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Thread: Review: the Nike Fuelband

  1. #1

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    Nike, like Apple, is great at marketing. Unfortunately they're not in the same solar system when it comes to product reliability. Their first attempt at a heart rate monitor was unimpressive as the battery would constantly die. The Swoosh has typically been at its best when they keep things simple. I still have my ultra-thin Triax sports watch and I think the reason why it's so good is because it is an incredibly basic watch with very few bells and whistles.

    So bearing this in mind I steered clear of the GPS sportswatch and that proved to be a wise decision when the Polar heart rate monitor strap that was supposed to work with the watch had to be pulled from stores because it didn't work with the Nike watch. Use a Nike product to keep track of your heart rate? Just Don't Do It.

    With that being said I felt good about the prospects for the Fuelband due to the fact it's basically a glorified pedometer. It can't be used in water and it doesn't track activity like bike riding, but it seems to do a good job tracking activity like weightlifting, running and walking. These are my main forms of physical activity so it made a lot of sense for me to give it a go. Pretty much any activity that is ground based and requires your body to do the work (lift, run, walk, jump, play basketball, volleyball, hockey, football, baseball) will be tracked by the fuelband.

    How does it work? You input some basic information about yourself (height, weight, which wrist will be adorned with the fuelband) and set a goal for how much "fuel" you want to try to use each day. Since we all burn calories at different rates "fuel" is Nike's way of trying to democratize activity; no matter your physical condition if you run a 10k you get credit for using the same amount of fuel as Galen Rupp would receive for running one. Again, just as Bo knows baseball and football, Nike knows marketing.

    The fuelband tracks "fuel" used, steps taken, calories burned and also has a watch that shows the time. When you download your activity it also estimates how many miles you put in while wearing the fuelband. One feature I would like is a stopwatch so I can keep better track of how much rest I am taking between reps in the gym or keep track of the time it takes me to do a run. So if you want to use the fuelband to track time it will be completely ineffective. If you simply want to set a goal for activity each day the fuelband will be a helpful tool for monitoring and tracking your activity.

    When you hit a daily goal or hit a big cumulative number (say 25,000 total fuelpoints) there is an animated figure that dances around and does other goofy stuff. It's cute the first couple times but gets old pretty quickly. There's an app for the iPhone and iPad where you can synch your data and keep track of your goals.

    I set my daily goal at 3,000 fuelpoints and on the days I workout I hit the goal effortlessly. On my rest days it can be a bit of a challenge to hit the goal. On days where I travel across the country it can be nearly impossible for me to hit the goal. So it seems fairly accurate in terms of gauging how active I am on a day in, day out basis. It's also cool to know that I have accumulated nearly 500,000 fuelpoints over the 3+ months I have owned the fuelband. What does that mean? I guess it indicates what I already know, that I am serious about being physically active and that I consistently hit my goals.

    Let's wrap this up. In short the Fuelband is a glorified pedometer. This is a good thing if you are familiar with Nike's attempts to make advanced technological products. They simply are not up to that task. Creating the most badass pedometer available is right in their wheelhouse. It will work very well for you if you want to track activity on a daily and historical basis and you engage in activities the fuelband is designed to track.

  2. #2

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    I can't think of a fitness product I was more disappointed in:

    http://www.jpfitness.com/showthread....light=fuelband

  3. #3

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    Hmmm, you need to wear the fuelband in order for it to track activity. It has accelerometers inside the wristband that track your activity but they can only be activated when you are wearing it, which might explain why you got no credit while sleeping or why you got credit for steps while driving (steering, accelerating and breaking probably generates fuel). I honestly don't pay much attention to the steps, I mostly track fuel and based on over 3 months of use and my activity level over that time it does seem reasonably accurate when it comes to tracking fuel. For instance I didn't workout today and I'm currently at 2500 fuelpoints. I'll hit 3000 but probably will not hit 3500. On days I workout I will typically hit 4500-5000 fuelpoints.

  4. #4

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    Thanks for the write up I have been looking into this for the last few weeks. If you are just getting started this is a great way to set goals and keep moving forward. I think once someone becomes more advance and pace, time, and over all distance become more important than just movement, you will need something that is more advanced.

