Does It Really? What's the Deal with the bodybugg?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/29/2009 11:19 AM   :  228 comments

See More: weight loss,
Wouldn’t it be great if there were an easy-to-use, moderately priced weight loss tool that told you exactly how many calories you burned each day, how many you ate, and what your real calorie surplus or deficit is?

That would sure take a lot of the mystery and confusion out of the business of losing or maintaining weight. Right now, all the numbers you get from exercise machines, online calculators, and even heart rate monitors come from general formulas based on statistical data from large numbers of people. Since no two people are exactly alike, these general estimates can be, and usually are, inaccurate—sometimes by as much as 30-40%. And food trackers, of course, are only accurate if you record everything you eat.

Well, there is a device that claims to come pretty close to solving these problems. If you watch "The Biggest Loser" on NBC, you’ve probably seen it on the contestants—it’s called the bodybugg. The bodybugg is owned and sold by Apex Fitness, the same company that owns the chain of gyms called 24 Hour Fitness, which is also a major sponsor of "The Biggest Loser" show. For current pricing and information about what you get for your money, you can check the company's website.

The bodybugg system consists of two parts. The first is an armband sensor that collects several kinds of information about you as you go through your daily activity, and uses it to estimate your calorie expenditure during both your exercise and the rest of your daily activities; you can also get an optional wristwatch-style display that shows you the numbers. The second part is a computer software program that does some math, based on the armband data and other information you provide, to figure out how much you must have eaten in order to produce the changes in your body weight observed over any given period of time. It also tracks your numbers over time and has some other features.

Basically, it's the opposite of the traditional method of tracking your food intake carefully, and estimating your calorie expenditure.

In theory, the bodybugg eliminates the need for tracking your food intake (check out the video on their website, which claims "Don't want to track your food? You don't have to!") and counting calories in versus calories out. Bodybugg's gadgets and formulas and software would do all this for you. All you'd need to do is wear the armband most of the time, spend a little time on the computer, and adjust your food intake or your exercise until your calorie deficit is what you want it to be. You also have to pay monthly fees ($14.95 right now) for the online software to work, without which, the Bodybugg is not very useful.

That's how it works in theory. But does it actually work in real life?


To fully explain and analyze the bodybugg program, it would be necessary to discuss some pretty technical stuff that, I imagine, won’t appeal to very many readers. It doesn’t even appeal to me, and I like this kind of stuff. So, I’m going to go straight to my conclusions first, and then finish with the technical part. For those of you who want to look at the technical issues in even more detail, I’ll provide some links at the end of this blog.

Bottom Line: I don’t think the bodybugg is quite ready for primetime. It could be, with some changes in its technology and software program. But as it stands, it basically seems to create more opportunities for errors to be made, rather than fewer opportunities.

Here are the two major problems I see with the bodybugg program:

  • The most basic and important problem is their assumption that you can determine your actual calorie intake without tracking it, by simply comparing your energy expenditure to changes in your weight. Things just aren’t that simple. (The bodybugg promotional video says, "Don't want to count your calories? You don't have to." Plus, the video says you don't have to exercise or diet.)

    Lots of factors affect your weight at any given moment, and many of them have nothing to do with whether you are gaining, losing or maintaining body fat. The bodybugg system has no way to sort these different factors out or determine what has actually changed when the number on the scale changes. It simply assumes that all weight changes are based on the difference between calories in and calories out. So, if you lose a pound, the system will tell you that you ate 3,500 fewer calories than you burned since your last weigh in, whether you did or not.

    Arguably, the system could be fairly accurate over a long period of time, like a month or more, because more time between weigh-ins would tend to minimize the effects of short-term factors (like water-weight fluctuations) on weight changes. But then there would be no way to figure out which foods or meals are producing the calorie excess or deficit. And it’s not going to tell you if you gained or lost muscle as well as fat.

    Although it takes a little time and effort, I think actually tracking your food intake is the easiest way to win "the numbers game" of weight loss. And it also allows you to see your nutritional status, find out what kind of nutrient ratios help you achieve your particular goals, and genuinely learn where calories and nutrients come from. I can’t see giving all that away for an estimate that’s bound to be much less accurate. The bodybugg website does have a food tracking feature, but it's being marketed as an alternative to calorie counting and tracking.

  • The armband sensor doesn’t actually measure energy expenditure; it just uses more factors to come up with it’s estimate. It still relies on statistical formulas that won’t be accurate for everyone and don’t cover a number of common situations.

    The bodybugg sensor doesn’t include a heart rate sensor. Instead it uses an accelerometer to measure motion, a heat flux sensor to measure heat dissipated by your body, a galvanic skin response sensor (a “lie detector”) to measure sweat rate, and a skin temperature sensor to track changes in your body’s core temperature. All of these factors are definitely relevant to calculating calorie expenditure, but none of them measure it either directly or indirectly. According to studies, this combination of measurements can predict calorie expenditure with a 8-10% margin of error, compared to the “gold standard” methods used for laboratory-based measurements of metabolic rate.

