Why the Nike FuelBand SE in 2017 – “Band on the run”

So, I’ve found the Apple Watch fitness capabilities a welcome and useful way to track my general fitness activities AND found the entire process it uses to motivate me, especially in the area of consistency. The apps that I use integrate perfectly with the Health app, I’ve had no issue with sharing my Activity data with others, and even with the current Watch OS 3.12, operating everything I need from the watch is a breeze (there a few things I’d like to see changed in future updates but they’re not fitness-related).

That said, it seems like it’s an all-in-one solution for my needs, as I stared using wearable technology to track my fitness data five years before the Apple Watch came along. Why, then, have I developed this fascination for using another unit that once had it’s heyday as a wearable fitness tracker, but met an untimely (some what say timely) death three years ago, one that many lambasted as inaccurate, lacking features that units in co-existence had at the time? Well, it’s simple, it offers and does a few things that the AW ecosystem doesn’t. This fitness tracker is the Nike Fuel Band. I’m going to talk about my personal likes about it and why I enjoy using it in concert with the AW, vice discussing it’s technical drawbacks as a unit and in comparison to where fitness tracking technology has evolved to.

I’m certain that all of you reading this blog post have, at least, heard of the Nike Fuel Band, and probably have an idea what Nike Fuel and the band is.

For those of you that don’t, the Nike website describes the concept of Nike Fuel as follows:

“Nike Fuel is whole integer number that represents your daily activity by calculating your calories burned along with your steps taken, while simultaneously factoring in your age, gender, weight and height. In short order, Nike Fuel is a calculation that allows everyone and anyone to compete regardless of their sex, age and any physical predispositions. Nike worked with some of the world’s top experts in science and sports to engineer NikeFuel algorithms based on oxygen kinetics. Unlike calorie counts — which vary based on someone’s gender and body type — NikeFuel is a normalized score that awards all participants equal scoring for the same activity regardless of their physical makeup. A user can also choose to also receive a calorie count to understand how many calories are burned versus how much NikeFuel is earned. The Nike+ FuelBand SE and first generation FuelBand track activity-based caloric burn (not resting metabolic caloric burn) using an algorithm (a series of mathematical models that link movement patterns to known energy requirements) based on the energy you expend when you move.

The NikeFuel algorithm was developed at the Nike Digital Sport Science Lab (DSSL), a state-of-the-art performance lab located at Nike WHQ in Portland, OR. The DSSL consists of a team of exercise physiologists and biochemists who are constantly working and reworking the science behind the NikeFuel algorithm. Their goal is not only to perfect the accuracy and consistency of the metric, but also to tune NikeFuel for the performance needs of different athletes (Nike says “If you have a body, you’re an athlete”). Our NikeFuel science team has an extensive amount of athlete V02 tests, each consisting of a series of 42 activities that include both lifestyle and traditional sport movements. Our data set grows exponentially every year, and our algorithms get short and more accurate every month.

In addition to the work we do in-house, the DSSL works directly with experts from across the academic and research industries to further perfect the algorithms.”

Popular Mechanics published a 2012 story regarding an inside look of the Nike DSSL, read it here.

The steps and calories are not an exact science but it is a pretty good gauge of how active you have been during the day. It takes into account the amount of movement in a given period of time so assigns a higher “point” value. It also does not take into account heart rate at all. What I like about the Fuel Band is it constitutes itself a motivational tool – you can compare your Fuel score with some celebrity athlete, or to everyday people in your age range, even you know they are more active or less active than you are.

Like many dedicated fitness trackers and mobile phones, motion is key to tracking fitness via use of accelerometers and other motion sensing technologies. Nike+ Fuelband is at its core an accelerometer; it counts the number of steps and calculates the estimated calories consumed. The FuelBand contains a timer, and by taking into account both distance and time, i.e. how vigorous is your motion, the NikeFuel score provides a measure of the aerobic and cardiovascular workout. In addition, Nike Fuel points do not depend on weight as a metric factor (unlike calculating calories burned) and so, again, the score can be directly compared between individuals.

A blog post from Quantified Health states “…Taken together, the Nike Fuel score probably correlates closely with the number of calories burned but it also contains a component that is orthogonal (distinct) to this count relating to the briskness of the exercise. It would be helpful if Nike could provide more information about its Fuel score and how it is calculated to enable a more accurate physiological interpretation.” That said, Nike’s formula for calculating Nike Fuel points is “proprietary”. I’ve read two web references where a runner conducted some experiments to determine that one Nike Fuel point is equal to 2.79 calories burned. You can read the entire post here. Another reference aligns with this in that a user contacted Nike and their reply was the ratio of of calories to Fuel points is “roughly 3-to-1” Yet another user compiled a month’s worth of data to try and determine this, you can read about that here. I’ve started conducting some experiments to see if my findings show. A reader commented to the Quantified Health blog post by saying: “What SHOULD have been used, both by Nike and here in your article discussing it, is how there Nike Fuel points are related to METs which are the universal measurement of activity and caloric expenditure. I suspect Nike Fuel is either based on or directly correlated to METs in some way.” Again, many have been interested in trying to crack the code of Nike’s proprietary formula.

