BodyMedia Review: Evolution of the Newest BodyBugg Calorie Counter Armband
From Apex Fitness to Body Media and, Now, Jawbone
If you are trying to locate the latest version of your favorite BodyMedia armband calorie tracker, then you have come to exactly the right place. Before the recent acquisition by Jawbone that stopped the creation of new devices, the brand evolved a lot over the years from the early days of their large grey and white devices and have been sold under many different brand names along the way (dotFit Exerspy, GoWear Fit, SenseWear).
These revolutionary calorie tracking devices, starting with the BodyBugg originally marketed under the brand Apex Fitness, became known to most from the show The Biggest Loser. There is even a chance that seeing reruns of this groundbreaking series is what has led you to search for the newest version of this amazing activity monitor system today.
This remarkable fitness tracker has gone through quite an evolution over the years that resulted in a great deal of re-branding and name changes. Therefore, unfortunately, there have been many different names associated with the product over several different released versions.
This, unsurprisingly, has resulted in a lot of confusion about which versions of the Body Media and Body Bugg armbands are essentially the same and why people are unable to find exactly the same product that they remember from years ago.
Hopefully, this guide will help you find the product that you remember or have heard about and discover the current version that best suits your needs.
The BodyMedia Fit Core
For Those in a Hurry: The Latest Version - Core
The most recently developed device from before the takeover is the Fit Core.
Just in case you are in a hurry to get the latest model so that you can start monitoring the calories burned during your workouts, I thought I would give you this information up-front. Especially as this product will become much harder to find since Jawbone seems interested in moving away from this technology to promote their own products. Even now, the original Body Media website is exclusively displaying Jawbone activity trackers in the shopping section. The newest BodyBugg version that came out before the takeover by Jawbone was released as the BodyMedia Fit Core.
This particular device is the most compact of all the versions, which makes it ideal for those who are shy to be seen with an activity tracking armband.
Sadly, although Jawbone bought out the Body Media line of products (and stopped the progress on the Core 2), they have not yet integrated the heat flux technology into their own cardiovascular activity trackers. So, although many people like their products which include the Up3, Up Move, and Up24, they do not have the benefit of providing accurate calorie counting for as wide a variety of activities.
The activities that will likely not have calorie counts as accurate with these Jawbone products as with the newest BodyMedia Core include things like housework, weight training, and other activities that are conducted within a relatively small range of motion. For people who are not focused on cardio activity (or at least have a large percentage of other types of activity, as well), this can make a huge difference in the accuracy of the calories burned measurement.
The Current Version of the Activity Tracker Interface
What Was So Revolutionary About These Buggs?
The most advanced functionality that the BodyBugg (also sometimes referenced as Body Bugg and BodyBug) possessed was the ability to calculate calorie burn based on more than just motion. This was accomplished by developing and testing an equation and compact monitoring device that allowed the heat flux to be measured and formulated into an accurate picture of the calories burned.
This was revolutionary because this allowed for a person's calorie burn to be measured even when they weren't doing a cardiovascular activity, which is the only time that a heart rate monitor provides accurate results. Additionally, unlike a simple step counter (pedometer), the ability to measure the heat flux while exercising allowed calories to be measured from activities like weight training that burn calories but result in relatively little motion.
Unlike a lot of other calorie monitors on the market, even today, the early versions of this product were tested extensively in clinical trials (many people were first exposed to this technology through their physicians) and had the full backing of a lot of very smart scientists. In fact, Popular Science awarded the Bodybugg the "Product of the Year" title in 2005.
In addition to the heat flux measurements, these devices also implemented a 3-axis accelerometer and measured skin temperature and galvanic skin response. Altogether, this allowed for tracking of calories burned, time physically active, steps taken, and (in later versions) sleep duration and quality.
2007 New Body Bug Ad - "Weight Loss Discovery of the Century"
How Did You First Hear About the Bodybugg Devices?
Including either the Bodybug, Exerspy, GoWearFit, or Body Media Fit
The Rare Original BodyBugg v1 and v2
Although the current web interface no longer supports the original versions, the BodyBugg v1 and BodyBugg v2 can often still be found via Ebay, Craigslist, or other such sites. These products were a part of Apex Fitness (with the early MyApex software interface previously accessible at myapex.com, which is now offline in favor of the most recent version of the BM Activity Manager software at bodymedia.com) and were sold by the 24 Hour Fitness chains with the tagline "weight management system".
These white and grey masterpieces were the beginning of a long line of products all based on the new ability to measure heat flux and use that data to calculate burned calories.
Despite the inability to sync with the current online software, some tech savvy individuals have found a way to hack these devices to allow the data to be downloaded without the original membership. This presumably allows them to be used indefinitely.
