Beeminder Forum

Beeminding steps without Fitbit?


i’m transitioning from a Fitbit Force to a Garmin Vivofit, any ideas to continue beeminding my steps (e.g. with automated data entry)?


You’ll soon be in luck. Leastwise, @bee also uses a Vivofit, and the integration is on the hard-commitment list in this thread.


The problem i think is that Garmin’s API doesn’t include step data.


Oh, they do include step data for the vivofit, and we will be able to pull it to your goal – however it will take some behind the scenes fiddling if you want to switch autodata source from fitbit to garmin. This should be launching very soon, modulo coordination with Garmin, which is a Big Company :slight_smile:


Awesome! I’m already using both devices (doing a comparison of them), if you need a beta tester, just let me know!


How did you manage to get access to their API? Did you pay the $5K fee, or did you bribe them with chocolate chip cookies? :slight_smile:


We’re helping with a study by Seattle Children’s Hospital (one of a few science experiments we’re facilitating) that involves donated Garmin Vivofits. I hadn’t realized that we’d otherwise have needed to pay $5K. Yikes.

We’ve actually done a soft launch now. If you have a Garmin, could you email us – – so we can point you to it and have you try it out? Hugely appreciated!


Hello, two notes

  1. a public thanks to @bee for helping me migrate my data from the Fitbit goal!
  2. a report that the Garmin integration works (there was just a day that it stopped, then it recovered) quite good :slight_smile:


Any chance of getting calorie data from Garmin? I’d be interested in doing an “spent X calories per day” goal.


Maaaybeee. Their API makes it messy for some reason. Are you sure you want it? Is it definitely better than steps? I feel like steps (bounces/movement) is the only thing the device actually knows about so “calories” is just some multiplier on that anyway.


related request this post reminded me of: is it possible to add “calories consumed” to the fitbit goal types? there’s currently “calories burned” and “net calories” (consumed - burned), so it seems like it might be very simple. and it’s an option to fill a gap that many people want filled by MFP eventually.


Steps are not that important if you also run. On days with runs I can reach a calorie goal with less steps. Since the target for weight loss is more calories spent, it make sense to track it directly, no?


Oh, so Garmin is doing something more sophisticated than assuming a fixed number of calories per step? Like it can tell you’re running and up the calories per step? (Fun fact: the calories per mile is surprisingly similar for running and walking but each step covers more distance when running – up to twice as many steps per mile for walking vs running.)

Presumably it can’t detect, for example, biking though. So both calories and steps will be underestimated in that case.


Well the Vivofit step tracker will connect to an HRM strap for calories calculation and can also be set to detect and turn any activity over 15’ to a “running activity”.

But i’m not using that, I have a Garmin Forerunner 220 for tracking the runs.

In any case, you end up in Garmin’s platform with “Total Calories” which are split in BMR and “Active Calories”. Active Calories are also split between walking and running (or if you have other activities like cycling).
Does their API expose any of this? I think it should, because Garmin has integration with MFP and you can get a “calorie adjustment” in MFP from Garmin activities (walk or run or whatever).

I suppose I can wait for your MFP integration as well, but I’m sure there are people there that might be interested in getting more data from Garmin as well.


This is now done!