All I really wanted was a watch. But the more I kept this thing strapped on my wrist, I got sucked into that all too familiar trap of seeing my life as a series of numbers and charts, and the inevitable competitive sport of “social walking.”

Now a picture of the Charge 2 with my hairy arms.

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First and foremost, it’s a watch. It tells time. It conveniently doesn’t run out of battery every 8 or so hours, unlike most smart watches. But that’s the thing. It isn’t quite that – it’s really more of something in the middle. They call these things fitness trackers as they track your steps, heart rate and the estimated number of calories I burn everyday. Oh and there’s an app too.

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This is it guys, the quantification of self.
I never thought I’d use one. I was never really a watch person. The only other watch I would have on my wrist would have to be my dive computer, which was definitely no fashion statement. So here I am, rather surprised to find myself wearing this thing every waking hour. I used to wear it at night — because it tracks how much good sleep I have. But you see, as a parent of two small boys, I didn’t have to really know that 6 hours is my average sleep time every day. Having the Charge 2 on for a week in bed was merely validation on how much my sleep patterns have changed when I became a parent. In bed by 10 (sometimes 9), then up at 6. It’s been like that for years.

But yeah, apart from that, I have it on almost all the time I’m out. There was this one time I had to walk around Makati for a couple of hours and I was like, “finally I can get more than 10,000 steps a day and not be at the bottom of the Workweek Hustle challenge my friends sent me – yeah I’m talking about you, Ade Magnaye!” But then, halfway driving at the Skyway, I forgot it at home. Crap! My friends will judge me, thinking I’m sedentary. Right now I’m almost always at the bottom of the list — which made me realise that I don’t do a lot of walking. My cardio fitness is good though. The app that connects to my iPhone says that for my age of 35, my Cardio Fitness score is between 42-46, which is between average to good. Yay for me.

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Pics or it didn’t happen. Sync up or you didn’t walk.
My friend Noelle sent me a message through the iPhone app. “Upload your steps naman!” I guess this is Instagram for walking? You know how it’s become ritual to take photos of food and curate your wonderful life in travel — and they all go to Facebook or Instagram? Well I guess the Fitbit app is the Instagram for walking. Like that time I definitely did more than 10,000 steps while walking around Makati but no one in the 7-day challenge will believe me because I forgot to wear the band.

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You know what feels good? Being at the bottom of the challenge. And then you sync up a whole day’s worth of walking and you jump about 5 spots up. I guess anything to make you want to get up and walk, right? The app tells me I’ve been sitting down too long. “Hey Jayvee, you only need 100 steps to go to make your hourly quota!” *groan* So I get up and walk around the office a bit. Then my band vibrates with fireworks on the display. “You did it!” It’s sort of like a new normal. Like I **have to wear this** whenever I go out. And I really don’t mind because there’s that aspect of competitive walking involved. So yeah, after you get your own and set it up, add up your friends from Facebook.

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I have no point of comparison with the previous model of the Charge. Or any other fitness tracker. But from my friends who have had more experiences with wearables, the Charge 2 (It sells for P7,699.00 by the way) seems to be the most balanced option in terms of price, durability, battery life and screen size. Yeah, the screen is big. Not waterproof though, but you can do the dishes with it on.

Just you wait friends. I’m walking around Osaka the whole of next week.

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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