    This means that, for estimating exercise calories burned, the bodybugg armband is no more accurate than a good heart rate monitor--but it does have more limitations due to the specific factors it looks at. For example, the armband can’t be used to estimate calorie expenditure when biking on a real bike, because the accelerometer can’t take gearing into account or allow for the fact that arm movement isn't an indicator of body movement or muscle workload on a bicycle. And the armband can’t be worn in water. Basically, the bodybugg will probably be less accurate than a heart rate monitor for exercises other than walking, running, stationary cycling, and stair climbing.

    Some of these problems could be eliminated or reduced by incorporating a heart rate sensor into the armband sensor, and adjusting the algorithms it uses to include more exercise options. But unless (or until) that happens, I don’t think the bodybugg system offers more than you can get for a lot less money elsewhere.

    Also, you should know that, whenever you’re not wearing the bodybugg, or when it’s not recording data for some reason (low battery, just not working right, etc), the computer system makes its own estimate of your calorie expenditure, using the same generic formula that almost all other online calculators use to estimate your resting metabolic rate—for free.

    Is it easy to use?

    I actually tried the bodybugg myself for a few weeks and have to say I found the armband uncomfortable to wear for very long. Also, it frequently shut itself off for no apparent reason. This was a “free sample” sent to us for testing purposes, so I didn’t make much effort to figure out whether there was something wrong with my particular unit, or whether the problems were caused by something I was doing wrong or due to the design of the armband itself. But I generally found it hard to use, and would have been unhappy if I had actually paid for it. The website seemed pretty well done, and if the two major problems described above were worked out so that the calorie deficit/surplus number was reliable, I think the bodybugg could be a pretty effective and motivational tool.

    But it's not there yet, in my opinion.

    For a detailed review of major studies on the bodybugg's accuracy, go here.

    What do you think about the bodybugg? Have you tried it? Do you think it would be worth $300-400 for a tool that actually could tell you what your calorie deficit (or surplus) is on any given day?

    Editor's Note: Thank you so much for your lively comments on our review of the bodybugg.

    Our blogger, Coach Dean, has researched and followed the bodybugg for a few years. He had been reading about and researching this product and similar products long before he tried this one. If anything, this is the most unbiased information about how the bodybugg works because it doesn't come from people who are trying to sell it to you. We consider this to be unbiased, informative, and well-researched by a person who is an expert in exercise and physiology. Fans of the bodybugg might not like to hear the facts, but learning how the device works shouldn't diminish whether a person who already uses it find it to be helpful as it is.

    And ultimately, please remember that a review is the opinion and experience of one person. You are entitled to your own opinion, based on your own experience.
    Cheers,
    Stepfanie

    p.s. Please remember that the SparkPeople Community Guidelines apply to comments left on the dailySpark.


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    Comments

    • 228
      Thanks for this review. I was looking for an alternative to the Spark Activity Tracker as it does not ship to Canada on Amazon, and more than that we Canadians are excluded from the Trick or Track Challenge. Looks like it'll be a Fitbit that tracks sleep for me. - 10/27/2013   9:35:07 AM
    • MOCKABIRD
      227
      Can you guys please remember that this post was written in 2009!?
      This is a review of the earliest model of GoWear Fit/ Bodybugg/ Bodymedia device. This was before the bluetooth, cool wristband and updates to software.

