body image · boxing · fitness · weight stigma

The world is changing its perception of larger active bodies but not Garmin

So it turns out, according to Garmin, that my fitness age is 74. My fitness is poor and I’m in the bottom 5 percent for my age bracket.

Colour me shocked.

I thought it was because of inactivity due to knee replacement surgery. Garmin doesn’t track my weightlifting or my physio so all it knows are my steps per day, heart rate, rest, and numbers of kilometers ridden. And yes, it’s true I’m just riding 50 km a week on the trainer right now. That’s down from my usual 100 or 150. My step goal is in the 5000-6000 range and I meet it most days but that’s down since I had knees that worked.

Still it seemed wrong. I wouldn’t think that someone who rode their bike 50 km each week and walked more than 5000 steps each day would be in the bottom 5%. My resting heart rate is in the low 60s and that’s pretty good too.

It’s true I’m not my usual fitness self but bottom 5%?

So I googled how Garmin calculates fitness age and I remembered one more piece of information Garmin has, my weight.

Argh. Argh. I should have guessed. I should remembered Nicole’s blog post about this. And in her case there was only a two year gap. The gap between my actual and Garmin’s fitness age for me is 16 years.

Good gravy.

Bundling weight into the definition of fitness doesn’t even make sense to me. You can no longer ask about the relationship between fatness and fitness because on this way of measuring fitness, the weigh scale is built in.

I was embarrassed at first to blog about this. I shut off the Garmin app and stormed around the house a bit. I did some chores in a loud grumpy fashion. But the more I thought about it the more I realized it’s their problem, not mine. I’m going to write and ask them about. I’ll let you know if I hear anything back.

Not me but a woman with pink boxing gloves who kind of looks like I feel.

3 thoughts on “The world is changing its perception of larger active bodies but not Garmin

  1. Good gravy indeed! I thought my watch and phone apps were annoying because they don’t register my dance or swimming. I hope you get an answer.

  2. Machines are not my favorite source of fitness calculations. When I first started running on a treadmill, I was about 50. If I admitted to having a heart rate monitor, it would slow me down at about 140. I later learned that individual heart rate zones vary enormously. It happened that it shouldn’t have slowed me down below about 170. (Numbers suggested by lawyers who didn’t want anyone who had a heart attack to blame the treadmill manufacturers?)

    Then I went through a few of those body fat tests. It just seemed interesting…until I noticed the conclusions differed by about 50%.

    And so on. You know how healthy you are. I know how healthy I am. We both know BMI is a bad joke. I suspect we shouldn’t listen to anyone other than our regular doctors’ judgment about that stuff.

  3. Riiiiiight? I ride faster than 79% of other users, my resting heart rate is in the mid 50’s, I average about 7000 steps daily not including other workouts (I’m a triathlete)… but I’m in the bottom 25% of users and my fitness age is 52 (I’m 43)?! Mmmkay Garmin. Sure. I encountered the same bias with FitBit as well.

    Definitely interested to hear if Garmin gets back to you.

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