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myApex Bodybugg Review

Updated on August 11, 2012
A small, yet very powerful device.
A small, yet very powerful device.

Review of the Bodybugg - How I easily lose 30 lbs. of body fat each summer

There very much is a "magic pill" to weight loss. But, in spite of endless fitness industry claims to the contrary, it's not a product or anything you need to pay for.

It's simple math.

Not calculus or the kind of math you would use in theoretical physics… but the kind you learned back in first grade. Really, really simple math.

The only guaranteed way to lose body fat, short of liposuction is to:

  1. Count calories in (+)
  2. Count calories (-) out
  3. Ensure that you are at a deficit each day.

The longer you keep that up, the more body fat you will lose. Your body has no choice but to respond to a sustained caloric deficit by using up stored body fat.

Since nutrition facts are printed on products or can be looked up online, your caloric intake is relatively easy to keep track of. But how do you accurately measure your caloric output?

For me, the bodybugg was the missing piece of the equation. I've used it 3 summers in a row to lose over 30 lbs of body fat each time. If I lost it or if it was destroyed, I would buy another one. It's that useful. I'm wearing mine now, in fact!

Before I started using the bodybugg (205 lbs.):

Check out my mad photography skills.
Check out my mad photography skills.

After using the bodybugg (162 lbs.):

Photo credit Courtney Reed Baker photography.
Photo credit Courtney Reed Baker photography. | Source

So, what is the bodybugg?

The bodybugg is a small device on a comfortable armband. It accurately measures how many calories you burn, minute by minute. It's currently available at myApex for $124. I purchased mine at a 24-Hour Fitness, but I believe it was around $200 at the time.

The bodybugg is worn on the upper arm of your dominant side. So if you're right-handed, the band rests on your right bicep and holds the device against your tricep. The device is so comfortable to wear that you will forget that you have it on most of the time.

(Note: The BodyMedia FIT is basically the exact same device as the bodybugg, just marketed by a different company.)

Specifications and Features

Check out the official specs here.

  • The bodybugg records your metabolism while you sleep, and as a result you can see your stages of sleep on the graph.
  • It can wirelessly update the watch display (sold separately for $60) with your caloric total.
  • The bodybuggSP can wirelessly update your iOS/Android smartphone or iPod instead.
  • As you wear it, it calibrates to your body and becomes even more accurate.
  • You can set target numbers for calories or steps taken, and when you've reached those targets during the day the watch display will beep and show you a message that you've met your goal.
  • The bodybugg charges and has wired connectivity via USB.

A more technical paper explaining how the device works.

The bodybugg uses 4 methods of accurately determining your caloric expenditure:

  1. Accelerometer - measures motion (steps taken)
  2. Heat flux - measures heat dissipated by body
  3. Skin temperature - measures body temperature… compared to heat flux to quantify your metabolism
  4. Galvanic Skin Response - measures skin conductivity

How accurate is it?

Very. I kept a table of my calories in, calories out, and total running caloric deficit. I decided to test the accuracy and lose 5 lbs. of body fat in a week. I ran a deficit of 2500 calories per day, and at the end of the week, the scale indicated a difference of -4.98 lbs. I know it was not just excess water weight because I was on a repeating daily low-carb diet for both weigh ins. The device is pretty accurate, especially after it's calibrated to you through using it over time.

So isn't it just a glorified pedometer?

Not at all. Although it does keep track of your steps for you throughout the day, it is much more advanced than a pedometer. From myApex, 2/7/12:

"The bodybugg armband is more accurate than a pedometer for calculating calories burned because it is 'watching' your body from four different perspectives. A pedometer only measures steps. In addition to measuring motion and steps, the armband is able to see how much you are sweating, your skin temperature and the rate at which heat is being dissipated from your body. These additional physiological parameters give the bodybugg system a more complete picture of what your body is doing and its level of exertion, all of which means a much more accurate estimation of your calories burned."

I bought one on a whim because I love gadgets. I also bought the watch display, so I could look at a running total of my caloric expenditure (exercise) throughout the day and know where I was in relation to my caloric budget. This has been the single most useful feature: the ability to see how many calories I'm burning, updated in real time. It's pretty motivating to have that number right in front of you.

I either leave the calorie display in my pocket or clip it to my water bottle, which also reminds me to drink water throughout the day. Some days I'll make it a game to see if I can burn 5000 calories before midnight, when the tally resets for the next day. It's super motivating to have that number right in front of you all day!

The boybuggSP will display your total calories burned on your iPod, iPhone, or Android based phone. This is really convenient if you listen to music on your phone while you exercise.

The armband is so comfortable that I usually leave it on all the time unless I'm going swimming or taking a shower, because it's not waterproof. I took it into the sauna a few times to see if it would register any calories burned, and the glue holding the velcro on the armband came off. No problem; I just super glued it back on and it's been fine ever since.

How to connect your bodybuggSP to an iPhone:

The Subscription

Purchase of a bodybugg includes a free 6 month subscription to the web-based program, and I've also seen it available to purchase with a discounted 12 month subscription. Otherwise, you can choose to pay monthly ($9.95/mo). When you log in to your subscription on the website, you can enter your nutritional data and look at graphs showing your activity throughout the day. It's actually pretty fun to look at the peaks and valleys and match them up to what you were doing. "Let's see, that was when I was playing racquetball… that was when I was sitting in front of the computer…" I think you'll be amazed at how sensitive the device is.

The device will store 14 days worth of data before it becomes full. Once it does, you need to log in to the website with your subscription to clear the data, otherwise it becomes a brick. In my honest opinion, this is the only potential downside to the device. I would have preferred that BodyMedia didn't go with a subscription model, as it makes me feel a bit like I'm renting or leasing the product instead of owning it.

However, the bodybugg works. It has been extremely effective in helping me lose fat. If it means losing fat and keeping it off, then I believe that the subscription is a justifiable cost for most people and pretty well worth it.

The beauty of fitness equipment is that people tend to purchase it, then lose interest if they don't see immediate results. You can probably pick up a bodybugg on Craig's List or eBay for cheap. Just keep in mind that the company will try to recoup the cost of a used bodybugg resale by charging you a subscription start-up fee. I'm told there is a free java applet someone wrote which basically jailbreaks your Bodybugg so you don't need the subscription. If you were motivated, you could probably find it online without too much trouble.

The Verdict

Who is the bodybugg for?

The bodybugg is for anyone who wants to lose body fat, but hasn't had success in the past. The device allows you to accurately measure how many calories you're burning throughout the day. If you keep track of the calories you're eating and make sure you're in the red each day, you will lose body fat so fast it's ridiculous. The bodybugg is also useful for anyone who is curious about how many calories they've burned throughout the day, or who wants to determine how many calories they expend during various activities.

Who shouldn't use the bodybugg?

People who insist upon capitalizing proper nouns. Just kidding. There really isn't a group of people that shouldn't use the bodybugg; it's a fantastic tool, both for fitness enthusiasts as well as for people who want to start improving their fitness.

I should point out that I have some friends who don't want to display the armband all the time because they think it's too flashy or that they will be judged by others. Since it needs to be worn on the upper arm, I find it really easy to conceal with a t-shirt if I feel the need. If you prefer to wear sleeveless tops, and if you really don't want to be seen wearing it, then you may prefer to use a device like the FitBit. I don't see it as being particularly problematic for most people.

If I had known that it was so incredibly easy to melt off pounds of body fat (see my photos above), I would have purchased the bodybugg years ago. And that's not fitness industry hyperbole. It's a fact.


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    • cavallo profile image


      6 years ago from Newmarket,UK

      If you don't put it on you don't have to lose it.


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