use the data obtained from the community to customize your workout and provide guidance, while the community-based nature delivers a place for people to share their experience regardless of which physical activity they prefer. You have apps for everything from running to yoga, making a Google Fit watch or other device a great choice for many.

Best Apps to Use with Your Fitness Tracker

There is no better way to jumpstart your weight loss than through changing the entire focus of your lifestyle towards healthy living. Mobile apps allow us a fantastic opportunity to integrate our fitness tracking data into every aspect of our daily lives. Social interaction adds motivation to our weight loss journey while many of the apps out there are actually more accurate than the standard software provided by many fitness trackers.

The more attention you devote to your fitness and weight loss the more you will be able to take full advantage of your diet and lifestyle change, truly using the full feature-set of your fitness tracker. Here’s a look at the best fitness-tracking apps for your mobile, adding the extra oomph to your weight loss.


Runtastic Running and Distance Fitness Tracker

With voice feedback, live tracking of walking, jogging and running with calorie goals, heart rate zone training and motivational prompts, Runtastic Running and Distance Fitness Tracker is one of the best all-round fitness apps for Android. Runtastic lets you map your workout in real time while managing a personal workout diary with charts for altitude, pace, speed and heart rate information.

You can add treadmill, spinning and weight lifting workouts manually while this great app lets you share your sporting activities to Google+, Facebook and Twitter. One of the best features of Runtastic is that it works on almost any device, Blackberry phones included.

Google Fit Fitness Tracking

Google Fit is compatible with all Android devices and receives data from a massive range of compatible fitness trackers. The way that Google Fit uses sensor data is nothing short of ingenious. It gives you accurate metrics on steps taken, calories burned, and distance covered while also giving a host of reports supplying a complete picture of your health and fitness. This easy-to-use app lets you track over 120 different activities estimating the calories burned by doing those exercises and taking into consideration your personal data.

As a social fitness tracker, Google Fit excels allowing you to share your statistics with numerous online communities focused on every area of fitness tracking and weight loss.

Nike Training Club Workouts and Fitness Plans

The Nike+ Training Club app is one of the most comprehensive mobile fitness solutions out there. It gives you expert guidance across over 100 workouts while accepting custom inputs as well. Many of the workouts provided by Nike+ have been designed by renowned athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

You input what equipment you have and how long you have to work out and Nike’s app works out the perfect fitness plan for you, giving you video exercises to complete on a daily basis. Training plans are devised according to goals and classified into strength, endurance and mobility. They usually span a couple of weeks. Nike’s results are known to be outstanding both in terms of the accuracy of their devices and the efficacy of their workout programs.


Apple Health

Even without a dedicated wearable fitness tracker, Apple Health pulls a huge amount of information using the sensors of your iPhone alone. Using your phone’s motion sensors and GPS, Apple Health will tell you how many miles you’ve walked, how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed, the steps you’ve counted, and all the calories burned to a high degree of accuracy. Apple Health uses the HealthKit API to harvest metrics from a range of other devices and apps featuring some of the best cross-platform synchronization of data ever seen. Apple Health breaks down your data into activity, mindfulness, nutrition and sleep. It is one of the most comprehensive total health trackers available and an essential part of any iPhone owner’s fitness and weight-loss. If you aren’t already, start using it and take advantage of the full feature set it provides.


MyFitnessPal is one of the best calorie counters available. It comes with a massive database containing nutritional facts and information for over 2 million different food types. Be sure to setup MyFitnessPal completely, measuring your individual portions as you go and inputting accurate data only. When correctly configured, this is a powerful weight loss aid that will ensure that you are eating the right balance of food for your diet, lifestyle and body. It also works with myfitness pal compatible trackers.

To make the best use of this fantastic app, zoning in on high-caloric meals and switching up your food, be sure to list food entries immediately. Leaving all of your data capturing till the end of the day leaves far too much room for error and will limit the suggestions and data reported by this great app.

7 Minute Workout

The 7 Minute Workout app for Apple devices is the No. 1 rated fitness app on the iStore. It gives you a range of 12 high-intensity bodyweight exercises allowing you to lose weight and get fit fast in just seven minutes a day or less. If you are pressed for time and need a fantastic starting point to begin high-intensity interval training, then download the 7 Minute Workout app today and configure an intensity of exercise which is best suited to your own personal form. With voice prompts and visual cues, you can’t go wrong and the results speak for themselves.

