Bodybugg: The Myth
In this current era, men and women in society use a variety of tools, mechanical instruments, and electronic devices to help them overcome certain challenges or to simply add conveniences in their daily lives.
Under the umbrella of physical fitness and health and wellness, there is a diverse range of objects that can help users monitor and shed their weight. Machines such as treadmills and stationary bikes can be easily bought everywhere while watches and smartphones can track the number of footsteps people make every day.
Gym memberships can be availed of within cities, whether these have general exercising facilities like a weights room and an aerobics facility or boxing and mixed martial arts gyms.
Even liquids, tablets and powdered formulas that bodybuilders and even professional athletes use, which are called supplements, can help individuals lose weight and gain muscles, albeit at a costly price towards their vital organs.
There is one gadget, though, that tried to make a name for itself in the health and wellness industry, only for it to go down in obscurity because of its poor reviews and incompetence at what it is supposed to do.
This product in question is called the Bodybugg, which was manufactured and sold by a company that is known as Apex Energetics, which was founded in 1988 to serve the healthcare sector and is based in California, USA.
What is the Bodybugg?
The Bodybugg is an electronic device worth roughly $70 that its customers attach on their shoulders to tracks the intake and burning of calories. It takes note of its wearers’ every movement to know how much physical movements they need to lose weight and the amount of food that is consumable to any targeted weight.
The device has four facets that allow it to measure the calories of the user. These are the accelerometer, galvanic skin response, heat flux and skin temperature and their data are stated to have an accuracy rate of 92 percent.
The key measurement here is the calorie balance. For a person that yearns to lose weight, the target is always a calorie deficit, which takes into account the fact that more calories are burned than what is consumed. The opposite, which states that more calories are taken in by the user than burned, the term for that is calorie surplus.
Additionally, the manufacturers claim that the product can even check how much a person is losing weight while he or she is asleep, which can be useful for people who are curious about how much calories they gain or lose while they are in deep slumber and now many hours of rest they need to be in optimal shape.
When it comes to measuring food intake, the users of the product must rely on software, which comes under a subscription program for six months for the price of $9.95 a month, that tells them about the food that they need to consume per day to maintain their fitness goals through the product’s data and the individuals’ traits such as age, height, current weight.
The said software is only usable for Windows computers and Internet Explorer advocates. Individuals who prefer different operating systems such as Linus, Chrome and Mac OS are not in luck.
Internet access, through whether WiFi or a mobile data plan, is also important as users can track their records on their mobile phones through an app.
Because of how it works, the manufacturers do not recommend the use of the product by multiple individuals because doing so will ruin the data for each person. Prolonged wearing of the armband may hurt the shoulder and, if it is tightly put, blood flow may suffer as well.
It also cannot measure the heart rate, which needs a separate device.
It is a product that is heavily advertised in the prominent weight-loss program ‘The Biggest Loser’, which is shown on the NBC network.
Is it even effective?
The answer ranges to not exactly to a flat out no. Based on a few articles and reviews that we scoured throughout the web, some have claimed that the product does not work because it can never fully grasp the users’ calorie intake and because the results that it provides are based on calculations by sensors that can only provide an estimated value.
In short, the numbers that users get from this tool are not reliable. Anderson, though, conceded that the product can work provided that the users regularly check their weight but doing so disregards information such as the type of food that was or will be consumed and whether or not the weight that was lost was muscle or fat.
Additionally, he wrote, the sensors themselves, which are the accelerometer, galvanic skin response, heat flux, and skin temperature, do not produce accurate data.
For the first part, the accelerometer takes note of body movement, the heat flux measures the users’ hotness, the galvanic skin response’s job is to know how much the body sweats while skin temperature measures the person’s temperature.
All of these are indeed used to measure calories but none can claim to do so, as Anderson wrote, in a ‘direct or indirect manner’. Take for example the galvanic skin response sensor, which is counterproductive to the product, if one thinks about it, because, as a machine, it should not get wet as much as possible.
This can cause frustration to people who want to use the product while engaging in water sports such as swimming, water polo, snorkeling, diving, aqua jogging, water aerobics, rescue swimming, dragon boat racing and even leisure activities such as rafting, jet skiing, canoeing, surfing, yachting, and wakeboarding.
Plus, the fact that it is a big object that is attached to a person’s arm, it can be an eyesore, especially if an individual wears clothes are not sporty. Imagine seeing an officemate wear it while he or she is in their corporate attire. It will simply look out of place in the outfit.
That is for the armband side, what about the software side that measures calorie intake? Well, any person can do the same thing online for free, which renders any use of the subscription meaningless. These free websites use the same algorithm as what the proprietary software uses and that makes the latter look obsolete to its rivals. They may even be better and more user-friendly because of their proprietary status.
What made consumers think twice all the more for it was that there was an abundance of cheaper alternatives to choose from, for the armband and software, which in turn lessened their initiative to buy it and take it home.
Should consumers still purchase the Bodybugg… if they actually can?
Truth be told, no, on both counts. It is very much too expensive compared to its other competitors and it is not even readily available compared to before in shopping malls, specialty stores, department stores like Best Buy or even online retailers like eBay.
As the last paragraph in the previous sub-entry stated, there are better and less costly alternatives consumers can choose from instead of the Bodybugg. For starters, as Anderson wrote, a simple heart rate monitor will do rather than this device.
While it can indeed help its owners track their weight, its inaccurate results, because these are all just estimations, that come from unreliable sensors limit how much it can help them. Even a tool or mobile application that tracks the food people eat can go a long way and many of these, especially the latter, can be found in the iOS or Google app stores for free or for a minimal price.
Essentially, the whole package shall cost close to $130 taking into account the $70 needed to purchase the device and the $9.95 a month for a subscription that lasts six months. For $130, a consumer can get himself or herself a stationary bike for roughly the same price on Amazon, which is one of the world’s most prominent online retailers.
For those who insist on purchasing the product despite its poor reviews, then chances are that they will struggle to find it since it was pulled out of the market in August 2019. Individuals cannot use the product because the online subscription has been rendered obsolete.
While there was no apparent damage caused by the product on any os its pioneering customers, it can be inferred that its poor sales forced the manufacturer, Apex Energetics, alongside its distributors to stop selling it from society.
Perhaps a good alternative to purchase is a Fitbit, which measures footsteps, heart rate and so many more and these can be bought for as much as $129.95, which is roughly the same price for the Bodybugg.
In the end, consumers should pass on the Bodybugg. The cons outweigh the pros of purchasing it. There are so many alternatives for a product that is inefficient and unreliable in the first place