Back to why I use the Fuel Band in a few short reasons:

1. Where Nike Fuel really works for me is as a personal motivation tool. At any point during the day, I can push the button on the band to see where I am in relation to my goal. I don’t need to pull out my cell phone to bring up the app (which obviously has much more functionality in a number of ways), because, for one, mobile phones are prohibited where I work, but the like the Apple Watch (also prohibited), the band is connect via Bluetooth to my phone, so as soon as it reconnects, I can see all the extra data via the app, data which is essentially synced to my Nike+ fitness account online. I’ve never been one to enjoy having a phone strapped to be to measure my physical activity when exercising or otherwise.

My first introduction to trophies (or achievements, as the Apple Watch world calls them), came via the use of Nike Fuel. For a list of all the trophies, go here. For a list of Nike and Nike + Fuel badges, you can view those here. I’ve gotten a number of achievements via use of the Apple Watch fitness tracking, but the Nike Fuel ones seem more…..exciting…for lack of a better word.

2) There’s a certain “cool/wow factor” with this band – the LED lights, the progression of color (red to green) as I reach my goal. it’s definitely an attention-getter if seen in public today. I like that, it’s simple and to the point. While the Apple Watch gives data (currently) on 58 types of exercise activity, Nike designed the band to track 88 different types. A lot, but not near the 200+ types the Polar fitness trackers are designed to measure.

3) It’s any inconspicuous wearable that gives me a different metric of my physical activity.

4) Nike, being the juggernaut of the company it is, got every aspect of advertising and social media dead on for me, everything about it is still attractive (even though the band itself and it’s social media activity is dead and discontinued)

In short, it’s convenient (no phone needed), simple (though the Fuel points concept is unlike most common fitness data tracking methods), it’s cool looking, provides the motivation I need, and they just got me with everything they put in to this now dead platform.

Yes, I have the NRC app on my phone and watch, as well as the NTC app on my phone – both generated Nike Fuel points when used to the Nike Fuel app, but for some odd (I guess) reasons, I like the physical and tactile aspect of wearing the band.

Nike did end up settling a lawsuit regarding misleading advertising about the accuracy of the fitness tracking of the band, resulting in refunding users $15 USD or a Nike gift card, if they purchased the band within a certain time period. They also eventually released their API to the public so developers could integrate the software into other applications.

Why did Nike can the development of the Fuel Band? In short, the company decided it eventually did not want to invest resources in a dedicated fitness tracker, but otherwise license and integrate that technology into mobile devices. At that time, the FitBits and Garmins of the world exceeded the features that the Fuel Band offered.

Well, there you have it. I did an Instragram hashtag search on #nikefuelband and was surprised to see how many people are still using it in 2017. I think that, in itself piqued my interest more, aside from the reasons given above.

Thanks for the read…

Peace…
Fresh!

Fitness Goals – Powered by The Apple Watch

Greetings all….

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted to this section of my blog, but the reason for doing so is to sing (and bring) the praises of the Apple Watch.

Since it’s inception, and as of a month ago (specifically), I was determined NOT to purchase one, strictly because of it’s price point. I come from the world of Pebble, and have been using that watch (still do) for the past two years of so. Interestingly enough, FitBit in December 2016, purchased the intellectually property of Pebble. Many called it the death of Pebble, however that proved not to be so. My concern is after December 2017, FitBit will no longer maintain the Pebble servers. What that means, in actuality, is that the voice-to-text and native weather features will cease to function. The Pebble community has risen the call to keep Pebble alive, via a group of developers called Rebvle.io . They (at the moment) will continue to develop software on the Android platform to sustain the Pebble ecosystem. That is good news except there has been no such movement on the iOS side – which means that as iOS version upgrades evolve, incompatible with Pebble’s ecosystem will occur. There as already been some small incompatibility hiccups since iOS 10, but nothing major (seems iOS 11 beta is even working fine).