      Before you get snarky and "correct" the reviewer, remember that you are "correcting" old data. Maybe one of you who seem to know it all can write your own review? - 1/30/2012   10:50:56 AM
    • NATURALDETOX
      226
      Just so people know, this is NOT an up to date picture of the BodyBugg! The new one looks better. I use the BodyMedia (formerly called the GoWearFit). It is an excellent tool. It is identical to the BodyBugg which I believe is exclusively sold at 24hour fitness, with a couple differences: Bodymedia maintains a different website for their customers, and from what I hear it is much easier to use and has a better food log.
      - 6/4/2011   4:40:12 PM
    • MILLIONAIRE7
      225
      my wife has been craving to loose weight and she wanted to buy some slimming pills but i told her to wait because will try to look something in the internet then i found this. - 5/12/2011   11:08:45 PM
    • JBRUTON2010
      224
      If that is an unbiased review I will eat my hat. No where on the BB website does it suggest you shouldn't track calories. In fact, it strongly encourages tracking calories in order to accurately estimate you calorie defecit. Also, 90% is BETTER than most heart rate monitors, besides the Polar, most of them are in the 80% for accuracy and they can't track anything other than active excercise. This is a tool, just like every other tool, that one can use for weight loss. If you only track calories in then you are only getting half the picture. BB and GWF give you the other half, as accurate as can be commercially possible to a large number of people. If you ask me my health is worth any price and I want the full picture. - 2/1/2011   12:45:35 PM
    • WVODRIVER
      223
      The author does not mention that for the BB to work you have to pay a fee of $10/month or $80/year. This is kind of a rip off since they could provide you with software to make it work but they don't simply to milk more money out of you. Britelite is right, you have to pay for it and then some good for people who don't mind throwing their money away. - 1/15/2011   3:33:26 PM
    • 222
      I love my BodyBugg SP for a few reasons it takes the guess work out of how many calories my body burns a day 90% is close enough for me. It also motivates me, if I see I haven't met my target calories burned it makes me want to get up and do something to reach my goal. Knowing all that combined with my calorie intake I can see my true deficit daily all on my iPhone. I do agree their database does suck plus I would love to see a barcode reader implemented into the BodyBugg iphone app if they did that tracking my calories would be so much easier thats why I use the app foodscanner in conjunction with it. All in all I think the BodyBugg is a great tool to have in your arsenal along with a HR monitor. - 11/28/2010   9:08:46 AM
    • MDSCHIELE
      221
      My experience with the related Bodymedia Gowear Fit is amazingly positive and astonishingly different than the review. I've been using it for over 9 months and it is very comfortable, highly motivating (like nothing I've ever tried for weight loss), and for the most part very accurate (more on that in a sec). I've always failed at weight loss until trying this in a somewhat desperate move (I was ready to give up, as I was exercising daily for 6 weeks and the scale wasn't budging and I cannot live life hungry on restrictive diets). In the 9+ months I've been using it I've gone from borderline obese (BMI-wise) to well within the healthy range, lost nearly 20% of my starting weight, improved my diet, and increased my exercise (mix of cardio and functional strength training). As at least one other comment pointed out, they recommend that you input detailed food log info and that the "automatic estimator" option that was panned in the review isn't the preferred method. My experience, based on my fastidious food logs and how much weight I've lost, is that it underestimates my daily calorie burn by about 10%; which is within the stated margin of error. However, I do most of my cardio on a stepper which Bodymedia clearly states (along with cycling) does not register as well as most other forms of exercise, and because the undercount is very consistent it's simple to adjust accordingly (mentally) so I know accurately what I'm burning. I always hated calorie logging (and therefore never stuck to it), but now eagerly log on several times a day. I haven't dieted, per se, but staying aware of my calories and burn rate have definitely made me make different choices and my diet has improved substantially, even though I wasn't trying for that. My biggest rule has been that I eat if I'm hungry and this lack of deprivation while still being aware and confident of my daily calorie balance has been the key to my motivation and success. I'm now playing around with amounts of exercise and higher calorie intake to find the right balance to maintain my weight loss.....I highly, highly recommend the Bodymedia Gowear fit.... - 9/12/2010   8:44:15 AM
    • 220
      I have had the newest version of the bodybugg for a few days now. I will disagree about not logging calories in. The BB website does encourage food logging and it is imperative to do so. I can't understand how the BB would be helpful otherwise.

      It does keep me motivated to move more. I can't wait to load it up at night and see how I've done through the day. - 6/26/2010   9:52:24 AM
    • AANDRUS1
      219
      I have hypothyroidism and wan’t able to lose excess weight even after taking meds. I bought the bodybugg v3 and have been wearing it almost 24 hrs/day for over 16 weeks. I kept as accurate a calorie intake as possible using Fitday’s online program. I wanted to lose a pound a week and set intake and levels as such. It wasn’t happening. After 10 weeks I looked at how much I lost and what my supposed deficit was. Way off. I adjusted my actual deficit by how much weight loss I had. I had to use 65% of the recorded deficit to get close to an actual deficit. I also kept track of body comp using a 3 place caliper. I have noticed the bodybugg reports calorie output much greater using the treadmill indoors, over the same kind of running outdoors. Jogging or running outdoors seems far more difficult on my body than on the treadmill. Walking seems to burn almost as many calories as jogging on the track, but not the treadmill? My food input daily is quite accurate, so I must conclude for me, the bodybugg is as much as 35% high.
      Reply Alan says:
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm
      I assumed the usual 500 cal/day average deficit for losing 1 lb per week.
      Reply Alan says:
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      June 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm
      Weight training doesn’t seem to burn many calories above base using the bodybugg.
      Reply Click here to cancel reply.
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      - 6/12/2010   2:22:53 PM
    • 218
      I just received my Body Bugg in the mail and here are my comments so far.

      After about 15 minutes, I forgot it was even on. The band comes in medium and large. I have a large arm and it fits perfectly, with extra room to spare! The website could be updated a little better--it logs you out too frequently, doesn't remember your username/password. I am not too impressed with their food log so far either. I am hoping that I can still log in my food through sp and eventually transfer the calorie count to the bb website. I like the idea of always knowing how many calories I have burned. That way I can decide if I really need to climb the stairs or if I can take the elevator after a long, tiring day at work. The picture of the Body Bugg in the story appears to be an older version. Maybe that's why the author had more problems.

