01 August 2013

Nike+ FuelBand Quick Review

FuelBand has pretty lights
The Nike+ FuelBand was released in early 2012.  After a year and a half, I finally got my hands on...uh, my wrist in one of these.  There are tons of reviews out there, most if not all, are better than what I will cover.  This will cover my first week of using this as an exercise tool.

First, a quick review of the product.  The Nike+ Fuelband is a stylish band that basically keeps track of your movement via an accelerometer.  Like a Nintendo Wii-mote, if you have played any  games on the Wii, you should be familiar with accelerometers.  The idea is, you set your goal based on 'NikeFuel'.  An average active day is about 2000 NikeFuel points.  The more you move, the more NikeFuel you earn.  It also kinda tracks calories burned and steps taken, like a pedometer. All this and it tells time.

While it is water resistant is it not waterproof.  This means you can sweat all over it and it will be fine, you can even wear it in the shower.   But, it is not made for swimming or relaxing bubble baths with champagne...nor regular baths.

Nike+ FuelBand and App for iOS.
So how well does it work?  Since movement is the key to racking up points, it helps if the activity involves a lot of moving your arms...assuming you are wearing the FuelBand on your wrist.  Those engaging in activities that concentrate on lower body movement, like cycling (see Update#2, below), will not see much gain in NikeFuel.  An activity such as tennis, where you are running and swinging your arms would yield more points.  Not an exact way of measuring, but once you have an idea of a typical workout/activity, you can set your goals accordingly.  There is even an App to help you keep track of your goals.

To give you an idea, here is my first week of using the Nike+ FuelBand.

23 July - Hockey, 2702 NikeFuel
Tuesday, 23 July - I got the FuelBand in the morning and began setting it up. Once I put it on, it began tracking my movements.  You can see my activity throughout the day with time stamps.  Most of the minor activity was from walking around at work.  The large green spike was from playing hockey.  It seems that an activity like hockey does not generate a lot of arm movement, only about 530 NikeFuel points.  This may have to do with gliding and smooth movement on skates.  Skating is lower impact than running.  Or, maybe I was not skating hard enough.  Believe me, I was tired after the first period, and I know I burnt a lot of calories that night.

24 July - Yoga, 2303 NikeFuel
Wednesday, 24 July - Again, some movement during the day at work.  Looks like I was totally slacking off around 2PM.  While I do move around a lot when I am at my desk, most of the movements are on the other arm.  The large spike at the end was during yoga.  Lots of movement of the arms during this yoga class as I move from pose to pose.  An hour of yoga was about 561 NikeFuel points.  How is that about same as hockey?

 25 July - Weights, 2641 NikeFuel
Thursday, 25 July - I think I was sitting in a meeting during that flat spot you see (in yellow).  At night, I went to the gym and started off with about ten minutes on the row machine, then did an overall body weight workout.  Then, a five minute session with the heavy bag before cooling down with stretches, earning 562 points.

26 July - Cardio, 3160 NikeFuel
Friday, 26 July - The initial spike in the morning is from driving to work.  Other days, I was carpooling, in the passenger seat.  Controlling that car is a real workout.  Once I got to work, you can see there is some quality slacking off here.  Who really works on Fridays?  I make up for it at the gym.  The workout consisted of a twenty minute walk/run on the treadmill, more weights, and heavy bag at the end before stretches and cool down.  This workout earned about 1013 NikeFuel points, mostly due to the time on the treadmill.  Lots of arm swinging and steps taken.

27 July - Hockey, 2859 NikeFuel
Saturday, 27 July - Another hockey game, also racking up about 504 NikeFuel points.  Maybe I have, what they in hockey terms, call "soft hands".  I doubt it, I am pretty clumsy out there.  I should note that I wear the FuelBand on my left wrist, and I shoot left.  I need to take more shots, but first, have better puck possession/handling skills. That orange dip you see...I was taking a nap.

28 July - House work, 3780 NikeFuel

Sunday, 28 July - The plan was to slack off the entire day.  Watched some episodes of the original Battlestar Galatica (1978).  Then I did some house work.  I was cleaning the leather couch with one of those cleaning kits, lots of dabbing and wiping, resulting in that spike with 631 points.  The second spike is from cooking.  According to these stats, cleaning a leather couch is more intense than hockey.  Seems legit to me.

29 July - Pilates, 3518 NikeFuel
 Monday, 29 July - Relative slow day at work, this gave me a chance to work on a personal project.  During the spike around 2PM, I was on the mill, making parts.  I spent about an hour cranking on the machine earning about 500 points.  At night, it was Pilates class.  While mostly core and lower body work, there were some upper body movements.  The 560 NikeFuel points was just over the amount I exerted on the mill.

There you have it, a full week of NikeFuel points.  As you can see on my charts, they have all green, meaning the goals have been reached.  I did have trouble syncing up one day (Saturday), and I did not get credit for achieving my goal for that day.  The App needs to be connected to Internet and the NikePlus website whilst syncing with the FuelBand.  For some reason, there was an issue with connecting with Nike so my goal was never registered, although, my NikeFuel points were.

The streak ended at four days.  Now, I have to start my streak over because of this minor glitch..  Looks like I am not making the honour roll this season.

Update:  Nike says the battery lasts anywhere from 1-4 days, depending on activity level (accumulating points and syncing).  I had it last well over two weeks and it still did not flash low battery on me.

I also tricked the FuelBand while cycling.  I looped it through the strap on my shoes.  Granted, I was on the trainer for this and not on the road.

Update #2:  The FuelBand works while cycling!

Nike FuelBand works with cycling
Yesterday, I went for my first bike ride of the year.  I know, it is almost September and I just got back on the bike.  Hey, I have been playing hockey.  I wore the FuelBand to see if I would get any feedback from it, expecting minimal results.  According to Nike and my initial test on the trainer, the FuelBand does not work well with cycling...unless you are on the road.

My guess is that being on the road, you have a lot of bumps and vibrations along the way to activate the accelerometer.  With the trainer, there is minimal movement of the band.  Which I why I tried strapping it to my shoe.

After the ride, I checked it and had my biggest point gain with almost 4000 points from the ride alone.  Total ride time (not including stops) was about 2:39:09, with 36.61 miles covered.  The FuelBand says I burnt 1793 calories all day, my bike computer says I burnt 1890, just on the ride.  I would say that the band did not count about 50% of my calories burnt while cycling.  I am not even sure how devices like these count burnt calories. 

List of banners one can achieve with the Nike FuelBand (stolen from How to Nike)
Update #3 - 18 September 2013  Here is an excellent in-depth review of the Nike FuelBand by DC Rainmaker.  Check it out!

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