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Guide: How to properly sync among MFP/Fitbit/Garmin Connect/Strava

imjms737imjms737 Member, Premium Posts: 69 Member Member, Premium Posts: 69 Member
I've been a Garmin Connect (GC) user for 4 years, a Strava user for 2 years, a Fitbit user for 5 months, and a MFP user for less than a week.

I had issues syncing activities across all four platforms, and since I couldn’t really find a clear solution, I will post how I have my four platforms connected and synced without duplicate entries.

<Background>

I track all my activities (road running/trail running/weight lifting/cycling) with my Garmin Fenix 3, and use my Fitbit Charge HR for daily HR tracking.

Before starting MFP, I had no issues uploading my Garmin connect data to my Fitbit and Strava.
The setup I previously had was:

1. Connect Garmin to Strava, and Strava to Fitbit
2. Track GPS activity with Garmin device and NOT with my Fitbit
3. Upload activity to GC
4. Uploaded GC activity gets synced to Strava
5. Synced Strava activity gets synced to Fitbit

* This only works with GPS activities, not indoor activities that do not get synced to Strava (ex: indoor weight lifting). For indoor activities, you have to record with both Garmin and Fitbit devices.


This way, I would be able to get my HR reading from the more accurate Garmin HR strap, as well as GPS data from my Garmin device into my Fitbit dashboard.

Once MFP came into the picture, things had to change, because:
- I wanted to sync my food consumption, which was logged via MFP, to both Fitbit and GC
- I wanted the accuracy of my Garmin device over my Fitbit tracker for my activities
- I wanted to have my activities synced across all four platforms
- Linking MFP with GC and MFP with Fitbit ended up duplicating my Garmin activities in Fitbit


<Solution>

The way I solved the duplicate activities from my Fitbit was to:

1. Link Garmin with MFP and Strava
2. Unlink Fitbit and Strava
3. Link MFP with Fitbit
4. Track activity with Garmin device
5. Upload activity to GC
6. Uploaded GC activity gets synced to MFP
7. Synced MFP activity gets synced to Fitbit

* This means that my Garmin activities still get synced to Strava, but Strava activities no longer get synced to Fitbit.
** This also means that my indoor workouts tracked with my Garmin will now get synced to MFP and Fitbit without having to track the activity on both my Garmin and Fitbit devices.



However, there are some drawbacks to the above setup.

1. My activities in Fitbit get an unappealing name such as ‘Running (jogging), 5.2 mph (11.5 min mile) (MyFitnessPal) at Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at 7:56AM’, instead of ‘Run’
> No practical harm done, but I personally prefer the simpler names
2. Activities in Fitbit no longer show the distance and pace of my GPS activities
> As I personally track the details of my GPS activities with GC, there is little loss, but I would still prefer to have the info on my Fitbit dashboard as well
3. All of the stick figure icons in my Fitbit exercise list are standing stick figures regardless of activity type, instead of biking/running/working out stick figures, depending on activity type.
> Again, no harm done, but I liked seeing the different stick figures

Does anybody know a better setup to properly sync activities across MFP, GC, Fitbit and Strava without the above shortcomings?
One way I can think of is to:

1. Link GC to MFP, MFP to Fitbit, GC to Strava, Strava to Fitbit
2. Track activity with Garmin
3. Upload activity to GC
4. Uploaded GC activity gets synced to Strava and MFP
5. Synced Strava activity gets synced to Fitbit
6. Synced MFP activity gets synced to Fitbit
7. Manually erase MFP activity from Fitbit and keep Strava activity in Fitbit

But this steps requires me to manually erase the duplicate activity after every activity I track, so I decided to not use this setup.
If anybody has any suggestions, I’d be all ears.

I hope this will help somebody!
edited April 2016

Replies

  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,052 Member Member Posts: 18,052 Member
    Go back to original setup.

    Link Fitbit to MFP as only additional thing.

    The only thing missing is using the MFP Exercise Diary. The not full-featured limited in scope Exercise Diary.

    But do you really use it anyway?
    Are you reviewing your entries in that diary instead of in Fitbit or Strava or GC?

    Do you need an auto-posting of a generic sounding workout on MFP for your friends to see?

    Or could you get by with just making a wall post on MFP with more useful details?

    See my profile page for example, it's public.

    No exercise logging need take place on MFP if it's getting Fitbit daily burn values to correct itself.
  • imjms737imjms737 Member, Premium Posts: 69 Member Member, Premium Posts: 69 Member
    Thanks for your input, heybales.

    The limited scope of the MFP exercise diary is a very good point, but the downside of the original setup is that my GC account will not have a complete picture of my health and fitness, as my food log from MFP will no longer be sent to my GC.

    My main reason for linking MFP to GC is not necessarily for the exercise log in MFP, but more for the food log in GC.

    I wish it were possible to select which data points get sent to where..

    Thanks for your input!
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,052 Member Member Posts: 18,052 Member
    Ahhhh.

    GC connected to Fitbit doesn't receive back the meal total calories?

    If it received your food items prior - it should still receive back the total meal calories.

    Because MFP will send those meal totals to Fitbit.

    Unless you want to use GC to also peruse what you ate for review later.
  • imjms737imjms737 Member, Premium Posts: 69 Member Member, Premium Posts: 69 Member
    Thanks for your followup, heybales.

    As far as I'm aware, the only way to link Garmin Connect and Fitbit is FitDataSync, which I find to be somewhat unreliable..