That said, being an Apple fanboy since the late 90s, I started actually using the Nike+ Fitness app on an iPod Touch to track my running. Between 2010 (my first real interested in running) through 2013 or so, it worked well enough to allow me to get a good view of progress over the years. Since then, it has evolved both into the Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club apps. As for the Apple Watch, I knew that tight integration between Watch OS and iOS would never be an issue. This, in itself, caused me to make the purchase decision (in addition to having a zero balance on my Best Buy card LOL). I decided on purchasing the 38 mm Series 1 after a great deal of research. It had everything I needed at the price point I wanted (I take my phone with me everywhere and don’t swim to the point where I need to track swim metrics, so I didn’t need onboard GPS or waterpoof capabilities). I knew very little about the fitness features via the Activity app when I purchased it, but seeing that I’ve been more on the fitness bandwagon than off, throughout life, the fitness features immediately began to appeal to me, the more that I learned about them. The motivation to “close those rings” is a very real thing to many, self included, however I’ve learned that this motivation means different things to different people. For me, I’ve learned that this ring closure concept, along with how the Activity app is integrated with the Health app, has given me a new and greater understanding on how regular and consistent fitness is extremely important. The rings themselves has strangely strengthened my desire to make fitness a routine and part of my daily regimen and that is definitely a good thing.

I will say that I’ve learned a great deal about AW’s main competitor, FitBit. Though I’ve never been part of the community, I’ve learned that there are major differences between that of AW and FB. While I won’t get into that comparison here, I will say that for me, AW (and even the community as it currently is), is right for me in all aspects. Anyway, you slice it, the bottom line is what works best for you as an individual, and in the end, it all boils down to keeping fitness as a routine in your daily life.

Thanks for the reading, I know it was a bit longwinded as a introduction. Subsequent posts will be focused on companion apps I use along the Activity app, the community as it grows and changes, feature improvements, and the like – but generally how I find it useful as a fitness tool. I participate a great deal in the Facebook group Apple Watch Fitness Fans, so if you’re an Apple Watch owner interested in fitness, consider checking it out, it’s a great group and very helpful

Get fit, stay fit.

Thanks,
Doug

Life happens while your making plans (fitness/exercise/training/goals)

What’s up everyone. Hope all is well. It’s Wednesday evening about 7:02pm and I’m just wrapping up work for today. Had to jet out for 90 mins to pick up my car from the auto body shop and get the rental returned, hence the late hours here. I was just thinkinig how well my runs and workouts (bodybuilding/strength building) have been consistently going. I ran my fastest mile last Friday and detailed my strength training workout program…but that’s just it. It was my last day in the gym.

This is a common thing that happens to many of us, no matter what we’re involved in. One day off can turn into two, two into…well, you get the picture. Add to that other projects and interests and you can see how conflicts can make themselves apparent. While it’s easy to let discouragement set in (as it has in the past), I’m looking for ways to maintain the motivation….and will find them. Maybe I’ll post the list when I compile it (for all those interested, raise your right hand 🙂 )

Interestingly enough, I was looking for a graphic for the intro to this post (the one above) and ironically, a great article was attached to it 10 Excuses for Not Exercising, and Why They Won’t Fly. While all don’t personally apply to me, the first one I can be guilty of. If you’re trying to stay on your program, I hope this article is useful. If you’re about to start, hope it is equally as useful.

Ok, I’m gone. Take care.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

Fitness Tech Phenomenon 2012 – Nike+ and the rest: My Experiences

Greetings all,

I hope this blogpost finds you well. For many of you following me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve seen my various status updates and tweets about my health and fitness training, especially in the areas of running and weight workouts. You also know, being the techie that I am, the ability to use technology to track my performance metrics against goals, is of great interest to me, and frankly makes exercising that much more fun. You also probably know that I am a fan of the Nike+ fitness tracking system. Well, this post is not about waving the Nike+ banner, but more about my experiences and knowledge gained about the whole fitness tracking phenomenon and how I see it with respect to exercising/training the old fashioned way – basically paper and pen at best!

I’ll start by conveying my experience with the Nike+ system, my likes about it, and convey a little about the dislikes of others about it (in comparison to the competition). I discovered Nike+, not via one of the many YouTube videos or a TV commercial, but by reading an article in Wired Magazine entitled “Living By Numbers”. While the article featured the work of Apple and Nike in developing the Nike+ system, it was also comprised of other articles and examples of websites and apps regarding performance metrics tracking. You can read the article here.

I’ve pretty much worked out -prettttttttttty- regularly since late HS, through college, etc (though I won’t state how many times I fell off the horse and got back on – thank goodness for muscle memory). Finding out about idea of using tech to track my performance was immediately golden to me and obviously, as said above, appealed to my tech side. What I liked (and still do) about the sports and fitness giant we know as Nike, is their entire approach – marketing, advertising, etc to sports and fitness. The appeal to THIS consumer and fan is great. Another company that does the same for me is Apple (as I type away on this sleek black Macbook).