  5. #5

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    Quote Originally Posted by "fatman":3nlmtb5j
    Thanks for the write up I have been looking into this for the last few weeks. If you are just getting started this is a great way to set goals and keep moving forward. I think once someone becomes more advance and pace, time, and over all distance become more important than just movement, you will need something that is more advanced.
    You are absolutely correct. If you engage in activity the fuelband is designed to track it is very good about giving you feeback on your activity level. So if you are 500-600 points off your goal it could inspire you to go for a short walk to hit your goal. Or do some kettlebells. Or curl in a squat rack. I think the best thing about the fuelband is it isn't designed solely for runners, which was the case with the sportband and the gps watch. You get credit for weightlifting, you get credit for playing land-based sports, etc. Nike did a very good job by limiting what the fuelband is designed to do and then making a very slick product.

  6. #6
    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    I think it might really take off. I think they have a good self marketing tool in that it's worn on the wrist (unlike my fitbit). People see it. It's Nike. And it's about "fuel," not dieting or getting extra steps. That all adds up to a nice "cool factor."


  7. #7

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    How many calories in a Fuelpoint? Leave it to Nike to invent it's own unit of measure for energy. I guess maybe for someone just starting out it might be a good way to set goals and see if you are meeting them but I would find it difficult to put things in perspective. What's your caloric surplus/deficit? What's your burn rate? I can run/ride/walk the same distance everyday but each day has it's own performance peculiarities. I'll stick with my Polar.

  8. #8

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    It looks like it's just about 3 fuel points for every calorie. That's just based on my log though, I don't know how much it would be for anyone else. Like I said above, the fuelband is an easy way to make sure you are hitting a certain activity goal. I lifted today so I have already beaten my 3000 point daily goal by 33%. We all burn calories at a different rate so trying to determine calories burned can be very hit or miss. With the fuel thing I can say that it seems fairly consistent. On the days I workout I crush my goal. On the days I take a rest day I often have to do something - typically take a walk - to hit my goal. And on the days I travel to the east coast and lose three hours it is nearly impossible to hit the goal. I am fairly confident that the only days I have not hit the 3000 goal have been days I have flown to the east coast. I've had the fuelband since late April and I've hit my daily goal 106 times.

    Nike kept this super simple - it's basically a pedometer - and as a result it is dead simple if your goal is to reach a certain activity level each day.

  9. #9

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    If all you want is a pedometer, the Fitbit is sooooooooo much more accurate.

  10. #10

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    I think it depends on your goals. The purpose of my review wasn't to slam a Polar product or the fitbit. In fact I didn't mention either of them in my review. Each product clearly has an intended audience and they are very popular and successful products. The thing that makes the fuelband successful for me is it tracks all of my main forms of activity: weightlifting, running and walking. I've read that the fitbit isn't all that good at tracking activity like weightlifting. I am not someone who counts calories or needs to have a device monitor my sleep patterns. I simply want to hit a certain activity level on a daily basis and the fuelband is very good at tracking my activities and letting me know when I've reached my goal.

    If I was a cyclist or swimmer the fuelband would be worthless to me, same as the fitbit. Since my review was for the fuelband I did my best to point out its strengths and weaknesses and who would be most likely to benefit from the product. I understand it did not work for you and I am happy to hear the fitbit is more to your liking.

  11. #11
    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    I try my hardest to help people lose weight without counting calories, so in a way, the Fuelband is nice in that it has a non-calorie gauge of activity.

    Micromanaging calories in>calories out is annoying to many people, and they often end up frustrated and quit. To a large degree, CI>CO does work, but when people make the claim that it doesn't, it's largely because people just stop.

  12. #12

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    Quote Originally Posted by "eternal_beginner":1k32qwoi
    I think it depends on your goals. The purpose of my review wasn't to slam a Polar product or the fitbit. In fact I didn't mention either of them in my review. Each product clearly has an intended audience and they are very popular and successful products. The thing that makes the fuelband successful for me is it tracks all of my main forms of activity: weightlifting, running and walking. I've read that the fitbit isn't all that good at tracking activity like weightlifting. I am not someone who counts calories or needs to have a device monitor my sleep patterns. I simply want to hit a certain activity level on a daily basis and the fuelband is very good at tracking my activities and letting me know when I've reached my goal.

