How to Get Fitbit Non-GPS Activities to Strava

DSC_9707

This post is going to be incredibly niche. And I’m OK with that. Heck, this post might just be more for me remembering this site than you. Sometimes I use this blog as a personal notepad. Like when I take photos of the power supplies for trainers. I appreciate that you might get value out of that, but realistically I’m doing that 100% for my own benefit, so I can figure which one goes to which trainer 8 months or 3 years later.

In any case, one challenge I’ve always had reviewing Fitbit devices over the (many) years I’ve been reviewing them is that there’s actually no way to export a Fitbit indoor workout. For realz. When you go to export a non-GPS workout from Fitbit’s site, it pretends to export something, but all it actually does is give you a virtually empty 1KB file. See, the button is here:

image

And then when you export it out, here’s what’s in that 1KB file:

image

It’s basically empty. It just has a TCX header that says “Yo, Fitbit data goes here. Sorry, not home!”.

Again, it’s been like this for years, I’ve complained about it for years, Fitbit has acknowledged it during my discussions with them for years…and, it’s still broken.

However, what actually matters here is that this also means 3rd party platforms don’t get Fitbit uploads for non-GPS workouts either. So if you do a SoulCycle class with your Fitbit, it won’t upload that data to Strava. Nor will it do so for a core workout. Or anything else not involving GPS.

In my case though, it means I can’t actually analyze any of the heart rate data from Fitbit devices for any indoor workouts, because I can’t get the actual data. Just a little picture of it. Which, isn’t good enough for the level of accuracy I need.

Until now.

Today, while bumbling along looking for something else, I found this old post on Fitbit’s forums, where someone got just as annoyed as me…except instead of complaining to the engineers like I’ve been doing, he just made a tool to fix his issue. He literally made a simple standalone site called FitToStrava.com, where the sole purpose is grabbing your non-GPS Fitbit activities and posting them to Strava.

image

So obviously, I had to try it out! And, to save you the hassle, it’s super simple. It uses proper developer OAuth authentication programs for both Fitbit and Strava (meaning, it follows all the rules/etc set in place by both companies for how users control/access data).

image

Once you’ve done it on both sides, you’ll choose a date and choose ‘Sync with Fitbit’, which, will pull your activities down. From there, you can export to Strava:

image

A couple of seconds after hitting that button, you’ve got yourself an activity over on Strava:

image

And, in my case, the ability to download the file, by choosing the pencil:

image

Boom! And, the file is full of data properly formatted! And it works perfectly in the DCR Analyzer:

image

I mean, sure, the Fitbit Sense was still as inaccurate as the Whoop strap on this ride (which, was a pretty easy test being just on an indoor bike, but it still shorted all the high-intensity areas by 8-10bpm), but hey…at least I can easily show that for indoor workouts now.

Note that it does not appear to automatically sync it over. But hey, I’m OK with that. His little site solves my problem, and thus I was also happy to use his Donate button at the bottom too. Also, I’m sure there’s other ways to get this data, but I stumbled upon this and I’m pretty excited about it.

And with that, that’s all I’ve got for now. I now return you to Thursday.

Thanks for reading!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

*

32 Comments

  1. Jason

    Anything for this weird Garmin use case: I have an FR620 which won’t allow me to track just time and heartrate. Even when I shut off GPS, it tracks *some* distance (assume via the accelerometer). It will sync to Strava just fine, but it will show something like 0.41 Miles for a 30 minute spin bike ride.

  2. Tim Grose

    Kind of reminds me that back in the dim & distant before GPS watches (so before 2004) and when nobody had heard of Garmin and everybody either had Polar HRMs, Casios, Timex Ironman or just guessed I have got quite a few years worth of Polar HRM “text” files that might be worth getting onto Strava one day. Won’t get me any more CRs LOL but might be nice to more easi;y see what my HR used to get to say 20-25 years ago (lot more than now!)

  3. Do these indoor workouts ever have anything besides HR data? Not super familiar with fitbit devices.

    • ChrisTexan

      Not sure if you are asking specifically about FitBits, or “other devices” indoor workouts? If “other”, then it depends on the device, if you have a device, and a trainer setup that includes cadence, speed, or power sensor transmissions, then that type of data would all be in a “sport watch” device (Polar, Garmin, etc) if paired up properly.
      Also can’t answer anything FB specific, sorry.

  4. Ned Bowen

    I know I made a comment on a previous Fitbit device review about having this problem with my indoor workouts. Good to see someone put this together even if I no longer have my Fitbit Ionic!

  5. KC

    As a person who applies to this niche, thanks for posting! I’ve been looking to do just this. Treadmill runs can’t auto-upload to Strava. It’s crazy!

  6. Simone

    Is it just me or does it not upload the kilometers to strava? Thanks for the nice blog though 🙂

  7. Hi everybody,

    thank you DC RainMaker for your review.
    The website fittostrava.com is also a web app, so you can install into your phone just like an app.

