I was given the bodybugg from BodyMedia, Inc. to use for a month and then blog about. I have to say that since I first put it on, I have rarely taken it off. The experience has been rather eye-opening.
The bodybugg (Amazon affiliate link) is a small rectangular device that you strap to your upper arm. The previous version of the device was a bit clunky, but they’ve shrunk the size making it a lot more discreet (although one person did ask me if I was being monitored for medical reasons). You wear the bodybugg for all but an hour a day; it doesn’t go in the shower or the pool, but other than that it’s okay to wear 23/7. You do need that hour so you can let your skin breathe a bit.
With the band off your arm, you plug it into your computer and download the day’s data. (Yes, it’s now compatible with all platforms as they added Macs recently.) The device tracks your movements including steps taken, your skin temperature (the more you move, the warmer your skin gets), and how much time you spent laying down, sitting, or standing.
bodybugg Computer Interface
I really like how the data is compiled and shared on your computer screen. You set up goals for daily calories burned and calories consumed. The bodybugg software has an extensive and easy-to-use database and I only rarely had problems finding a food; if I couldn’t locate it, I’d just input the item myself. There are a lot of graphs that show you calories burned per minute (when I sit on my butt blogging, I burn 1.1 calories per minute; when I’m running, I burn up to 10.4!). The software also shows how many steps and when I took them, how long I slept and at what times I came out of a deep sleep (that was interesting), and how much moderate and high-level activity I did on a daily basis. Of course, it tracks your weight too, if you want to add that in.
A very recent update from the company is that they now offer little tips. If I’m, say, 60 calories shy of my target calorie burn for the day and I download data around dinnertime, the computer will suggest a few minutes of activity so that I can hit my daily goal. That was cool.
A Couple of Problems
For some reason, bodybugg doesn’t track my Spinning workouts as even a moderate-level activity (until last night; it was the first time ever so perhaps another software update?). I tend to hop on the bike at night when I watch a little TV so it’s not an all-out Spin workout, but even when I noticed that it wasn’t tracking and I tried to push a hard workout, the bodybugg was still tracking only a few minutes of moderate work when I was actually dripping with sweat.
The outer casing of my bodybugg has also developed two small cracks on the part that rests against my skin. I don’t remember hitting it at all and, for some reason, I suspect it happened when I was sleeping (but that’s just a guess). So I’ll be contacting the company about getting the monitor replaced.
Finally, this isn’t a problem, but make sure you keep the plastic that sits against your skin clean or you will have problems such as developing a rash or a “raw” sensation on your skin. If you do keep the band off for an hour a day and keep it clean, you should be fine.
How Good is the bodybugg?
It was eye-opening to me how many fewer calories I burn on days when I sit at home blogging (about 1,650) versus how days I work at the studio (2,100). I’m so much more active at the studio moving around with my clients, plus my walk to and from home; it makes a huge difference and gives a whole new meaning to the term Blogger Butt!
I actually bought and paid for the first version of bodybugg (affiliate link), although this one I got for free so I could blog about it. I am very happy with the product and plan on buying the extra monitor so you can see your progress without having to download to a computer. The bodybugg costs $149.99 at Amazon and the extra monitor is another $79.99. I want the monitor as a reminder to move my butt more on those blogging days. You get three free months of their software program through Amazon, and after that it varies depending on the length of time you sign up for (a one-year commitment is $6.95/month).
There is also a version with Bluetooth technology available for $20 more than the regular monitor that automatically downloads to your smart phone. Finally, I should mention that the bodybugg is what contestants on “The Biggest Loser” use, in case you always wondered what those things were on their arms …
If you’ve used the bodybugg, let me know what you think of it. Did you find it helpful or did you get a little obsessive about all the information it gives you? Here’s a list of what I think are the best fitness gadgets. And yes, full disclosure, I did get the bodybugg for free, and I’m currently getting the software for free, but I plan on paying for it whenever the press package that I was given runs out.