UPDATE! Want to know how the BodyMedia FIT LINK armband is working for me one year after I got it? I wrote another post as a how long does the BodyMedia FIT LINK last!
What Is It
The BodyMedia Fit Arm Bands are armbands worn on your upper-left arm that gives you accurate and up-to-date information about your activities and sleep patterns. The BodyMedia Fit arm Bands, by using the Galvanic Skin Response, Skin Temperature, Heat Flux, and the 3-axis Accelerometer among others, tracks different responses from your body to give you an accurate (Over 90%!!) read-out of your body’s activities. The main things that the BodyMedia ArmBands track are calories burned, steps walked, and sleep, but you also can input your calories to get the full picture of your activities.
The BodyMedia Fit Arm Bands track calories burned, minutes of how much physical activity as well as the intensity, steps taken throughout the day, sleep duration and effectiveness, and more! You can then view your activity by looking at the Activity Manager online through the BodyMedia website (You can see a live preview of how a BodyMedia Fit Armband would work). The BodyMedia Arm Bands can also work in conjunction with some heart rate monitors to track heart rate as well though I haven’t tried that.
One of the things I like most about the BodyMedia Fit Armbands is the fact that you can accessorize your armband. For your BodyMedia Fit Armband, you can purchase different arm straps and you can also purchase skins that colorize your BodyMedia fit. If you end up losing or gaining weight, there’s also larger and smaller sized armbands as well (though I’m a size 24 female and the medium standard one, while tight, does fit me).
The one thing that sets the BodyMedia Arm Bands apart is the fact that they use multiple features and sensors to give you your accurate calorie burn. As it’s directly on your body, it’s hard for the sensor to give you points for things you didn’t do, and because it uses more sensors, it gives the most accurate calorie burn number possible. In fact, you can easily compare BodyMedia Arm Bands to other brand of fitness trackers on their website.
The Different Versions
There are three different versions of the BodyMedia Fit Armbands. Each one of the different armbands has their own price as well as their own features. Each armband uses the online BodyMedia Fit program by connecting to your computer via USB to allow you to upload your data and charge the armband. What is different is the design and the special features of each armband.
The one I have, the BodyMedia Link Armband, is the Bluetooth enabled Armband. While on-the-go, you can connect it, via Bluetooth, wirelessly, to your phone to allow you to view your data and your steps walked right on your phone. If you tend to like to exercise until you hit a certain “point” of exercise or loss, this definitely works well. The process to sync the two together is extremely simple, and I had it done within a minute.
The BodyMedia Armband Advantage is their basic model and the least expensive. It doesn’t connect via Bluetooth, but there is a little watch you can purchase that will sync with the Armband Advantage to let you know exactly how many calories you’re burning on-the-go.
The BodyMedia CORE Armband, the newest of the three, stands out by being a third smaller in volume compared to the previous BodyMedia FIT Armbands. It’s much smaller in size than the other two armbands, so if you’re concerned about the size of the BodyMedia Armband, the CORE armband is your best bet. The BodyMedia CORE Armband also uses that small little watch to let you know how many calories you’re burning on the go.
I’ll admit it – I’m a control freak. So when I found out that there was a device that would use your body’s responses to tell me, with over 90% accuracy, how many calories I was burning doing daily activities and exercise, I was totally in. I find it near-impossible, especially if I’m going to be eating an “empty calorie” like brownies or other sweets, to tell exactly where my intake level will equal my output on a calorie scale. When I’m eating whole, healthy foods like fruits and veggies, it’s much easier to tell, but when almost everything anymore includes empty calories or little protein (to make you feel “full”), knowing how much you’re losing is definitely half of the battle.
You will have to get into a “routine” if you plan on using this as a lifestyle device instead of just to take your exercise calories (for both applications, this does work fantastically). I tend to let my body wind down from exercise (to get all of my calories counted!) then remove the BodyMedia Link Armband, clean up the strap for it, then take a shower. After I’m done with the shower, I’ll wait for an hour then put back on the BodyMedia Link Armband. You’re only supposed to wear the band for 23 hours a day to avoid irritation, but I have worn it for longer than that without any issues; it’s just to keep your skin from getting irritated. As the device isn’t waterproof, though, I find it easiest just to take it off before I shower to upload the data and clean the device and strap.
I love the fact that the BodyMedia Fit application gives you feedback and suggestions on your exercise as well as your food intake and how to improve things. Sometimes it’s frustrating (for example, on my period, I gained water weight and the BodyMedia application was trying to remind me to stay on track), but for the most part, I find the suggestions very helpful. They congratulate you when you are on-track and give you suggestions to make sure you stay on track. You can turn them off or ignore them, but for the most part, I tend to find that they’re pretty helpful.