    Many thanks again.

    • JAMES

      Hi

      I have a yoga workout on Fitbit but your app doesn’t find it when I click the sync with Fitbit button? I’ve selected the correct date.

    • Hi James,

      the app syncs the activities only those tracked automatically or those tracked by the device.
      So, the activities tracked manually are not synchronized, perhaps are you in this case?

    • JAMES

      Thanks for your reply.

      The yoga activity was recorded using my watch by selecting exercise then yoga function. I’ve also tried the app with smarttrack activities and it doesn’t find them either.

    • Matt

      Hi Marco,

      Really like that this allows you to upload HR from Fitbit (finally!). The only downside is that it appears to not allow you to add things like distance or speed from bike/treadmill. Would it be possible to add those in (and I’d add them manually)?

  8. Gasper

    OK, maybe a noob question, what manufacturers offer non GPS sync with Strava? For eg. I go swiming in the indor?

    Garmin?
    Polar?
    Samsung?
    Coros?
    Suunto?

  9. PeterF

    ” I’ve complained about it for years, Fitbit has acknowledged it during my discussions with them for years…and, it’s still broken.”

    It was my biggest exasperation with Fitbit and I ended up migrating to Garmin (VivoActive 4).

    Just saying, manufacturers of workout equipment, when Ray complains there will likely be hundreds if not thousands of people who will experience the same vexation and may end up dumping your platform because of it…

  10. Chris

    This is fantastic! I spent multiple hours trying to get this to work so I could properly evaluate my and the missus’ hr data from fitbit vs polar oh1 during HITTs!! Thanks Ray and shppota!!

  11. Marianna Bediner

    I tried doing this, but for some reason I’m only getting “No activities”. Did anyone else have this issue?

    • Jon

      Yes, same here no activities. I was able to log into both sites with no issues, i have automatically created cycling activities but they are not showing up. I am using a fitbit Inspire HR.

  12. Hi,

    these are the steps to follow:

    you have to log in into Fitbit and then log in into Strava.
    After you have to select a date, then you have to click on “Sync with Fitbit” and then, if the activity is displayed, click on “Export to Strava”.

    Remember, the app syncs the activities only those tracked automatically or those tracked by the device. So, the activities tracked manually are not synchronized.

    • Jon

      Hi Marco,
      Thanks for the reply, i followed these steps exactly and i see in both Strava and Fitbit settings that Fitbit to Strav is granted data permissions. I am still not seeing any of my activities (cycling or walks), perhaps they are considered manually created even though i did not manually create them…

    • Jon

      As a follow-up, looks like activities synced from other apps like trainerroad and Strava are considered manual activities, darn this would have been nice solution.

  13. Scott Goldman

    Very helpful review, thanks. I’ve always found using the Strava app on my phone (or Watch) too cumbersome. Instead I use the Garmin Edge 520 which then uploads the data to Strava after my ride. I also wear the Apple Watch when I ride but really dislike wearing a HR strap.

    I’ve been looking for a solution to pair the HR data on the Watch with the Garmin (I’ve ordered a Karoo2 to replace it) and just came across this: link to store.npe-inc.com

    Does anyone know anything about this device? There are only few reviews and they’re all quite positive so I’m mildly suspicious. If it does what it says I could just toss it in my saddlebag and have it relay the Watch data to the Edge, which would then upload it to Strava. Any feedback on this device would be greatly appreciated.

  14. Sporto

    1. Thx for sharing FitToStrava. I find it very helpful
    2. My swim activity captured via FitBit is not seen by FitToStrava
    3. Ride activity captured via FitBit works as expected

    Thank you!

  15. jsbalrog

    Oh my. This is gold, pure gold.

    To take it one step further, if you want to sync your fitibit (non-GPS) activity to, say, Endomondo, you can use FitnessSyncer to create a Strava source and an Endomondo destination. Boom. Then you avoid all those ugly plain ol’ “Other” workouts that show up with a normal Endomondo/Fitbit connection.

  16. Jason Kass

    Unfortunately the FR620 doesn’t have one!

  17. Janet Emm

    Thank you DC Rainmaker … put me in the not so ‘incredibly niche’ market … Thanks soo much for taking the time to post your travails with this and your success with trolling through the old fit bit forums as I really did not want the added expense of GPS tracking right now given that my phone works just fine … (sometime I prefer not to take it kayaking tho) you have saved endless time which I would have had to add to the endless time I have already spent trying to get an accurate measure for steps on a rebounder … something that has been flagged in fitbit for years!!. with the

    BTW have you seen any queries re rebounder recording/uploading in your searches?
    I know there is an app that supposedly works with Garmin ( Plyometrics/Jump GTraining/rebounder). and another Jump

    Any signposts would be greatly appreciated ..as rebounder works so well for rehap with clients/patients.
    regards
    Janet