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Upgrading my fitness tracking setup

Old 09-19-21, 04:52 PM
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Dr1v3n
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Upgrading my fitness tracking setup

Current gear:

Fitbit Charge 4
Giant Contend 3 (Road)
Giant Revolt Advanced 3 (Gravel)

Question:

I bought a Fitbit Charge 4 because I didn't want to spend too much money when I first started getting into cycling 5 months ago. I've put in over 1,000 miles already, and I go on 2-3 hour long rides multiple times per week, so it's safe to say I'm a cyclist who isn't going anywhere.

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for and my FitBit Charge 4 strap already broke. I can get another for $30, but I know it'll break again due to the sweat/pH/salt and the device is "okay" at best. I do enjoy the app, but I mostly like that it hooks up to Strava for better statistics (FitBit pushes data to Strava's API via an integration which is nice).

However, I also lift weights, hike, and walk, and I like that FitBit can track those activities as well (as both exercises with GPS enabled and just via the pedometer), since Strava cannot track weight lifting.

So rather than give Google/FitBit $30 more for a piece of crap watch that broke after 3-4 months, I'm looking for your recommendations for a good high quality general fitness tracker with the following requirements:

1. I would like it to be able to work with Strava
2. I want it to have a heart rate monitor
3. I want it to work with power meters and/or bicycle computers that I could put on my bike in the future
4. Must be able to track not just cycling, but other activites I mentioned above
5. Prefer well-built device and band, aluminum? Higher quality plastic at least??

Budget isn't a huge concern as I won't be losing this thing and I'll be using it 7 days per week. Thanks.
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Old 09-19-21, 05:31 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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I love my Fenix 6X.
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Old 09-19-21, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I love my Fenix 6X.
^ Good choice.

That'd be an ideal purchase. It'll do everything you want listed in your original post and more. Certainly not cheap, but a worthy investment.
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Old 09-20-21, 08:39 AM
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My son has a Garmin Vivosmart that he has had since 2017. He wears it all the time and works outdoors so it's getting sweat on it all the time.

However most any of the Garmin watches, Vivo whatevers, Fenix, Forerunner and what ever I left out will probably last longer. Unless you are one of those people that can't wear a watch without it quitting mysteriously. I knew a person long ago that any watch he put on would be trash in a short time.

Check the specs though for each. The different bicycle functions and bike specific sensors they can handle will vary greatly from one model to the next sometimes. Especially in the inexpensive models.
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Old 09-20-21, 04:56 PM
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Depending on your goals, I'd avoid Fitbits for tracking cycling. They make it difficult to get your data out of their walled garden, and if you want to use any outside services or apps (Training Peaks, Intervals.icu, Golden Cheetah, etc), it'll be an annoying amount of fooling around. And (when I had a Fitbit), Fitbit's own analytics aren't cycling-oriented. A plain heart-rate strap with Bluetooth is pretty cheap and will work with the Strava app on your phone. The Garmin watches are much fancier and would be more of a replacement for your Fitbit and communicate with Strava.
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Old 09-21-21, 03:49 PM
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Thanks folks, I went with the Garmin Fenix and already tested it for a few hrs of riding. Much better quality of course.
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Old 09-21-21, 06:08 PM
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I'm a software developer, which means I'm "a numbers guy" who's naturally curious and geeky, and believes technology can improve our lives if we can figure out how to use it properly. Like any tool, but a really powerful one.

After really a lot of experimenting, the things I've found useful to track in terms of my fitness are what I've done lately, and what my overall training load is. For cycling, my best 20, 60, and 120 minute power are the best at a glance for me for where my cycling fitness is. Off the bike, how much distance am I hiking with what elevation gain, how heavy am I lifting with how many reps.

For training load, if you already have a power meter the TSS, ATL, CTL, and TSB stuff works great! But the training load feature in the watch works really well too and if you do a lot of off the bike exercise you'll probably find it more useful than power for fitness and freshness because it understands more of what you're doing.
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Old 09-21-21, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I'm a software developer, which means I'm "a numbers guy" who's naturally curious and geeky, and believes technology can improve our lives if we can figure out how to use it properly. Like any tool, but a really powerful one.

After really a lot of experimenting, the things I've found useful to track in terms of my fitness are what I've done lately, and what my overall training load is. For cycling, my best 20, 60, and 120 minute power are the best at a glance for me for where my cycling fitness is. Off the bike, how much distance am I hiking with what elevation gain, how heavy am I lifting with how many reps.

For training load, if you already have a power meter the TSS, ATL, CTL, and TSB stuff works great! But the training load feature in the watch works really well too and if you do a lot of off the bike exercise you'll probably find it more useful than power for fitness and freshness because it understands more of what you're doing.
Cool. Do you have anything on GitHub related to the Fenix/Garmin APIs or anything? Im into it myself too. It would be cool to nerd out and learn more from you about the tech side of the Garmins. Also, I did see something about training load but haven't gotten to the point of understanding it yet. I imagine as the Garmin watches more of my activities, the data will become more useful... THat's certainly what happened with FitBit at least and this seems to house quite a bit more useful data.
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