I now weigh a consistent 181lbs. I probably never would’ve gotten down to this weight without having a very comprehensive look at what I was burning each day v.s. what I was ingesting.
Enter… the BodyMedia LINK. This fitness band has been the greatest accounting system I’ve used when it comes to tracking my caloric values. In order to lose weight, you need to know how many calories are coming in and how many are going out. Without knowing this information, how do you stay on track?
Over the past 4 weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of testing the BodyMedia LINK (so kindly sent to us by Gwen and Molly at BodyMedia). So without further-a-do we give to you our review of the BodyMedia LINK.
OUT OF THE BOX
The BodyMedia LINK comes nicely packaged with it’s USB Cable, the module and a medium fit armband. The instruction manual takes you through the set-up process which is very straight forward. Simply plug your module into your computer and let it fully charge. During the account set-up phase online, you’re going to plug in all of your data and vitals. Once you’ve done this and your module has charged, pop it back into your armband and off you go! The armband lasts a very long time on a single charge, I typically would plug mine in almost every day Monday thru Friday while eating lunch at work. They recommend only wearing the armband for 23 hours a day, so this is the perfect time to get that ‘off body’ time for me.
LOOK & DESIGN
This might be the more opinionated piece to this whole review, but nonetheless, it needs to be said. The BodyMedia LINK is somewhat bulky and it needs to be worn on the left arm, slightly to the backside of the tricep. It’s a little weird… initially I received some wise cracks from my girlfriend asking me if I was out on parole, but you get used to it and most people actually become very intrigued by it. Most normal folks shouldn’t have any problem having a t-shirt cover the band and honestly, you forget it’s even on! It’s incredibly comfortable to wear and you’ll get used to it very quickly. So comfy that I almost jumped into the shower with it on several occasions because I forgot it was on (you’re not supposed to wear this in the shower!)
As I mentioned above, it’s got a slightly weird look and people will definitely ask you whats on your arm if it’s out in the open. It’s very comfortable and you forget it’s there. I do a five day a week weight lifting routine and I thought that this device would’ve been an issue when I’m doing my arms (biceps, triceps, etc.) since the device wraps right around the left upper arm. Fortunately, the strap is super stretchy and after the first two work out sessions, I forgot it was even there. One thing I would suggest is getting yourself a second strap (which I did) because if you’re going to be constantly working out and sweating like me, then you’re not going to want to constantly be washing the strap. So have one for workouts and another for your everyday wearing. Makes like MUCH easier.
Hands down the most comprehensive dashboard I’ve had the pleasure of viewing/using. It’s incredibly detailed and you can view activity right down to the minute. This was particularly interesting for me since I am a hockey player, I was very curious to see how much activity expenditure I engage in during a typical game. Well, now with BodyMedia LINK, I was able to do just that. I was able to zero in on my evening from 7pm to 8pm (game time) and see how things looked. Very cool! You can actually see the spikes in my shifts and when I was at rest. I’m hoping those resting points are from when I’m resting on the bench and not slacking in my defensive zone though! You can zero in on each one of the “Activity Manager’s” metric’s too. So for those of you keen on seeing how many steps you’re taking a day, they’ve got you covered there as well. Same goes for Sleep, Calories Burned, Calories Ingested, Physical Activity and Weight.
You can also set goals and see personal bests with the online dashboard. One of my favorite things to see if your food intake breakdown. You often don’t even realize the composition of some of the foods you eat, but this dashboard makes all of that so easy to see and really helps you make better choices on what you’re putting in your body (or what you need to be putting into your body!)
For me, after several weeks wearing the device, it went from being all about the research, to being all about the personal competition. Once I determined that my typical daily lifestyle was burning somewhere between 3,500kcals to 3,750kcals, the 4,000kcal burn mark became my own little daily competition. So that in itself was a huge motivating factor for me. Every night I’d sync up the module via bluetooth to my phone to see how I did for the day. It’s like being in high school again and waiting with anticipation to get a test back… Did I pass? Did I fail!?
I also LOVE that the dashboard will provide you with notices when it sees something amiss with your diet. This is an awesome way to actually be aware of things that you should probably consider changing with your diet.
The mobile phone app for iPhone is what I have been using with my BodyMedia LINK and to be honest, this is one of the functions of this whole set-up that I didn’t take too much advantage of. I only really used it for logging nutrition during the day and seeing my stats in real time. I was not a huge fan of the workout tracker associated with the app. You can choose from “Timed”, “Steps”, “Calorie Burn”, “Total Activity” or “Vigorous Activity”. I completely disagree with the apps perceived idea of “Vigorous Activity” however. I busted my tail in the gym for hours on end with the band on and usually it would only tell me that I logged about 15 minutes of “vigorous” activity. So I would take that with a grain of salt. I still prefer using my Digifit app with HRM for tracking my workouts. The mobile app is great for syncing up your data when you’re out and about and also fun to keep on during a run or cycling.
We love you BodyMedia. This has been the best fitness tracker we’ve seen and also the most accurate, sure it might look a little weird when people see it on you for the first time, but most folks in the fitness world will know what you’ve got going on. And we’re so pumped to hear that BodyMedia has announced their newest armband for Fall release, the Core2, which looks a lot sleeker! The ability to sync up other fitness apps and devices with it as well makes this a great buy. As far as accuracy for calorie tracking, this is it. We’ve been running the Calorie Burn Challenge through the month of July and I’ve noticed some trends during the course of it. I’ve been quietly keeping track alongside of our contestants and while the Jawbone has been consistent for Mike and Illy, Phil has been getting royally screwed by the Nike Fuelband. The fact that the FDA confirms the device is accurate within 10% is amazing and should make you as the consumer feel really good about wearing it!