Sometimes I think I should have been born a boy. I have a younger brother and sometimes I feel as though, because we were born only 18 months apart, our souls got mixed up. Before this starts to sound too weird, I’ll give you an example: he’s absolutely amazing in the kitchen and fantastic on the sewing machine – I love sports and covet gadgets… I particularly like fitness gadgets. I always need to have the tools of the trade before I dive into any new exercise or sport – but perhaps that’s just a way of giving myself a false sense of involvement? Anyway, one fitness gadget in particular that I absolutely love is the Ki Fit Armband (I believe in the USA and Australia, it’s called BodyMedia Fit).
The Ki Fit tracks your calorie burn, physical activity level, sleep duration and efficiency and steps taken! The Armband is worn around your upper arm and, with its in-built sensors, it captures over 5000 data points per minute, measuring your movement, galvanic skin response (i.e. sweat levels), skin temperature, heat flux (from your muscle movements) and steps taken (including whether you’re walking or running). But that’s all the boring scientific stuff, which doesn’t really interest me that much (aha, perhaps I’m not totally boyish after all!). What I love is the Online Manager which, once you’ve synced it with the Armband, shows you cool graphs and figures like calories burned, sleep duration and sleep efficiency. By inputting data about what you’ve eaten during the day, you can see whether you have a calorie surplus or deficit for the day.
My favourite feature, though, is the fitness goals. You can set your fitness goals into the Online Manager and during the day, once you’ve reached your daily target, the display will beep to tell you so – it’s such a buzz!
I also like to use the Armband when I’m trying new exercises – to see which ones work best for my body. For example, I’ve seen figures that say the average number of calories burned in a spin class can be up to 500 or even 700! Using Ki Fit, I’ve found that my calorie burn is nowhere even close to that figure (presumably because I’m rather petite compared to your “average” Westerner, on which those figures are based) – so the data does give you a reality check. In fact, I’ve found that I burn more calories doing a 40 minute body pump class than I do in a 1 hour spin class, and more calories doing a 30 minute Power Plate class than I do in a 40 minute body pump class! It’s totally geeky – but I love it, because it keeps me motivated.
The sleep efficiency function is pretty cool too. I’ve discovered that I have a very good sleep efficiency rate – hence why I can survive on 5 hours of sleep.
There are a couple of things I don’t like about the Ki Fit: firstly, there is no heart rate monitor (why not??); secondly, in order to use the Armband, you need to continue to pay the subscription fee; and finally, to get the most out of the data that is collected, you do need to wear it all day. It is a rather bulky piece of kit (although they have released a smaller version this year) and doesn’t quite pass as a piece of statement jewellery – if you know what I mean. Nevertheless, if you’ve got a weight or fitness goal, or if you just want to work out which exercises are most effective for your body – then it’s a great little gadget.
Do you have any fitness gadgets that you use and love?