    But even when it does work, it only syncs activities, so not quite the level of synchronization I want.
    (Quote from the FAQ of FitDataSync: "Only activities displayed on "Activities" page in Garmin Connect will be imported. All other data displayed on other pages, including steps count, calories, etc will not be imported to FitBit")

    I'm assuming there are no direct syncs between Garmin Connect and Fitbit is because the two are competitors in the wearables market.

    If there is a way that I'm not aware of, please do let me know.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,052 Member Member Posts: 18,052 Member
    That's what I suspected - Fitbit stuff doesn't go back to GC. True - they'd rather have your eyes on their site with ads.

    I've tried to avoid as much as possible the new GC, since I have just HRM so all the extra stuff doesn't bear on my usage.
    But they do have food logging then, and when MFP is syncing directly with GC, does it bring meal totals or meal items also into GC?

    Now - Fitbit can handle receiving imports from multiple sites regarding the same activity or block of time, the last received should get the name.

    So I'd suggest keep the Strava linked with Fitbit.

    Even if 2 workout records are logged, one from MFP that came from GC, and one from Strava that came from GC - the start time and duration should match and therefore no doubling of calories, whichever is last will overwrite the data for whichever is first.

    You could still have issue of ugly title if MFP workout coming last, but the HR data from Strava will still be there untouched, as workout record from MFP is only calories. And those all match since ultimately coming from GC.

    I'm actually surprised you get a good workout title on MFP from sync from GC - usually I see ones that are generic sounding, so I wonder if GC is passing on more than generic workout type and calories and time/duration?
    Perhaps it's merely pace, and MFP assigns the entry that covers it.

    That part must be new if it is.
  • imjms737imjms737 Member, Premium Posts: 69 Member Member, Premium Posts: 69 Member
    1. When GC syncs food logged from MFP, it only takes meal totals, not meal items.
    2. Theoretically, you are absolutely correct. I thought Fitbit would be able to take care of the duplicates from MFP and from Strava, but unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case. For some reason, Fitbit is not able to detect that the Garmin-Strava-Fitbit activity is the same as the Garmin-MFP-Fitbit activity. I wonder why..

    I track the specifics of my activity in Garmin Connect anyways, so having inaccurate activity details in my Fitbit dashboard is not a huge issue.

    Thanks for your input, heybales.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,052 Member Member Posts: 18,052 Member
    Hmmmm, you've almost got me curious enough to set it up now.

    I wonder what would push me over the edge .....

    I'd even throw in some manual activity reports because I like to see what Fitbit originally came up with. Hmmm....
  • robertrprobertrp Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
    Here is what finally worked for me.
    1. disconnect all connections in GC, Strava, MFP, MMF
    2. connect GC to Strava only
    3. connect Strava to Fitbit only
    4. connect Fitbit to MFP and MMF
    5. download endomondo and connect to MFP

    Strava passes GPS run data from Garmin to Fitbit, Fitbit excludes these steps if also using fitbit.
    Fitbit passes the run data to MFP, MMF, and Endomondo, which then parsed correctly to all programs. Not sure why Endomondo is needed but doesn't work without it.

    As an added bonus I was also able to use UA Record without any duplication.
  • robertrprobertrp Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
    Above works...but...MFP won't then pass weight data to GC..Have check setting in Endomondo that only allows it to receive data from MFP.
    Really you should be able to connect all your devices with all your apps and the apps figure it out.
    Also the app should be written such that it automatically detects the type of workout.
    >15min/mile = Walk
    6min/mil-15min/mile = run
    >6min/mile = cycling

    Brackets should be user settable.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,052 Member Member Posts: 18,052 Member
    Well, it would be nice to designate that the other side is the master in terms of workout terminology.
    For Strava for instance - some people like to give each ride a unique name. Others may prefer that in GC.
    MFP could be set to "accept workout names" and use whatever comes across. They'd likely need more fields shared between sites, and both would have to agree on it - but still.
  • majikceemajikcee Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
    robertrp wrote: »
    Here is what finally worked for me.
    1. disconnect all connections in GC, Strava, MFP, MMF
    2. connect GC to Strava only
    3. connect Strava to Fitbit only
    4. connect Fitbit to MFP and MMF
    5. download endomondo and connect to MFP

    Strava passes GPS run data from Garmin to Fitbit, Fitbit excludes these steps if also using fitbit.
    Fitbit passes the run data to MFP, MMF, and Endomondo, which then parsed correctly to all programs. Not sure why Endomondo is needed but doesn't work without it.

    As an added bonus I was also able to use UA Record without any duplication.

    I believe this process requires you to be using GPS with the Fitbit steps. Do you also need to be recording activity steps with the Garmin?

    To my knowledge any sort of data import into Strava requires it to be recorded with GPS stats.

    Any idea how I combine Fitbit and Garmin Connect data without relying on GPS?
    edited February 2017
  • issataissata Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
    Looking for an answer for this problem too. Recently got a Garmin for my runs and am enjoying it much more than my Fitbit Alta as it provides more information. However, now I'm stuck on getting my daily steps from Garmin to sync to my Fitbit (without having to track it using an activity). Because ultimately, I want my steps to connect to Gym Pact!
  • JotamideJotamide Member Posts: 11 Member Member Posts: 11 Member
    So far I've tried Garmin->Endomondo<->Fitbit->MFP. My main goal is for all my exercise data to show up on Endomondo (since Garmin and Fitbit cannot sync easily with each other) and have my calorie and training data only on Fitbit to compare with my friends.
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