The BodyMedia Link Armband is pretty comfy; and that’s coming from someone who has the Medium armband strap which is a bit on the small side for me. On occasion, I do have to adjust the strap as it’s rubbing in an awkward spot, but it’s really comfortable enough to easily wear to bed and out and about without remembering it’s there. I actually have almost gotten into the shower with it a couple times – it really is THAT comfortable! If we’re being honest, it’s actually even a bit more comfortable than most of my underwire bras, so that’s saying something.
The band itself does look a bit obvious with sleeveless outfits (with summer coming up!), but if I’m being self-conscious about it, a small short-sleeve shrug hides it fantastically. T-shirts hide it really well also. I usually don’t bother about it and just wear it out-and-obvious, though. Since I started using the BodyMedia Link Armband, I’ve actually seen four other people in this small Iowa town wearing one as well, so it’s reassuring to know that it’s working for so many people.
As a note, for those who love reward sites (myself included!), I discovered EarndIt while using the BodyMedia LINK Armband. Earnd It basically links up with your BodyMedia account and, for all the exercise and activity you do, it rewards you with points you can spend towards giftcards and other rewards! All of the rewards are fitness-related which helps you keep steady on your journey too. EarndIt does make using the BodyMedia ArmBand even more fun and provides more motivation. So far, I’ve earned 322 points on there, and I love doing it!
The biggest downside to the BodyMedia products is their food database at this point. As you know, I’ve regularly been using MyFitnessPal to track my estimated calories and estimated exercise, and MyFitnessPal, while not perfect, usually has the food that I’m looking for if it’s a common food. With the BodyMedia application, that isn’t so. For example, a search for Dr. Pepper 10 (their 10 calorie soda) showed that it wasn’t in the database. My usual Starbucks drink wasn’t in the database nor were my Pringles Chips. And that was just one day’s worth. I’m sure their database will continue to expand, and you can manually enter the calories and nutritional information, but it does require opening another window to look up and search for the nutritional information or keeping the wrapper handy. Once you add the food manually, it will be saved for future use, so if you’re like me and tend to eat the same foods over and over, you’ll only have to add it to the database the first time which does reduce the hassle.
One thing I did notice is that it doesn’t have a way to “quick input” calories. If you want to say you ate something, you’ll have to get the nutrition in order to put it in correctly. For example, I went to my sister’s house yesterday, and I ate a brownie there. I estimate, as a high-estimate, it was probably 300 calories. I don’t have the nutritional information nor will I probably ever eat that brownie again. For that reason, a “quick-add” for the calories only for the brownie would have been very helpful and time-saving. I do hope it’s a feature they add in the future.
With all of that being said, though, I would buy the BodyMedia Arm Band OVER and OVER. Seriously. Knowing exactly how many steps and how much activity I’m doing is such a life-saver, and it actually is pushing me to do more activity and monitor myself more than I used to. The band itself is comfortable, and I don’t know how I managed to figure out the best ways for weight-loss and exercise before this. For example, I know that walking home from college burns about 600 calories while my 40 minutes on the Elliptical burns about 550. Doing my Activate Zumba DVD at home burns about 400 calories while, if I do the live class on campus, I burn about 700. It’s knowing those small facts and knowing exactly where to put my energy and time that makes a huge difference.
I’ve been stuck on a weight-loss plateau since about last November. I haven’t been able to lose anything, and it’s driving me nuts! However, after using the BodyMedia Arm Band for a month, I’ve lost 6 pounds! That’s huge when I was on that plateau and absolutely nothing else was working. With the way I’m going, the BodyMedia Arm Band predicts I’ll be at my goal by August which is great! Less than a year until I get where I want to be!
The BodyMedia Armbands are possibly the most must-have fitness products I have ever used. It provides motivation, it gives me accurate information, and it makes sure I have all of the tools I need to lose weight easily. The band is comfortable, it provides very accurate information compared to estimates, and the online program is very easy to use. Plus, if you’d like, you can earn rewards and other points for working out with your BodyMedia Arm Band!
The food database could use some additions to the foods that are pre-programmed into the database. This is not enough to keep me from using it though – not even close.
I definitely, definitely recommend the BodyMedia Arm Bands – no matter if you get the CORE, the LINK, or the Advantage. It has, completely honestly, totally revolutionized my weight-loss routine, and I honestly have kept it off for more than an hour a day in the past month. It’s amazing, and I have full intentions of using one throughout my weight-loss and for maintaining my weight afterwards too. In fact, I was really excited to see that one of my college health courses recommends it as one of the best ways to monitor your progress.
You can purchase the BodyMedia Arm Bands right on their website. Each one of the arm bands has its own features, and if you’re on a budget, the BodyMedia Advantage armband is about the same price as you can spend for some of those brand-name exercise programs (or fad diets) and it’s a MUCH better investment!