back to article Fitbit Flex wristband: What to wear out when wearing yourself out

Judging by how quickly Apple is dashing around the world registering the iWatch trademark, by this time next year I could well have a micro Mac strapped to my wrist. And so might many others, if the craze for wearable devices continues on its current trajectory. You might wonder what all the fuss is about and perhaps a bit of …

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  1. Irongut

    Why?

    I just don't see the point and don't like bands of rubber round my wrist.

    Admitedly I'm not the sort of person who goes to the gym or needs to diet.

    1. Lis 0r
      FAIL

      Re: Why?

      Cool Story, Bro.

      Maybe this device is not aimed at you?

      1. wowfood
        FAIL

        Re: Why?

        And while we're at it, what's the point of articles on cars? My eyesight is terrible so I'll never get to drive, so what's the point in cars? /endsarcasm

        And on the actual device. The diet side of things I don't see the point of, I mean I see the point of it, but not as part of this product. I can record my calories in many other ways, in fact I do record my calories already so having that information isn't overly useful to me.

        Likewise the lack of a heartrate monitor etc is kind've annoying too, it's one of the things I'd actually quite like to track.

        The only real useful parts of this are the pedometer (lets face it that's what it is) and the sleep monitor. I actually find the idea of a sleep monitor quite interesting since I'm pretty sure my sleep quality is terrible. But I don't think I'm willing to spend £80 on one.

        If they could get a heartrate monitor built into the thing I might be interested, but without it the idea seems kinda meh. I already have a load of items that do the individual jobs for a fraction of the cost, the only real benefit of this device is the sleep monitor, and the online ap. And the online app you can also get equivalents for free online.

        1. DJ Smiley
          Facepalm

          Re: Why?

          So buy a pedometer.

          This is a product for someone who wants to understand what they are intaking and outputting all in one simple package.

          You want to check your heart rate? It's quite simple, here is your wrist, here are some fingers. Now count.

          1. ChrisBedford

            Re: Why?

            [quote]You want to check your heart rate? It's quite simple, here is your wrist, here are some fingers. Now count.[/endquote]

            Yeah evidently you are another of the "I don't need it therefore no-one needs it" school of thought. You can hardly do that all day long, or even more than a few times a day.

            For purposes of tracking fitness or weight loss goals, continuous heart rate monitoring is one of the most useful tools available. Next time you are in your local sports shop (ha ha) go take a look at how many heart rate monitors there are out there. There's a demand, "dude".

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why?

          There are a million HRM watches out there and Polar also have the patent on the calorie algorithm used, so nothing else tends to be so accurate when using heart rate as the source of energy expenditure.

        3. Neoc

          Re: Why?

          @wowfood: I use an App on my android for on-the-spot heart-rate monitoring. It works by shining the flash through your finger and using the camera to detect blood-flow (the same way that a hospital monitor does it in fact).

          Not *really* accurate, but accurate enough.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      Person voices "I don't need it, so nobody needs it" opinion.

      Are you oblivious to the obesity epidemic?

      I've lost 1.2 stone after getting a Fitbit. Without gauging what your calorie intake is vs your calorie output you can't really make adjustments in your diet.

      But anyway, this is just a tool that helps with that, people still have to put in the effort.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Why?

        I lost 1.5 stone ditching my gluten free prescription and replacing the carbs with meat and veg - lots of meat and lots of veg.

        You pays your money and you takes your chances.

        Only another 2 stone to go now.

        1. Lamont Cranston

          Re: Why?

          Can some enlightened person tell me what this thing does that a pedometer doesn't? Other than come with a bluetooth dongle and an app?

          1. Mike Richards Silver badge

            Re: Why?

            It's slightly more sophisticated (and therefore MUCH more expensive) as it measures levels of activity rather than simply counting steps.

            Oh and it comes with a gee-whizz dashboard that you can share with all your Facebook friends and the Twitterati.

            What's not to like? (Apart from all of it)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      Why do fat people always drink diet coke?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        "Why do fat people always drink diet coke?"

        Does that mean diet coke makes you fat?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        > Why do fat people always drink diet coke?

