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How To Use A Fitness Tracker For Fat Loss

The difference between being fit and healthy to shredded is in the details.

Your Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, Whoop Strap or Oura Ring will have all the data needed to interpret what’s happening with your daily activity. From there you can see trends and make necessary adjustments to keep your results going in the right direction.

When I’ve trained for photoshoots, a fitness comp and pre holiday shred, the only difference I made from my normal lifestyle with eating healthy and training was to simply track and measure all of that in more detail.

What gets measured, gets managed.

That’s it.

Here’s what to keep a close eye on:

Daily or weekly weight:

Weigh yourself fasted every morning and it’s important not to get emotional about it. All you’re doing is looking at trends. How does your weight respond after more sleep, how does it respond after 2 hours of sleep, 2000 steps a day because you were under the pump at work, a carb up meal?

Your weight is going to fluctuate from day-to-day.

Record daily but look at overall results week to week.

What you don’t want to happen is to be 2-3 weeks in and have your results go in the opposite direction because you could have made changes sooner but weren’t aware.

Sustainable guidelines are 0.5-1kg body-fat or weight every 1 to 2 weeks.

This was after my honeymoon and before the main COVID lockdown last year. When I want to turn it up with my results I just jot down my morning fasted weight in the notes section of my phone and any notes to help manipulate my results. As you can see weight isn’t linear but still trends down over time.


NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis), calories burned through movement outside of structured exercise is a must for better results. Have a look at the table below, if you have a desk job you’re burning less than 500 calories a day from NEAT, if you’re on your feet like a tradie all day that’s over 1000 calories a day from NEAT.

What you don’t want is under 5000 steps/day.

A conservative goal is to start outside your comfort zone; if you’re doing 5000 steps, increase it 7000 steps.

An optimal goal is 10,000+ steps/day.

Sleep score:

A good sleep score according to your fitness tracker will lead to better recovery, better training performance and the more likely that your fat loss results are going to keep happening. Studies show poor sleep affects two hunger hormones important to weight loss, ghrelin and leptin. When sleep deprived you have more of the hormone ghrelin which tells you to eat more and less leptin, which is supposed to tell you that you’re full.

Your hunger hormones start operating in reverse!

Poor sleep also has a cascading effect – low energy, poor performance, bad mood and less motivation. Nobody wants that so best to get your sleep in check.

Aim for an above average sleep score for most days of the week.

Stress score or HRV:

When you’re stressed you won’t recover fast to keep training hard, you’ll have poor blood sugar management and won’t be able to digest your food properly. With most fitness trackers you can get a real-time stress score. The only time I want to be stressed is when I’m training or if one of our clients ReeAAllY needs a grilling 😉 Other than that, I want my stress score to be as low as possible.

If you can recover fast and fully, you’ll be able to expend more calories in training and throughout the day with vigour.

It’s also better for managing cravings in a calorie deficit.

Increase in cortisol stimulates glucose / energy to be released, higher blood sugar and when your blood sugar comes back down, that’s when you’re going to crave either carbs or fats to bring your blood sugar back up.

Play a game to keep your stress score low throughout the day.

HR, in training:

Keep yourself accountable in training or when you’re doing cardio. It’s about training in the right zones and getting enough recovery between sets. For fat loss and body composition I aim for our clients to be in their lactic acid threshold zone, 70-80% of Max HR or anaerobic zone, 80-95% of their Max HR.

Your Max HR is 220-Age.

For cardio when it’s low intensity to preserve as much muscle as possible, I aim for 70% of Max HR and sustain that for 30+ minutes with walking.

It’s important to measure because your body is adaptive.

20kg DB Press for 10-12 reps can be within 70-80% of your Max HR in weeks 1 to 2, but after a month of solid training, those same DB’s won’t even make you sweat.

Calories burnt in session:

For 45-60 minutes 300-600 calories in that session with an effective training method is ideal. Training methods that hypertrophy or encourage you to keep your lean muscle mass trumps cardio for fat loss. You’ll burn more calories outside of training and you’ll look better. Similar to tracking your HR, it’s keeping yourself accountable and knowing you’re putting in an effective training session.

Too long of a rest between sets.

Not lifting the right weights for the rep ranges.

Talking on the phone.

It all affects how many calories you expend during training.

Putting It All Together:

By knowing what to track and why with your fitness tracker it will give you way more confidence in finding out what’s working, what’s not working and what you need to fix.

E.g. if you’re doing most things right but you’re only walking 4000 steps per day because you have a chauffeur driving you to and from work; the first thing I’d look at doing is bumping that right up to 8000-10,000 steps and either jog or ride the bike into work for a week and see how that goes.

Or walk 9 holes of golf, more than 10,000 steps.

Happy training!

Want an experienced trainer to measure and interpret your daily activity and training information for you so you can achieve your fitness goals faster and with less stress? Get in contact with us today.


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