What You Need To Know About Fitbit and Spinning

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Are you into spinning? Fitbit and spinning do not always go hand in hand. If you have one of the older Fitbit devices, getting all of the data from Fitbit spinning may be a challenge. 

In our table of contents, we are looking at how to get the most out of Fitbit when spinning. We will also ask ourselves how accurate the data you get from Fitbit when you spin. 

What Is Spinning? 

Spinning is also called indoor cycling. It first became popular in the United States in 1991. Johnny Goldberg is the founder of spinning. He started the first spinning class in Santa Monica in 1989. 

In 1991, Johnny G, as he now called himself, moved his spinning classes to the Voight Fitness Center in West Hollywood, California. 

Today, spinning classes are available all over the world. Thanks to spinning programs such as Peloton, you can even do them at home. 

It is an excellent way of keeping fit. Spinning tones your legs and increases your aerobic capacity. Claims of the number of calories burned vary greatly, but spinning is undoubtedly a great way to get fit. 

Does Fitbit Track Spinning? 

As an avid spinner, I would have to answer this question with a yes and a no. But unfortunately, Fitbit spinning is perhaps not the best function that Fitbit has to offer. 

Although most Fitbit devices track spinning manually, you have to ask yourself if they do so accurately. I am going to get into that a little bit later on. 

If you want to wear your Fitbit when spinning, there are a few do’s and don’ts. First of all, it will help you know that you will probably have to add spinning manually to your device. 

To do that, log into your app and add it as a shortcut activity. It is easy to set up and only takes a few minutes. 

What Fitbit Devices to Choose From For Tracking Spinning?

When you are serious about tracking your spinning, the best Fitbit to buy is Sense, Charge, and Versa Series. 

But, it still means you have to set up your Fitbit to record your sessions. In the app, choose the Fitbit spinning option. Save it to your device, and you should be good to go. 

If your Fitbit does not mention spinning under exercises, you can choose a workout instead. 

Fitbit Sense
Fitbit Versa 3
Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch with Tools for Heart Health, Stress Management & Skin Temperature Trends, White/Gold, One Size (S & L Bands Included)
Fitbit Versa 3 Health and Fitness Smartwatch, Amazon Exclusive Color, GPS, 24/7 Heart Rate, Alexa Built-in, 6+ Days Battery, Thistle/Gold, One Size (S & L Bands Included)
Fitbit Charge 5 Advanced Fitness & Health Tracker with Built-in GPS, Stress Management Tools, Sleep Tracking, 24/7 Heart Rate and More, Black/Graphite, One Size (S &L Bands Included)
Fitbit Sense
Fitbit Sense Advanced Smartwatch with Tools for Heart Health, Stress Management & Skin Temperature Trends, White/Gold, One Size (S & L Bands Included)
Fitbit Versa 3
Fitbit Versa 3 Health and Fitness Smartwatch, Amazon Exclusive Color, GPS, 24/7 Heart Rate, Alexa Built-in, 6+ Days Battery, Thistle/Gold, One Size (S & L Bands Included)
Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit Charge 5 Advanced Fitness & Health Tracker with Built-in GPS, Stress Management Tools, Sleep Tracking, 24/7 Heart Rate and More, Black/Graphite, One Size (S &L Bands Included)

Last update on 2023-01-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Fitbit Setting When Spinning? 

As I am a bit of a spinning fanatic, I have tried using both workout and Fitbit spinning. But here is a bit of a kicker if you like spinning. Did you know that you may get more accurate information by selecting an elliptical option? 

I don’t know what is happening here, but the information I get when I use the elliptical workout option appears to be more accurate. 

Is it a fluke? I don’t know. The information does not differ wildly from the spinning option, but there is a difference. 

You need to know that Fitbit only tracks high-intensity movements such as spinning when you have been doing them for 15 minutes. It may help you to know that you can adjust this in your settings. Spinning fanatics like myself often do that before we start a class. 

What Can You Learn From Fitbit When Spinning? 

Fitbit records your spinning data as steps, calories burned, and heart rate. That is all great, but I think we need to explore this issue with steps. 

Fitbit picks up your spinning sessions as steps. This is where I think things get a little bit confusing. After all, you are not taking steps; you are cycling. 

When you cycle outside, Fitbit uses GPS to monitor your progress. This is the start of the confusion. When using the Fitbit spinning function on your stationary bike, you may not get accurate data. After all, the GPS function will have you in the same location all of the time. 

There are other problems as well, and we will go into them later in the table of contents. 

How Can Fitbit Record Steps Accurately When It Is On Your Wrist

This is another problem that we have got with the Fitbit. 

Inside Fitbit, there are accelerometers and sensors that record activity and movements. They are great for walking, running, and climbing stairs, but we challenge them we do spinning. 

You have to ask yourself what happens when you wear your Fitbit on your wrist and hold onto the handlebars of your spinning bike at the same time? 

If you like, there is undoubtedly a conflict of interest. 

As I am good at spinning, I recently experimented during a Fitbit spinning session at home. 

Instead of holding onto the handlebars, I did the entire class without holding the bars. Needless to say, I moved my arms around more. 