        To wash down a gigantic carb-fest.

    4. RISC OS
      Thumb Down

      Re: Why?

      For people that go running... not for over-weight nerds sitting infront of a computer 24/7.

      The same way these runners look at linux or pi and go "Why?"

      Or when that car customiser drivers past me in matt black car with glowing wheels and music so loud the speakers shake the car, I go "Why?"

  2. Gordon Pryra

    I'm guessing the software is not the point to this device.

    The ability to use some of the other Apps, like myfitnespal means they can just give the basics in their own software and allow others to work out what to actually do with the device far better. Myfitnespall for example has a handy barcode scanner for entering your meals which works pretty well. The crap part about that app is not the meals but the entering of exercise, so it may work well together.

    Final point, anyone who is pretty active won’t need one of these once they are out of their fat stage. And anyone who is fat and using one of these to help get healthy would probably be fat again within a month of losing the pounds as fat people are generally lazy. In fact they would probably buy one of these, get board in week After all, in reality, what use is knowing how many steps you take?

    Come to think of it, the whole system and all of the apps are pretty useless, how does knowing how many calories, a measurement of how much heat is given off something when you burn it, and how many steps you take actually help you?

    It can give you confirmation that you are active (you know this already) and that's about it.

    Until we legislate against the fat people then they will always be there, the only purpose this wrist band serves (that I can see) is to alert people to the presence of a soon to be fatty or an ex-fatty from whom you should hide your sandwiches.

    1. John 110
      FAIL

      Re: I'm guessing the software is not the point to this device.

      @Gordon Pryra

      You do realize that not all "fatness" is about eating, right?

      Maybe we should legislate against ignorant people, then dicks like you won't be able to feel so smug.

      1. Gordon Pryra

        Re: I'm guessing the software is not the point to this device.

        @john 110,

        I apologize, you are right, we need to include the "big boned too"

        1. AbelSoul

          Re: "big boned"

          I'm not fat, I'm festively plump!

          (With apologies to Eric Cartman.)

      2. turnip handler
        Paris Hilton

        Re: I'm guessing the software is not the point to this device.

        @John 110

        "You do realize that not all "fatness" is about eating, right?"

        Really - what else is it about? People come in all different sizes but it is pretty clear if someone is 'big' or 'fat'.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: you're an idiot....

          Folks, my partner has been on steroids for a number of years, if she eats less than 900 calories a day she can [occasionally] lose weight, and this is on a very well measured, balanced diet with about 90% fresh fruit/veg/meat/fish etc and no processed anything and virtually no carbs. Btw the other 10%ish is good quality frozen stuff

          Believe it or not this energy intake is enough for her to do her busy, on her feet all day job...

          You know what people are all different! Funny that eh?

          So for some folk [with certain hormone issues - eg thyroxine] they can eat dramatically less than you or I AND PUT ON WEIGHT...

          BTW if you have any teenage or thereabouts aged female offspring, and you think that maybe they could do with eating a bit less, learn how to cook as opposed to labellng them fat eh?

          1. dogged
            WTF?

            Re: you're an idiot....

            So for some folk [with certain hormone issues - eg thyroxine] they can eat dramatically less than you or I AND PUT ON WEIGHT...

            Are you saying that a problematic thyroid gland can cause you to metabolize fat from air?

            Because, y'know, the dear old (calories in - calories out) equation is at least consistent with things like thermodynamics and conservation of energy. Whereas, since fat is an energy store, you appear to be saying that we can magically make more energy than we intake simply by having a glandular disorder.

            That seems unlikely to me.

            1. turnip handler

              Re: you're an idiot....

              A quick search reveals that a symptom of Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) is weight gain but it also states that; "However, with treatment, the outlook is excellent. With treatment, symptoms usually go, and you are very unlikely to develop any complications."

              http://www.patient.co.uk/health/hypothyroidism-underactive-thyroid

              As @dogged points out though I don't imagine that you gain weight magically...just more that a 'normal' person.

            2. nsld
              Holmes

              Re: you're an idiot....

              Unfortunately you can get fat from eating too little for a variety of reasons.

