When the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, motivation to move is hard to come by. Fitness trackers and smartwatches are great accessories just for that reason: they track your activity so you know, without a shred of doubt, how much you’re moving.
But how do you choose the right fitness tracker for you? In my opinion, the key to getting the most out of your fitness tracker is to choose one to track your whole health. Every bit of it, from sleep to heart rate to how long you’re in a fat burning zone, is important to keep you fit and healthy. That’s where the Fitbit Charge 3 comes in.
The Fitbit Charge 3 tracks your daily activity, motivates you to move throughout the day, automatically track your workouts, and monitors your heart rate all day long. It’s slim, sleek, and comfortable to wear, and it feeds you a stream of information to keep you engaged and striving to excel. I work out 4 or 5 times a week, and the Fitbit Charge 3 keeps the pace with me every day.
Here’s my take on the Fitbit Charge 3, how it stands up to a daily workout, and what you can expect when you wear one.
Appearance and features on the Fitbit Charge 3
The watch itself is a rectangle in shape and takes up most of my wrist, but it’s not bulky. Unlike a standard round watch, this design blends with what you’re wearing. It’s comfortable too, and unless I look down at it, I don’t notice I have it on.
This is an easy-to-wear fitness watch available in multiple colours including grey, black, berry, lavender, and white. The casing is either graphite or rose gold. Fashion-wise, it reminds me of a bangle. You could easily accessorize the same wrist and it would blend right in.
The included classic strap is sweat-resistant. I’ve worn fitness watches with a strap which can irritate the skin underneath when it gets damp or wet. I’ve worn the Fitbit Charge 3 for two solid weeks and I haven’t experienced irritation of any kind.
New to fitness tracking? Dive right in
If you’ve never used a Fitbit or fitness watch before, you’ll find the Fitbit Charge 3 is a great way to dive into the world of fitness tracking. It has a few unique features to make it simple and effective.
This tracker is controlled by a button on the side of the device as well as a touchscreen. Just double tap to open the screen and scroll back and forth. The button on the side will take you back through the screens to the watch face, but you can also use the touchscreen to scroll back.
The Fitbit Charge 3 will:
- Tracks steps, stairs, distance, and calories burnt
- Water-resistant up to 50 meters to track swims or shower with it on
- Accurately tracks different activities including running, cycling, weights, and circuit training
- Auto detects your activity if you forget to tap the screen to start and pauses your activity mid-workout
- On-board GPS via your phone
- Has timers, smart notifications, and weather
- Relax mode assists with guided breathing for stress relief
Working out with the Fitbit Charge 3
My main goal in testing the Fitbit Charge 3 was to see how it stands up to daily workouts. After using it for a few weeks I’ve found the workout data to be extremely accurate, the heart rate data detailed, and the automatic tracking and pause feature very helpful when you forget to tap to start your workout.
When you set up your Fitbit Charge 3 you’ll have the option of adding different exercise shortcuts. It comes standard with running, treadmill, and swimming, but you can also add circuit training, weights, golf, pilates, and more. Whatever type of exercise you do, you can choose to track it with this device.
Tailor your workouts to exactly what you’re doing
The option to choose your workout is great if you switch things up frequently because tailoring your device to exactly what you’re doing means the tracking for calories and effort is accurate.
Tracks steps from all of your workouts
To assess the accuracy, I compared the Fitbit Charge 3 data to the data from my favourite running app as well as the data from another fitness tracker I wear. I found the Fitbit to be very accurate in terms of steps, distance, and calories.
The Fitbit Charge 3 also does something my other fitness tracker doesn’t do: track steps from within your workout and not just for runs or daily walking. I’ve been a bit frustrated when I do a week of circuit training and my regular tracker doesn’t recognize those workout steps as actual steps. Trust me, I was stepping, climbing, and jumping, but I still didn’t make my 10,000 step goal that day.
With the Fitbit Charge 3, I worked out every day and I made my goal every day. The step count moved right when it was supposed to, and nudged me to get going if I was sitting for too long. I love the disco ball and fireworks when you hit your goal.
Auto-detect when you forget to tap
The best fitness trackers seamlessly blend in with your day-to-day life. If a workout is part of your day but you forget to tap your tracker screen, you want to know the tracker recognizes what you’re doing and keeps the pace. I’ve found the Fitbit Charge 3 is one of the best for auto-detecting your exercise.
There were quite a few times I purposely didn’t tap the screen to start a run on the treadmill or start a circuit, and it picked up the exercise duration and type every time. It takes a minute for it to attempt to connect to the GPS on your phone if you’re outside, but otherwise, it knows exactly what to do.
All day heart rate
One of my favourite parts of the Fitbit Charge 3 is the heart rate monitor. If you have the watch set to all-day sync you can just open the app and look at your heart rate in real-time.
It provides you with data on your different heart rate zones, and you can use the data to tailor your workouts. One of my 45-minute cardio workouts kept me in the fat burning zone for 20 minutes, and now that I know how effective it was, I’ll definitely do the circuit again.
A low resting heart rate shows exactly how fit you are, and the Fitbit Charge 3 will track your resting heart rate over days, months, weeks, and the year. You can see exactly how you’ve improved your health.
Smart notifications on the Fitbit Charge 3
While the Fitbit Charge 3 is not a smartwatch, it does provide you with smart notifications right on your wrist. Within the app, you can set what notifications you receive and which apps you’ll receive updates from. You can’t reply to anything on the watch screen, but the vibration is enough to prompt you to pick up your phone and check in.
Relaxation is built right in
Exercise is only one part of an overall health plan, and Fitbit recognizes that. There’s a guided meditation right on the Fitbit Charge 3 where it monitors your breathing and walks you through a quick relaxation plan. It’s a great option to de-stress during the day, and because it senses your breathing, you can really see where your anxiety/stress levels are at.
Female health tracking & trends
The last time I tested out a Fitbit the female health tracking wasn’t available yet, so it was definitely something I wanted to check out when I tested the Charge 3. Available right on the dashboard of the app, female health tracking lets you track your period and/or ovulation. You just need to enter information for two monthly cycles and it can give you a month by month overall picture of your reproductive health.
Overall thoughts on Fitbit Charge 3
The Fitbit Charge 3 is a comfortable, effective fitness watch. I like it because it’s not overly bulky, and it looks great on the wrist of both women and men. The touchscreen navigation makes it simple to use. It also provides you with a treasure trove of data you can use right now to improve your overall health, and it’s great that it tracks all steps, not just running or walking.