Fitbit Flex Tips: Get more from your fitness tracker

Fitbit Flex Tips: Get more from your fitness tracker

The tiny tech pill disguised in a wristband: the Flex packs a lot of fitness potential
Fitbit Flex Tips

The Fitbit Flex may have been superseded by the Fitbit Charge duo and the Fitbit Surge, but the budget-friendly Flex is bound to still be a big seller for Christmas 2014 and well into 2015.

So if you’ve recently unwrapped a Fitbit Flex, or you’re thinking of buying one then you’ve come to the right place as we’ve created the missing manual for squeezing out extra smarts from your Fitbit fitness tracker.

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At Wareable we’ve spent time living with the band to bring you the answers to the big Fitbit Flex FAQs, and generally give you a handy manual crammed with information on how to make the most of the Flex’s best features, plus a few hidden gems.

Read on to become a Fitbit Flex master.

Get better accuracy

As your dominant hand will be moving more than the other, it will also provide more data, however not all of this will be relevant, which means your Flex needs to calibrate itself accordingly. When you’re in the app, you can tap on the large icon at the top of the home screen and then select a wrist. Just tell it which arm you're wearing your Fitbit on.

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Opting for the dominant limb is fine, but the machine needs to know so it can adjust its sensitivity to account for the extra motion.

Fitbit Flex tips and tricks

Map your stats: Use GPS with the Flex

The MobileRun feature, added in January 2014, uses GPS data to more accurately track your walks and runs, offering up info such as pace per mile, distance travelled and a map of your precise route.

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You can also control your iTunes playlists from inside the app. To start using MobileRun, go into the app and select the Exercise from the home screen. Then tap on the small stopwatch in the top right and you should soon see a map of your location. Then just hit Start when you're ready to track your run.

Link the Flex with MyFitnessPal

If you're planning to record the food and drink you've gobbled and quaffed throughout the day, you're best off using MyFitnessPal's database, which is impressively extensive.

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Connect your MyFitnessPal account to your Fitbit account and your daily calories intake will be sucked into your Flex stats for a better picture of your overall health and wellbeing.

Sleep late: Retrospectively track sleep

When it's time for bed, you can put the Flex into sleep mode in order to track those zzzs. But if you wake up realising you forgot to do so, don't fret - you can still track your night's sleep.

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The Fitbit Flex is always recording, so you can add a new sleep record for the night you missed via the app. Just fire it up and tell it when you went to sleep and when you woke up and, hey presto, your lovely sleep data will all be there, showing you when you were most restless and when you were in your deepest sleep.

Fitbit Flex tips and tricks

Sleep easier: Sleep mode not working? Try this

Tap as you might, it can sometimes be difficult to get the Fitbit Flex to go into Sleep Mode. Before you reach for cups of cocoa, bedtime stories or start counting sheep, try tapping on the curve above the light display rather than on the space below it. The Flex is often more responsive to touch input on this part of the device, despite it seeming less obvious.

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Be sure-footed: Make sure you enter an accurate stride length

The Flex will guess your stride length based on your height and gender, but it's better to actually enter this value yourself in order to guarantee better accuracy. You can change this value under Personal Info on the Fitbit dashboard.

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Measure your stride using a tape measure or piece of string and try to give Fitbit the most accurate stride length you can - it'll make a big difference in the long run.

Correct the Fitbit Flex's stats

When performing a stationary activity, the Fitbit Flex will occasionally think you've dosed off for a nap. Don't worry if that's the case, as you can review these activities and label them appropriately. Just go into your sleep records, find the recorded activity and label it correctly to whatever you were doing (driving, pushing a stroller, whatever) and it will correct itself.

Fitbit Flex tips and tricks

Set better goals: Adjust your step goal

You can alter your daily step goal but the feature is slightly hidden away. You need to open the Fitbit software and then make sure that you have a tile for steps displayed on the dashboard.

If it isn't already, click the small green menu tap at the top left and tick the Steps box. Then, once it's on the dashboard, click the small gear icon in the bottom left of that tile.

