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Bodybugg - neat tech, or total sham?

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  • Bodybugg - neat tech, or total sham?

    I saw a little information on the bodybugg, basically it claims to get an accurate reading of your daily caloric expenditure via heat and accelerometer data from your arm.

    Has anyone used one? Used one successfully? I love the tech, but not sure if I'm looking at snake oil, it's also expensive, as once you buy it you can't get your personal data unless you buy a subscription to their website, wise on their part, not helpful for a consumer though.

    Thoughts? Comments on the device? Is there another, non-subscription based competitor?
    My Fitday public journal.
    Me vs. Russian Boar, hunt is on Aug. 20th. WHAT'S MORE PRIMAL THAN THAT?!
    Recently survived Warrior Dash, New England.
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  • #2
    I remain skeptical. I checked out the page where the company explains the mechanisms used:

    BODYBUGG :: THE SCIENCE BEHIND BODYBUGG

    In essence it tries to estimate your caloric expenditure and claims that it's "the most accurate estimation [...] outside of a clinical setting". This could mean anything from "very accurate" to "not very accurate". I would say that since how much you sweat, how much heat your body gives off, how much you move your arms etc. can as a matter of principle not give you accurate numbers. Especially considering the accelerometer, if for example you're doing squats, it would have no idea of how much weight you are lifting.

    So: It's most likely not very useful, if you're looking for something accurate. AFAIK there really isn't an meaningful way to do this outside of clinical settings.
    MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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    • #3
      Found some more info: bodybugg® Frequently Asked Questions

      Even if it was 90% accurate, I'm still wondering - what would you use this for? The downside to knowing your exact energy expenditure would be that you would start trying to match your energy intake - and while I think that calories matter and have always pointed that out in various threads, I think it makes little sense to let a calculator govern your meals - that really could end with a serious case of orthorexia.
      MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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      • #4
        I have friends who have used them to lose and maintain massive weight loss. I think they are one reasonable tool. I think part of their usefulness is similar to the rubber band around the wrist approach- it is something to always remind you that you have a problem that you need to manage.

        I personally have no plans to buy one.
        “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
        Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

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        • #5
          In that case I recommend the flash diet instead - much more affordable, if you already have a camera phone:

          The flash diet: Taking photos of meals helps slimmers lose weight | Mail Online

          It's the same principle ... you're very effectively reminded of the fact that your plan was to make better eating choices. :-)
          MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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          • #6
            Was wondering if it was worth it to upgrade to a bodybugg from my polar HRM, so thanks for posting this topic!
            --Trish (Bork)
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            • #7
              I think the polar and the bodybugg are two completely different creatures, so not sure if upgrade is the right term? Polar gives useful and actionable data - your heart rate, which could allow you to min/max training. The bodybugg is an approx. of what you've "burned" today.

              I'm a big fan of tech, so I was curious. I'm not sure how reasonable it is to think that skin temp + accelerometers = correct energy use. It's always nice to get an idea though. Personally, I know the treadmill's estimations on my calorie expenditure per mile are about as accurate and probable as using a pumpkin to measure radio signals in space. (Yeah, I'm being silly.)

              At the end of the day though, how can one get this information, if not by consumer tech?
              My Fitday public journal.
              Me vs. Russian Boar, hunt is on Aug. 20th. WHAT'S MORE PRIMAL THAN THAT?!
              Recently survived Warrior Dash, New England.
              Game Developer, ex-Chef, long time Fatbody.

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              • #8
                im not convinced calories really have anything to do with weight loss. i mean theres a big difference between 500 calories of eggs and 500 calories of potato chips, how does the body bugg make the distinction?
                Primal Chaos
                37yo 6'5"
                6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
                current 338lbs 49" waist
                goal 240lbs 35" waist