Peloton Digital Fitness Tracking

From the same company who brought you one of the most outstanding ranges of fitness bicycles ever made comes an outstanding premium fitness app. This subscription-only service will set you back $20 per month but Peleton Digital Fitness Tracking is one of the most complete tracking apps available on any platform. Compatible only with iOS, Peloton Digital Fitness Tracking gives you access to library of spin classes and live on-demand exercises harvesting metrics from your Fitbit fitness tracker to customize your experience.

A 14-day free trial is available allowing you to try out the 175+ running and boot camp courses, as well as 15 other outdoor running classes. With this library ever expanding, Peloton Digital Fitness Tracking is sure to grow its fan-base of running, biking and spinning enthusiasts. After all, high intensity anaerobic exercise is the key to rapid weight loss.

Habit Food and Weight

Habit Food and Weight is one of the most innovative apps around. It uses an analysis of your blood and biometric feedback to determine the optimal meal delivery for your health, with real-time coaching provided. Habit requires you to order a Habit kit which you’ll use to take swabs of your DNA and complete measures of your body’s dimensions. After sending this data and the samples of your DNA back to Habit, they are analyzed, and a custom food profile is devised to help you lose weight.

Distribution areas are limited but the results reported by those following Habit’s customized eating plan and prompts is nothing short of astounding. They even offer a customized meal delivery program for those who live hectic lifestyles but still want to eat and live healthy.

5 Must-Know Fitness Tracker Weight Loss Tips

Now that you know how a fitness tracker can help you lose weight and are armed with the best fitness apps for your mobile, implement these five top tips and your weight loss goals are sure to be reached.

1. Never Take Your Tracker Off

It is vital that your tracker record your metrics all of the time. Without having a complete profile of your health, your statistics are flawed. Modern fitness trackers factor in everything from sleep cycles to time spent stationary. You don’t want to gimp your device by taking it off without a good reason. All fitness wearables are designed to be worn all of the time and are extremely durable. We’re not saying keep on that wrist strap until it smells.

Light cleaning is normal and needed but replace your fitness tracker immediately after cleaning and sleep with it on. It needs the data from all of your daily activities for the most accurate results. By having your tracker on all of the time you are also privy to information that you’d normally overlook.

Take the time to inspect step data relative to calories burned and adjust commonly used routes. By taking a more taxing route to work, the gym, or perhaps walking to the café instead of driving all can result in far more weight being lost than you’d expect. Analyze the data from any and all repetitive tasks and see if there is some way that you can make the exercise slightly more taxing with an upward curve to the intensity of the workout which it gives you.

2. Set Yourself Goals and Micro-goals

A fitness tracker can provide you with every detail of your health and physical activity possible but none of that info is worth anything unless you use it to set out and accomplish goals. Be sure to break down your weight loss challenges into the steps which you plan to take to drop the weight. This includes the number of calories burned, the diet plan you shall be following, your frequency of exercise and choice of activities, as well as the information necessary within each section to track your progress properly. There are apps for most high-end fitness trackers which will harvest activity information from over 80 different exercises, capturing your heart-rate, moves used, workout intensity and more. Use these handy tools in conjunction with a set of goals such as an ever-increasing in intensity weekly workout plan to push yourself to the optimal limit to lose weight.

For example, a simple step counter and a plan works wonders for your weight. Given a starting goal of 10,000 steps, increase this target relative to the number of calories which you find yourself burning during that period. Step counting may help more toward general fitness but apply this principle to your exercise routines and you’ll soon devise the best rate to scale your training at. Aerobic exercise at 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate for half an hour at a frequency of just three times a week will up your endurance.

If you find yourself unable to put in the intensity needed to push yourself through a high-paced anaerobic fat-burning workout, you may first need a few weeks of endurance training to hit your goals. If this is the case, note what is needed based on your vitals and break this down into a set of short-term goals. Using this example, we can soon see how customized adjustments to your training can bring out rapid weight loss and a healthy form.

