What’s the Thing on the Arm of this Season’s “The Biggest Loser” Contestants?

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Does it really help their weight loss on the show?

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To lose weight, burn more calories than you eat

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The contestants of NBC’s hit show The Biggest Loser are showing off this season’s latest fitness fashion accessory, the bodybugg armband, which measures the number of calories that they burn, aiding in their weight loss efforts. The bodybugg, a device about the size of an MP3 player, is worn on the upper right arm and tracks the calories burned by the wearer with 92% accuracy. The bodybugg program is the product of the Apex Fitness Group, a division of 24 Hour Fitness which is of course one of the show’s primary sponsors.

“To lose weight, burn more calories than you eat,” says Rich Fahmy, Director of Fitness and Education for the Veritas Fitness Group, a Southern California based fitness education and consulting company. “If you’re wearing a bodybugg, you actually have an accurate number for calories burned, which until now has been unheard of outside of a lab. So, eat fewer calories than it tells you that you are burning and you’ll lose weight…simple math.” He adds, “We believe in the product so much that it is a part of all of our fitness coaching programs for consumers, corporations, and healthcare patients. It is a simple, in-your-face approach to weight loss, either you’re burning more calories than you eat or you’re not…and our clients have seen great success with it.” 80% success to be exact, if you look at http://www.veritasfitnessgroup.com]’s site, it notes that 80% of bodybugg wearers are maintaining their weight loss into the second year of use, the opposite of the usual success rate which is that 80% of people that do lose weight on programs other than the bodybugg will regain all of it in one year.

The bodybugg isn’t necessary for weight loss, but it sure is a neat tool. It allows the user to decide how a calorie deficit (the balance where one burns more calories than one eats) is achieved…the user can move more, eat less, or both, it’s up to him or her. Fahmy notes, “We usually recommend that our clients aim for a daily 500-1000 calorie deficit, which equates to one to two pounds a week of weight loss. This way we can increase the chances of long term compliance and insure that most of the weight lost is fat weight.”

We asked Rich what he thought of The Biggest Loser contestants using the device: “They are probably achieving 3000-4000 calorie deficits daily, which will surely take the weight off but not in the most healthful way. The public needs to remember that these contestants do nothing but move more and eat less all day, and that is neither realistic nor advisable to the average person. The bodybugg would be a great choice for the average person in that it enables an individual to live their life as usual but make small changes here and there to come up with the deficit, and the device will be able to track that. I don’t need the armband to tell me that I’m losing weight if I already exercise six to eight hours a day and only eat 1200 calories like on the show, but the armband can definitely help the average mom racing around town getting her kids to sports practices and music lessons while eating constantly on the go. Its value lies in assisting people lose weight through daily life.”

It seems that while the bodybugg may not be a necessity for the world’s “Biggest Loser”, it may be very helpful to us “Average Losers”.

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Sarah Fahmy
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