Help me quantify my physical life.
February 1, 2012 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Please hope me find the right tool(s) to monitor/log calorie expenditure, calorie consumption, heart rate, and sleep quality.

I tried BodyMedia's FIT Advantage Armband. The device and online tools worked well for two weeks, but I had to stop wearing the device, because it irritated my skin. I treated the device, band, and my arm daily with alcohol. Also, the package lacked in a couple areas.

Here is what I'm looking for: One or as few devices as possible to monitor, as mentioned:
- Heart rate
- Calorie expenditure
- Sleep quality

In combination with software or an online tool, the package would also help me to efficiently track meals and related nutritional data (i.e., calories, protein, fat, carb, and sugar at a minimum).

I'm hoping to have all my data in one place so that I can view, for example, a line graph showing heart rate throughout the day, or average heart rate and calorie expenditure by hour, daily calorie consumption and expenditure broken out by day, and sleep quality by day. If I have to use a combination of tools, then I would want to be able to download raw data. I can work pretty well in Excel to get the analysis I want.

At the same time, I am hoping for real time readouts of heart rate and calorie burn. iOS interface would be a plus but wouldn't be the sole source for real time updates.

I am hoping for 24/7 monitoring using something discreet that I can wear to the office. If the device to monitor sleep has to be separate, then I'm looking for a device that simply doesn't interfere with my sleep.

I have done a fair amount of research, but (a) feel a bit overwhelmed by the options, and (b) don't see the single device or right combination of devices that meets my needs. I see a number of discussions on weightloss, target HR training, etc. here on AskMefi, but didn't quite see a discussion on the right combination of tools. Thanks for considering my question!
posted by IndpMed to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I use a fitbit. It will do calorie expenditure, sleep quality, distance travelled and steps. The new version also does elevation climbed as well. The website allows you to input caloric intake and other activities (and is really well designed). It gives all kinds of output in graphs as well, and I do believe you can download the data (though I haven't personally tried that.)

The device itself doesn't track heart rate, but you can add custom trackers and input that manually, which sounds like it might work for your purposes.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 12:08 PM on February 1, 2012

The most accurate device is one that will have direct contact with your skin. Ultimately any calorie expenditure tracker is going to be an estimate based on the variables given to the tracker. A tracker on the skin can include temperature, sweat, and other body variables into its calculations. A tracker off the skin is not including those (very individual and important for accuracy) biometrics.

Were you treating your arm with alcohol too? Because if so that's probably the source of the irritation, alcohol is pretty bad for your skin.
posted by schroedinger at 12:44 PM on February 1, 2012

Were you treating your arm with alcohol too?

It sort of evolved like this: very irritated skin (red, itching, only a tiny amount of swelling) in one or two days; started wiping device each morning with alcohol after working out and let it dry while syncing, doing this for about 2 to 3 days; then performed the same treatment on the device and added a wipe down of my skin through the end of week 2 along with moving the device to different positions on my arm. Each spot I moved it to became irritated.

I may not see it, but I am open to suggestions that resolve this and add HRM.
posted by IndpMed at 1:05 PM on February 1, 2012

I'd suggest the Zeo for monitoring the quality of your sleep. I use(d) it to diagnose some sleep problems. It's doesn't disrupt your sleep, it's apparently effective, and it exports data to excel.
posted by gd779 at 2:56 PM on February 1, 2012

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