Thursday, May 28, 2009

GoWear Fit -- My First Week

UPDATED: June 26, 2009 Ok, so it hasn't yet been a full week of wearing the GoWear Fit. But I'm going to do an update anyway.

Many have asked me if it's comfortable to wear or if its feels restricting in any way. No, it is definitely not restricting and now that I've worn it for several days, I really don't even notice it's there. The device came with a size medium band and it fits my flabby arm just fine - batwings and all. If you have bigger batwings than I do (my arm is 13"-or so) you might want to order the larger band that you can get directly from

Some have asked if this is really necessary. Technically no, you don't need it for the armband to work. However, I feel this is an essential part of the system because it gives you immediate feedback on your activity and calories burned. It updates instantly by syncing with your armband through magic. It tells you your calories burned, steps taken and total time accumulated of activity - both moderate and vigorous activity, plus it has a clock with the time. The device can either be worn on a wrist band (like a watch) but it's really ugly and doesn't go with my business attire -- or you can attach the device to a clip that you can wear on your waistband like a pedometer, which is what I do. I had to walk down to my car to grab something and I was watching my steps go up as I went. Without this little display unit I don't think the whole system would have the same effect on my desire to move more.

Ok, I admit it... the software and device set up on the computer was a big fat pain in the butt! It took me about 3.5 hours of fighting. I'm pretty tech savvy but I still had to call on my best friend - an IT tech - for help. The online Activity Manager doesn't play well with the latest versions of Internet browsers and of course, that's all I had installed on my system. So I had to figure out how to downgrade from IE8 to IE7 (which is a whole other rant of its own) and when that wasn't working well, I tried to downgrade from Firefox 3 to Firefox 2. And my Java version was too new as well and I had to downgrade to a lower version. Then after all that I still couldn't get it working and realized that I needed to manually install the device drivers for the armband. Unfortunately the GoWear Fit website doesn't have a good troubleshooting section on how to get things to install or sync initially. Lots of troubleshooting for other issues, but not this one. I dunno... maybe it was just a fluke and it was my computer that was causing the problems, but I was in a seriously pissy mood by the time it all got settled. BUT... now that it's all set up and stuff, it works great. In fact, I'm able to access the software through my prefered browser (Google Chrome) even though it's not a supported browser. But the initial set up needed to be done through the older browser versions.

UPDATE: I must be the oddball on installation. Virtually everyone else I've talked to has a super easy install with absolutely no problems or glitches.

This is the online program that you use to upload the data from your armband and input your food for the day. Each evening (or morning) when you upload the data from your armband you plug it into a USB connection, click a few buttons and the software reads the data and then populates the report. It shows you a graph of your daily calorie burn for the full 24-hour period. You'll see spikes for when you were active and burning more calories per minute ... but even when you're sitting still or sleeping, there's still a calorie burn of about 1 to 1.5 calories per minute. It's fascinating to see little spikes during the day. Like that trip down to my car will show up as a little 4 minute spike of activity around 10:00 a.m.

This is one of the super cool features that the BodyBugg doesn't have. The armband knows the difference between moderate activity and vigorous activity. Most of my stuff is moderate with walking and yoga and stuff. But when I do the walk/run things on days I'm feeling energetic those little running episodes show up as vigorous activity. So my 6 mile walk this past Saturday actually recorded about 4 minutes total of vigorous activity while I was doing some running and I could see on the graph where those run spikes happened.

This is also a feature that the BB doesn't have. This one amazes me! Wear the armband to bed and it knows you're laying down. Then it also knows when you're actually sleeping rather than just laying there awake staring at the ceiling. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, it knows that too! The other night, for instance I laid in bed for 8 hours but only slept for something like 6:45 and my sleep efficiency was around 85%. And a strange pattern I'm seeing is that I always wake up at 4:00 a.m. for about 15 minutes, then go back to sleep. I wonder why that is.

The GoWear Fit software has two options for food logging. You can do a 3-Day Nutrition Assessment where you just enter 3 days work of food during a week and the software uses an average to determine your typical calorie intake. Or you can do daily food logging and it uses exact numbers each day. You change this setting in your preferences section. The food database seems pretty extensive with lots of different foods and brand name items. You have to enter food by meal though -- breakfast, AM snack, lunch, PM snack, dinner, late snack -- so that gives you 6 meal times throughout the day. But sometimes those labels just don't fit my lifestyle, so I just enter food into whatever makes sense. I do not plan to keep using the food log inside GoWear Fit though, but for now I'm using it to get a sense of how the software works and get some baseline information. I much prefer FitDay and I have 3 years worth of custom foods in my account. I wish there was a feature in GoWear Fit that allowed me to manually enter my total calorie intake for the day.

UPDATED: I have continued using FitDay as my food journaling option. There IS a way to manually enter my total food intake from FitDay into the GoWear food logging system. At the end of each day after I've entered my food into FitDay, I open the GoWear food log and create a new custom food for "breakfast" -- this food includes the totals for my entire day as a single food entry. I name it "06.26.09 Fitday Log" and include the stats from FitDay for the day. The only glitch is somehow GoWear doesn't calculate carbs the same way FitDay does. So you have to subtract your Fiber gram total from your Carb total before entering it into GoWear -- this will still give you the same number of calories, but your carb/fiber totals will be off. But this doesn't bother me since the only thing I care about in GoWear is my calorie totals. My nutrient balance is dealt with over on FitDay. DO I LOVE IT??

Yes! Absolutely love this thing! It's like a little game with myself to see how many calories I can rack up throughout the day. Instead of writing an email to ask a question of someone down the hall, I'll get up and walk down there instead. It is making me much more conscious of my activity for sure. But more importantly, it's giving me hard data about what my body is doing and what it needs.

How many posts have you seen on this blog saying I'm changing my calorie intake -- based on advice from a nutritionist or some research I've done or just to experiment with what'll happen. But now it's not a guessing game anymore. I know for 100% certainty how many calories I'm burning per day and I know how much food I'm allowed to eat and still achieve the deficit I need to lose weight. I haven't changed anything yet.

I'm still in data-gathering mode right now. I'll give it another few days to see how things look after a full week or normal activity and eating. Then I'll determine if anything needs to change or if I'm on the right track.

I'll keep ya'll posted.


  1. Pam, if you have a moment, could you give me some pointers on the installation? I am having some of the same installation problems that you experienced, and I have had my armband for about 4 days and can't use it. The tech people, while nice, were not able to solve the problem, and as you said, their troubleshooting guides on the website are no value added. Thanks!

  2. Nicole -
    Shoot me an email and I'll try to help you figure it out. You might need to manually install the drivers from your device manager menu (that's what finally got mine working).

  3. Thank you thank you thank you on the food logging tip - I was pretty disappointed when I thought I had to go off an average:) Very cool - just started yesterday. No issues on installation on my end and I love it! It really forces you to be accountable! Good luck on your awesome journey:)


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