3.  Isolate Step Count and Walk for Weight Loss

Your step count is a reflection of your activity during everyday life. It is not a measure to be factored into your exercise. The number of steps that you take can be leveraged for weight loss but working this data into your calculations when trying to establish the optimal workout will result in nothing but inadequate results. Walking briskly for just thirty minutes a day burns 150 calories on average. Instead of using the data as part of your overall calculation, rather using your walking as an addition means to burn calories independent of your exercise.

Walking for weight loss is a wonderful way to drop extra weight with very little change to your lifestyle and habits. Up until recently, 10,000 steps a day was seen to be a healthy target however recent research shows that 12,000 steps a day dramatically increases the number of calories burned. As a means of exercise, walking is also less detrimental to the body and joints for people who are extremely overweight.

If you participate in little to no exercise and want to use walking as a means of weight loss, here’s an easy plan to follow. Begin your first day with a step count goal of just 2000 steps. Accomplish this in either one round or four bouts of 500 steps each. For six consecutive days, increase your daily step count goal by 500. On the seventh day take a break or cross-train however else you want. At the start of the new week continue increasing your step count goal by 500 a day.

By the end of the first month alone you would have racked up 10,000 steps a day which equates to one pound burned a week if you are following a healthy restricted-calorie eating plan. From here, you can up your step count as you wish striving ever-close to 12,000 steps or stick to 10,000 as it is quite a manageable tally to reach and sustain. Use the data from your fitness tracker to determine your average walking pace and adjust as is needed to hit a good rate of calories burned.

4. Use Resistance Interval Training

Resistance interval training is proven to be far more effective for weight loss than steady-state cardio workouts. All fitness trackers with heart rate monitoring technology should be used to determine the best intensity of workout for your individual conditioning. You need to put in as high of an intensity of training as possible while performing an aerobic exercise such as a few hard rounds on an elliptical machine, jump-rope training with no rest in-between intervals, kettlebells, cycling, swimming or rowing.

High-intensity, high-repetition short interval workouts can fit into any schedule no matter how short of time you may be. Monitor your vitals to determine which exercises put you at 80% of your maximum heart rate and develop a regular, consistent training program.

Resistance exercise high-intensity interval training is so effective for weight loss that many feel that it is the only form of fitness which delivers results. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, works best when you perform a resistance exercise at your peak heart rate of 80% for sixty seconds straight followed by 60 seconds of active recovery. The average HIIT program features 6 resistance exercises such as the leg press, bench press, lunges, shoulder press, biceps curl and triceps extension but any sporting exercise can be adapted.

By keeping an eye on your fitness tracker during exercise, you can isolate the activities which put you in the optimal zone for performance and fat burning, adapting your workout manually in addition to having it fine-tuned by one of the many tracking and fitness apps available. 

5. Use a Nutrition Tracker

A fitness tracker alone helps but to truly cut down your calories and boost your well-being you need to start eating properly. Take advantage of one of the many nutrition trackers available for your mobile device and take the time to configure it completely using accurate data only. Meal planners and nutrition trackers feature comprehensive collections of nutritional information covering every type of food and drink.

MyFitnessPal is one of the best examples of a food and calorie tracker functioning at its best, while countless other online services are available such as CronoMeter allowing you to track your nutrition, fitness and health data, while setting out a healthy eating plan personalized to your body and lifestyle. Tracking the number of calories consumed along-side tracking your calories burned is a sure-fire recipe for rapid weight loss. The perspective which these metrics give you puts you at the perfect place to adjust your daily habits, workout schedule and meal choices for optimal weight loss.

Customize the Solution to Your Personal Weight Loss Challenge

Before buying any fitness tracker on the premise that it can track your chosen sport or activity just because it lists it, make sure that your device logs enough data adequately. Just because a fitness tracker is capable of capturing yoga, does not mean that it accurately captures your movements and metrics. Your fitness tracker can be a huge asset to your weight-loss endeavors as long as it logs the data which is relevant to you on a personal level.

By using your data and the tools at your disposal intelligently according to your own habits, preferences and time, you’ll soon skyrocket your fitness to new levels while cutting away those pounds and pulling in your waist size.