Using the Jawbone UP Tracker to Get Fit - dummies

Using the Jawbone UP Tracker to Get Fit

By James T. Cains

The latest wave of fitness activity trackers can do more than just count your steps and calories. Many trackers also record your sleep habits, monitor your heart rate, and sync to your smartphone or the Internet. Jawbone’s UP trackers do all of these things, plus they have what Jawbone calls a Smart Coach, which is part of the UP mobile app and can analyze all your data from the tracker in order to “give you personalized advice and insights . . . to reach your fitness, sleep, and overall health goals.”

For general information on wearable fitness trackers, see What Is Wearable Fitness Technology and How Can It Help You?

Exploring different Jawbone UP models

Jawbone offers three different UP activity trackers for you to choose from, ranging from about $50 to $190. Of course, the lower-cost trackers won’t have all the features of the more expensive trackers; your choice will depend on your personality, level of commitment, and size of your wallet.

  • The UP Move: This tracker comes as either a belt clip or wristband, and it’s the simplest and least expensive at $50. That said, the UP Move does more than other trackers in the same price range. It not only tracks your steps, determines distance traveled, and calculates your calories burned, but it also tracks your sleep and logs your workout types, which are features you usually find in more expensive trackers. It has an LED-display clock, and it can automatically sync your data to your smartphone so that the Smart Coach can provide you with insight into reaching your goals. Also, the stated battery life for the UP Move is a whopping six months.

  • The UP24: This wristband tracker has everything the UP Move has, except for the clock display. It adds the Smart Alarm, which, Jawbone says, can identify the best time to wake you up during your sleep cycle. The Idle Alert reminds you when to get up and move during the day. Battery life is stated to be up to 14 days. The Up24 costs $130.

  • The UP3: This wristband tracker is one of the few activity trackers on the market that are waterproof, so you can use it while swimming. It has all the features of the lower-cost models, except for the clock, and adds some advanced features. Heart health monitoring allows you to measure your resting heart rate; the lower the rate, the stronger your heart is. Advanced sleep tracking expands the existing sleep tracking by tracking your REM sleep and deep sleep. The UP3 has up to seven days of stated battery life and costs $180.

Getting the most from your Jawbone UP tracker

Jawbone made the UP trackers to work closely with the UP app on your smartphone; you can’t really use it by itself, because the trackers themselves lack any kind of meaningful display. Like most other trackers, the UP tracker comes with Bluetooth, though, which allows for wireless syncing of your data, so the only time you have to plug it in is to charge it.

Here’s some advice on using the Jawbone UP tracker and app to achieve your fitness and health goals:

  • Set goals: Any fitness and health plan needs to start with setting goals. Use the app to set goals, such as steps per day, hours slept per night, and your target weight. The app will give you activity recommendations, tips for sleeping better, and reminders and encouragement for reaching your goals.

  • Log your exercise workouts: With the app, log your different workout types to get a more precise reading of calories burned.

  • Log and monitor your caloric intake: Use the barcode scanner in the app to record your food intake, or log your meals manually. The app will give you a food score to help you make healthier choices.

  • Track your sleep trends: If you wear your tracker to bed, it’ll track how long you sleep, how much of your sleep is REM and deep sleep, and how often you wake up — all of which give you a clearer picture of your sleep quality. You can see your sleep trends and adjust accordingly to get your body into a proper sleep rhythm and make sure you get enough sleep at night.

  • View progress reports: You can evaluate your activity trends. Are there certain days when you slack off? If so, break those habits. Look at your caloric intake over time to see when and where your weak spots are.

  • Use the built-in motivational tools: You can set up notifications to remind you to get active, and you can receive encouraging messages when you’ve hit milestones. The Smart Coach will also push you to improve your performance.

  • Connect with family and friends: Join a team to work toward reaching your goals together. Encourage and challenge each other, and compete for position on the team leaderboard.

    The UP app dashboard.
    The UP app dashboard.