I did the same thing on my friend’s Peloton bike the next day while holding onto the bars. It was the same workout. The data I got from the Peloton session agreed with my workout on the previous day. 

Does that mean that the data distance step data Fitbit provides us with is less than accurate? Possibly. 

It is hard to prove all of this unless you spin under clinical conditions. 

I think that if you enjoy spinning as an exercise, it is excellent to stick to the information on your Fitbit. 

Can I Wear My Fitbit On My Ankle When I Spin? 

By all means, you can try that. However, the information you are going to get as far as heart rate is concerned will not be accurate. 

Your ankle does not have a solid pulse point. Your Fitbit has been designed for wearing on your wrist. It is the best way to wear it. 

Wearing your Fitbit on your wrist is also the safest way to wear it when you cycle or spin. However, when you wear it on your ankle, you risk hitting the bike’s frame. So not only could you damage your Fitbit, but you could also potentially do yourself some harm. 

Tips and Tricks for Making the Most of Your Fitbit When Spinning

If you enjoy the spinning class, the first thing you should do is to make spinning a permanent option. You can only have 7 exercise options listed at any one time. 

All you have to do is make sure that Fitbit spinning is one of your favorite seven exercises. 

Taking More Steps

Yes, it is a great idea to record the number of steps you take. That way, you can challenge yourself to take more steps when you spin. So, how do you take more steps? 

You can paddle harder and faster, but that may not lead to more steps at the end of the session. It would help if you stood up in the saddle when you want to record more steps. In that way, you start taking longer strides. For some reason, Fitbit records more steps when you stand up in the saddle. Is it accurate? I am not sure, but that is the way Fitbit works. 

I think it has something to do with how you raise your knees. 

Heart Rate and Tension

As you know, you can turn up the tension on your spinning bike. But, unfortunately, you can’t record that on your Fitbit. So when someone asks me how they can get more out of a spinning workout, I often encourage them to check their heart rate against their tension. 

When your heart rate improves with increased tension, you are getting fitter—just one of the fun things you can do when you use the data from your Fitbit. 

Tracking your Calories

Is the calorie count on Fitbit spinning option accurate? You have set your Fitbit with all of your personal information in the right way. Honestly, you should get a pretty accurate record of the number of calories you burn during a spinning session. 

Once you know your calorie count, you can challenge yourself to burn even more calories during your spinning class. Once again, this is best achieved by increasing the tension of your spinning bike. The harder you work, the more calories you burn. Paddling faster does not always mean you burn more calories. 

Eating Right Before Training

There is no doubt about it, spinning is a challenging workout. When you are not trying to lose weight, it is important to take extra calories before your class. 

Once you know how many calories you are likely to burn during a class, it becomes easier to estimate how you need to eat. The reason you need to eat is simple. Without food, you will not get the most out of your workout. In addition, your muscles need food to get strong and help you to peddle your spinning bike. 

Don’t for one minute think that a caffeine boost will help you get more out of your workout. It will increase your heart rate but not build more muscle.

Elliptical Training and Spinning

If you are using one of those spinning bikes that gives you lots of tracking data, you should compare it to the spinning data on your Fitbit. How accurate is it? When you notice a difference that seems to be significant, you should try tracking your spinning workout using another option. 

When your Fitbit has an elliptical option, try switching to that. I know that it sounds mad, but I have found that it does make a difference. The information seems more accurate somehow. 

Alternatively, you can also switch to the workout option. I am not sure the difference between the three options and how the data is recorded, but I think the data you get from the elliptical option is more accurate. 

Moving Your Arms Around

You get yet another reading on your Fitbit when spinning when you start moving around. But, of course, as the Fitbit is located on your wrist, you are recording more activity. 

If you have been moving your arms around during the spinning session, compare your bike and Fitbit data at the end of your session. Is the data match more closely? Again, there is a surprise for you. 

You don’t need to flap around like an eagle to get more interesting data. I often tell my class to sit up for a while, increase the tension, bend their arms at the elbow and move them as if they were jogging. 

Spinning Without Holding Onto The Handlebars

When you become good at spinning and have good balance, you should try spinning without resting your arms on the handlebars. Doing half hovers isn’t easy, so if you are doing half hovers.

There is no reason why you should not try the idea when sitting upright or standing. It is a matter of balance. That is something you will learn as you progress. 

Once again, you will find that your heart rate increases, and the number of steps increase.

In Conclusion

Unless you are going to compete in a cycling race, don’t worry too much about the data you get from the Fitbit spinning option. Only use the data to compete against yourself. 

One thing is for sure; it is accurate when it comes to heart function and probably reasonably accurate as far as calories go.

Does Fitbit track spin super accurately? The answer to that is probably not what you need to recognize. Spinning is a rather challenging exercise to track. All available fitness trackers have the same problem with tracking the data and providing you with accurate information. 

The best thing that you can do is use the data to compete against yourself. Use the information to monitor your heart rate and do your best to improve your aerobic function. Yes, spinning gives you fantastic legs, but it is also one of the best aerobic workouts that you can do.