      And if it works for the contestants on the Biggest Loser, maybe it will work for me too :) - 6/5/2010   5:21:09 AM
    • 217
      I have a bodybugg and I LOVE IT!!!!! For me it motivates me to work out hard and for longer timse because I know I am burning more calories. I always log my food. I weigh and measure it as well!! I am a strong believer in this!! I feel its very important to weight loss to keep track of what goes in!!! But to each his own!! Is is accurate??? I have no clue, I wonder the same thing myself, but I do know I will keep wearing it!!! I forget its on my arm!!!
      - 4/21/2010   3:40:56 PM
    • 216
      I HAVE THE GOWEAR FIT AND I LOVE IT IT DOES COST TO USE IT .. MY HUBBY GOT IT FOR ME FOR MY LAST B-DAY AND I LOVE TO USE IT.. - 3/22/2010   2:20:48 PM
    • 215
      I own a Bodybugg and LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!! I've been wearing it for 30 days and have lost 10 pounds in that time. I paid less than half the price that is stated in this article and got 6 months of free software/online program and TWO 45minute coaching sessions included. Definitely worth it and a great buy! I LOVE this thing. The software system is foolproof and so easy to use. I can see my activity level throughout the day, my "steps" AND log my food intake. This is probably the best investment I have ever made. Even my husband, who only wants to improve his athletic ability, as opposed to losing weight, purchased one and has had great success in a short period of time. You can customize menus, workouts (with videos) based on your dietay needs (established through questionnaires) and physical abilities or injuries. The article and some commenters made reference to it being no better than a heart monitor. Actually - it IS better, because for anyone with an arrhythmia or other tachycardia, TRADITIONAL HEART MONITORS DO NOT ACCURATELY REFLECT PHYSICAL EXERTION. Yes, my cardiologist /electrophysiologist told me NOT to use a heart rate monitor for just that reason, so the Bodybugg was even more exciting option for me to explore - AND IT WORKS! For the FIRST TIME I get an accurate measurement of my activity/physical exertion and am seeing results!!! I have recommended the Bodybugg to 3 other people and they have also had great success. I have also connected with other users who have lost over 100 pounds using the BB monitor/program. The BB also allows you view your average daily caloric intake & burn/deficits over different periods of time - THEN you can compare them to your actual measurement changes to identify if perhaps you are not accurately logging your food intake. (Since most people underestimate their food intake by 20%, this is a useful tool and an eye opener for many who think they eat great and can't figure out why they aren't losing weight - the BB will really help you to see where you're falling short, because you can't over-report your physical activity.) For times when you don't wear the monitor, there are calculators based on your personal information that will tell you how many calories you burn during any given activity, depending on your exertion level and the amount of time. It also has a GOAL tab - where you enter your goals, whether it be weight loss or improving your athletic ability- and it will tell you what you need to do to reach those goals by a specific date (which you input.) In my case, I want to lose 2 pounds a week and lose 25#s by January. Given my goal and my start date, it told me that by burning an extra 1000 calories a day (not unrealistic for 2# a week weightloss) I could lose the 25#s by January 8th. It would not allow me to adjust the date to January 1st, because anything more than 2 pounds a week is considered unhealthy. That is also while STILL CONSUMING *AT LEAST* 1800 CALORIES A DAY - not starving myself calorically. It even tells me what percentage of carbs/fats/protein I should be eating based on my goals and/or any special dietary considerations. For my husband and I, the Bodybugg has proven itself to be a very valuable tool in my weightloss journey and his athletic performance goals. The BB has allowed us to both have success, stay motivated and make some lifestyle changes and really see DAILY results, which is definitely a motivator in and of itself. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their physical/athletic performance, lose weight or even gain weight. The Bodybugg can help you meet your goals!!! :-) I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE MINE and would have paid TWICE the price for it!!!! :-) Even when this one dies (as all electronics eventually do) I will buy another. :-) - 11/19/2009   3:21:42 PM
    • 214
      It seems as if everyone is commenting about the cost as a reason not to get it, especially because of the monthly fee. The bodybugg is now 199 and the gowear fit is cheaper, and with both if you buy the wristwatch display for 99 and ive seen it cheaper other places, you dont have to pay a monthly fee to see your results. they are right there on your watch for you to track in real time, track how much each excercise burns to see if your workouts are keeping you in a rut. I'm buying one today! - 11/3/2009   7:43:19 PM
    • 213
      I own a bodybugg. My boyfriend got it for me (at my request) for christmas last year. It stopped working last month, but they replaced it at no cost (1 yr warranty included). It's the newer, smaller black V3 version. It kind of looks like you're wearing one of those arm mp3 players. I don't know how accurate it is, I do know when I log my food, using a lowered carb program and wear my bodybugg with the wrist band display, it keeps me motivated to log food, stay on track, take more steps, exercise, take the stairs, etc to burn more calories. Having my calorie burn right there and seeing my total calories burned VS my diet keeps me more accountable. It's kind of cool to see a graph on the site where you can see exactly where you are burning more. It sees if I wake up in the middle of the night to pee, lol. Some activities burn more than expected. For instance, I do face painting and balloon twisting at bday parties on weekends. I burn more than I thought during the balloon twisting, probably because I use a hand pump to inflate the balloons. For me, it's just a tool that really motivates me and keeps me accountable, it's fun too! I think it definitely helps, but like all fitness tools, including spark people, you have to stay with it and commit to it to succeed. I use spark people as well, so I think combining the two is the best way to go if you want to try BB. They have deals every so often at the 24hr fitness site, mine cost $250 for the armband/sensor AND the wrist display watch with 6 months free service. - 10/20/2009   8:46:44 AM
    • 212
      I have the GoWearFit - a relative of the bodybugg. I use the band and display to track my calories out, and the Sparkpeople pages to count calories in. I know it isnt perfect science but it has been tremendously helpful for me to not only see my "ESTIMATED" cumulative calories burned but also my steps and my "ESTIMATED" current calories burned during a specific activity. It also helps me track my sleep patterns and as someone who suffers from insomnia it was a good tool for me to trend my sleep - I actually got the band on the recommendation of my doctor as a combo package for the weight loss goals AND determining my best course of action for sleep issues.

