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FitBit Challenge

Coach Seán here to help you get the most of out of your FitBit and your training to help you achieve your goals for 2019!

Judging by my Facebook feed, it seems like a lot of people got a FitBit for Christmas.

A lot of people use a FitBit to track their workouts (primarily their steps). By now, you know that we can track our heart rate during workouts. We can see the calories we burned. However, we all burn calories at different rates. The more challenging a workout is, the more calories we burn to complete it. “Challenging” is very subjective to the person. Is burning 300kcals in a workout good? Is 20 minutes in the cardio zone good? What do we have to motivate ourselves. What do these metrics truly mean?

The problem with Active Minutes, Calories burned and Heart Rates

Let’s take a 5km run.

One person does the run in 20 minutes, the other in 40 minutes.

Which person had the more challenging workout that will lead to them being more fit and run faster in the future.

Initially, you would say the person who ran in 25 minutes? But what if that person usually runs a 5km in 15 minutes? The 20 minute 5km doesn’t seem as challenging to them. The person doing the 40 minute 5km may have had to exert themselves more. It might have been their first 5km ever.

Therefore the person doing the 40 minutes 5km, worked harder. It works the other way too.

The point is, I wanted to create a challenge that rewarded the person who dug deep through a workout rather than just time.

But what about calories burned you may ask?

The fitter you are, the more economical your body is i.e your body uses energy more efficiently and it is therefore harder to burn calories. You have to push yourself harder in the workouts. We all burn calories at different bodyweight and level of fitness and we all require a vast range amount of calories to be burned to achieve our own individual goals.

So we can’t have a challenge that doesn’t reward you the fitter you get.

I’m not saying the amount of calories burned is not a good thing but I wanted to use a metric that makes the playing field as even as possible.

A Challenge that rewards you for the harder you work rather than just the minutes (same principle as above applies to where 20 ‘active’ minutes might be better than 30) or calories burned.

So what metric do we use?

On your FitBit App, the Heart Rate is divided into 3 categories:

Peak (85+% of max Heart Rate)

Cardio (70 to 84% of max Heart Rate)

Fat Burn (50 to 69% of max Heart Rate)

Peak is pushing ourselves to our limits. Exercises like sprints and burpees or what each individual finds hard put pushes through it. The Cardio zone is where we are pushing hard but can sustain that intensity for a number of minutes. The fat burning phase is working out, getting a sweat going but at a pace we could typically maintain for a longer period.

If you know me, I would like to reward those to push themselves longer so I want to have FitBit Challenge based on this.

The Challenge will work on a points system. The harder you work on your level of intensity in the workout, the more points you get for the workout.

Peak (85+% of max) - 3 Points/Minute

Cardio (70 to 84% of max) - 2 Points/Minute

Fat Burn (50 to 69% of max) - 1 Point Per Minute

So if you go for a 20 minute jog, you may stay in the fat burning zone (depending on the degree of difficulty in the jog for you). You would therefore get 20 points. If it is hard for you to jog 20 minutes, or you find it easy but push yourself to get a certain distance in 20 minutes, you would more than likely enter the Cardio zone and be rewarded for 2 points for each minute you enter the Cardio zone.


The above samples of FitBit workouts is to illustrate a few points:

1) Lifting weights can get you into the “cardio” zone if the weights are challenging. Using weights can be effective for losing fat if that is your primary goal. Train how you want to train. Cardio, weights, pilates etc. That’s up to you. Whatever you think will help you stay motivated (more info below if you’re looking for guidance).

2) Cardio such as jogging or walking may only keep us in the “fat burning zone” but this is NOT a bad thing. Listen to your body. A long walk or jog may be what your body needs at a particular time due to rest. It may also be what you enjoy doing. So stay consistent and keep doing that. Workouts that push us closer to that “peak” zone should only really be done twice maybe three times a week. After that, you are risking injury and burnout.

How is this Challenge going to work?

Each workout has to be at least 20 minutes long to register for the scoreboard. You burn calories all day and you could easily get into the fat burning zone by climbing up a few flights of stairs but we are counting workouts only for this Challenge.

When you finish the workout, screenshot the Heart Rate screen (similar to the images above) and send them into the WhatsApp group with the type of exercise you did. This will help keep you accountable.

At the end of the week, I will add up the scores based on each person’s workout and have a top 10 on a Sunday night. The more workouts you do, the better chance you have in cracking the top 10 each week. I will also have an overall accumulative leaderboard for the next 6 weeks!

How do you enter the challenge?

If you are a participant in one of my classes or are a Personal Training client, then just email me to let me know and you are already in! It is 100% free and if you have a FitBit, I strongly encourage you to get involved!

If I am not currently your Coach, fear not, you can still be involved in the FitBit Challenge

And the good news for you is the Challenge is 100% free.

The better news is that when you sign up, you will receive my 6 Week Online Personal Training Challenge for FREE That’s 6 Weeks of Gym workouts and a Nutrition eBook to help keep your diet on track as well.

You’re waiting on the catch.

Where’s the exchange of money? The credit card details?

There is none.

Just one simple requirement to get into the challenge which will ultimately benefit you!

All you have to do is send me ‘Before’ Gym photos before this Sunday evening (January 6th) at 7pm.

Fill in the form below and I will email you back on details on getting your before photos into me. After receiving the before photos, you will get the 6 Week Gym Programmes and Nutrition eBooks for the Challenge FOR FREE!!

Or you can email me (, with the subject line ‘FitBit Challenge’ with a before photo of your front, side and back (feel free to crop out your face if you feel uncomfortable). Use good lighting and try to ensure you will be using the same clear background and clothes for the afters in 6 weeks time.

When you email the photos, I will email you all the details on the 6 Week Gym Programmes and Nutrition eBooks as well as how to get involved in the FitBit Challenge.

The before photos will help give you added motivation for change over these next 6 weeks as well as helping me show your results by following the challenge.

The FitBit challenge will help you get involved with a like minded and motivated group that want to achieve their goals in 2019!

It will be a true fitness community like none other.

You have zero to lose by joining us for the next 6 weeks.

Fill in the form below and I will send you on the details on how to enter the FitBit Challenge


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