              1: Starvation response, when you do not eat enough and starve yourself the body will preserve fat stores for the really lean times and instead metabolise protien, firstly skeletal muscle and in extreme cases (anorexia) even cardiac muscle and the internal organs. Protiens are broken down to amino acids and then metabolised via the cahill cycle.

              2: "low calorie foods" - Per gram sugar has less calories than fat so to make a food low calorie reduce the fat and increase the sugar. However, metabolically sugar is a nightmare as it easily digested and absorbed and provokes an insulin response which leads to storage in the muscles, once they are full the excess sugar is converted to fat. Fats require mechanical and chemical breakdown so even though they have nearly double the calories of sugar per gram they do not digest efficiently. Hence why you can eat low calorie foods and get fat.

              So a low fat, lower calorie high sugar diet leads to a combination of 1 and 2, a starvation response leading to protection of fat stores so you can eat less and get fat.

              This is the main reason why high protein, high fat, low carb diets work and decrease body fat levels.

              Of course some regular intense exercise will help, most people in IT have sedentary jobs so maximising movement outside of the hours at the desk is essential.

              1. dogged
                Stop

                Re: you're an idiot....

                I'll give you #2 but #1 has been conclusively disproved. It's pure broscience. If it were true you'd see morbidly obese famine victims.

                The body actually metabolizes sugars first, protein second, complex carbs third and fat last.

                1. nsld
                  FAIL

                  Re: you're an idiot....

                  I'll give you #2 but #1 has been conclusively disproved. It's pure broscience. If it were true you'd see morbidly obese famine victims.

                  The body actually metabolizes sugars first, protein second, complex carbs third and fat last.

                  =======

                  Point 1 is true, its why you see people with anorexia dying due to organ failure whilst still retaining stores of adipose tissue.

                  Famine victims are rarely fat to start with so have less of a chance of survival when food supplies are short as they have low levels of skeletal muscle so digest those quickly followed by whatever else is to hand until they die from organ failure.

                  The reason why obese people lose weight quickly when they starve themselves is protein and water loss as they digest skeletal muscle whilst the body protects fat stores, additionally, as a result of being obese they have higher circulating oestrogen levels which help to preserve and maintain body fat.

                  As for the second paragraph total bollocks of the highest order, the body doesn't have a linear pecking order for the metabolism of those 4.

                  At any given time circulating in your blood you have simple carbohydrates, amino acids, and free fatty acids all looking to ultimately contribute to the production of pyruvate and finally ATP.

                  Depending on how hard the body is being pushed will dictate the rate of usage as sugars are converted more easily than proteins and free fatty acids so under high intensity activities we rely on blood sugar as the primary provider of energy to replenish ATP.

                  At rest its a completely different story as the body has a low demand for energy it can use free fatty acids via Beta oxidation and the conversion of amino acids to pyruvate via the liver to meet energy needs rather than tapping into blood sugar. During high intensity exercise the release of adrenaline suppresses both beta oxidation and to a lesser extent amino acid metabolism to prioritise the easier to convert energy pathways.

                  Complex carbohydrates have to be broken down and digested before they get near the blood so how you have concluded that they appear in your imaginary hierarchy can only mean you have pasta for blood.

            3. JDX Gold badge

              @dogged

              Are you saying that a problematic thyroid gland can cause you to metabolize fat from air?

              Because, y'know, the dear old (calories in - calories out) equation is at least consistent with things like thermodynamics and conservation of energy.

              Oh look, you did GCSE physics and think you understand biology. And I suppose if you hang by your arms this doesn't count as exercise because you're not moving?

              You never considered that if you eat 1000 calories and only require 500, your body might not use the excess but dump them, whereas his body might hold onto every calorie regardless of requirement?

              Your weight gain is strictly governed by calories in - calories out, but neither of those values is what you think it is.

            4. LOL123
              Facepalm

              Re: you're an idiot....

              This notion of yours is not correct.

              Calories in => some are burnt for immediate use + some are stored as fat

              Ongoing energy use => come from stored source among them fat, glycogen etc

              The proportion of this is decided by the hormonal profile among other things.