    If I was a cyclist or swimmer the fuelband would be worthless to me, same as the fitbit. Since my review was for the fuelband I did my best to point out its strengths and weaknesses and who would be most likely to benefit from the product. I understand it did not work for you and I am happy to hear the fitbit is more to your liking.
    I think you mistook my point.....you've said that the Fuelband is "basically a pedometer". I understand you are using it for the "fuelpoint" feature for activity tracking. But, if someone wanted to get it to use as a pedometer (as you said), it's quite inaccurate for that use. Having had a GWF, Fitbit, and a Fuelband, I can say that the Fitbit is much more accurate for a pedometer (ie, counting steps only when I actually TAKE steps. ). I do like to track my steps, so that accuracy of that feature is most important to me.

  13. #13

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    I described it as a pedometer to give an idea of what it is closest to in terms of tracking activity. It is obviously more than a pedometer as it tracks lots of different forms of activity. You can get a pedometer that strictly tracks footsteps for much less either a fuelband or a fitbit.

  14. #14

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    I'm somehow not communicating what I am trying to say, so I'll just leave this thread.....carry on!

  15. #15

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    Today was a good example of how easy the Fuelband is to utilize. I was out walking around and in the middle of my walk realized it would have been a good idea to use Google Tracks during my walk. I have this app on my smart phone. However at that point I was already halfway done with my walk so it didn't make much sense to fire it up.

    The Fuelband, with no thought on my part, kept track of my activity. I'm at nearly at 4,000 fuelpoints for the day and I finally cracked 500,000 fuelpoints since I've owned the thing in April. Very easy and straightforward, so much so that I even I can't mess it up by forgetting when to start and stop the thing.

  16. #16
    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    Lou posted this on fb, and I thought it was relevant to post here.

    Wired: Why Fitness Tracker Calorie Counts Are All Over the Map

  17. #17

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    Quote Originally Posted by "eternal_beginner":ij96prff
    The Fuelband, with no thought on my part, kept track of my activity. I'm at nearly at 4,000 fuelpoints for the day and I finally cracked 500,000 fuelpoints since I've owned the thing in April. Very easy and straightforward, so much so that I even I can't mess it up by forgetting when to start and stop the thing.
    Had to laugh at that last part. A few years ago, I was driving back from a long run, and had forgotten to turn off my Garmin Forerunner. That's how I recorded the fastest "run" of my life. All I had to do was speed down the Central Texas Expressway. :tongue Didn't even think my Forerunner could do that while I was in my car, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by "Roland Denzel":ij96prff
    Lou posted this on fb, and I thought it was relevant to post here.

    Wired: Why Fitness Tracker Calorie Counts Are All Over the Map
    Good article!

  18. #18

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    Yeah I definitely agree that is a good article. Thanks for posting it here! The big takeaway I had from it was if you are doing intense workouts that really get your heart rate to skyrocket than a device that includes a HRM is definitely the way to go.

    LOL on the garmin tracking you as you flew down the expressway clocking well under world record pace. :tongue That's actually a pretty good testimonial though, that it would still be able to keep track of you inside a car going that quickly. If the Garmin had a mind of its own: "Man, what did Joyce eat for breakfast, she's crushing this workout?!"

  19. #19

    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    So, as a WW member, I did purchase the Active Link, and signed up for and am paying $5.95/month for their website service. I've looked into Fitbit and am interested in the new flex band they are introducing this spring.

    That being said, my son with all the medical and coaching education, gave me a demo of his Nike Fuel band last night.

    For the record, I hate the Weight Watchers Active Link. It only counts things in WW points, and gives you no other info. Don't get me wrong, I would not be where I am if it were not for WW and the lifting programs here!

    But it costs me $5.95/month.

    So, Active Link, toss that thing.

    Fit bit and NIke offer free web service!

    Fit bit is introducing a new wrist worn product!

    Son, human biology degree, Rad Tech degree, coaching degree, teaching degree, works out, watches his diet, loves his Nike Fuel Band.

    I had it show it to me last night, actually a pretty cool device.

    I have also checked out Jawbone and several other devices along with the way expensive heart rate monitors.

    I have a budget, the most at this time that I am willing to/can afford to spend is $150. So I want to get the best bang for my buck. And I do not want to mess with all the HRM's and straps and buttons etc.

    I do realize, that, not all of these over the counter devices are super accurate, I just want to get the best bang for my buck!

  20. #20
    Senior Member no mouse no more's Avatar
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    Review: the Nike Fuelband

    That Fitbit bracelet looks like a winner to me, if it works as promised. I got the UP by Jawbone as a gift at Christmas and while I enjoy it, it does not have a GPS integrated into it, nor does it sync automatically. The Fitbit will be less expensive too.

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