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Fit Bit vs BodyMedia Link vs Mio Alpha



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SLYSAM
SparkPoints: (35,545)
Fitness Minutes: (84,551)
Posts: 1,379
1/8/13 2:07 P

I've only used a fitbit of the three you mentioned... I just want to point a few things out.

My understanding is the correlation between heart rate and calorie burn is quite specific to aerobic activity. In a lab, they usually estimate/measure calorie burn by oxygen consumption not heart rate. Heart rate monitor manufacturers are generally estimating oxygen consumption from heart rate and using that to estimate calorie burn. But that relationship is pretty specific to aerobic exercise. That is a lay person description, I am reading a book on heart rate monitor training. So I personally would not rely on a hrm for total, non exercise calorie burn. Though it can be motivating and useful to use one, I do. I don't know enough about the Mio Alpha to know whether they are factoring something other than heart rate.

Personally I like using the fitbit to track general activity and a hrm for some intentional exercise. You can get both for the price of the Mio or maybe less if you find a good deal. My favorite combination is that I use a bluetooth polar strap with digifit. Digifit will automatically sync the activity to y fitbit account (they are linked). I admit, half the time I delete Digifit's entry because it is anactivity that fitbit tracks well for me. I tend to leave it for the activities fitbit doesn't track well (I use my old non-bluetooth hrm for swimming and manually log it). I probably should not admit, but I use the hrm for non cardio exercise too. The digifit calorie burn is lower than my Polar hrm (I think it excludes bmr as it is consistently that much lower) and it gives a lower estimate than any of the online calculators I have seen so I just go with it. It does generally put the activity in the correct activity level compared to my exertion. Though this would mainly work if you have a smart phone. Full price, my fitbit was around $99 and my Polar bluetooth hrm strap was $50 (on sale on Amazon, it might cost more retail). Or you could use a GPS app (if you carry a smart phone) for your cycling, Endomondo will log to fitbit for you. So there are ways around the specific activities that the fitbit doesn't track as well. Strength training is an issue as I am not sure it is possible to know you are getting a good estimate. I have been using my Digifit calorie burn, I mainly do full body kettlebells, free weight circuits or bodyweight circuits with minimal rests. I've noticed no ill effect on my progress logging it this way though, even though it isn't perfect.

I must admit I am intrigued by the body media. The main reason I didn't go there was the subscription fee and that I know I would tire of wearing the armband all the time and probably would not get enough use out of it for that reason. I can hide my fitbit on my bra strap and forget about it unless I want to check my stats.



REYNINGSUNSHINE
SparkPoints: (20,309)
Fitness Minutes: (41,738)
Posts: 523
1/8/13 3:20 A

Since my HRM that I got a couple years ago is running down, I've been looking for something new and more versatile with better features. I've narrowed it down to three things I'm looking at: the FitBit, the BodyMedia Link (or Core), and the Mio Alpha (just launched today).

The FitBit is ~$100. The BodyMedia Link is ~120 right now (~100 for the Core) plus ~$7/mo after the first 3 months, and the Mio Alpha is $200.

The FitBit is the least advanced. Most of you know what it does. The BodyMedia Link has more sensors in it to figure out calorie burn doing other activities, not just walking or climbing. The Mio Alpha is a (strapless!!!) continuous-read HRM- the first one ever actually.

I am not a runner or a walker. I am a college student, so I do walk a lot to and from classes and climb a lot of stairs (boyfriend lives on the 5th level of a 19th century building... and I go there before classes, after classes, after we go to the gym- it's basically like I live there). But when I work out, I cycle, lift a lot- I do a lot of activities the FitBit won't pick up on, I think. I want to figure out how many calories I REALLY burn during the day, so I think the Link will be more accurate.

The Alpha is the most expensive and only has the HRM in it, which is cool- I love that- but it won't do everything the Link does. However, the Link requires a monthly subscription, and after a while, I might not even need the big features of tracking my lifestyle, in which case, all I'd need is a good HRM watch.

I probably won't actually commit to buying something until March (when I can get them second hand for a lot cheaper- you know, everybody buys them now for "new years resolutions" and then figures out they don't use them in a few months and they go on sale on eBay and there is less demand), but I want to know if anybody has any opinion?

I hear only good things about the FitBit, but has anybody tried the Link and can compare?



 
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