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Published on June 6th, 2011 | by Ruth

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BodyMedia Fit: Feel-good Tracker

I start­ed my jour­ney with the Body Me­dia Fit with the best of in­ten­tions. To­geth­er, we were go­ing to rule the fit­ness world. Ev­ery bit of ex­er­cise would be tracked, an­a­lyzed, and full of win. All I re­al­ly knew about the sys­tem was that it was a mag­ic arm band that cal­cu­lat­ed fit­ness. I lat­er learned that the mag­ic hap­pens through gal­van­ic skin re­sponse, a 3-ax­is ac­celerom­e­ter, skin tem­per­a­ture and heat flux mea­sure­ments.

Bounc­ing out of bed on my planned “day one,” I ran to the climb­ing gym, scaled a few walls, and walked home. As I walked, I was able to synch the band with my iPhone app via blue­tooth to see how many calo­ries I’d burned, and how many more I should burn. In­stant smug feel­ing, at­tained. I left the band on my left up­per arm as I went about my nor­mal day. By bed-time, I could pat my­self on the back over how many ex­tra calo­ries I’d burned, how many steps I’d tak­en, the du­ra­tion of my mod­er­ate ac­tiv­i­ty and the du­ra­tion of my vig­or­ous ac­tiv­i­ty, all wire­less­ly synched to my iPhone. Since it al­so has a sleep track­er, and we’ve been try­ing out sev­er­al re­cent­ly, I de­cid­ed to leave it on overnight.

Wak­ing up the next day I was re­al­ly tired, and through a busy day didn’t have a chance to check on the Body Me­dia. By the time evening rolled around, I de­cid­ed to try synch­ing it the the com­put­er for more in­for­ma­tion than the iPhone app pro­vid­ed. I dis­cov­ered that, though I’d been in bed from mid­night to 7am, I was awake on and off from 3:30-5:30am. No won­der I felt sleepy all day… It was a great ex­cuse for crank­i­ness.

The next morn­ing I took the track­er off to show­er, then slapped it back on right away- I didn’t want to miss any calo­ries that might be burnt in the mean­while. Dur­ing the fol­low­ing week it be­came a part of my arm. That was ok for at home and at the gym, but in the evenings it start­ed to be an­noy­ing- sev­er­al peo­ple from my dance class­es asked if it was a med­i­cal mon­i­tor. It cer­tain­ly is lack­ing in fash­ion points- dull grey and very util­i­tar­i­an look­ing. For a sys­tem that I’m sup­posed to wear all the time, I’d like to find some­thing that looks at least a lit­tle like it could be jew­el­ry. The ad­di­tion­al face­plates avail­able are cheesy at best- a lip­stick mark. re­al­ly?

The Body Me­dia Fit is avail­able on Ama­zon for $220 (list price $249). It’s a pret­ty hefty price-point, but as a one-time ex­pense, it could be worth it, if you re­al­ly en­joy track­ing your progress, and are mo­ti­vat­ed by track­able goals. For me it turned out to be a bit of a van­i­ty af­fair- I got to view my stats and gloat. That said, it did help me get out of bed when I was on the fence about work­ing out. What I’m left more skep­ti­cal about is the con­tin­u­ing sub­scrip­tion fee. If I stop pay­ing $7-$13/ month (The range in avail­able sub­scrip­tion prices.), I won’t be able to use my ex­pen­sive de­vice any longer? It feels a bit like a hostage sit­u­a­tion, in a world where I take synch­ing my var­i­ous de­vices to­geth­er for grant­ed. What do I get for my month­ly sub­scrip­tion? Does synch­ing my de­vice with my phone or com­put­er re­al­ly mer­it a reg­u­lar ex­tra charge? I don’t think so. For me, that’s prob­a­bly a deal-break­er, but for some try­ing to find mo­ti­va­tion to work out, it might be worth it.

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About the Author

The ampersand tattoo on her shoulder goes a long way towards explaining Ruth's outlook on life: there's always an "and." With TrulyNet, Ruth enjoys working on social media and writing... and editing... and... Ruth went to the University of Oregon, where she studied music, dance and cognitive psychology (and sleeping very little). While there, she designed classes and taught arts enrichment to talented and gifted grade-school students. After graduation, Ruth spent several years as a Market Analyst at a large law firm in New York. Feeling the pull back to the west coast, Ruth moved to San Francisco and worked for Stanford for a year before deciding to focus on her passion for the arts. Ruth spends more time on Facebook that she cares to admit. When not attached to the computer, working for TrulyNet, or dancing, Ruth rock climbs, knits, swims, obsessively plays Boggle, plays games, plays tennis, cooks, sips beer, wine and whiskey, and travels seeking adventure.



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