Fitness Tools: Using Fitness Monitors

As one of my personal heroes Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” Once I made the decision to get fit this year one of the first things I looked at were the tools that would help me get there and stay on track. And for this gadget geek, there are many tools out there to choose from.

I had previously used heart rate monitors (I have a Polar) but I hate dealing with chest strap and now that I am dealing with children all day it just is not practical. I need something that is not intrusive and can be worn all day.

I narrowed it down to 3 different options: Fitbit, Jawbone Up, and Bodymedia FIT.

BodyMedia CORE FitBit Jawbone*
Product Type Multi-sensor Body Monitor Accelerometer Accelerometer
Product Appearance BodyMedia CORE FitBit Jawbone
Application Appearance BodyMedia CORE FitBit Jawbone
Sensors** Skin Temp., GSR, HF, 3-axis acceleromter Accelerometer, Altimeter Accelerometer
On-Body Yes No No
Calorie Accuracy >90% Unpublished Unpublished
Clinically validated to be accurate and proven to help weight loss
MONITORED DATA
Measures Calories Burned
Measures Physical Activity
2 Activity Levels (Moderate & Vigorous)

(more levels with premium software)
Measures Heart Rate
(w/ 3rd party strap)
Measures Steps
Measures Speed / Pace
Measures Distance
Sleep
(Duration, Patterns and Efficiency)

(Duration and Patterns)

(Phases, Patterns and Alarm)
Stress
Data Measured vs. Targets & Goals
TRACKABLE DATA
Daily Food Logging
(w/ photos)
Daily Caloric Estimates
Detailed Nutriton Breakdown
Calorie Balance Equation
Health Parameters (Weight, Waist Circumference)
Workout Log
FEATURES
Mobile App
(iOS Only)

(iOS Only)
Real time visual feedback (Mobile App)
Real time visual feedback (display)
Coaching / Training
Continuous 24/7 wearability / comfort
Personal Bests
Facebook Integration
Twitter Integration
PRICING
Price $179.00 $99.00 $99.00
Free 3 Months Subscription
$6.95/month
Free or $49.99/yr Premium

I ended up having to give up on Jawbone Up because I have read about problems with it. In fact, the problems are serious enough that you can’t even buy it right now. I put my email on the notification list but it is not clear when the item would be available. It’s too bad because it is one of the few monitors out there that you can wear constantly as it is waterproof (meaning you can swim with it).

So it comes down to Fitbit vs. Bodymedia Fit… and I ultimately chose Fitbit. I have read quite a few reviews out there (see a short list below) and while I am impressed with the amount of data provided by Bodymedia, ultimately I am not willing to pay the amount of money required to use the product. I think if I didn’t have to pay a monthly fee to use the website I might be more inclined to have gotten Bodymedia instead (even though it is still steep at $179 compared to Fitbit’s $99). I was impressed with Fitbit’s API and the other sites that work with Fitbit (such as MyFitnessPal and Loseit).

I started using my Fitbit on January 2oth, so it has been a few weeks and not quite a month yet. I do really love it though. I had to get used to the idea of wearing it, not losing it or forgetting it but once I did, really liked it. It really does motivate me to take the 10,000 steps a day and move more. I wish it is as easy to wear as the Jawbone UP and waterproof but it is a minor detail that I can live with. I already have some friends on MyFitnessPal so it is great that I can use MyFitnessPal along with my Fitbit.

Here are the reviews that I have read:
Three Ways to Monitor Your Fitness Level

BodyMedia FIT Review: data, data, and more data for exercisers

BodyMedia FIT Review

Fitbit Review

Fitbit vs Bodybugg SP Side-by-Side Comparison

 

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