              So simply by cutting intake people with a poor hormonal profile do not lose weight i.e. store less fat. Their bodies are more inclined to simply offer less energy for their activities. They would in some cases actually have no energy to exercise.

              Essentially the body's logic function to decide whether to store for the future or burn for immediate use is broken.

              So as unlikely as it might seem to you, it doesn't make it any bit more factual. It's pop nutritional science I'm afraid.

          2. ChrisBedford

            Re: you're an idiot....

            [quote]So for some folk [with certain hormone issues - eg thyroxine] they can eat dramatically less than you or I AND PUT ON WEIGHT...[endquote]

            Yeah, and pardon me but there were no fat people in Auschwitz. "Thyroid" or "hormone" "conditions" have been used as an excuse for decades and it's ALL BULLSHIT. If you eat more food than your body needs, you will store it as fat. So some people's metabolism is more efficient at extracting calories from food: those people just have to eat less.

            "Dramatically less" in your example is clearly still not little enough. I knew someone who was a Big Bess all her life, went on a hundred fad diets and had several courses of radical treatments - nothing worked until at the age of 45 she just cut _out_ the carbs, cut _down_ on everything else, and STARTED EXERCISING. A couple of marathons later she was svelte and sexy and feeling better than she had in decades.

            Sorry, you're the idiot.

            1. JDX Gold badge

              Re: you're an idiot....

              If you eat more food than your body needs, you will store it as fat. So some people's metabolism is more efficient at extracting calories from food: those people just have to eat less.

              Great, now tell that to the person whose correct calorific intake is 500 calories less than their brain/stomach reckons they need to avoid starvation. Tell them it's simple, they just have to be permanently hungry to avoid putting on weight.

              He may be the idiot, but you're the jerk.

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: I'm guessing the software is not the point to this device.

          "Really - what else is it about? People come in all different sizes but it is pretty clear if someone is 'big' or 'fat'."

          There are numerous medical and genetic conditions which make people put on weight very easily, and lose it with great difficulty.

          Or in simpler terms for the dumbos... you never saw a teenager who can eat a bag of doughnuts every day and not gain weight? It must be patently obvious that two people can have the same daily routine and eat the same things and one will gain weight while the other doesn't, because you see it all the time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm guessing the software is not the point to this device.

      It has a 3 axis accelerometer and uses a time based approach, so it knows the difference between different velocities. It also uses your height to work out an average stride (or you can fine tune this value yourself) so it knows how far you travelled and how fast.

      There are numerous products similar to this. Nike+, Jawbone, Fuel band etc.. The advantage of simplicity is the battery life, it can be left running 24 hours a day and around 5 days before a recharge. A GPS based unit with a heart rate strap would be more accurate but last hours, be bulky and wouldn't have the nice wireless sync over bluetooth.

      It's not a professional performance training tool, it is about getting some metrics on your activity levels. The initial goals are to do 10,000 steps a day (a common recommendation from medical experts).

      Yes you can use a phone, but your phone is bulky and runs down quickly. Do you really want to shower with your phone?

    3. walatam

      Re: I'm guessing the software is not the point to this device.

      @Gordon Pryra

      as fat people are generally lazy... Until we legislate against the fat people then they will always be there ...

      Nice bit of work there. I suppose the flip-side is that all thin people are generally "energetic" (sorry, I Googled that antonym cos I was too lazy to come up with my own - must be because I am fat)

      I am "fat". I also eat a lot (which requires a fair bit of effort, you would be hard pushed to call me lazy when it comes to my dietary habits). I go to the gym too, which is a bit of an odd one isn't it? Perhaps I should be legislated against for not fitting in to the stereotype you seem to be pushing there.

      I have a friend who is thin. He also eats a lot (a lot more than me in fact). He does not go to the gym. I do not understand it.

      Oh well. Time to start thinking about me dinner.

  3. Tom Wood

    How does it gauge effort?

    I'm presuming it just measures paces or somesuch, which isn't a very accurate measure of activity. For instance walking uphill uses much more energy than walking downhill. And what about cycling (where you don't move your arms much), lifting weights, etc?

    And presumably you can't take it swimming?

