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Fitbit vs Bodybugg vs Bodymedia

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know I LOVE fitness STUFF.

I love anything that keeps me motivated to workout, burn calories, break a sweat.

Because lets be honest….working out can get boring at times.

The scale may not show pounds lost as fast as we want it to (does it EVER??) and so we need other things to keep us excited… ok… maybe not excited – how about less likely to avoid working out? ;)

So for me, quite often I find that certain gadgets, fitness equipment, work out dvds, etc keep me moving forward on my healthy journey of eating better and moving more.

I share what I think of fitness gear & health products here on my blog so you can hear from a lady who has actually used the fitness gear in her daily life.  This lady (me!) who lost a ton of weight and has kept it off in the real world by eating real yummy food (read: I don’t starve myself AT ALL – I eat a LOT) and by doing a reasonable amount of daily exercise (read: I am not a gym rat).

I give you my honest feedback about the workouts that I do and the gear I use because I never recommend anything to you that I would not recommend to my sister…and I love my sister!

Also….I buy all my own fitness stuff. So far no companies have ever given me review copies (waaaah! ;) ) …so I save up my nickels and dimes just like the rest of you …and then I buy gear and see how much it helps me and motivates me. And then I share my finding with you! So I am an UN-biased reviewer.

So…. if you have been reading my blog you know I like the fitbit.

It is not a pedometer – it is an accelerometer – that means it just doesn’t track steps – it tracks ALL your movement each day. (see picture at right)

I have written numerous articles about it – how fitbit works, where to buy fitbit at lowest cost, fitbit reviews etc.

But being the little fitness gadget chick that I am I also recently bought a multi-sensor body monitor (also known as a bodymedia or bodybugg).

Fitbit vs Bodymedia vs Bodybugg

Note: Bodymedia and Bodybugg are made by the same company. The bodybugg is marketed strictly through Apex and 24 hour fitness. The bodymedia is marketed and sold by the parent company: Bodymedia. So for the purposes of this review – they are the same type of personal fitness tracker. And they both track calories burned in the same manner.

I had seen the bodybugg / bodymedia used on the biggest loser tv show and I thought it might be a great new tool to add my fitness arsenal!

  The bodymedia /bodybugg personal fitness tracker is quite a bit bigger than the fitbit . And you do have to wear an armband with a sensor that is always touching your skin.(see picture at left)

This tracker has to be worn 24/7 if you want to see your calorie burn accurately.

And if you wear short sleeves you can usually see the bodymedia / bodybugg on your arm.

What attracted me to the bodymedia is that it tracks calories burned based on all your movement PLUS your body temperature. I thought it would be an easier way to track my calorie burn. And it is!

But the price is a LOT higher than the fitbit. So I had to think it over big time before I made the purchase.

After wearing both, here are my findings regarding fitbit vs bodymedia vs bodybugg

Fitbit wins on Price:

The fitbit is only $99. You don’t have to buy an online subscription to get to see your data over time. The online tools for the fitbit are free and they are really helpful. Fitbit does have an upgraded online tracking system for $49/year but you don’t have to buy it – I haven’t bought it yet and I feel I have been able to get all the info I needed or wanted from the FREE online tracking.

The bodymedia CORE or bodybugg is around $179 PLUS an online subscription cost. And you can’t use the bodymedia / bodybugg without the online subscription (although they DO give you the first 3 months of your subscription FREE).

Also if you want the display so you can see how you are doing throughout the day (for added motivation) you have to buy a separate display for $79. So just out the gate with bodymedia / bodybugg you are spending more than double what you pay for a fitbit.

So only $99 for fitbit.

And the bodymedia average price is $179-199  (for the basic unit) +$79 (for the optional display) + the monthly subscription REQUIRED that costs between $7 – $13 per month! You don’t HAVE to have the extra display that costs $79 – although the display is nice if you want to check your stats easily throughout the day.

Update 12-8-11: I originally purchased the bodymedia CORE with the display. And it was a bit of a pain for me to sync the display with the armband sensor. So I ordered the bluetooth enabled bodymedia  (the bodymedia LINK) that displays your up-to-the-minute stats on your iphone (or other smart phone) and also displays online. And when you use Bodymedia LINK you don’t need to purchase the additional display for $79 – so that is a nice way to save when you buy a bodymedia fit. I will let you know more about what I think of the bodymedia LINK in another review soon.