However, it takes a pretty strong technical ability to be able to utilize this method. For more information, do a search for "Hacking Sensewear GoMediaFit" (no quotes necessary) and you will be able to read more about this method.
Below is a revolving ad that shows some of the versions currently available through Ebay (via my affiliate link). Unfortunately, due to the rarity of some of the versions, I can not guarantee which one will show up at any given time.
If you have a particular version that you would like to purchase, please feel free to click through to the site and see other related products. When you click through in this manner, I will get credit for whichever version you decide upon. If the information on this hub has been valuable to you, then please consider using my affiliate links to support my useful overview.
BB Version 3, BM Fit, SenseWear, GoWear Fit, and dotFit Exerspy
This era of devices includes the most recent models that still work with the current Activity Manager software at BodyMedia.com. Therefore, they still are perfectly acceptable options if you want to search for cheaper used exercise tracking products.
Essentially, the various products that came out under the names dotFit Exerspy, GoWearFit (or GoWear Fit), SenseWear (or Sense Wear), BodyMediaFit (or BodyMedia Fit) and Bodybugg v3 were the same. They were mostly branded differently to be sold to a variety of consumers in different markets.
In addition to their fitness tracking capability, these devices can monitor sleep duration and sleep quality. The software display was also updated from previous versions to be more visually pleasant and useful. Colorful charts and graphics were added to the interface (as seen below in the expanded screenshot of the current Activity Manager program).
Benefiting from the previous success of the earlier models, the formulas used for these versions were even more accurate than their predecessors. The newest branding in the entire series is the BodyMedia Fit.
Several generations of models were sold through 24 Hour Fitness (the most current BB line having the tagline "personal calorie management system").
The dotFit Exerspy is recognizable by its white body, black frame, and dark grey push button (as well as a red and orange logo involving the letter P as a spying eye).
The GoWearFit has a black body with a green push button.
The Bodybugg v3 has a black body with a black push button.
The BodyMediaFit has a white body with a grey push button.
There is an optional small calorie display that can connect to these devices and display the daily calorie burn (be careful when you purchase, however, as the different armband models correspond to different calorie display monitors). Depending on which version was being sold, the round activity display piece comes with either a waist clip or a wristband so that it can be worn like a watch.
This calorie monitor makes it super easy to keep track of your calories burned throughout the day, whether you are exercising at the gym or walking around the office. Additionally, unlike the very next generation of products that utilize Bluetooth to sync with the BodyMedia app on a user's smart phone, this product is light and portable which helps to prevent cell phone dropping accidents while working out at the gym to obtain an optimal level of fitness.
If your old calorie burn tracker is still working but has a broken or worn out armband, you may still be able to find replacement straps through Ebay, Amazon, and other shopping sites. However, the replacement armband straps no longer seem to be available at the main BM site.
Top Older BodyBug Promotional Infomercial
BodyBugg SP and BodyMedia Link with Bluetooth
These versions are similar in design and functionality to the 3rd generation versions mentioned above. The new specification added, however, is a super handy Bluetooth connection feature that allows wireless syncing. The BodyMediaLink armband is a few years newer, although the functionality is pretty much the same as the BodyBuggSP.
The Bodybugg SP has a medium grey body with a light grey push button.
The BodyMedia Link has a white body with a blue push button and has the slogan "weight management system".
Both the newer BodyMediaFit Link and the slightly older BodyBuggSP come with wireless capabilities that allow users to sync their data with the BM Activity Manager app on their smart phones (Android and iPhone apps). This handy feature makes it very convenient to check your calorie burn throughout the day as you exercise.
The only disadvantage to these versions is that they do not include the functionality that allowed users to buy the optional external calorie display monitor that the previous models without Bluetooth could link with. Therefore, users have to choose the BodyMedia Fit or Body Bugg version 3 if they want to have the separate display (great for people who don't have smartphones or don't like risking their smartphones on the cardio fitness machines at the gym).
Expanded Body Media Interface Screenshot
Jawbone Bought BodyMedia in 2013 to Discontinue
In 2013, the Jawbone line of products was brought to the forefront while the more desirable Body Bugg line was intentionally allowed to languish. Although the BodyMedia Core was still promoted until just recently, Jawbone seems content to finish selling the line of products they previously developed under their own brand.
This means that the much anticipated BM Core 2 previously being developed will likely never make it to the market. This is obviously a huge disappointment for fans of the calorie counter armband products.
We can only hope that the revolutionary heat flux technology will eventually be adopted into future products. However, if you want to be able to use this technology now, it is important that you buy these products before they go completely out of stock.
Even now, if you look at the BodyMedia shopping site, only Jawbone fitness trackers are featured. That gives a strong indication of how important it is to buy the superior Body Media and BodyBugg line of products now, as they are likely to become rare in the near future.