February 1, 2009 at 11:08 am
PastaQueen reviews The BodyBugg, a device that monitors how many calories you burn via fancy science stuff.
Disclosure: Personal trainer Elizabeth Sherman sent me the BodyBugg V2 and a free 3-month subscription to the MyApex.com tracking service, both for my personal use, to see if I wanted to buy the product. No review was mandated, but I agreed to mention her services if I blogged about it, which I was happy to do because she was awesome! You can purchase a Bodybugg or GoWear fit at Amazon.
I first heard about the BodyBugg when I was eating sushi. The raven-haired friend of a friend to my left took off her business jacket to expose some lush cleavage…and a device strapped to her arm. (But seriously, she was stacked and even us straight girls noticed it.) The BodyBugg attaches to your upper right arm, similar to an iPod holder. However, instead of playing music it estimates how many calories you are burning via sensors that monitor your body temperature and sweat levels, and via an accelerometer which measures gravity and motion. Read more about the science behind the BodyBugg here.
I, geek girl that I am, thought this was Awesome with a capital A. So I wrote to the BodyBugg people asking if I could test a unit for the blog…and never got a response. Yes, sadly not all corporations bow down before my awesome power. I have been lucky to get many cool freebies because of this blog (which I am grateful for and appreciative of), but anyone who is jealous of all my free crap can smile gleefully knowing I don’t get everything I want.
However, never underestimate the power of the people, specifically the people on Twitter. One of the reasons I’ve grown to love Twitter is because of the opportunities it provides. I found a freelance web design project there and I also learned that a friend of a friend had a BodyBugg available to try. So, I contacted Elizabeth Sherman, Licensed Wellness Coach, ACE Certified PT & LWMC, and NESTA Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach and she sent me a unit to test and a 3-month subscription to the online tracking service, myapex.com, that manages your data.
The BodyBugg attached comfortably to my arm, which has some flab left over from my days of morbid obesity. It automatically turns itself on 1-10 minutes after you’ve strapped it on, notifying you that it’s started tracking by buzzing like a cell phone. This caused me to jolt in surprise the first time I tried it, almost dropping a dish I was washing. It was comfortable and I forgot I was wearing it during the day, though I wouldn’t advise wearing skintight shirts since it would look like you had a pack of cigarettes stored up your sleeve. That’s not very healthy, is it? I even slept in the BudyBugg a couple nights with no problem.
Once you’ve recorded some data, you have to upload it to your account on MyApex.com. Even after you buy the device, you have to pay a monthly service fee to the web site that manages your data, sort of like owning a TiVo. You can plug a cable into your BodyBugg that connects to the USB port of your computer, or you can connect a small round wireless device to the USB hub which talks to the BodyBugg wirelessly so you don’t have to take it off. After you’ve installed the uploading software, you just press the button on the BodyBugg to send your data.
When I tested it, the MyApex.com site only worked in Internet Explorer, which is a bit of a bummer since I prefer to use Firefox. However that wasn’t a huge issue for me. I enjoyed analyzing my data because I could look at the peaks and valleys in the chart and recall what I’d done to cause them. The little surge around three o’clock was when my coworkers and I walked to Starbucks. The big surge in the mid-morning was when I went running. Even the three minutes I spent walking to and from the restroom showed up as a small surge. While I have always heard that small amounts of activity can add up, like using the stairs instead of the elevator, seeing these graphs made me realize how true that statement is.
The web site also lets you track your weight and what you’ve eaten. You can then make the adjustments to your lifestyle that you want, either by eating less or moving more, to get the numbers where you want them. The site also offers tips on nutrition and exercise to help you achieve your goals. If you take the BodyBugg off, say to shower or sleep, the web program can estimate your calorie burn during those hours according to your guidelines.
The BodyBugg was really cool to try out, however I tested it during that time last winter when my depression was pretty bad, so I did not use it consistently or as well as I could have. (Yeah, even cool gadgetry didn’t hold my interest. That’s how I knew something was wrong with me.) I’m also on a tight budget right now, so I decided not to buy a BodyBugg for myself. It would be a cool gadget to own if I didn’t owe the headache clinic over a thousand dollars.
Please note, if you have an eating disorder or have OCD, do not buy this device! It would be like mixing Vicodin with alcohol. It will only heighten the levels of your obsession. Stay away! If your brain can handle the graphs, you can buy the BodyBugg from Elizabeth Sherman’s site. She’s got the V2 available for $175 and the newer V3 for $249 which includes a 6-month activation. Full details are available here. (I tested the V2.) Elizabeth also offers wellness coaching and was very encouraging and supportive of me when I tested the BodyBugg. She’s also got a blog, Ambassador of Wellness.
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