    1. Annihilator
      Paris Hilton

      Re: How does it gauge effort?

      Yup, 80 quid for a glorified pedometer, and not mentioned once in a 3-page review, I had to google what the thing does... Amazing what some people will buy these days.

      If it had a GPS tracker I might be slightly interested. As it is, this device will merely make avid left-hand surfers appear to be wildly fit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How does it gauge effort?

        Yes it's a pedometer and one of the cheaper ones for such a device like this.

        Other competing products don't do the wireless syncing (using Bluetooth 4 low power) meaning that as soon as you are in range of the sync dongle your stats are uploaded.

        I'd love to see a GPS based device last 5-7 days running constantly!!

        This is a wear and forget device, you just let it record and get on with life. If left to people like you it would have an Android OS, mp3 playback, GPS, 4G, be as big as a fag packet and with a battery life of about 4 hours.

      2. Sooty

        Re: How does it gauge effort?

        > If it had a GPS tracker I might be slightly interested

        If you have a smartphone, with GPS, there are free apps out there that will act as a GPS tracker/fitness monitor. I use one if I go out walking as it will take account of hills and give a calorie count.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've been using a FitBit One for about 5-6 months. While I can't comment about quite a few aspects of the Flex, because I haven't used one.... I do share the inconvenience of the calorie aspect.

    Indeed, when I started, it was a bit of a drag finding and adding all the foods I ate, and trying to avoid or pick them out from all the American ones.

    That said I'm a bit of a creature of habit, and eat far too much packet food. As such once in, there aren't many I add on a daily basis, and instead it's more a case of scrolling through my list and selecting the ones I want.

  5. xperroni
    Coat

    "you're halfway to RoboCop"

    Before puberty all I ever wanted for Christmas was to become RoboCop.

    Now I guess I'd rather keep my balls and other assorted squishy bits for a while longer, thank you.

  6. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Stop

    What a worthless toy.

    'Calories' are stupid way to gauge how much energy people get from food and how much fat it may add, the digestion and metabolism are not that simple e.g. gut bacteria, food composition, environment, genetics and current metabolism can cause dramatic differences; so just getting more exercise and eating less do not guarantee fitness or weight loss.

    1. turnip handler
      FAIL

      Re: What a worthless toy.

      "...so just getting more exercise and eating less do not guarantee fitness or weight loss."

      What nonsense. Of course exercising more increases your fitness and will help weight loss. Calories may not be perfect enough for you but it's not a bad start, and apps such as myfitnesspal do take into account the breakdown of carbs, vitamins etc if you want to go that deep in to it.

      If you are looking to loss weight and get fit, keeping a log of exercise and calories is a good way to focus your mind and is pretty simple to do.

      1. JamesPond

        Re: What a worthless toy.

        Totally agree, I've used myfitnesspal since February. It was a great help understaning calorie intake vs calorie expenditure. I lost 10Kg in 10 weeks by monitoring input & output and reducing net calorie intake to 1200KCal per day on average (2000 eaten, 800 burnt). i'm certainly more aware now of what i'm eating and understand where the pitfall are e.g. eating one jammy dodger in the office = 5 minutes on the tradmill in the gym.

        Not sure if the fitmit hits the mark though, nor does the Nike FuelBand, neither has heart-rate monitoring.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a worthless toy.

      That's odd, because I've gone from 13.7 stone to 12.2 since February. Also stopped having heartburn, bad backs and other problems.

      Wouldn't have done it without the FitBit.

      The website is where the value is, it has various programmes that let you set a goal and it tells you how long it will take and what sort of deficit you need to achieve it. It's easy to criticise something you haven't used.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: What a worthless toy.

        DIY version:

        Get yellow Lance Armstrong wristband (should be lots available)

        Write "put down that pastie you fat bastard' on it with marker pen

        Profit

        1. Metrognome

          Re: What a worthless toy.

          First of all your comment may sound humorous but it's really offensive. Being rude doesn't mean being smart.

          I'll tell you exactly where fitbit is useful: I quit smoking 2 years ago and put on about 20kg (that's 44lbs for you, yanks).

