FitBit

October 4, 2008

As many of you already know i’ve been back and forth with a calorie burning monitor.  The latest two have been Polar or Bodybugg. Well a new monitor is set to hit the scene very soon. It is called the FitBit and it looks promising.

From the website:

You can wear the Fitbit Tracker loosely in your pocket, clipped to your pants, shirt, bra or to your wrist when you are sleeping. You can wear it all day!

The Fitbit Tracker is wireless. Walk within 25-50ft of the provided basestation and your data will be automatically uploaded to the Fitbit website. The auto-sync software runs on both Macs and PC’s.

View calories, steps and distance on the Fitbit Tracker itself. You can login to the Fitbit website to see even more detailed data and also participate in collaborative fitness goals with friends, family and co-workers.

FitBit 1Fitbit 2

So what makes it promising?

  • size- it’s very small, and with a built in clip (think almost like the new ipod shuffle) you could be wearing it, and no one would even know.
  • price – $99 puts it cheaper than the others and (atleast for the first few months) NO SUBSCRIPTION fee to use the website!!! this means your not paying $250 and then another $12-20 bucks a month.
  • wireless – dont have to worry about plugging it in

So what are it’s drawbacks?

  • the main on is it only uses an accelerometer to track your movements… this means it won’t always be as accurate in your calories burned.
  • No heart rate – again because it only uses the accelerometer you don’t get your heart rate during exercise.
  • Extra fees – they aren’t clear if the no subscription is forever or only for a few months or years.
  • New company – no track record.

I will let you know when i have more information on this product, it looks as though they are trying to get them out about December/January which is when the V3 bodybugg is to be released… interesting.


Polar pt2

August 4, 2008

So if you haven’t read (previous post) i’ve been going back and forth between BodyBugg and Polar HRM – after polar’s most recent email back… i think i know which one i’m going with:

Here’s my email:

If i was looking for the best device to track my Total Calorie Expenditure
for the entire day (day or night, awake or asleep, working out or resting)
which device would i want?

And Polar’s Reply:

Dear Anomoly,

Thank you for your email.

It is well known that the heart rate tends to overestimate daily energy
expenditure. This is because in everyday life heart rate can be elevated
due to other reasons than physical activity (changes in posture, emotional
factors, mental stress, heavy exercise before). On the other hand, heart
rate is practically never lower than the metabolic cost requires.
Subsequently, energy expenditure estimates tend to be too high in
measurements done over extended periods.

Polar heart rate based caloric equation has been shown to be very accurate
during physical activity (heart rate over 100 bpm). The accuracy is not as
good at low heart rates. Even below 100 bpm it is in the right level if
elevations in heart rate due to other factors than physical activity can be
eliminated.

So in short they confirmed what most had speculated… Heart Rate Monitor’s are decent for Exercise, not great when it comes to everyday calorie expendeture.

So that answers my question, now i just have to find out with the Bodybugg V3 is hitting the market….


BodyBugg Update

July 31, 2008

So after my short run in with the nice people at Bodybugg… i thought i would ask a few more questions (maybe find out if they are ever going to offer a desktop version… here’s my questions… and the answers follow:

so does this mean that the bodybugg will always be subscription based. and that you can’t just download a program to upload info to the computer? any idea what the version 3 is going to cost? will it have the digital display included?

________________________________________

The bodybugg program is and will always be subscription based…..
There will never be a program you can upload the info to your computer….
We don’t have a price for the Version 3 armband but it should be similar to the current Version 2 armband….

The digital display is a separate unit and will not be included in the Version 3 armband…

So i guess that just about clears it up. I’ve been going back and fourth with this and a Polar f11, i will wait for version 3 and make a choice then… comments and questions are welcomed… my talks with Polar to follow….


BodyBugg

July 31, 2008

I haven’t seen a lot of guys with the BodyBugg (www.bodybugg.com), but it looks interesting. I had a few questions about it so i decided to write them about it.

The whole thing is a little confusing to me:

It’s made by Sensewear http://www.sensewear.com

Promoted as Apex http://www.apexfitness.com

And pushed by 24HourFitness http://www.24hourfitness.com

I even found some copycats:

http://www.biotrainerusa.com – just the accelerometer

www.actitrainer.com – from what i could find, the accelerometer, and you can use a polar chest strap for heart rate.

Anyway, back to what i was talking about, i wrote Bodybugg and here were my questions:

  1. Will you offer a desktop solution rather than the website as i am not always able to be connected to the internet.
  2. the watch seems like it might help with this… if i’m not able to connect to the internet will i still be able to use the band and the watch to monitor calories for the day?
  3. will bodybugg be coming out with a new version soon (like just a watch) the bugg is a little bulky on the arm all day.
  4. will bodybugg get one that includes a heart monitor?

And their answer:

Thank you for contacting us.

The program is a subscription-based program, and you need to have internet access on a Windows based operating system using Internet Explorer as your browser.

In order to use the bodybugg program, your subscription must be current.

The following link addresses how the program is subscription based;

http://my.apexfitness.com/vip/help_bodybugg.php#gen4

The armband has approximately 14 days of data collection memory.

http://application.bodybugg.com/help/armband.do#memory

As a consequence, without having an active subscription to “upload” the information from the armband….the armband will fill up with 14 days of data collection in its memory, and no longer be able to provide additional information, which the “digital display” would be able to retrieve.

So….in essence, you will need to have an active subscription to be able to upload the armband, so that the armband will continue to be able to acquire information to transmit to the “digital display” without the limitation of memory.

With regards to your question about a newer version of the armband….

The Version 3 armband, will be waterproof and be smaller (more sleek and less bulky).  The waterproof basis would only benefit the armband from intrusion of water into the unit…..however, the unit will still be unable to measure calories burned while in the water, since the skin contact and sensors will not be able to provide/obtain sufficient and accurate data which are used presently to measure calories burned.  The proposed availability of the waterproof version is proposed to be available late 2008.

Due to the placement of the armband on the back of the upper arm…..usually sites ideally suited to obtain heart rates are on the chest or wrist…..we are not aware if the back of the arm is suitable to obtain heart rate, and consequently it is highly unlikely that heart rate will be a feature of the bodybugg.  We are aware of this request and have shared this with the designers and developers of the bodybugg program.

The thing that is bothering me the MOST about the bodybugg… is the whole subscription website thing. i understand, expensive technology… someone has to pay for it (i’m fine with paying the up front cost.  There is no reason other than GREED that they only have a  website version to “download the data” – the hardware only works with a Windows PC so the whole “universal” idea of the web is null here. There isnt anything that would really require it to be web only vs a desktop version. I just think they should allow BOTH web version for everything “food tracker, calorie expendature and intake” and a desktop version that will DL the data and free up that precious “memory”.

In the analogy it’s “give” the razor away and sell the razor blades.

Not only do they seem to be selling the “razor” at a high price but then they get you having to buy the razor blades too.

I put $600 down on a 24 hour fitness 3 year pass

$600/3 years = $200/12 months = $16 after that its just $45 a year = $3.75 a month… this is for all the sport and active 24Hours in the nation….

Compare that to

Bodybugg: $199-$350 and the digital display $99 and the subscription $14.95-$99.95

just seems expensive is all i’m trying to say. And i know what your thinking if you dont want to spend the money… don’t spend the money… you’re right.

So after this i decided i would check out Polar since they have been around for a while… more on that in a future post.