      The GWF is less expensive. overall and the monthly fees as well. It was the right choice for me, and really, like every other aspect of our diet and fitness routines, what works for me may or may not work for any one else. I'm happy with my decision but defend any one else's right to disagree based on their experiences. How else can we learn but to listem to differing viewpoints?

      I wasnt an (active) member when this was 1st published, so I missed it. I caught the mention on the Spark BLog and came over to take a peak :) - 8/21/2009   8:32:42 PM
    • 211
      BB folks are relying on the reluctance of the average American consumer to invest the time required to crank out some very basic math. That's all it is, folks - basic math.

      It would seem the BB folks have found their market, and are doing well. Kudos to them. Business is business, and I can respect most companies that find their niche, market to it well, and mantain good customer satisfaction.

      It's brilliant, really, because it's an ongoing expense (i.e., about $15/ month) in addition to the major one-time purchase (i.e., $300-$400). Certainly makes sense from a business perspective. I'm sure they're making a great deal of money. More power to 'em.

      Personally, I do not need the BB folks to complete basic math for me. At that price, I think I'll stick to my trusty calculator and the wonderful tools at SP!

      To each her own!

      ~STS~ - 8/21/2009   2:41:12 PM
    • 210
      Come on, BodyBugg users and prospective users. Don't take a consumer review personally. Information is power, and let's assume that smart consumers review the reviews, then ultimately make their own decisions. And as always, buyer beware. I always read a number of reviews, and try to talk to actual users, before making a buying decision. And I immediately distrust people who get defensive when someone states the pros and cons of a product. This particular product is not ready, in my opinion, for mainstream use. One day possibly. - 8/6/2009   5:54:57 AM
    • 209
      This wouldn't work for me. - 7/17/2009   1:39:12 PM
    • HTIMSANIT
      208
      I'm a techie... I'd love to try it but until I'd wait until the second or third generation comes out and some of the "flaws" are fixed. Prices tend to go down by that time too. So far the best electronic gadget that I've found for weight loss is my trusty iPod Touch. Using it with the Nike + chip in my running shoe helps me track my walks, the music (I bought The Biggest Loser CDs for fast paced, upbeat music) helps my walks go by faster and I can access Spark People from my bed, first thing in the morning, which helps me start the day off on the right foot. Until something else comes along which is as useful and can handle that many different tasks, I'll stick to what I have. - 4/7/2009   11:58:30 AM
    • 207
      Hmmm... I have a hard time believing this would work for me. When I have a day where I do not log my food until the end of the day I end up having been way off in my own estimation of calories. I know I am a compulsive eater and after countless times of trying to just "eat normal" and finding out I way overshot my calories for the day I am convinced my brain is incapable of monitoring my eating this way. For me, I need the constant logging of my food intake through out the day to see on paper what is really going into my mouth. I know that having a computer estimate how much I ate after the fact, and then the next day trying to eat less (or I suppose for some it might be more) accordingly would NOT work! - 3/25/2009   11:09:38 AM
    • 206
      The Body Bug would not work for me. I need to maintain the self-disciplined way of logging calories in and calories out. This motivates me to stay on track. I'll stick with the old fashion method, thank you. - 3/23/2009   4:02:20 PM
    • BMARYGIRL
      205
      I think the BB sounds great....but then, I think of myself as a Boomer Techie. I am getting used to my new digital hearing aids (talk about scams...another topic for another blog. Not the aids, the industry.), so I'm sure I can have fun, function and success with a BB. - 3/22/2009   2:40:58 PM
    • NETADARLING
      204
      I found the article and comments very interesting. I personally am not interested in a bodybug, just wanted to know what it was. I don't watch much TV, Spend extra time on SP learning more about myself and what I eat then what it does for my body. If you need a gadget to help in your quest for a healthier life, go on get it. It takes different things for different folks. The thing is, that you DO whatever it takes for you to get healthy. - 3/20/2009   8:51:06 PM
    • 203
      No way dude, especially with the $14.95 monthly fee. While it may be more accurate than formulas I use that I have found online and perhaps easier than logging your food I think it's still bogus. For one, logging your food helps you keep track of the calories you are eating daily so you aren't all over the charts trying to stick to a number coming out of this armband. Plus when you log your food, you know you have to write down that mini Snickers bar you took from your coworkers candy jar on her desk or even when you have skipped meals which isn't healthy for you. As opposed to this armband which may give you positive results for negative habits. And two, if the armband isn't really giving an accurate calorie count for burn factor, what's the point? I could get an inacurate reading from a website online for free without all the fees and hassle. The bottom line is if you are interested in losing weight the healthy way, it isn't going to come easy. This device would only be worth it for people with the $$$ to spend and the discipline to stick to a healthy diet. - 3/20/2009   4:41:47 PM
    • SYKOTIKKITTIE
      202
      I am not prepared to drop $300+ on a BB. I will stick with the trad methods and will be adding a HRM to my small, yet effective aresnal of gym gear :) - 3/20/2009   4:15:22 PM
    • 201
      I want one. Is this what they use on Biggest Loser? - 3/17/2009   10:28:40 AM
    • TREFALYN
      200
      I LOVE MY BODYBUGG!! The new model is much more comfortable than the V2 by the way. I do believe that it does help in the battle of the buldge for me anyway, and actually seeing what I burn in calories is very motivating, in helping me get exercising, and keeping me from eating to excess. - 2/24/2009   5:47:38 PM
    • LMASIN
      199
      I love love love my BB! I've had it since Thanksgiving and I've lost 46 pounds! It is an amazing tool. It doesn't bother me at all, I don't even notice it on my arm. I only take it off to shower. I got mine on sale for$120 at 24 Hour Fitness with 3 free months subscription and 2 free coaching sessions.

