Published on June 6th, 2011 | by Ruth0
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.