          I am working for the last 6 months with a team of people (my gp, a dietician and a physio) to get back to normal.

          In the process I had to log all my foods for a month which was pretty easy using myfitnesspal. FitBit helps you keep on top of your goals. It also helps me make corrections in my regime early enough. Otherwise I would only notice any deviations on the scales by which time it would be too late.

          And anyway what is wrong with a subtle motivational help when you are working hard to get to where you need to be?

          (in those 6 months I've lost 15 of the 20 kilos so it does work so long as you are determined to use it properly)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What a worthless toy.

            Lets face it though, how much of that weight have you lost because of diet which is aided by the FREE myfitnesspal website. And how much of that weight has been lost because you have a wristband keeping track of what you're doing anyway.

            Losing weight is 90% diet. If you have a general weekly plan you can map though out fairly easy using a number of BMR calculators online, such as the one on MyFitnessPal, which gives you the base calories you need for your height and weight, you can then work out how many cals you need via a simple calculation based on how much you exercise per week. Or you can find a calc to do that for you.

            http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm

            Congratulations, i've just given you all the benefits of a fitbit minus the £80 cost.

            1. Metrognome

              Re: What a worthless toy.

              When you are done congratulating yourself mr AC perhaps you may care to hear that the value of the thing is in the monitoring of activity and the opportunity to adjust very quickly to actual circumstances (think unplanned business dinner or some such).

              The value is in the joining of actual calorie intake to activity done.

          2. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

            Re: What a worthless toy.

            Put the pasty down you fat bastard is excellent advice. The pasty contains wheat which makes many people tired and lazy. It contains fat and two types of carbs but not many vegetables.

            It would be better to eat a kebab but with no chips and don't eat the bread. That way you get protein and fresh veg but no carbs.

            I am astonished that it took a team of people to get you into shape. I have this image of the F1 team monitoring your stats on screens and communicating with you via an implant in your eyeball.

            1. Metrognome
              Thumb Down

              Re: What a worthless toy. @Wayland

              Well, if your target is sustainable lifestyle change as opposed to ultrafast, ultrahard dieting which will be reversed with a vengeance down the line then yes, it does take coordinated and long-term effort.

              And no they're not on my case all the time. But they do coordinate with each other and devise programs depending on actual progress etc.

              P.S. While the cut down on the junk is good advice I still think calling someone a fat bastard is offensive no matter how much good humour you want to dress it with.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Those saying it should have GPS. Try doing that in the gym, under tree cover, shopping malls etc. This is a device for the general public for every day use, not just for people who are "training".

    Also, it's not fun waiting up to 4 minutes before you do any exercise while your GPS device gets a lock on. Phones have A-GPS where they use other data to get a lock on. Having mobile telephony and GPS on such a device will make it big, bulky, have crap battery life and start to cost around £150+.

    This is a small convenient device which will last a working week before it needs a recharge. Try doing that with your phone or GPS unit.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Don't shoot, it is a message and information trails .....

    Alarms can be set too, as the Flex will vibrate when the time comes. That's not so bad, it's just the tapping furiously at the thing to stop it that's irksome when waking.

    Is anyone else enjoying a great time with a derivative of the above which adds missing magic letters …… which coincidentally, immediately releases Ancient Runes and Celtic EMPowered Energy from Raw Core Sources/Extra Virgin Supplies.

    I Kid U Not, El Regers, for such is for Real and Quite Perfectly Surreal and Sublime.

    Celtic EMPowered Energy from Raw Core Sources/Extra Virgin Supplies would be a Right Fire Cracker of a Novel AI Float for Markets to Evaluate and Price for Your Needs and Feeds and Seeds …….. Your Continued Improving Being by Special Communications Means with a Great Expanding Selection of HyperRadioProActive Memes in Advanced IntelAIgent Drivers and Graphic Processor Units.

    Moore's Law timescales are far too slow for virtual environment work. To race out ahead and rightly claim that all be virgin territory, has one perfectly well enough positioned to ponder and respond to claims contraire.

    And Live Operational Virtual Environments are where you find Quantum Leapers/Moore's Law Jumpers

  9. FanMan

    Fitbits are great. End of.

