The Fitbit Blaze remains our favourite fitness tracker despite stiff competition from newcomers like the Garmin Vivosmart HR+ and trackers including theMisfit Shine 2 and Jawbone UP3.
If you’ve just picked up a Blaze or thinking of picking one up in the near future, there are plenty of tips and tricks to get more from your shiny new Fitbit.
While it’s one of the most intuitive fitness trackers to use, it’s easy to miss some of the modes and features Fitbit has included that will make it even more useful when you’re monitoring 24/7.
From tapping into your phone’s GPS, improving sleep or getting the most from the notification support, here’s the essential details all Fitbit Blaze owners should know.
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Fitbit’s latest software update means you can do more to make sure you get in enough pillow time. If you head to Account and then Sleep in the Fitbit app you can now set time asleep goals and bedtime reminders to give you a nudge when you should turn off the TV. Additionally, you can assign a target sleep schedule helping you aim to get to sleep within 30 minutes of your target time.
CUSTOMISE THE EXERCISE SHORTCUTS
Out of the box, the Blaze offers running, cycling, weight training, treadmill running, elliptical training and workout as default modes for exercise tracking.
You can add or remove exercises that appear on the Blaze by heading into the Fitbit app. Click on the Blaze icon and select Exercise Shortcuts. You can then edit the modes and replace with a whole host of activities including yoga, spinning, golf and kickboxing.
PAIR WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE FOR GPS MODE
Annoyingly, unlike the Fitbit Surge, the Blaze doesn’t have GPS built-in. That doesn’t mean you can’t track your running or cycling activity though. You can harness the GPS from your phone and here’s how to do it.
First, make sure GPS and Bluetooth are enabled on your phone. Next, go to the Exercise screen on the Blaze and next to each tracked activity you’ll see a small cog. Press it and you’ll have the option to turn on the phone GPS support.
QUICKLY RESUME GPS TRACKING
If for whatever reason your run outdoors has been interrupted, there is an easy way to get tracking up and running again without tinkering with the Blaze. Make sure you’ve got location services settings for the Fitbit phone app is set to Always and when you track through Fitbit’s MobileRun mode, it’ll automatically resume tracking.
SET UP A SILENT ALARM
If you need a little gentle nudge in the morning to wake up or to give you a nudge during the day, this staple Fitbit feature is also present on the Blaze.
To set one up, jump into the accounts tab on the Fitbit app and find the Blaze icon. Select Silent Alarms and then set up a new alarm. When the alarm activates, you can tap the “ZZ” icon and it won’t bug you until 9 minutes later.
CHANGE THE CLOCK FACE
Some of the interactive clock faces on the Fitbit Blaze are better fits on the screen than others. If you don’t like the one that comes as default, you can change it.
You can’t do it on the Blaze itself, instead you need to go into the Fitbit app. Click on the Account Tab and then select the Blaze icon. This will bring up all of the customisation options for your tracker. Select Watch Face and then pick from one of four watch faces. It’ll then sync to the Blaze and replace with the new one.
CHECK IN ON NOTIFICATIONS MID-WORKOUT
Phone notifications are controlled from your phone, and for those who can’t switch off from the outside world to focus on a gym session, you can view notifications while you’re tracking exercise in the multi-sport mode or during a FitStar workout.
Simply press and hold the lower right button to view notifications. For checking in on the music controls, perform the same action but using the upper right button on the Blaze.
GETTING ACCURATE DATA
Which wrist you wear the Blaze on can have an big impact on the kind of data you collect during the day when you’re up and moving. The Fitbit app sets the default to wearing the tracker on the non-dominant hand. If you wear it on your dominant hand (the one you write and eat with), you can adjust that in the Blaze settings on the app. This means the Blaze can account for the extra movement.
There’s another thing you can do as well and that’s measure stride length. You can do this by finding somewhere you know the exact distance and counting the steps, then dividing the total distance taken by the number of steps to get your stride length.