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Your weekly goal will be set to 70,000 steps by default but you can now adjust the daily goal to whatever you so wish. And it doesn't have to be steps; you can change it so the status lights indicate another value such as distance or calories.

Band Aid: Buy some extra wristbands

The Flex is designed to sit comfortably on your arm, but those wristbands do wear down quite easily. Luckily the Flex is actually just a small pill-shaped device that sits in the main part of the wristband.

Fitbit Flex guide

You can easily take it out of one wristband and place it into another. It's recommended that you get a couple of extra bands as backup as you don't want to be caught out and left waiting around for a new wristband to ship.

Save battery life: Disable all-day sync

When enabled, all-day sync will mean that your Fitbit is syncing automatically with your paired device throughout the day. It's a feature that's enabled by default, but it will drain the battery of both your Fitbit Flex and paired device, so you may want to disable it in order to save some juice.

Just tap on the Flex tab at the top of the app home screen and toggle all-day sync so it's off.

Share your Fitbit Flex tips

Got a Fitbit Flex? Share a trick that’s changed the way you use your fitness tracker using the comments function below...

19 Comments

  • Ronnie says:

    How can you get replacement bands without buying a new Fitbit?

    • Rich_L says:

      You can go to anyplace that sells the flex, theyll have bands sold in packages of 1 to 3.Target also sells 3rd party bands

    • lisaluvsu says:

      Amazon has a set of 10 for  $14 , assorted colors

  • bazza says:

    does it monitor heart rate etc

    • j.stables says:

      Not the Fitbit Flex, Bazza. Need the Charge HR. Look out for a full round up of HR monitoring devices next week.

  • Danielle says:

    where can u buy just the charger for the fit bit?

    • Jenn says:

      I recently lost mine and had to purchase the charger directly through FitBit's website.

  • Jerseygiiirl says:

    thanks so much for the tips. Question, you said sometimes it thinks it's dozing off and to go in the sleep record? I'm lost!! I was just walking with a stroller and it barely picked up any steps, is there a way to change that?

    • Sblanchette says:

      put it on your shoe when pushing a stroller or grocery cart... Has made a huge difference! Hope that helps.

  • Poceuged says:

    My fitbit flex is charged, but my cell phone app says that the battery is empty, everything else is synced fine

  • slsonline says:

    I used the GPS feature on the app for my walk, but it doubled the steps and distance. Is there a setting I missed?

  • Kazza says:

    I've just got a flex and am a little disappointed. In the past I've used a simple pedometer with an accelerometer in it to be worn on a belt line over the hip for 10,000 step programmes. It was actually quite accurate and would not register steps in a car or sitting at a desk.

    The trouble with wrist counters is that they over-count. Even on my non-dominant hand, sitting quietly at my desk for 30 mins typing and reading emails, with some paper shuffling, that's 79 'steps!' Over a 7 hour day that's about 1100 steps overcounted. Add a few more for other movements and waving my arms talking to colleagues (!) and that's more. I thought the device might be a little smarter than that. 

    It is good as a movement motivator, but I have to adjust my step goals taking this inaccuracy into account.

  • Bella says:

    Is it supposed to be lit up when you are wearing it?  I walked my dog and it wasn't counted, but it isn't lit up when it's on.  (It didn't measure my sleep last night, either. )  I just got it yesterday, and am thinking I'm not doing something right.

  • Deb says:

    Does FitBit Flex have GPS or do I have to have it connected to my phone for GPS?  I would like to just sync at the end of the day to save battery

    • p.lamkin says:

      No it doesn't, you'll need your phone. The Fitbit Surge does though.

  • vin says:

    Is Fitbit having a problem with their site? I can't set new alarms, can't change goals, nothing ... the dashboard is dead!  All I keep seeing is: How do you like our new tiles?

  • teacher says:

    I AM ON A SCREEN THAT TRACKS MILES, MINUTES, AND AVERAGE PACE AND CAN'T  SEEM TO GET OUT OF IT???  WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?  THERE IS NOT AN ARROW BACK OR AN X .

  • Blizzard says:

    amazon also sells bands rather cheap with tons of colors and designs. Also bangles 

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