I promised myself years ago that I would never fall prey to the wearable activity tracker trend. As my friends proudly strapped on their Jawbones and Fuelbands and Fitbits, I insisted that I was just fine without one. And I was! Thanks (or not-so-thanks) to a not-so-insignificant case of body dysmorphia (which fuels an even-less-insignificant case of general paranoia about food and exercise), I knew that one of these trackers had the potential to drive my existing neuroses through the roof. I was managing just fine without one, thank you very much. I was sticking to an exercise and eating plan that seemed to be working for my body, and it didn’t require me to constantly obsess over metrics being logged from my wrist.
When I heard about the Motiv Ring ($199), though, I wondered if I could ever change my tune. I liked that the rings were simple and inconspicuous (not to mention that they come in rose gold, which can pretty much help convince me to buy anything) and that they wouldn’t draw attention like a traditional fitness tracker. When I talked to the Motiv team about the ring’s capabilities, I felt my firm anti-tracking stance waning further. The Motiv ring, which launched in September 2017, seemed to really streamline what other trackers had been doing. If there was ever a fitness tracker for me, I could tell this might be it. I decided to give it a try. Rose gold Motiv ring, party of one, please!
After I placed my order, Motiv sent me a sizing kit (wrapped in packaging that made me feel like the kind of person who can afford to buy a really cool car) to ensure that when my ring came in the mail, it would be comfortable and fitted. I played with the various sizes on different fingers, ultimately choosing one that sat comfortably on my right index finger. I confirmed the details with Motiv and waited for my personal tracker to arrive. When it did, it fit perfectly and immediately attracted plenty of compliments. I wear a lot of rings, anyway, and my friends just assumed it was a cool new accessory I’d picked out. “That’s a new one,” they’d point out. “Where’d you get it?” Most of them were shocked to learn that the ring was tracking my movement and resting heart rate. One point that I can immediately list as a “pro” for Motiv? Not once have I ever complimented someone on their nifty wrist tracker — which is (hopefully) less of a testament to my own stinginess with compliments and more of an endorsement for Motiv. (Photo via Motiv)
It took a few days for my new ring to adjust to my personal movements — and when I checked in with my Motiv contact, she confirmed that this is perfectly normal. It can take a week or two for Motiv’s technology to match up your varying heart rates with the corresponding activities (or lack thereof). Once I spent a little more time playing with the Motiv app, I realized that a little extra input from me could also help bring my ring up to speed faster. For the most part, the app is pretty intuitive and simple, with a graph that shows when your heart rate spikes and when you appear to be sleeping. You can assign different activities to active periods to help track what specifically got you moving at any given time of day (e.g., running, sex, walking). Within a few days, I noticed that my ring was automatically recognizing more of my activities based on where my heart rate was clocking in.
In the three weeks since I’ve been wearing my Motiv ring full-time, I have to admit that I’m feeling like perhaps I’m a little late to the fitness tracker party — and that maybe it’s a party I should have wanted to attend even earlier. As a city-dweller who’s a regular at the local gym, I tend to take for granted the number of minutes I spend active each day. Because I walk and use public transportation, I assume that I’m more active, especially, than your average suburbanite, so I increased my goals for steps and active time in the Motiv app. City-living friends, let me tell you — while you may have overestimated how active you were in your pre-city life, you most certainly might be underestimating how active you are now. At least, I was! Tracking my activity with this ring has been a wake-up call for me and has encouraged me to move more spontaneously and outside of my scheduled workouts. (Photo via Alli Hoff Kosik)
I’ve been less impressed, honestly, with the way Motiv has tracked my sleep. For the past three years, I’ve struggled with chronic insomnia, and I was excited about the prospect of learning more about my dismal sleep patterns from the ring. As far as I can tell, though, Motiv more or less assumes you are sleeping any time you are lying in bed. While I can appreciate the logic behind this technology given the fact that Motiv conflates sleep with your resting heart rate, I can’t help but find it frustrating. How is it that I can thrash sleeplessly in my bed for eight hours and my Motiv app can still assume that I’ve had a full night’s sleep? Recently, I brought my laptop into bed and worked from a supine position until 11am. My tracker told me I’d slept until that time. Only in my wildest dreams, Motiv!
Aside from these issues with sleep tracking, I’m generally happy with my Motiv ring — and I think I’d recommend it to others who share my misgivings about the overall wearable category. The app is clean and simple, and it doesn’t add to my neuroses by prompting me to track my calorie intake. I appreciate Motiv’s basic approach to wellness: Sleep enough and keep moving, and you’ll be doing just fine. I’d like to keep my eye on this brand and the way it continues evolving its technology (especially as it pertains to sleep tracking) — and in the meantime, you can bet you’ll find me rockin’ my rose gold ring all day, every day.
Would you wear a Motiv ring based on this review? Tweet us @BritandCo!