How to add indoor cycling to Fitbit?

So, you’ve been a Fitbit user for quite some time now. You are just happy that it can help you track your steps, your sleep, and your daily morning run. But, now you’ve recently taken up indoor cycling, and can’t wait to see how you did on your first try. Surprise! It did not register in your Fitbit at all.

Did you think, maybe, you can manually track your indoor cycling instead? But there is no indoor cycling option on your device either. What now?

How to add indoor cycling to Fitbit? Fitbit cannot automatically track indoor cycling. To track indoor cycling for most Fitbit models, you must first add spinning in your exercise shortcuts by logging into your dashboard or app and editing your shortcuts. Then you can manually start and stop tracking your activity using your device. Alternately you can manually log the details of your indoor cycling/spinning on your Fitbit app or through the Fitbit Dashboard.

Most Fitbit devices are capable of automatically tracking high-movement activities that you do like running and walking as long as you are moving continuously for 15 minutes (you can adjust the length of time in your settings to a minimum of ten minutes).

At the heart of Fitbit are 3-axis accelerometers or sensors to track the movements of your body and an altimeter to measure the altitude so it can count the floors you are climbing. Your Fitbit device uses an algorithm to determine what kind of activity you are doing by basing it on the pattern of your movement.

When you are cycling indoors, your hands usually rest on the handlebars of your bike with your Fitbit is placed on your wrist.

So even if you are sweating profusely while you spin your bike’s pedals, the device will not be able to automatically detect that you are biking.

You can still, however, use FitBit as a cycling tracker to measure your heart rate and calories burned while working out.

Basically, Fitbit is designed to track steps. So when it comes to activities that are not step-based, you have manually track them. Another option is just to log the activities after.

How to add indoor cycling as an activity shortcut on the Fitbit device?

Most Fitbit devices can manually track spinning. However, you may not find it in your list of activity shortcuts as it is not on default on the device. You must first add it as an activity shortcut on your device by logging into your Fitbit App.

On your IOS or Android app, you must tap “Account” > “Your Device” >. Scroll down to find “Exercise Shortcuts”. You can only have seven options for your device at a time, so you may want to remove the one that you don’t usually track. Then tap on + and select spinning. Then tap “Add to <name of your device>.”

Manually sync your Fitbit device to ensure that the changes have been added.

How to manually track indoor cycling on your Fitbit device?

To track indoor cycling or spinning on your device, go to exercise, swipe until you get to spinning, and just long press on the shortcut to start and tap again when you are done. Fitbit will track your heart rate; calculate the calories burned based on your activity, heart rate, and other factors; and record the duration of the activity.

Take note, however, that if you have Fitbit Alta, you will not have that option to manually track workouts as it is a fully SmartTrack device, meaning it automatically tracks all your activities. There is also no workout mode so there is also no option to add spinning to your shortcuts.

That being said, it cannot detect while you are indoor cycling because the activity is not a step-based exercise and is stationary.

It’s frustrating, right? Especially if you have worked out really hard and conquered the hardest part of your virtual course. It seems not fair that it will not be added to your Fitbit stats.

But hey, don’t worry. There is still one workaround that will work for Alta. This can be used for other Fitbit models as well, in case you forgot to manually start tracking on your device before you went full speed on your pedals. Yes, it happens.

If you want, you can still manually log your workout through the device apps. Just follow the steps below.

How to record your indoor cycling via the Fitbit.com Dashboard

  1. Log into your fitbit.com dashboard.
  2. Click Log then Activities.
  3. In the search field type in spinning.
  4. Type in the start time and the duration of your activity.
  5. The app will calculate the calories you burned during your workout and instantly fill it in.
  6. Click Log. Your activity will now be visible and editable in the Activity History.

How to record your indoor cycling via the iOS app

  1. On the Fitbit app dashboard tap the Exercise tile to open your exercise history.
  2. Tap the stopwatch icon in the top right corner.
  3. Tap Log.
  4. On the search field input Spinning.
  5. Type in the start time and duration of your activity.
  6. Tap Add to record your activity.

How to record your indoor cycling via the Android app:

  1. On the Fitbit app dashboard tap the “Track Exercise” tile to open your exercise history.  
  2. Tap the stopwatch icon in the top right corner.
  3. Tap Log Previous.
  4. On the search field, type in Spinning.
  5. Input the start time and duration of your activity.
  6. The app will calculate the calories and fill it in for you.
  7. Tap Log It to record your activity.

How to record your indoor cycling via Windows 10 devices?

  1. From the Fitbit app dashboard, tap the Exercise tile.
  2. Tap the + icon.
  3. Search spinning.
  4. Enter the activity details and confirm.

Can I put the Fitbit inside my sock while I spin to automatically track my activity?

You may, but don’t expect it to give accurate stats.

The current models of Fitbit are designed to be worn on the wrist.

The algorithm will not be able to give out correct calculations if you use it some other way.

It is best just to follow the methods I mentioned above to record your indoor cycling and other activities that are not step-based.

I noticed that the miles field is blank even if I manually tracked my indoor cycling session. Is there any way to track the miles using my Fitbit device?

The current technology of Fitbit cannot calculate distance when you are doing a stationary activity. You can however manually input distance through the Fitbit App through the method described above.

If you have used a virtual training app while biking, or you have an odometer for your indoor bike trainer, you can know how far you “traveled”, so just input that information on your app when you manually log your activities.

To sum up

If you are really intent on monitoring your overall fitness, the Fitbit device with the corresponding app is a great way to do that.

You can set fitness goals for yourself, and it will help you monitor them.

You can track your steps, exercises, and sleep as well. And through the app, you can even log the food you eat every day and input your weight.

However, when it comes to automatically tracking indoor activities that are not step-based like indoor cycling or spinning, Fitbit has some limitations.

You can, however, manually start and stop tracking your activities on most Fitbit devices. You can also manually log your indoor cycling activities through the IOS or Android App, as well as through the Dashboard on the web.

This way, your daily stats will be complete and you will have a better overview of your progress in achieving your fitness goals.

Related questions

Can Fitbit automatically track outdoor biking? Some models of Fitbit have built-in GPS or connected GPS (which must be used with a GPS-enabled phone). The 3-axis accelerometer and the GPS feature combined can track outdoor biking. But this will not work with indoor biking because you are basically in the same position for the duration of your workout.

How can I ensure that my stats during my workout are more or less accurate? Make sure you properly position your Fitbit on your wrist. Fitbit advises that when working out, you must put the device two to three fingers above the wristbone so that it can properly record pulse. Make it snug, but not too tight so as not to impede the blood flow on your wrist which would make the reading inaccurate.

Adam Johnson

As a middle-aged, 40 something cyclist, my riding goals have changed over the years. A lover of all things retro, and an avid flat bar cyclist, I continue to live in the glory days of past triathlon glories.

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