What is GoWearFit and Bodybugg?
GoWearFit and Bodybugg are armband devices that track your daily caloric expenditure. It does so through 4 primary methods of measure.
- Accelerometer-This measures motion and movement.
- Heat Flux-How much heat your body gives off.
- Galvanic Skin Response-How much stress your body gives off.
- Skin Temperature-The temperature your bodies skin is.
While it may seem like each of these is the same, it is not by a long shot. My question is strictly in regards of the degree of their accuracy of measurement.
Below are examples:
- Seated leg movements,such as recumbent biking or spinning, do not register as high as they should. Some people could argue that those are not activities that produce high levels of caloric burn; however, some studies of these specific seated activities have rated high caloric burn, especially with mountain biking/uphill rides.
- Elliptical or gazelle type machines seem to overestimate caloric expenditure. The caloric burn does seem to land in correct/logical numbers when 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 have been known, but it should still be noted.
- Unilateral arm movements or isometric holds are measured differently. For example, if you wear one on each arm and completed scrubbing movements, the arm in use always registered significantly higher than the arm that is not in use. In some cases, it ranges as high as 45% higher. Testing was performed with the same type of device and was transfered between different arms for proper armband placement.
- There are no noticeable flaws in this system or a real means of testing with my equipment. Anything here would be guessing.
Galvanic Skin Response:
- The measure of physical stress seems to exist. I did a lot of tests with isometric stress, and it took measurements well. How correct or accurate, I do not know. The measurements themselves were taken in a noticeable fashion.
- Emotional stress does not seem to be measured very well or perhaps is not a significant indicator of caloric burn. When the stress reaches a point of physical reaction, there is an insignificant measured response. For example, shaking or shivering are registered, but 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 sitting outside in the shade and then in direct sunlight with multiple people. Studies have played in favor of cold speeding up caloric burn, but not heat. This could be a flaw, or it could be accurate. No way of knowing from my side.
Overall these issues are minor in the big scheme, but on small levels could show a difference in readings.
The truth is the only way to confirm these errors in readings would require far more investigation than I could provide. That being said, I do have some opinions and thoughts on situations that I have seen and worked with.
When the numbers don’t add up
One of the easiest ways to test the accuracy of loss would be by rate of loss under a caloric monitored situation. If you measure your intake as best as possible, and then compare it with your rate of weight loss it could lead to charting its accuracy. This is excellent in theory, but hit or miss in practice.
A large reason for this is that weight loss isn’t linear. Weight bounces all over the place, and water is the ultimate enemy, to conclusions, in most weight loss studies. See my recent article “The Science of Scale Fluctuations” for more on this subject.
To get any level of quality charting it takes two extremely crucial things:
- Precision in Measurement
There is only a small number of clients that I have worked with that I could trust on the 2nd aspect. Even then you have unintended human error, and flaws in the system of caloric definitions for products and whole foods.
That all 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 the knowledge of the proper method of fat loss. Assuming that these types of cases push past my suggested methods of fat loss, they are usually met with more and more problems.
For brevity, I will provide a few bullet points and perhaps I can discuss it further in a future article if need. Based on my experience thus far I think:
- 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. I do believe that there is a degree of unmeasured burn decrease that isn’t charted, but that is a complete personal belief that I honestly can’t prove. I hesitate to put it out there. 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. I will say that these were all woman that were 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. I have now rented out/monitored over 150 different clients and trainers under different experiments and lengths of time. Beyond that, I have corresponded, in detail, with many others who charting their own experiences or distant clients.
For my own experiments, removal of variables was the best I could do with the given circumstances and equipment.
Because of all of the things I have discussed, I believe that the Bodybuggs/GowearFits are excellent monitors for a gauge of your general movement, but not to be taken as gospel in any way as to 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 for alertness to your actual movement in life, to understand that caloric burn is not static, and as a gauge of where to start from to reach your current body goal.
Cost and Package
I originally 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 it. All it takes it 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.
1-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 used every phone call, and each time I was met 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 be left feeling comfortable.
Because of that, I do not see the benefit in 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 time is crucial to fat loss and performance. Being aware of how much, or how little, sleep you are getting could be a tremendous advantage.
The better deal overall: It changes constantly on a price point. I wouldn’t be surprised if 2 weeks after I posted this, the prices went up, or down, on either product. I now use the GoWear Fit because at the time I purchased it they were still only the V2 and I liked the smaller armband. If I had to choose now, I would probably go with the GoWear Fit system based on their quick response in 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 the emphasis on making one product and service the best it can be.
The real question is – should you get it?
Before I give my 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 will say I am 100% recommending my book with it because I believe that 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 you can get.
Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them before beginning. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease and claim to be a doctor or dietitian. This is merely an opinion blog. Read full disclaimer here - http://www.leighpeele.com/disclaimer