      I find it amazing the comments people make about something they have no knowledge of. I can only recommend that you try it, you will absolutely love it. I would not trade it for ANYTHING! I'm sure if everyone were given one, they would love it as much as I do. - 2/17/2009   10:48:54 PM
    • AMAZONWOMAN804
      198
      I love gadgets and would consider a Bodybugg if it did not
      A) cost more than twice what a good HRM costs
      B) cost an additional monthly fee.

      For that kind of money, I want something with better than an 8-10% margin of error. If it's margin of error were considerably different than the (much cheaper) HRM, I again might consider it.

      It's just simple economics for me. I certainly don't begrudge those who love gadgets even more than me and have the extra cash to spare. - 2/12/2009   2:40:38 PM
    • 197
      I find my Polar Heart Rate monitor to be very accurate, and I don't have a monthly fee to get accurate calorie deficit results. I track my food and exercise here on Sparkpeople and I get an accurate readout. - 2/9/2009   5:19:45 PM
    • 196
      Thank you for posting this so that I could see the comments of other BB users. Thanks guys for sharing your experiences with it. After reading the review i was convinced not to buy it, but now I have decided it deserves a try. - 2/9/2009   9:54:03 AM
    • 195
      I actually bought the GoWear Fit- same company- but the product is cheaper. I actually got it on Amazon.com for $199- and this included the armband, display watch and 3 months free online access.

      I have tried heartrate monitors and pedometers in the past. They have always disappointed me because they are never very accurate. Always seemed like a waste of my money.

      So- I was really skeptical about this product. As coach Dean says- it is pricey and i was concerned that it wouldn't do what it advertised. I am so glad I made the decision to try it! I love this thing!

      I think this thing is great for giving you a more accurate measure of what you are burning. I had been watching my food and working out for over a year and had remained at the same weight- which was very frustrating! After getting this in- I realized that I wasn't burning nearly as many calories during exercise as I thought I was. The elliptical always told me that I was burning over 800 calories an hour. Turns out it wasn't even close to that much! This thing has helped bring me back to reality in how many calories I actually burn. I have a very sedentary job and having the display tell me that I am not burning many calories really motivates me to get up and be more active at work and when I get home I no longer tend to sit in front of the TV all night!

      As for the comfort of the armband- I don't tend to feel it most of the time. When I do feel it- I just think my bra strap has fallen down! :)

      I still use SparkPeople to track my food intake- as I am a little obsessed with calories in! :) So I really can't speak to the calorie tracking tools on their website. As for the rest of the tracking tools on their website- I think they are great. The sleeping tracker is very interesting to see. Turns out I don't sleep all that well- no wonder I always wake up so tired! And if you do the website for a year- it is under $7 a month- you could spend that at a fast food restaurant or Starbucks easily! It is all about keeping it in perspective!

