My Unsolicited Review of the Body Bugg #bodybuggtweet

As some of you may know, I’ve been using the BodyBugg for just over 4 weeks.  Many have asked me “Do you like it?”, “Does it work?” – well – here’ my story.  I’m sticking to it!

First – if you don’t know, the bugg is a small device you wear on the back of your left arm.  It’s light, comfortable and you really get used to it quickly.  All day long, as you go through the paces of your every day life – it keeps track of your motion, your skin temperature and your core heat release or something like that.  You can go read all about it – but in short – it keeps track of how many calories you burned through the day.  At the end of the day, you can view a graph that looks something like this:

Daily Activity Log

It gives you a standard time (mine is 5:00 am to 11:00) as that’s my typical day.  If you aren’t wearing the unit, you can tell it what you did and it will calculate all of your stuff based on your weight and the activity you did.  Form 12-5:30 ish, I was asleep.  I didn’t wear it so it says I burn 1.5 calories per minutes sleeping.  If I wear it, I get a little more credit for sleeping (1.8-2.1 calories per minute) but your arm can and will get itchy from wearing this thing 24×7.  They actually recommend NOT wearing it one hour a day (at least).  As you can see, I don’t burn many calories at work, but you can also see that during my lunch break – I did a nice eliptical workout.  The numbers on the bugg differ (greatly) from the fitness equipment – but more on accuracy later.   All of this data is transmitted to the computer by a little online java app (the provide).  It’s a pain on the Mac, but I can get it to work.  They also have a wireless uploader – but I have no experience with that.

One of the neat things – which can be done with any inexpensive pedometer as well – is your step count.  “Fitness experts often use the number of steps a person takes as an indication of their daily activity level.  The software set my goal at 10,000 – which is a lot, but at the same time – very achievable.  The bugg keeps track of this for you and you get a daily graph like this:

How Many Steps?

On any given day, if I don’t work out – I’m in the 7-8,000 range.  I’m trying to change that through simple lifestyle changes like parking in the back of the parking lot – much like the gangstas with their fancy hondas.

As you progress through the day, you REALLY have to keep your food log if you want this to work.  It’s tedious but it works much better if you do keep track of EVERYTHING.  Portions are key.  I’ve started to measure and weigh things and my weight loss is coming in pretty close to what the bodybugg would predict.  When I loosely guestimated everything – it wasn’t so close at all.

All of this comes together on a common section of the page that looks like this:

Core Screen

You will learn to hate that woman in her pink jacket – I don’t know why… but you will.  You can see my calories burned, how much I consumed and my deficit.  I can tell you – it may have been that I was making too big of a deficit or it may have been that I didn’t log my food correctly last week, but this week I kept the deficit right around 1000 calories and the math worked out.  (3500 caloris = 1 pound – my weight loss was VERY close to that equation).  How do I know this? when you look at the week – you get a graph like this:

Measurement Based Details
Measurement Based Details

Based on the amount of weight I lost last week – over a 7 day period, I had an average deficit of 1500 calories a day.  In a week where I FOUGHT to be accurate in my food log – I came up with this as my “food log based deficit”.

From the Food Log
From the Food Log

As you can see – I was really pretty close.  Honesty – measuring – and some self control helped out a lot!  Being honest with your food diary will also help you show things to other people as you can do a complete download of your food diary.  Here you go – this is what I ate!  Food Report

They provide a food plan and everything, but I have not used that yet so I really cant comment.  I do like the nutrional analysis that it comes with each day.

Nutritional Analysis
Nutritional Analysis

I could have picked a day I ate better to post this – but well – I’m being honest here.  I ate it it happens!  (check out the calcium… 1234 – that’s kinda funny!)  I realize I need to work on more protein.  I plan on discussing the protein/carb ratio with some people who have a clue – something I generally lack when it comes to that stuff.

You can also keep track of your overall progress.  I find this a little “lacking” but gets the point across – so I guess it’s not all bad!

Progress Information

Just a lot of space to show this information and the graph is weak at best!  Free applications like Calorie King and Calorie Count will blow this away:

Weight Loss Graph

So – what is all of this about?  Weight loss.  Why is this of ANY benefit?  I mean – weight loss is theoretically FREE!  Eat less, do more – lose weight.  Poppycock!  (I always wanted to use that in my blog).  As any of you who have ever battled with weight loss know,  it is a total mind game.  It sucks.  You want to eat as “comfort food” makes you feel comfortable but then you hate yourself for eating it.  You try to workout and think “Wow, I worked out, I can eat anything I want!” but really – you can’t, as you only burned a fraction of the calories the fitness equipment told you you burned.  It’s not easy – but the Body Bugg DOES HELP!   At least it helped me to understand things.  They claim it’s at least 90% accurate and I’m leaning towards believing them.