Bodymedia WINS on showing more accurate Calorie Burn

Tracking / Reading the Display Throughout the Day

My favorite thing about the bodymedia tracking was that it does TRACK calories burned based on your body temperature and all of your movement and it does show calorie burn on the display (the one you pay an extra $79 for!) or on your smart phone or iphone (for free).

I like that bodymedia shows REAL calories burned. With the Fitbit it is more guesswork – based on your steps and your weight and what you manually input into your fitbit online account.

Fitbit tracking and display? It is a no brainer. And I am not a big time techie — I like things simple. And the fitbit is Easy-peasy. With the fitbit I can see my activity all day long with a simple press of a button. The display is part of the fitbit so you don’t have to buy a separate display to see your activity as you go throughout your day.

Fitbit wins on hide-ability

You can wear your fitbit discreetly. I usually put it on my waistband of whatever I am wearing. It is SMALL. Smaller than most pedometers and really pretty flat. You can wear the fitbit any wear you want to attach it – lot of options.

The bodymedia / bodybugg must be worn on your arm at all times. That means if you wear a short sleeved shirt – folks will probably be able to see it.  The bodymedia is way more bulky than the fitbit.

Fitbit wins just a tiny bit on comfort (although you can get used to the Bodymedia / Bodybugg on your arm)

I can’t even feel the fitbit – and I wear mine 24/7! Except for showers!

When I wear the bodymedia / bodybugg I did feel it at first – however I have gotten used to it on my arm and sometimes I forget that it is there.

Some folks say the sensors tend to irritate their skin and I thought it might bother my super sensitive skin but so far it has not much of a problem.  (see the picture of bodymedia sensors below).

These are the sensors that have to to be touching your skin at all times

I really want to LOVE the bodymedia / bodybugg. And I still think it is a pretty amazing personal fitness tracker. And I am liking it better every day.

I mean…seriously…..isn’t it totally cool to know your EXACT calorie burn? No fudging. The straight up truth so you can know just how hard you are pushing yourself every day.

Yes it IS cool.

But the bodymedia /bodybugg does cost quite a bit more than the fitbit.

Plus the mandatory subscription cost to see your data can feel like a bummer. And that cost never goes away. However…..regarding the subscription. You DO get the first 3 months free. And then you can get the lowest monthly subscription at $6.95. And the folks at bodymedia do constant upgrades of the software and tracking features  (and you don’t have to buy a BRAND NEW bodymedia to get access to the newest features – like you do with the fitbit)….so maybe the subscription cost is well worth it – I will let you know the more I use it and review it.

Think about what you want the personal fitness tracker to do for you.

Do you want it to motivate you? Both the fitbit and the bodybugg / bodymedia are great motivators. I LOVE that I can see my calories burned with bodymedia / bodybugg and that may motivate me even more when I am working out. It might make me push a little harder – get my metabolism burning higher.  So….. I may be getting MORE motivated using the bodymedia – and motivation is key for you to stay on track with fitness and your weight loss goals.

How long you will be wearing it – for months? for years? for a lifetime? The answer to that may help you determine whether you want to spend the extra for the bodymedia / bodybugg. The higher cost may be worth it to you – especially if it helps you get the weight off, right? Believe me the extra cost is worth it IF the fitness gadget gives me what I want from it.

This is what I discovered by comparing the fitbit vs bodybugg vs bodymedia.

I don’t want my personal fitness tracker to rule my life.

I want it to be helpful.

I want it to be comfortable.

I want a reasonable price.

I want it to encourage me to move more.

The fitbit still does all that for me and I have been wearing it for months! BUT……it does not tell me my CALORIE burn….and I have to type in all my NON-stepping exercise. Like yoga, biking, pilates, etc. It also can NOT monitor my exertion like the bodymedia does. And when I hike straight up hills – I am working out HARD.  So even though fitbit gives me a readout of my calories each day….I am not so sure about the accuracy.

The bodymedia / bodybugg shows calorie burn (and I LOVE that feature!) …but the extra cost / frustration (lack of ease of use – learning curve) / fact that you couldn’t wear short sleeves without someone seeing it / and the ongoing subscription cost to see my data kind of put me off AT FIRST.

I am really glad I stuck with the bodymedia, worked through my little techie issues, and found the right model for me….because I just keep coming back to how cool it is with Bodymedia and Bodybugg to see a MORE accurate calorie burn based on WHATEVER workout I do.

