Sunday, October 18, 2009

Go Go Gadget Girl!

I've been having a little flutter on Ebay of late and bought this nifty little gadget. It's called a Bodybugg and it's a combination of accelerometer, pedometer and galvanometer which measure body temperature (the galvanometer part), body movement (the accelerometer) and ambulation (ie steps - pedometer). I've been hearing all about these little things from my American partners in crime on various forums and a long time ago googled them and discovered that they didn't ship to Australia (bugger). So when by chance last week I ebayed it, an Australian was offloading it for the princely sum of $99 smackeroos. It's a device you wear around your arm, pretty unsightly but kind of interesting!

The science behind the Bugg (which has been independently tested and accurate to about 90%) involves working out how many calories you expend in a day with both formal exercise and NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis - or for us mere mortals, "moving around") - using this data, you can calculate the caloric deficit you need to lose "x" amount of weight per week if you log your food.

I'm not logging my food but I've always had this belief my metabolism was pretty slow - and I've been wanting to see if the calcs I've made using the Harris Benedict and other equations were accurate or not! After wearing it for three days have discovered that I'm slow (you upload your data to an online program ) - not because I'm genetically compromised but because I'm a total slug when I'm not going out training (there's a joke amongst endurance athletes that when we go shopping we always look for the car park closest to the entrance of the shop/store). In fact the Bugg will turn itself off if it doesn't sense any movement for 5 minutes and on Day One I felt like I was resetting it every five minutes, not realizing that I had to keep moving a little for it to work. I was hard pushed reaching 1700 cals expended for that day, including teaching a good whacker of a class.

Saturday was more interesting - I got up and wanting to get a headstart on reaching 10,000 steps (I was woeful on that count too), I went for a half hour walk. Four thousand steps later (Alleluia!) I was off to teach RPM Hi Performance which was fabulous - I'm sure the extra work/coaching I have been having is making a real difference. Five hundred calories expended there. Interesting! Then it was off to work and I focused on moving around as much as I could - I really had to make a concerted effort to keep moving - it wasn't easy, as I'm always thinking that I train so hard, so therefore I need a rest! Eighteen thousand steps were taken between 5.30am and 6pm (seems to count RPM in there somewhere too) and I spent the better part of the evening trying to crack the 20000 - so consequently the entire kitchen got cleaned, the laundry done, folded and put away and any available rubbish outside to the bin! and by 8.30pm I had made it! Caloric consumption around the 2700 mark - no wonder I'm always hungry on Saturdays!

Needless to say after all that focus on incidental exercise I crashed into bed last night and slept in until 7.30am - it's my rest day on Sundays but I was determined to meet the 10000 step goal which is bandied around for good health - by lunchtime I'd only done 3 500 and after doing several house clean ups I was beginning to think I'd have to do some formal exercise to get there. Then I was saved by Hubby who wanted to know if I wanted to take Miss G for a go on her rollerblades outside - so we had a 20 minute walk and talk and bingo, up to 8000 by 5pm. Then we went looking at our house and I walked up and down and up and down and looked at the pool and looked at the landscaping and voila, 10,000 steps!

Wearing the Bugg has been a real eye opener in terms of highlighting the fact that I need to do more incidental type exercise - plus I have a super clean house now - gotta be happy about that. It also made me spend less time on the computer today and more time living in the real world. I love, love love surfing the Internet but I'm sure it's not been doing my metabolism any favours (apparently I use less than 1kcal energy per minute surfing the 'net whereas if I'm being a domestic goddess it's between 2-3 kcal energy per minute.

And as for the Harris Benedict equations - they're surprisingly accurate - where I fell down is factoring in activity level which would have been about 1.2 compared to the 1.5/1.6 where I thought I was.

I'm going to keep using the Bugg for awhile to remind me just to move more. I'm not logging food, but continue to eat well and be content in the knowledge that my metabolism is perfectly fine, I just need to be less of a slug and more of a participant in life when I'm not training hard.


Charlotte Orr said...

Interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Cherub said...

That's really interesting Liz. I think most of us would use the higher activity level in calculating the result.

It is surprising how little we actually move every day and therefore how few calories we actually need.

As a comparison, do you know how the result of calories expended compares with a fitness heart rate monitor?


Raechelle said...

Neat gadget!

Cat said...

Hey Liz!

I have been wearing the GWF for a couple of weeks now and I also find it really interesting. Even when my steps are high, my calorie burn is not. I am more than a little stunned. Even on days where I'm doing 'farm' work all day and constantly moving, I cannot meet my calorie burn goals (predetermined by GWF based on my weight, height and age). It's no wonder I had to go so low on calories during LL to see loss.

I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying the extra data!

Catherine (from Yaya's)

PS - I love the new look of your blog!

Kristy said...

Your new toy, sounds quite interesting. I have often wondered how many steps I take a day... Maybe time to invest in a pedometer

Andrea said...

That does seem like a great gadget Liz. I saw them a while ago and thought they looked interesting. It is interesting to note that the Harris Benedict equation isn't too far out. I always tended to underestimate rather than overestimate I think.

twoblindpigs said...

Catherine.. Where is Yaya's exactly?

The Pastry Chef said...

Liz, I've had the GoWearFit (cheaper version of the bodybugg) for a few months now and came to the same conclusion - I shouldn't underestimate the power of moving around more frequently in the course of the day, even if it's not all hard,sweaty workouts. Just being in motion helps!