      Please do your research on this piece of equipment. It is important to take ALL reviews in to account and make the decision that is best for you. Everyone is entitled to their opinion- it is up to you to put them all together and make an informed decision. While this things works really well for a lot of people- it might not be for everyone- and that is ok. As for a scam- this just isn't one of them. If you do the work- you will see the results! :) - 2/6/2009   9:33:51 AM
    • SNOWWHITEKITTY
      194
      Personally, I love my BB. I've lost 23 pounds in 2.5 months with it and I'm definitely not starving. I forget the band is there and as for looks-who cares what other people think? It's not THAT big. I'd be interested to see the weight loss in BB users vs. those who shut out the possiblity of getting one and do what they have been doing with the same results. BTW, something isn't a scam just because you can't afford it. - 2/5/2009   5:12:36 PM
    • 193
      It was brought up that many of us Body Bugg users seemed to be taking this review personally...I was thinking about that statement and realized that Yes, I do take this review personally. Just as I would take a negative review of Spark People personally and would jump right in with both feet to defend and point out any incorrect information about Spark that was being distributed! - 2/3/2009   4:36:47 PM
    • MOMHOME
      192
      has anyone try the actitrainer ? - 2/3/2009   10:40:26 AM
    • DEBBIE4824
      191
      I have to say I am disappointed in this review. I usally find the reviews helpful and informative but this one just seems like you're trying to pass off a very personal opinion as a fact based review. I research for over a month on every website I could find from everyone that had ever touched the device before deciding to purchase.

      1. It took me less than 1 Day to not even notice I was wearing it, perhaps you had it pulled too tight or did not wear it properly if you found it uncomfortable. Most reviews I've read from all over the web said the same thing, so I tend to think that you finding it uncomfortable is the exception rather than the rule.

      2. They don't mis-lead people into thinking it will track your food for you. Losing weight isn't about tracking food. It isn't about burning calories. It's about the combination of the two and finding a calorie deficit that works for your personal weight loss. Spark people doesn't work perfectly either as I find the calories burned/fitness section sorely lacking in helpful information. What most people that have discussed these devices are doing, is tracking their food separately, using the burn from body bugg/gowear fit to estimate their calorie deficit.

      Short of tying ourselves to a hospital machine, this seems like a great solution for everyday usage. And as far as saying it's as good as a heart rate monitor, I'm sorry but that statement is such a generalization I can't take it seriously. Heart rate monitors DO NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE! About two minutes into a workout it tells me my heart rate has exceeded my recommended range. I've been to a doctor, I have a very healthy heart, they just don't read correctly on me. Most people I've discussed things with have said that the heart rate monitor way over-estimates calorie burn. I would rather have a device that uses multiple measurements to calculate an estimate then to rely solely on one that doesn't even work for me.

      Nothing is perfect, and yes it's an estimate. Who says it's exact? It gives you a starting point to see how you're doing, a goal to reach for. How can you bash that for everyone when you obviously haven't considered all of the ramifications of what you've said. This is the first time I have ever been disappointed in Spark People and I hope the last. In the future, I'd recommend talking to more people to make sure your "opinion" is on board with the majority before you publish it to people that rely on your word. - 2/3/2009   9:37:46 AM
    • MUFFINTOPBEGONE
      190
      I will have to respectfully agree to disagree with you, Coach Dean.

      I have been wearing the BodyBugg for almost a year now (yes, every single day, 24/7, except when showering) and it has made a HUGE difference in my efforts to lose weight and get in shape.

      First off, you said that the device was uncomfortable to wear. As I stated above, I've been wearing this for almost a year now and most of the time, I forget that I even have it on. Perhaps you had your band too tight? Or maybe it wasn't positioned quite right on your arm? I have found, through trial and error, that there is a perfect spot on my arm, where it practically disappears and I completely forget about it.

      In regards to your issue with the armband turning off randomly, the only time I have ever experienced that was either when the battery was low and needed to be replaced or when the band was not tight enough to hold the device in place, where the sensors were in constant contact with my skin. At first, it just takes some adjusting to get the perfect fit.

      No heart rate monitor or calorie expenditure measuring device is going to be 100% accurate. At least not any time in the near future. However, in my opinion, the BodyBugg is much more accurate than any of the heart rate monitors that I have tried in the past (including 2 polar models at the same time, which gave me completely different readings).

      If nothing else, the BodyBugg really ups my motivation factor. When I can see how close I am to meeting my daily calorie expenditure and step goals, it pushes me to get there. And when I'm working out and I hear the digital readout beep at me to signal that I've reached one of my goals, it puts a smile on my face and gives me a little nudge to keep on going.

      Before the BodyBugg, I had zero idea of how many calories I was burning per day. The estimating calculators that I found online were off by 25% or more every single time. Also, the BMR calculator that I had been using was not quite right. And, guess what? Despite tracking every bite and working out 2 hours or more most days of the week, I wasn't losing weight. Come to find out, my daily calorie deficit was too large, since I didn't know how many calories I was burning each day. If not for the BodyBugg, I would have never known that and probably given up on my goals. Now, I know that I can eat more than I was before and lose more weight at the same time.