The downfall of the system would be a combined factor of cost and the work you have to do.  I got mind for $179 with a year subscription (a $99 value).  The standard one will set you back $199 – with 6 months.  You have to use their website which costs money.  I don’t have to worry about that for 49 weeks – but it is a cost.  The work – you have to log the food.  It’s a pain in the ass sometimes.  Then again, so is being fat.

So – let me break it down for you:


  • Reasonably accurate monitor of your calorie burn
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Almost invisible for me, women with sleeveless… well?
  • Fun to use


  • Cost
  • Tied to their software
  • Finicky on the Mac
  • Food diary is not as robust as others
  • No instant feedback w/out $80 wrist unit
  • It’s not water proof, only water resistant.  That scares me when the rain potential goes up.

Worthy of comment:

  • You HAVE to keep a food log or it’s worthless – but accountability is key
  • The software is hooked into Twitter, which helps find others using it if you have questions
  • You “get” a training session which I hear is “more useful than expected” – but mine is not until next week.  It’s a 1 hour phone call.
  • I’ve HEARD it can be flakey on a bicycle – I don’t have experience yet, but look to change that soon.

If you are willing to commit some time and focus to your food log.  If you want to know what your body is doing, this is a good tool.  If you aren’t going to keep your log up to date, you are probably better off getting a pedometer and counting steps (at least that’s what I think).

As Forest would say – That’s all I have to say about that!

Questions? comments? concerns?  You know where to find me.  I’d be happy to reply!

A good week

Things are picking up at work, which is good.  I don’t like being idle, I don’t like not knowing what I am doing.  My team has been tasked with a new project – not really what I was hired for, but a good project that will give us all an opportunity to get to not only know each other – but also get to know some people around and above us in the organization.

As I mentioned the other day – I am working out again.  I’ve done well this week and think I’m actually in better shape than I thought.  I ran about 2.5 miles in the wood yesterday.  The thing is, I thought it was 2 miles… it took a long time, but then I found out it was 2.5.  I’m thinking I want to try to get up early tomorrow and get in a good trail run at Kennesaw Mountain before the rain, but “early” and “rain” are two problem words.  I’ll try!

Weigh in – i’m not going public with the number until the beginning of Feb – but I can tell you I weigh a considerable amount less than I did last Friday.  The BodyBugg can’t be given TOO much credit for it, but it is showing me a lot.  It does require some work on my part, but provides tangible feedback and helps me to understand what I’m eating, how much it “costs” and how much I am burning.  As long as I keep the burn ahead of the fuel, the weight will go down.

As sort of an ongoing review of the BodyBugg I will give a bit of feedback.  It’s VERY easy to use.  Charge it up and put it on.  It does the work.  The software it “comes” with is lame.  The content is good, the application gives you good information but it has several issues.  On one occurrence, I could not load my data from the bugg in FireFox, I had to use IE.  On the mac, you can load it using Safari – HOWEVER – you have to set it to 32 bit mode if you are running Snow Leopard.  It’s not a big deal – but they need to get on top of that.  Finally – after you load it in Safari – the browser basically craps it’s pants.  Not a huge deal, but it’s egg on the face of the product… I personally think they need to do something like MotionBased did – and have a component you can install that will pull the data and transmit it for you.  If they aren’t going to do that – i’m sure there are a bunch of competent java developers out there – they could fix this!  (The app is written in Java).  So far – I really enjoy the tool.   I look forward to getting results next week and seeing how it all shakes out.

It’s that time of year again

By now – my 3 blog fans have figured out that sometime in the winter (or spring) I get may big arse in gear.  I get angry about my weight gain from last year and go on the offensive.  This leads to a lot of posts about weight loss, progress, training, etc…. well.  It’s that time of year again!

The good news is – much like last year, I’m not starting off as heavy as I did the year before.  Additionally – I didn’t have the month long back injury in 2009 that I did in 2008.  I’m feeling a little bit better than I did last year after my first workout.  Part of that is less weight, part of that may be my MaxFit stuff I did not that long ago.  Regardless – I’m doing better and am lighter.

The first thing I need to do is lose weight, the second thing I need to do is get ready for my assault on the Peachtree Roadrace.  I’m in!  My goal for the year is to break an hour.  I ran for the first time yesterday and I plan on running all they way until July 4th.  Will I?  Who knows.  There are some other factors in life, like my addiction to 2 wheeled speed, that may affect my funky strided running career – but the goal exists and I plan on achieving it!

Many of you watch the Biggest Loser.  You know those little things they all wear on their arms? They are called the “BodyBugg”.  They track your caloric burn for the day.  That coupled with accurate caloric tracking can help somebody to figure out how many calories they NEED, how many they over ate or under ate.  I got a great deal on one (Costco – $179 w/1 year online access which is $20 cheaper and 6 months longer than other places).  I’m going to give it a try and see how it works.  I’m pretty excited.  It will show me how many calories per minutes I am burning all day long.  I don’t have the wrist watch option, so I just have to download later.

First public weigh in – 2/5/2010 – See you there!