In that regard, Bodymedia and Bodybugg beat fitbit every time…because fitbit is more of a step tracker….and when you ride your bike, or do a kickboxing workout, or rock climb or whatever…the fitbit doesn’t track your calorie burn accurately.

Both the FitBit ultra and the Bodymedia / Bodybugg have some great factors. And I am still wearing BOTH….for now.

I think I need to give the bodymedia a little more time….because I REALLY want to see how many calories I am burning with all the different exercises and activities that I do….and the fitbit ultra can’t do that without a lot of added data entry….

Keep in mind this is just my experience.

I hope this review has been helpful. And not too confusing!

I will continue to give you honest feedback about my experiences in the hopes that it will help you make the best decision for you.

I will be doing more updates on the fitbit vs bodymedia / bodybugg…because I know a lot of you are trying to figure this out too.

Bottom line as always….get off your couch and MOVE MORE! I will too, k?

 Get started today! Here is where I found the lowest cost for the fitbit And the cheapest price for bodymedia can be found here

Get up, get moving! And let’s challenge each other to move more EVERY day!


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  1. Fitbit Review – from a Fitness Gear Fanatic

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick McGinniss December 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Thanks for this helpful article.

I’m trying to decide which of these two devices to purchase. Does the fitbit also show calories burned? And how does the total compare to Bodymedia?


Jana December 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Hi Rick – thanks for your question. :)

The fitbit personal fitness tracker is set up to track your walking, running, and general household/lifestyle activities and it does give you a good general 24 hour picture of how much you move during your day.

And yes, based on that “movement” information it receives from your daily activity it gives you a calories burned number.

But….It will not be as accurate for activities like biking or yoga or weight lifting, even though it records your movement during the activity.

However…..the fitbit does have a really cool way for you to manually log those types of activities online so that an estimated calorie burn for your additional workouts can be included in your daily totals.

They have an online database of workouts that includes
- dancing
- fishing / hunting
- general home activities
- home repair
- lawn and garden activities
- miscellaneous (basically covers any movement you might do that is not listed under other categories
- your type of occupations typical work
- bicycling
- strength training
- pilates / yoga
- wii games
- and more….
and it is very easy to record those activities and thereby record your calories burned.

Overall, because of the fitbit’s ease of use, easy to ready display (that comes standard) , and the lower cost – the fitbit ultra is very popular.
However…I am still trying to decide. I thought at first I would like the fitbit over bodymedia….but I am doing more evaluation because the calorie burn information from the bodymedia / bodybugg is really helpful and motivating information when trying to lose weight – or just maintain weight loss.

I hope this helps you, Rick!



Paul Nagel December 10, 2011 at 7:33 am

Hi Jana,

Thank you for a great review. I started out wanting the Jawbone UP, because it is a braclet, but then read the horrible reviews. The reviews are so bad, that customers apparently began a revolt and the compnay has revised their return policy..It was on their facebook page.

Then I got to looking at the Fitbit and BodyMedia/BodyBugg-while BM and BB might be from the same company, it ibvious the BM is a superior product based off customer reviews. I like the idea of being discreet with the fitbit, but I want an accurate count of my calories burn, because I do not take many steps throughout the day, but I am a Beachbody coach, so I do a lot of Beachbody programs P90X, Insanity, Turbo Fire ect.

Your review has sold me on the BodyMedia/as opposed to the BodyBugg whixh is actually a little cheaper right now. Thank you so much for your help ;-)


Jana December 10, 2011 at 8:28 am

Thanks Paul. Great to hear from you! Congratulations on losing weight and getting SO FIT! You look great!

I am still wearing both the fitbit and the bodymedia. I AM a fitness gadget girl (!) and by wearing both I am getting an even better read on which one I like the best. Give me another month or so and I may have my final evaluation of fitbit vs bodymedia vs bodybugg!

At first the bodymedia bugged me a little because the bodymedia fit CORE didn’t sync well for me with the display ….but now I am using the the bodymedia fit LINK version (blue-tooth enabled) and I can upload to my smart phone (so NO need to buy the additional display – that saves you $79!) and it is SO much easier for me to use. And do I love seeing actual calorie burn… I am having a ball doing different workouts and seeing exactly how many calories I am burning. Way cool!

Take care, Paul, and let me know what you think after you try the bodymedia.



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