What is GoWear Fit and Bodybugg?
GoWear Fit and Bodybugg are armband devices that track your daily caloric expenditure. They do so through four primary methods of measure.
- Accelerometer – Measures motion and movement.
- Heat Flux – Measures how much heat your body emits.
- Galvanic Skin Response – Measures your level of emotional arousal.
- Skin Temperature – Measures the temperature of your skin.
While it may seem like these measurements are the same or similar, they are not. My question is strictly regarding the degree of accuracy of their measurements.
Below are examples:
- Seated leg movements, such as recumbent biking or spinning, do not register as high as they should. Some people argue that these are not activities that produce high levels of caloric burn; however, there have been studies done of these specific seated activities that have rated high caloric burn, especially with mountain biking/uphill rides.
- Using elliptical or Gazelle-type machines also seems to overestimate caloric expenditure. Caloric burn is estimated more accurately when the arm levers are not used or when stabilizing on an elliptical. The momentum of the elliptical does rate in expenditure but doesn’t elicit that same demand on the body. These issues are known but should still be noted.
- Unilateral arm movements or isometric holds are measured differently. For example, if you wear a device on each arm and completed scrubbing movements, the arm being used always registers significantly higher than the arm not being used. In some cases, it ranges as much as 45% higher. Testing was performed with the same type of device and was transferred between different arms for proper armband placement.
- There are no noticeable flaws in this system. There is also no real way to test the equipment; anything here would be guessing.
Galvanic Skin Response:
- The measure of physical stress seems to exist. I tested isometric stress extensively and the devices took the measurements well. How correct or accurate they are, I do not know. The measurements themselves were taken in a noticeable fashion.
- Emotional stress does not seem able to be quantified very well or perhaps is not a significant indicator of caloric burn. When the stress reaches a point of causing a physical reaction, there is an insignificant measured response. For example, when shaking or shivering was registered, the difference was small.
- Exterior heat seems to affect burn due to skin temperature changes. How accurate this is or is not, I couldn’t say. This was tested by multiple people sitting outside in the shade and in direct sunlight. Studies have shown cold speeding up caloric burn but not heat. This could be a flaw or it could be accurate. There is no way of knowing from my side.
Overall these issues are minor in the big picture, but can affect readings on small levels.
The only way to confirm these errors in readings would require far more study and investigation than I can provide. That being said, here are my thoughts based on research, what I have seen in this industry, and my experiences working with extremely diverse clients.
When the Numbers Don’t Add Up
One of the easiest ways to test the accuracy of loss would be to rate it under a caloric monitored situation. If you measure your intake as thoroughly as you can and then compare it with your rate of weight loss, it could lead to charting its accuracy. This is excellent in theory but often hit or miss in practice.
An important reason for this is that weight loss isn’t linear. Weight bounces all over the place and, in most weight loss studies, water is concluded to be the ultimate enemy. Please see my previous article, “The Science of Scale Fluctuations,” for more information on this subject.
To get any level of quality charting, two extremely crucial things are required:
- Precision in Measurement
I have only worked with a few clients whose accuracy I would trust regarding the second one. And even if I did, there is unintended human error and flaws in the system of caloric definitions for products and whole foods.
That being said, I have seen some “weird stuff” go down.
We Meet Again
It is no secret that I welcome the fat loss challenged. It’s kind of my place. Beyond that, I attract a high number of the following:
The Hormonally Challenged (Adrenal/Thyroid/Estrogen/Etc.)
A lot of the problems above can be solved/treated with relative ease with knowledge of the proper method of fat loss. If we assume these types of cases push past my suggested method of fat loss, they are usually met with more and more problems.
For brevity, I will provide a few bullet points. Perhaps I will discuss these issues further in a future article, but based on my experience:
- Overtraining/lack of time off leads to the worst charting patterns.
- Those that try to ditch refeeds/diet breaks have noticeable charting problems.
- Decrease in general activity and RMR are noted, but only severe drops have been seen in those who are seriously sick, inactive, and unhealthy (as would be expected).
- I still believe water retention is the leading issue for a massive majority of people. I believe there is a degree of unmeasured burn decrease that isn’t charted, but that is a personal belief that, honestly, I am unable to prove. I hesitate to put it out there, and I only do so because there are a few cases that I feel confident have high levels of water retention because of charting, time passed, and water retention assessment. These cases were all woman who overtrained and put off breaks and refeeds.
Take Home Point On Accuracy
I would be “full of it” if I gave either device a correct percentage of accuracy. I only have my experiences to go on, but I have rented out/monitored over 150 different clients and trainers through different experiments and lengths of time. Beyond that, I have corresponded in detail with many others who have charted their own experiences or distance clients.
In my own experiments, I removed as many variables as possible with the given circumstances and equipment.
Because of these reasons, I believe Bodybugg and GoWear Fit to be excellent monitors to gauge your general movement, but not as an accurate measure of your actual daily caloric burn.
In my opinion, I would allow for at least a 15% error in reading in either direction. I would use them only to make you aware of your actual movement in life, to help you understand that caloric burn is not static, and as a gauge of where to start to reach your current body goal.
Cost and Package
Originally, I had a comparison chart, but there are too many different places with different prices to purchase either device so it would be foolish to list that out.
Below are my opinions on different additions and gadgets offered:
Digital Display: No one needs this. All it takes is two minutes to upload your device and see what you have burned. There is also a sizeable lag between the display and the armbands. I personally see no reason for anyone to buy a display.
Phone Coaching: Not necessary and no different than a help manual. Because I ordered over 12 Bodybuggs when they came out, I got 12 different phone calls. I took every phone call and each time I spoke with a “coach” with base level knowledge of training and nutrition. Two of the people were downright rude and rushed me off the phone. Had I been an actual newbie to training and nutrition, I would not have felt comfortable.
Because of that, I do not see any benefit to the phone coaching, free or not.
Food Logging Database: While the GoWear Fit claims food logging, it is a pretty sad example, at least currently. Bodybugg’s food log system is leagues above the GoWear Fit system. While everything is still largely in cups/tbsp, the selection is suitable. It also has an attractive interface.
Sleep Efficiency: Though this is not a technical specification mentioned by the company, the GoWear Fit does have a “sleep efficiency” chart that measures the amount of sleep you get each night. I happen to think that sleep is crucial to fat loss and performance, and being aware of how much or how little sleep you are getting can be a tremendous advantage.
The Better Deal Overall: It changes constantly on price point. I wouldn’t be surprised if two weeks after I posted this article, the prices went up or down on either product. I use the GoWear Fit because at the time I purchased mine it was still the V2 and I preferred the smaller armband. If I had to choose now, I would probably still go with the GoWear Fit system based on the quick response of their customer support.
Since they are by the same company, I don’t actually get the point. To be honest, I think it is a bit strange from a marketing standpoint. I am not sure why they don’t just put their focus on one product and making their customer support the best it can be.
The Real Question: Should You Purchase One?
Before I give my final opinion, I want to state that this review is not an affiliate review. I get nothing if you decide to purchase a Bodybugg or GoWear Fit. I am 100% recommending my book along with these devices because I believe knowing how much you burn will mean little to nothing if you don’t know what to do with that information.
I think if you pair The Fat Loss Troubleshoot with a GoWear Fit or Bodybugg system, it is as close to foolproof fat loss as you can get.