The folks behind BodyMedia FIT, the popular armband-based body monitoring system for weight and calorie management, have recently announced its connectivity with the MyFitnessPal app. MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular calorie-counter apps on the market. According to their website, the free app has allowed over 30 million individuals to create personalized food diaries and diet profiles. The integration between the two systems allows individuals to consolidate key information from both systems for one-stop online or mobile phone access to their calorie counts and related data.
This is exciting for individuals looking to lose weight or live healthier because the strategies behind BodyMedia and MyFitnessPal have been proven to work. For example, the BodyMedia technology, according to their website, may increase weight loss up to three times compared to behavioral support alone. Furthermore, MyFitnessPal takes its cue from medical studies showing that keeping a food journal can double the amount of weight lost compared to diet and exercise alone.
According to their press release, with the new connectivity users can now:
- Automatically transfer the calorie burn data gathered by the BodyMedia FIT system to their MyFitnessPal account, based on all-day physiological measurements taken by BodyMedia armbands that track calorie burn for every step taken and every kind of activity ranging from sitting, walking and household cleaning to running, tennis and kickboxing.
- Automatically transfer their food diary totals from MyFitnessPal to their BodyMedia account, harnessing the power of MyFitnessPal’s world’s-largest nutrition and calorie database of more than 2 million listings including the most popular restaurants and food brands.
- View the shared data in either application, depending on their needs at the moment. Users logging their food intake in MyFitnessPal can simultaneously check their BodyMedia-measured calorie burn for the day. Users consulting their BodyMedia Activity Manager for information on their calorie expenditure, calorie deficit or overage for the day, activity levels, steps taken, sleep duration, personalized feedback and/or overall weight loss progress can simultaneously see their MyFitnessPal calorie count as well as BodyMedia’s nutritional analysis of their food intake.
We had a chance to speak to Gwen Smith, Marketing Manager at BodyMedia, to ask a few questions about this exciting new integration:
Ravi Parikh, MedGadget: Could you tell us more about BodyMedia’s integration with MyFitnessPal? What was the motivation behind it?
Gwen Smith, BodyMedia: We selectively pick partners based on who fits best with our consumers and the enhanced solution that we can bring together. Also, the integration was in response to consumer request. MFP has a huge following, it’s an incredibly popular site. Many of their consumers and many of ours requested the integration. We married the best of their technology with the best of ours. Their forums are incredible support network for our consumers as well.
MedGadget: What have consumers been saying about the integration?
BodyMedia: Consumers love it! People have been very excited to see this happen.
MedGadget: Could you give us any hints about any upcoming additions or features to the BodyMedia band?
BodyMedia: We have a SparkePeople integration launching in the next few days. Also, we are updating our Android app later this month.
The folks at BodyMedia were generous enough to let us try their armband, and we’ve got to say that, with the new sync, it is an amazing device.
- Comfort: This author used it everyday (minus sleeping and showering) for about a week. It’s an extremely easy device to use, and you barely notice that its there (except that it creates a square-shaped bump on your arm). One thought, though, is that for women who usually wear short-sleeved or sleeveless shirts, others will certainly see the conspicuous device on the arm. However, the device is relatively inconspicuous for those wearing longer sleeves, and if you don’t care about the small bulge it creates its not a big deal at all.
- Ease of use: Even for someone technically unsavvy, this system is extremely easy to use. I just strapped it on to my left arm every morning after showering and wore it for the day. Sometimes if I was running or sweating, it slipped off a little, but this was rare and required just one or two readjustments throughout the day.
- Calorie viewing/MyFitnessPal sync: When you connect the device to your laptop (and onto the BodyMedia website), the device translates the activity it has measured during the day into calories so you can see how many calories you’ve burned. You can also set-up the program to specific goals you’re looking to achieve: weight loss, more activity, etc. I set mine on weight loss, and remarkably it changed how many recommended calories to burn per day based on how many calories I ate per day. I tend to eat lots of low-calorie items (yogurt, oatmeal, etc) so I could set my caloric intake low. I used the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone to record what I ate throughout the day and then synced this program with the BodyMedia account to combine calories burned. This provided me with an unprecedented wealth of information about calories consumed, calories burned, and new strategies to consider for weight loss.
- Disadvantages: We’ve talked a lot about how great BodyMedia is for calorie and activity measurement. There are a couple of disadvantages –and these are things that you’ll always find in computer programs. First of all, you can’t always track how many calories you’re losing. At times, it seems that the BodyMedia program overshoots your calories burned because it records values for things like sleeping and getting up out of a chair. Nevertheless, its certainly more accurate than other common calorie counters, particularly on treadmills or ellipticals. MyFitnessPal, on the other hand, tends to underestimate caloric intake. Another issue is comprehensiveness: I can’t write all the ingredients in what I cook – it would take too long and sometimes there’s no listing of certain ethnic foods.
All in all, BodyMedia is an amazing accessory for anyone trying to count calories or lose weight. Its sync with MyFitnessPal provides you with arguably the most comprehensive personalized analysis on your calories burned vs. consumed. We look forward to what more BodyMedia has in store!