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                • #9
                  Basal metabolic estimation (or rate tests, if you go to a medical center and have it done) + Polar = (in some approximation) BodyBugg
                  “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
                  Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by loafingcactus View Post
                    Basal metabolic estimation (or rate tests, if you go to a medical center and have it done) + Polar = (in some approximation) BodyBugg
                    I don't remember the bodybugg giving any hr data, let alone real time data.
                    My Fitday public journal.
                    Me vs. Russian Boar, hunt is on Aug. 20th. WHAT'S MORE PRIMAL THAN THAT?!
                    Recently survived Warrior Dash, New England.
                    Game Developer, ex-Chef, long time Fatbody.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mike Gager View Post
                      im not convinced calories really have anything to do with weight loss. i mean theres a big difference between 500 calories of eggs and 500 calories of potato chips, how does the body bugg make the distinction?
                      A calorie is a unit of energy, so at the highest most basic level calorie expenditure = energy utilized. If you have an available pool of 5k calories, have a daily requirement of 3k calories, and an intake of 2k calories, then 1k will have to come from somewhere.
                      My Fitday public journal.
                      Me vs. Russian Boar, hunt is on Aug. 20th. WHAT'S MORE PRIMAL THAN THAT?!
                      Recently survived Warrior Dash, New England.
                      Game Developer, ex-Chef, long time Fatbody.

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                      • #12
                        I lost 60 lbs using a similar device (GoWear Fit) combined with counting calories on a regular cw diet. The reason why it worked for me, IMO, is because I tended to undereat and so I knew an actual value of how much I should eat. It's one of those things, it's kind of a mental thing. When we want to lose weight, in society we think we just need to cut back. Eat 1200 calories, etc. That's totally false especially if you were like me, female at 260 lbs, lifting heavy weights several times a week. But it's hard to shake that low calorie number. I bought it so I would know a REAL number to go off. It really helped a lot while I used it, and it's also inspiring to see an actual (well, close) number of calories that you burned in that day. It's extra validation that "dang, yeah I did work hard today!" Some days I was shocked to see I was over 3000 calories burned, but that's the stuff I needed to be able to see in order to not slip back into a "just eat 1600 calories" mindset.

                        Problem is, at the time it required me to pay a monthly subscription to download the data. That's ridiculous. You spend over $100 on this device and then have to PAY a monthly subscription just to see the numbers? No thanks. I used it for a few months and then stopped. I don't know if they still require that, but I remember Bodybugg had the same subscription deal at the time. I still have my device, but I keep meaning to sell it because I don't think I'll use it again. For what I paid (I think it was about $130) I should be able to have a simple software that downloads the calories burned and all the other stuff.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by davem View Post
                          I don't remember the bodybugg giving any hr data, let alone real time data.
                          Right, if you want hr you can't get it. That equation for metabolic total. You can get real time data data, but you need a screen that will work with it like a smart phone.
                          “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
                          Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

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                          • #14
                            Well I've had a bodybugg (just the regular one, not the super duper foofie 1000app one) for over a year now, and even though I really
                            don't need it anymore, I LOVE IT.

                            There's a lot more than just sweat and temperature that goes into figuring out your caloric expenditure.

                            There are quizzes that you fill out to determine your activity level, whether you lift weights or not, how active your job is, how many hours of
                            sleep you get, on and on and on.

                            Oh, and if you *do* buy one, usually they give you a 6 month subscription to the site for free.

                            Unless that's changed.....

                            Anyway, that's my story......

                            My friends are so perplexed: "Good God, are you STILL wearing that thing? You look fantastic! Can't you take that thing OFF NOW?"

                            Hey, it's a better addiction than black tar heroin, right? RIGHT. So get off me already.

                            JW

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by davem View Post
                              A calorie is a unit of energy, so at the highest most basic level calorie expenditure = energy utilized. If you have an available pool of 5k calories, have a daily requirement of 3k calories, and an intake of 2k calories, then 1k will have to come from somewhere.
                              thats only assuming those calories are even used by the body. you might eat 2000 calories but how much of that is going to be properly digested and how much is going to be waste? if calories in/calories out was a true legitimate way towards weight loss then it wouldnt matter what you were eating as long as you ate X amount of calories and worked out enough to burn X amount. we could all be eating ice cream and candy all day and still lose weight as long as we worked out long enough
                              Primal Chaos
                              37yo 6'5"
                              6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
                              current 338lbs 49" waist
                              goal 240lbs 35" waist

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