A Fitbit Low Battery SMS Notification using AWS – Part 1


A few weeks ago, my Fitbit (one of my new favorite devices) died.

Not died, as in bricked; my battery died.

That was a bit surprising, as I am signed up for low battery notifications. Turns out, I did get a notice – in an email. Problem was, I wasn’t checking my email that day.1

fitbit_notificationThe next day, I went back to the Fitbit website to sign-up for SMS notifications; unfortunately, Fitbit doesn’t provide a low battery notification via SMS.

So, I built my own, using a handful of AWS services (Lambda, SNS, API Gateway, and DynamoDB) and exposed Fitbit APIs.

So far, it works well. After subscribing to the service, I got an introductory note telling my my battery status. A few hours later, I received a second notice – letting me know that my battery was low. Continue reading “A Fitbit Low Battery SMS Notification using AWS – Part 1”

Favorite Workout Gear: Fitbit Charge HR

A great fitness tracker that captures both steps, heart rate (used to calculate calories burned) and sleep patterns.


My Rating:

My company did us a solid last week and gave everyone a $150 credit to purchase a fitness tracker.1 After looking at a few options, I went with the Fitbit Charge HR, primarily because of the positive review on CNET2.

There are really good reviews out there, where people compare multiple trackers and rank them. I can’t provide a side-by-side analysis of trackers, but I can share what I like, and dislike, about my Fitbit.

HIIT/Weightlifting (5 out of 5)

I’ve workedIMG_0323 with a personal trainer for the last two years3; he does a great job of putting me through the paces and getting my heart rate up. Last week, we did a series of full body exercises, starting with plank rows, weighted lunges, burpees, and a number of balancing exercises on a Bosu ball. In my opinion, the Fitbit did a great job logging the intensity of the session (see the picture to the left). The middle of our session was the most intense – which matched the peak and cardio indicators. At the end, we finished with Romanian deadlifts, pistol squats and shoulder presses – performed at a slower pace. Again, this matches what was captured by the Fitbit.

I used it on two other occasions where I’ve primarily done weightlifting – one session pretty intense (building endurance) the other not-so-intense (building strength). On both occasions, the Fitbit seemed to capture the proper “intensity” – based on my steps (or lack of steps) and my heart rate. Continue reading “Favorite Workout Gear: Fitbit Charge HR”

Favorite Workout Gear: Nike Free Trainer 3.0 V4

nike free trainers

My Rating:

I try to hit the gym 4-5 times a week: a mix of weights, cardio and recovery activities (yoga and swimming). Through it all, I’ve struggled to find the correct shoes for my weight lifting sessions. My go-to Nike cross-trainers were too cushioned and impacted my form on squats and presses. My Brooks running shoes were ever worse. It got so bad that I would occasionally go barefoot when doing heavy lifts.

I finally decided to buy some shoes that would cover multiple gym activities. After a few weeks of research, I bit the bullet and bought a pair of Nike “Free Trainer” shoes1.

I should have bought these shoes 6 months ago. I LOVE them. They are lightweight and have a low profile – so my form isn’t impacted by the shoe cushion. I can still do some cardio in them. Plus they look nice.

Now if only I could find some decent socks to wear….