    Whether you get the clip on or the wristband: this is the most fun, successful and effective fitness and weight control aid yet devised. If you're unfit or overweight - get one and use it - worth every penny.

  10. AliceBob

    I worry about the privacy implications

    ... of storing all this personal data on some random social site.

    What I'd really like is an ankle-mounted accelerometer that would tell me how much force has been applied to my poor, out-of-shape tootsies, and tell me to stop so my feet won't ache tomorrow. And I'd like to keep total control of the data.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    food calories

    food calories are measured by basically setting the food on fire. this, as far as i know, is not how my body metabolizes the food that i eat. 'calories in, calories out' is a terrible way of measuring the relationship between what you're eating and how you're metabolizing it. weighing the food is probably a better metric. the approximated potential caloric value is most likely dramatically under-estimated due to the overwhelming evidence we have seen of people subsisting on amazingly small amounts of food. But because each of us is a beautiful, unique little snowflake, the potential caloric value is pointless because it says nothing about how our extremely complex set of internal organs will process that food. Will we store any excess as fat? will we excrete it out? some combination thereof? how efficient are your muscles at using the energy in your food, compared to mine and my food? what role do macro nutrient ratios play, if any? what about micronutrients? or the antinutrients in your food, do they cause you to lose weight, giving the false impression of improving health?

    1. Infernoz Bronze badge
      Alien

      Re: food calories

      The Calorie is an obsolete Victorian energy unit, and it's 'Nutrition' food energy basis has been completely discredited by current Scientific knowledge of animal and Human food digestion and metabolism; the Joule is used for proper Scientific energy measurements. Anyone who uses the obsolete Calorie unit should be mercilessly mocked and humiliated, especially in the bogus use for digested food energy.; this includes governments!

      The /actual/ energy the body can release from food depends upon the mix of food eaten (texture, fibre, protein, and fats proportions can vary digestion speed), the digestion enzymes available, the specific volume and mix of bacterial strains in the gut (which actually do a lot of digestion with varying specialties and efficiency), the time of day, the time since the last meal, your current hormone levels etc. So quite a complex Biological and Chemical process, with significant variation for different people and ages.

      The weight of food maybe misleading if a fraction or none of the food is digested (e.g. fiber, small polyols, some roots); because it is what is actually absorbed through the gut walls, after the complex digestive process for each meal, which determines what is available to be metabolised.

      Sustained exercise is of limited use and can even harmful, compared to short periods of intense exercise; intense exercise can be so brief as to not be worth measuring.

      Thus, this device is based on several pieces of out-of-date science, so it really is a gimmicky toy; one of the commonly available GPS Ant+ logger watchs for Heart Rate, power, candence, steps etc. would be far more useful.

      1. ChrisBedford

        Re: food calories

        [quote]The Calorie is an obsolete Victorian energy unit, and it's 'Nutrition' food energy basis has been completely discredited by current Scientific knowledge of animal and Human food digestion and metabolism; the Joule is used for proper Scientific energy measurements. Anyone who uses the obsolete Calorie unit should be mercilessly mocked and humiliated[/quote] and blah blah blah

        Perhaps you should be mercilessly mocked and humiliated for not knowing that there is no difference between calories and joules? Not in the above context, when numbers are not being quoted. What you are saying is the equivalent of "The Mile is an obsolete Victorian energy unit, and its 'distance' basis has been completely discredited by current Scientific knowledge of geography and navigation; the kilometre is used for proper Scientific energy measurements. Anyone who uses the obsolete Mile unit should be mercilessly mocked and humiliated"

        1 calorie is approximately 4.2 Joules. In food terms, probably due to laziness, "Calorie" is used to mean "kilocalorie" so 1 Food Calorie is actually 4.2 kJ, but you can't "discredit" the calorie any more than you can the gallon or pound (avoirdupois, not Sterling)

      2. Ian Tunnacliffe

        Re: food calories

        With you on most of this, but I wouldn't get too hung up on the calorie versus joule thing. They both measure the same quantity and there is a constant relation between them. I calorie = 4.184 joules. Incidentally the unit that is commonly referred to as the "calorie" is actually a kilocalorie - or 1000 times the energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water from 14.5 to 15.5 degrees Celsius.