You can then add that data in the Personal Info section on the Fitbit.com web portal dashboard and it should help to improve data accuracy.
LET FITBIT SORT OUT YOUR STRIDE LENGTH
If you don’t want to take the manual route to improving accuracy, Fitbit has introduced a way where stride length is automatically detected. All you need to do is make sure the Connected GPS mode is enabled on your phone and when you start tracking, the software and hardware will detect stride length for you.
IMPROVE SLEEP MONITORING ACCURACY
Nodding off with the Blaze means you can keep a closer eye on whether you’re getting enough shut-eye. There is a way to make sure sleep tracking picks up more accurate data.
Head into the advanced settings inside the app which can be found under the Account tab. Here you’ll find the option to change sleep sensitivity to sensitive to improve the detection of your movements at night.
CHANGE UP THE BLAZE LOOK
One of the Blaze’s biggest features is being able to swap out the bands and put the tracker into another frame, and it’s all pretty easy to do. Simply push the tracker through the frame and it’ll pop out letting you clip it into another one. Just make sure the buttons are lined up with the ones on the frame. You’ll quickly notice if you haven’t done it right.
To swap out a Fitbit Blaze band, locate the quick release bars and slide them across. Now you should be able to pick out another style to match up with your fetching ensemble.
CONNECT TO MYFITNESSPAL
The Fitbit app is one of the best around for viewing progress but if you’re to give up on the fitness apps you already use, there is a way to bring the two closer together.
Fitbit has a long list of supported apps and MyFitnessPal is a great alternative for food tracking if you don’t think Fitbit’s approach is up to scratch. To link the two, head into the MyFitnessPal app and select the More tab.
Here you’ll find an Apps & Devices section where you can pick Fitbit out from the list of apps and then click Connect to start feeding nutritional data into the Fitbit app.
TURN ON THE SCREEN HANDS-FREE
The Fitbit Blaze unfortunately doesn’t work exactly like a normal watch. It’s notably lacking an always-on display. You can double tap on the screen or press the button on the left of the frame to turn it on.
But if you’re in the middle of your workout and you don’t want to fiddle around with the buttons, there is a solution. Fitbit has included a Quick View mode, which you can activate by swiping through the screens on the Blaze to the settings menu. Here you’ll be able to turn the mode on which will now turn on the display when you flick your wrist toward you.
UNDERSTANDING HEART RATE ZONES
Like the Fitbit Charge HR, the Blaze will let you work out in specific heart rate zones. This can give you a clear indication about the intensity of your workouts.
Out of the box, heart rate zones (Peak, Cardio and Fat Burn) are based on a maximum heart rate of 220 bpm minus your age. Here’s a simple breakdown of what those zones mean.
Fat burn – This is a low level zone which is good place for exercise beginners to start and is when a higher percentage of calories are burned from fat.
Cardio – Now you are starting to push yourself, increasing cardiovascular fitness and this is where most people should target.
Peak – If you’re planning on training hard, these are those intense sessions where you’re taking the body out of its comfort zone.
If you’re not happy with the heart rate zones set up, you can create custom ones in the Heart Rate Zones section in the Fitbit app.
Still bamboozled by what it all means? You should definitely check out our breakdown guide to heart rate zone training.
SAVE THE BATTERY
The Blaze manages up to five days battery life and that’s pretty much what we’ve found living with it.
There are some ways to eek a little more life out of the tracker though. Some obvious things to do are to reduce the screen brightness and turn off automatic heart rate tracking, which can be done from the Settings menu on the Blaze. Turning off phone notifications will definitely help here as well.
You can also turn off All-Day Sync from within the app, so the Blaze is not continually syncing activity tracking data throughout the day.
REBOOT THE BLAZE
If you’re having issues with the Blaze, there is a way to restart it. It won’t delete data but it will clear phone notifications.
To reboot, press and hold the single physical button on the left and the bottom right button until the Fitbit icon appears on the screen. This should take less than 10 seconds.
Let go of the buttons, and hopefully, everything should be back to normal.
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