      I appreciate and respect your opinion, Coach Dean, but I fear you may have mislead quite a few people in this community, since you stated that you didn't take the time to troubleshoot the issues you had with the BodyBugg.
      - 2/3/2009   8:50:08 AM
    • SPARKLICIOUSFAN
      189
      Coach Dean, thank you for the review! - 2/3/2009   6:22:15 AM
    • 188
      I would love to buy one but I just don't like the idea that you have to keep paying for it every month(by way of an online subscription) just to use it. It kind of seems like a big scam to me. - 2/2/2009   9:54:03 PM
    • DONEPAT
      187
      Thanks for posting this. I've been curious about it. Call me an old fashioned (cheap?) girl- but the bugg seems to pricey for me. I'd rather track my food and workouts like I've been doing. For those of you it works for, that's great. Until they come up with something foolproof and easier to manage, nope, a pedometer, pen/pencil, computer work fine for me. :) - 2/2/2009   9:58:30 AM
    • 186
      You indicate in your review that it doesn't track the food. If you use the Bodybugg website, then food can be entered just as it is on SparkPeople. I've used mine since Thanksgiving and the armband does take some getting use to but once you do then it's no problem. I'll renew my subscription at the end of February. One of the great things is that it also counts your steps as well as activity level. Nothing will accurately monitor anything including entering your own food. So it's a matter of how well you use the product as to if it will work for you. - 2/2/2009   12:22:53 AM
    • 185
      I understand that no device will be completely accurate, HOWEVER, even taking that 8 - 10% inaccuracy rate into account, I have used my BodyBugg to very effectively tailor my food to my activity level. I PUT ON weight training for my last marathon and couldn't figure out why. Now with my BB, I know that I was seriously underfeeding my system, so it was hoarding fat.

      I bought mine on sale for $199 which included the 3 month online subscription and 5 twenty-five minute personal training sessions. I plan to renew my online subscription - my experience has been that good!

      Thank you for presenting the facts as you found them. I have found my BB to be priceless! - 2/1/2009   8:51:43 PM
    • 184
      My bugg arrived on Thursday last week and I've worn it since Friday. I LOVE IT!! I've learned so much about all the ways I burn calories. Like some of you, I too thought that it would somehow figure out what I had eaten. I couldn't figure out how it could do that, but the video says it does (maybe the web site itself doesn't say it in writing but if you watch the video it DOES say that if you don't want to write down your food, you don't have to).

      Either way, I track my food in their tracker and I also track here at Sparks - just comparing the results of the two. They're generally pretty close. Yes, I like Sparks for food tracking better but the other one is do-able.

      Overall though, I love the numbers game. It claims to be accurate give or take 10%. I can live with that. I know that on my own I'm not accurate at all. And frankly, on Sparks, I don't trust the accuracy of their "calories burned" on a lot of exercises because those lists don't take my weight or level of effort into consideration. The bugg closely matches what I get in terms of "calories burned" on the machines I use at the gym - and those machines DO measure my heart rate, so again, the bugg's capabilities right now are good enough for me.

      Luckily I had heard about a special deal on 24hourfitness.com so I ordered mine from that web site. It was $249 and the display (which is normally $99) was thrown in free. In addition it came with a six month subscription to the web site.

      In an ideal world the device WOULD somehow calculate calories eaten. And in an ideal world bodybugg and Sparks would team up and give us the best of both worlds. - 2/1/2009   7:15:23 PM
    • 183
      I had the opportunity to use the Bodybugg for free on three different occasions as part of a research study. Yes, it was less than comfortable at times, I kept a log of my food/calorie intake both on sparkpeople and in a journal, but the data was very interesting. Calories spent - all different times of the day including when I was sleeping - I was to wear it 24 hours a day taking it off only when I bathed. I wore it for 10 days each time and it was very enlightening how and when I was burning calories. - 2/1/2009   5:35:12 PM
    • 182
      I think it cost to much and would take more time to track, plus you have to pay a monthly fee, where you can use sparks for free. i use a pedometer that trackssteps, cals burn, distants walked and aerobic steps. It only cost me $25. - 2/1/2009   2:41:30 PM
    • MISSTURRY
      181
      I love my BodyBugg, and it has helped me tremendously. I credit it with finally getting ym doctors ro realize that I have a thyroid problem. I respect Coach Dean, but he was obviously determined to not like the Bugg and this blog is terribly biased. - 2/1/2009   6:07:59 AM
    • 180
      I like using SP because it is FREE. - 2/1/2009   12:55:48 AM
    • 179
      I don't have a Bodybugg but did research the product after seeing the contestants on TBL show wearing them. After finding the cost of the tool, I opted for an OMRON HJ-720IT Pedometer. This little gadget tracks the number of steps I take a day, the number of aerobic steps, total aerobic time, calories burned, distance and the number of fat grams burned. In addition to all of the things it can do, it comes with software for your desktop. The software keeps track of it all and you can print out the data for your records. The pedometer & software costs less than $30 (including shipping) on Amazon. I love it. I've been using it for 3 months. It helps me meet my 10,000 steps were day and number of calories burned through my walking/biking/jogging/running activities. Oh yes, it zeros itself out at midnight, so you are ready to use it the next day. - 1/31/2009   10:11:32 PM

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