    2. John 62

      Re: food calories

      True, the body is a very complicated setup, but for the vast majority of the population, using 2000 kcalories per day as a guide is the handiest way to go, precisely because the body is a very complicated setup and it will store and burn energy very flexibly. Unless you've tried 'calorie counting' and it hasn't seemed to work for you, or if you have a specific condition or you are in serious physical training for a major sporting event, then you can go into all the details.

      Generally, people get fat because they eat too much for their level of activity. I know Gillian McKeith has largely been discredited, but 'You are what you eat' (and similar shows since then) showed that most people are unaware of the energy that they take in. But if it was easy to be thin, we would be: the numbers are seriously stacked against us in rich countries. Calories are incredibly cheap and the only way to lose weight, short of surgery, is breathing. That's right. Fatty tissue contains some water, but most of it is carbon, and you get rid of that in the CO2 you breathe out.

      And beware of people who look thin. Many angles and most clothes are remarkably good at hiding a paunch. Not everyone shows their fat on their face.

  12. Pete the not so great

    I don't get it, if you don't want to buy one then don't, if you do, then do.

  13. Neoc

    True story.

    I had a massive DVT in December which induced a PE (layman's translation: I had a massive clot down my left leg, part of which detached, passed through my heart and attached itself to my lungs. No, I am not dead. No, the docs don't know why either). Part of my recovery is making sure I move about. So when I came across the Fitbit One (the clip-on-belt version), I bought one. And their wif-fi weight-scale as well, but that's another story.

    I don't know about this new version, but the old "One" fits my needs perfectly; 6-7 days between charges, nice LCD screen which gives me decent information, records steps walks and stairs climbed (a must for me), and also checks on my sleep pattern (turns out the PE can cause me to stop breathing during the night - whodathunk?). I prefer the old dashboard - the new one looks like someone's been listening to too much whale-songs. And I don't use their website to count calories/food intake (I link to MyFitnessPal and have the calories-burned automatically synced).

    Based on the article, I'd recommend the Fitbit-One over this new device, but YMMV.

    One last thing - my wife got one at the same time (as a show of support) and lost hers. She went online to ask Fitbit how easy it was to replace her old one with a new one (in terms of linking to her account). Fitbit came back and asked for proof of purchase and she had a brand new device within a week. Majorly impressed with the service.

    No, I am not an employee or any way related to the company - I am just a *VERY* happy customer. (3339 steps taken, 5 floors climbed, 2.67Km, 1380 calories burned, 5/11 exertion according to the LCD on my F-One, and it's not yet midday down here in Oz)

    1. Medixstiff

      Re: True story.

      I got my Flex last Friday afternoon and am still getting used to it. I have no worries with wearing it, except the wrist strap is a PITA with the clasps. I also have the Aria scale which is great as I mainly watch the fat% going down rather than the weight, as I expect with riding to work four days a week and my gym sessions, I am actually building up small amounts of muscle to help burn the fat.

      I have always sat around the 112KG mark and finding no matter what I tried, I would soon plateua and then go up in weight again. I am hoping to get a better understanding of how much I burn and eat per day so I can make any required changes to both.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One without the privacy invasion?

    Would be interested if it came sans required software and without needlessly invading my privacy just to tell me some facts about my workout.

    1. John 62

      Re: One without the privacy invasion?

      I'm sure you, or some Excel jockey could conjure up a workbook to do something similar without hooking into the web.

  15. John 62

    fitness tracking

    I got myself a Tesco own-brand HRM for 10 pounds from the final reductions bit of the homewares section. It's very handy for keeping my heart rate in the fat-burning zone while I'm riding or running, but I have no idea how accurate it is. It, my Lidl bike computer and MapMyRide.com all give very different kcalorie expenditure for the same ride.

    I'd like to get into the Strava set since it can be a pain to map a ride by hand in MapMyRide.com, but my phone is too old for any of the apps and I'm too cheap to get GPS cycle computer.

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