Note: When I originally posted this article I stated (incorrectly) that the bodybugg contained a heart rate monitor. It does not (it doesn't need it) as you will find out as you read. I apologize for any confusion (and vow to quit posting past my bed time).
Ever since I started this podcast, people have asked me to try and get a review copy of the bodybugg. Luckily (after contacting numerous people) 24hourfitness.com came to the rescue). What's a bodybugg? Well the system I am reviewing is an arm band (created by a company called body media), a digital display (optional), and a website with software (from Apex) where your calories burned are displayed, and you input what you have eaten during the day (and it calculates the difference).Apex recently made it possible to update to check your online account with your iphone. You get a 6 month subscription to the website for free with the purchase of the arm band. All you do is strap the bodybugg to your arm, it detects your body and turns itself on. It's that easy. The arm band can store 14 days of data, and the charge lasts about 5 days. I plug my unit into the USB while I'm in the shower (you can't get it wet), and the battery is never low.
The arm band tracks how many steps you have taken, but its much more than a pedometer. It also tracks our skin temperature, how much heat you are generating from your skin, how much sweat you are putting out. By using all of the data is takes in, it is 90% accurate and predicting how many calories you actually burn. If you know how many calories you burn, then you know how many calories you can eat (how logical is that?). This takes the guesswork out of weight loss. All you do is figure out how to make sure you burn more than you consume.
An example would be a few Fridays ago, I was driving all over town getting ready for Easter. I didn't get to go to the gym. I was in the car for four hours, and ended up hitting a fast food place. By looking at my bodybugg digital display, I could see how many calories I had burned so far, and skipped the fries, the coke, and got a chicken sandwich without the mayo.
It is often said that people overestimate how much they move, and underestimate how much t hey eat. I can say after wearing the bodybugg for a week, that is absolutely true. Or at least for me – it was…
After the first week of using the bodybugg, I lost 3 lbs. While the armband is the “machine” that starts it all, I have been really motivated by the digital display. You can clip it to your clothes, etc but I've been wearing it like a watch. Having my calories in my face has motivated me to keep moving. Monday I set a record by taking over 19,000 steps in one day. When I had to take a plane to Oklahoma, during my lay over in Memphis I walked constantly to keep my activity minutes up, my steps up, and my calories burned up.
While I'm using it for weight loss, you could use this for weight gain, or weight maintenance. Today I talk with Kim Slover who is the Bodybugg Service Manager for Apex Fitness Group. Kim Slover used it during her pregnancy to make sure she didn't gain too much, and then to help her lose the baby weight, and now maintain her weight.Kim fills us in on the different ways people are being inspired by the information they receive from wearing a bodybugg.
The one thing the bodybugg does not have is a heart rate monitor (as of this writing). However, when I asked Kim about this she pointed out that most people do not wear a heart rate monitor 24 hours a day (I've done that an it's very uncomfortable). So consequently while they know how many calories they burned at the gym, they have no clue how many calories they burn the rest of the day. Also keep in mind that if you keep doing the same exercise over and over, your body gets used to that movement and you won't burn the same amount of calories. You won't get this information from a software solution, or a chart in a book (a one size fits all). Using the bodybugg you can tell which exercises are delivering the best results.
I know after using this for a week, I'm pretty much addicted. While some may flinch at the price tag ($179 for the arm band, or the package of arm band and display for $278, plus a monthly fee to use the website), I've recently been told my blood pressure is too high, and cholesterol is too high, and I've been given a few months to get them down via exercises. If that doesn't work soon, then it will be time to put me on medication (and how much will that cost?). I'd rather spend money on something that will help develop a healthy lifestyle on my own terms than to pump myself full of drugs.