I Wore a Fitbit During Fashion Week

I walked a lot, and learned even more -- about wearable tech and "wireless dongles."
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Tyler McCall
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I walked a lot, and learned even more -- about wearable tech and "wireless dongles."
This was from September, but just picture this same enthusiasm with much more snow. Photo: Nina Frazier Hansen/Fashionista

This was from September, but just picture this same enthusiasm with much more snow. Photo: Nina Frazier Hansen/Fashionista

Just call me the Fashionista guinea pig: Having already crossed wearing the same thing every day off the list, this season I've been tasked with tracking my physical activity during the crazy time we call fashion week. As nervous as I was to find out what my life during fashion week looked like by the numbers, I dove in head first.

Fitbit sent me the Fitbit Charge HR (retailing at $149.95), which tracks not just your heart rate and daily activity (steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed) through the course of the day, but also your sleep patterns throughout the night. It can also track your workouts if you're too not busy running around to shows and tweeting about news to fit any in. This apparently all works by using LED lights reflecting off the skin to detect changes in your blood volume — the future is now people.

I made a rookie mistake trying to set up the Fitbit on the last day of Mercury retrograde (lol I'm a #fashun person) so my computer kept refusing to read the device. It also kept notifying me that the "Wireless Dongle" was missing. Wireless. Dongle. Like, who at Fitbit approved that name for this thing? For the record, the wireless dongle is a USB that reads all the data from your Fitbit when you get to your computer (read the instructions that come with your electronics, friends). But still, it's called a "Wireless Dongle," which I said all week to torture Eliza.

After waiting out the end of Retrograde, everything synched up perfectly and my adventure began. I also synched it up with MyFitnessPal, a mobile app I've used in the past to track my food consumption. Unfortunately, that proved to be too much for me to remember to keep up with, so I totally blew it — and MyFitnessPal was kind enough to remind me, first by sending me notifications for every meal I failed to log, and then by one final, passive-aggressive notification about my ignoring those notifications. Computers are getting too smart, guys.

Like, calm down.

Like, calm down.

Of everything I logged, my sleep results were the most surprising, actually: On average, I was sleeping about seven hours a night (I promise I'm not bragging, fellow fashion editors). Fitbit also tracked the amount of times I woke up during the night, and with the exception of Wednesday night, when I hit up an after party and had a few drinks, the data suggests I slept pretty soundly. Except: I was still absolutely exhausted every morning, dragging myself out of bed and requiring a lot of caffeine. It could be because I was filling my body with trash (hello, burrito bowls), because I was never really shutting my brain off, or because I've become too accustomed to my beloved weekend sleep-in sessions — regardless, those hours of sleep were not translating. 

Another surprise was that Fitbit vibrates enthusiastically every time I hit my steps goal, which was set at the default 10,000. It's useful, I guess, but when you forget that it's going to happen (as I did), it is extremely alarming to have your wrist suddenly start vibrating. Also, Fitbit sent me these things they called "badges" for various quote-unquote accomplishments. Obviously, as a competitive person and self-proclaimed magpie, I was way into this. I unlocked seven, including the "Boat Shoe" (why a boat shoe, I don't know) for walking my first 5,000 steps, the "Ferris Wheel," for climbing 75 floors and the "Marathon," for walking over 26 miles.

Me with all my Fitbit badges like a proper Girl Scout. Photo: Nina Frazier Hansen/Fashionista, Artwork: Original

Me with all my Fitbit badges like a proper Girl Scout. Photo: Nina Frazier Hansen/Fashionista, Artwork: Original

In total, I walked 86,915 steps totaling 38.63 miles. For perspective, from tip to tip, the island of Manhattan is about 13.4 miles long, which means I walked that distance almost three times. I climbed a total of 318 floors; One World Trade Center has 104 floors which means I could have climbed it just over three times (except there's all those rats there, so, no thanks). 

I learned two things through this experience: One, I totally understand now why people are trying to make wearable tech better. I was thankful to be wearing sweaters the whole week because, useful though it may be, this thing is...so not the #aesthetic. Second, the walking around isn't what really gets you — it's climbing all the stairwells in the subway system. Feel free to check out my ass, y'all, I'm betting it's pret-ty great right now. 

I will say, I think that these numbers would have been even higher had I done this during the September shows. When it's nicer outside, I'm much more inclined to walk places rather than take cabs or squirrel myself into the subway to go two stops.

Though, if my editor is reading this, maybe someone else can try next season?