Earlier this summer, Weight Watchers introduced a new gadget called the ActiveLink. It is similar to the FitBit in that it’s cute, compact, clips onto you, and measures your activity throughout the day. At night, you plug it into your computer where it downloads the data and syncs with your online tracker. Being the gadget whore that I am, I NEEDED ONE IMMEDIATELY, without even really looking into exactly why I might need it.
It arrived around the time that I was in the middle of my Weight Watchers revolt, and apparently you can’t transfer it to another person so I was stuck with it. It sat on my desk for a while until I picked it back up last Saturday when Weight Watchers and I made up. The first week is the assessment phase, where the ActiveLink takes notes on how you go about your daily routine so it can set a baseline for earning Activity Points. To my annoyance, I learned that I couldn’t track my activity the normal way during assessment, so I don’t really know how many I earned. Not that it mattered since I wouldn’t have used them anyway, but still a small annoyance.
My initial reaction was “BOOO-SHIET! I only earned ONE activity point per day?! I worked out nearly every day this week!” What a waste of time. I know I burned way more calories than an average of one activity point per day, so this technology is certainly flawed.
I looked at my week’s workout schedule to see what activities I did each day and it went like this:
Sunday Row circuit
Monday Pump Challenge (high reps, low weights)
Tuesday Power walk & yoga stretch
Wednesday Pump Challenge
Thursday Hardcore Abs
Saturday Row circuit
I don’t think it had synced my Saturday workout yet, thus the blank entry for that day, but even then I would have only earned one AP for rowing. BOOO-SHIET. I regularly burn 225-270 calories rowing for 30 minutes. That’s gotta be worth more than one AP. Notice that the ActiveLink spiked on Tuesday when all I did was walk and stretch.
This tells us what should have been obvious to me already: it tracks solely based on movement and not on your heart rate. It does not take into account the calories I am burning while standing relatively still but lifting heavy weights. For you spinners out there, it will probably not accurately guess your points earned while you sit on a stationary bike. And it is not taking into account the rate at which I am burning calories while resting. Not that I’m all muscle, but I like to believe that I do have more muscle mass than the average Weight Watcher in my height and weight range.
I can see how the ActiveLink would be most useful for someone who runs a lot, but for someone like me whose main activity is weight lifting, my Polar heart rate monitor is still king. This is yet another thing that makes me question if Weight Watchers is for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to use it to track food and exercise, but I can’t see how any serious health and fitness fanatic could use it as their #1 option. For the average person who needs guidance? Absolutely a great program. Luckily for Weight Watchers, that’s what most of the world is like.
ActiveLink is challenging me to earn 3AP per day based on its system, so you know what damn it, I accept this challenge. Even though I am already working out plenty, I’ll make you happy and spazz around some more by reintroducing Insanity to my daily routine. Yes, I am this competitive that I’d start INSANITY AGAIN just to prove to you that I am more active than you say. At the end of the week, I better have doubled my AP earnings or else I’m chucking this thing.