This week on the Biggest Loser you will notice more changes. 24 Hour Fitness is no longer sponsoring the gym (and you'll notice that nobody is wearing a bodybugg – a 24 hour fitness product – anymore). What was introduced this week was the SlimCoach. It is being billed as the Biggest Loser SlimCoach, but the reality is this comes from a company called MyTrak. There are some interesting points to this device.
It tracks your steps (no surprise) so you can see your steps, and how many miles you taken as well as “Heart Minutes.” Heart Minutes are minutes you have completed where the activity was energetic enough that it elevates the heart to a level that has positive health benefits. You can set up goals for yourself. Slimcoach/MyTrak calculates how much you need to move to reach your goal. All you need to do is push the giant button on the device to get instant feedback. Red is bad, yellow is better, and green means you've reached your goal that's simple. To get a “Bigger Picture” you sync the unit via USB, and it uploads to their website (which is where you set your goals and such). It senses not only your movement but the intensity of your movements.
Here are some thing that set it apart. First if you are a swimmer you can purchase an accessory to take the unit in the pool with you. Secondly, some pedometers aren't much help if you get on a stationary bike. You can purchase an optional polar heart rate chest strap and the Slimcoach/MyTrak and it will track your heart rate while you exercise.According to their website, “Since MYTRAK relies on hip movement to calculate energy expenditure, a heart rate belt would be a valuable tool to capture energy expenditure on these types of activities. When combined with MYTRAK, a heart rate belt will convert your heart rate to calories equivalent and credit you on your MYTRAK. ” When using an optional heart rate belt, MYTRAK displays whether your current heart rate is within the suggested range, in real time. Online, your My Heart results are plotted over time and training zone. View your ideal range within one easy glance. When you plug in the Slimcoach/MyTrak to sync your updates, it also charges the unit (5 to 10 minutes).
The videos I viewed state that you can log your weight on the website, and since it knows how active you were it adjusts your recommended activity level. All you do is keep moving until it turns green. There is not calorie tracking. They have webinars, and personal trainers on their site. Like many other sites there is a forum.
The price is $129 for the unit which comes with a year of the service. The optional heart rate strap is $49, the Aquapac for swimmers is $29, and for an “Advanced Membership” you can spend $69 for “access to advanced charting such as Daily activities, Heart Activity, Heart Rate training, and Online Personal Activity Advisors.” It doesn't mention if this is for a year (I'm assuming) or a month (I doubt it).
While I like the idea of having an easy to read display, and the ability to have it tie in with a heart rate monitor, for me I'm not sure this is a “Fitbit killer.” The fitbit has a display that you can read (although the Red/Yellow/Green system beats the “flower”), the Fitbit syncs Wirelessly. The fitbit is NOT waterproof (I know this first hand). The Fitbit is less expensive and their website allows you to use it for free (and is only $49 a year for additional stats). The Fitbit also tracks how many steps you go up/down a day. The Fitbit can also be worn on (for example) a Bra strap where the SLimCoach is recommended to wear on your hip for better accuracy. TheFitbit can also be worn and track your sleep. If you are not looking to track your calories, want the ability to track exercise that doesn't use your hips, and want a super easy to understand display this might be your choice. This may be something you want to investigate.The unit comes in black or white. and is available at Amazon.com
I've got an email into the company to see if I can get more information.