So, Nike has developed this whole system called Nike Plus, or more overall Nike Active. The whole premise (if you didn’t read the article above) is the combination of an iPod nano or iPhone, coupled with a sensor that goes in specialized Nike running shoes, and a sensor receiver that goes into your iPod (which is how it was originally designed). It was first geared towards tracking your run stats. Since then, the iPod nano 6G (v1.2 software update) and iPhone 4/4S with iOS 5.0 do away with the need for the iPod sensor receiver that comes with the Nike+ Sports Kit. Here’s a video (not the newest, but my favorite) about the basics of Nike+

Since 2006, various Nike+ products have come into existence – the sports band, the Nike+ GPS watch. Here’s a comparison chart

For me, the best product is the iPod nano. I’m not at a point where I want to track my routes, nor do I need the instantaneity of posting to the Nike+ site via GPS. I also own an iPhone 4 that I make reference to later in this post.

Nike has upped the bar and added yet another fitness tracking item: The Nike Fuel Band

A really interesting, yet pricey, fitness tracking device that is designed to motivate you to stay active. I like everything about it (sans the price), except it isn’t waterproof and if you like working out to music, you’re out of luck. It’s slated to hit the US market on Feb 22nd. Here’s a good article on it.

Nike+ is great to me, however there are some definite naysayers and disatisfied users of the system. If you are on FB and search on the keywords “Nike Plus”, you’ll find their page. 98% of the comments currently there (they revamped the page over the last two years) center around the following areas”

  • Inability to connect to the website
  • Run data not posting to the site via iTunes or GPS
  • Run data not crossposting to Facebook
  • It appears to me that a good deal of the problem points to the fact that it’s a Flash based site, when many, if not all of the other ones are not. Frankly I like the site, and in the almost two years of running and using it, I’ve never suffered the myriad of problems these people are griping about. Nike did admit, and posted a formal letter, to the issues the site was having. I think that was admirable of them. Not having experienced the issues others have, it’s hard for me to share a sympathetic ear, but I hope that the site issues become minimal.

    One of the major capabilities in fitness tracking tech is the use of GPS, especially in running. As widely known, you can track your routes and via GPS upload them to your favorite fitness track website via the accompanying smartphone app. Garmin, of course, is in the game and many fitness sites, along with Nike, like Map My Fitness, GainFitness, Dailyburn, Dailymile, and so on. As you can see from iPhone screenshot, I’ve downloaded a number of fitness tracking apps that, aside from Nike+, have tried yet. Since I workout with weights as well, I’m looking for one that will allow me to success track performance there as well. There are eight so far that need investigation. Assessing each will be a project in itself. Currently, in addition to the Nike+ sites, I am using the online site, Dailymile. It was recommended by a friend of mine who’s done a thorough assessment of the site and what I’ve seen so far, I like. It not only allows me to track my runs, but other types of fitness workouts as well. It crossposts to Twitter nicely, allows for the upload of pics and video, has the ability to import my run data from Nike+. From what I understand, it has great capability for analytics as well. Many of these sites allow for import of data from Nike+ and other sites as well.

    Many of the sites mirror the same capabilities so, as said above, the best thing to do is compare and maybe use multiple sites, if necessary, to meet the needs you have for tracking your metrics. This leads me to an obvious aspect of performance tracking – accuracy. Just how accurate is all of this? To quote a friend. “If it’s tracking faulty stats it’s futile”. True indeed. One can, depending on what they want to get out of tracking performance, get VERY hung up on how accurate one device is against another in an apples-to-apples comparison. Then there are those like a weightlifter, whose comment I saw in a forum that was attached to an article about this aspect. He basically said he didn’t care much about tight accuracy because he’s just a weightlifter, but wanted to have SOMETHING to gauge his run performance, something simple he could use as a tool to track improvements. The article by Daily Burn CEO Andy Smith is entitled “DailyBurn CEO: Fitness-Tracking Devices Aren’t Gimmicks, but They’re Close”. The article can be read here. Personally, I think one, especially someone who is highly data driven, can get too caught in the phenomena, losing sight to why they started the fitness journey to begin with.

    In summary, I look forward to continuing in the leverage of fitness tech to allow me the added enjoyment of keeping fit. I’m settled and happy with the physical tools (iPod nano and Nike Sports Kit) that I have…I can see a bluetooth transmitter for the nano and an accompanying lightweight set of bluetooth headphones, but other than that, I’m good. As for the apps and websites, research and trial awaits. I’m looking forward to that as well, but in the mean time…it’s all about breaking that 10 min mile and training for my first 5K this year. Hopefully I can find an interesting app to aid in my bodybuilding, or should I say weight workouts. Time will tell. In closing, for all the excitement there is in gaining and maintaining good fitness, I try to keep this thought first and foremost.

    Here are a number of popular online fitness tracking sites:

  • DailyBurn
  • DailyMile
  • Gain Fitness
  • Map My Fitness
  • Thanks for reading….

    peace…
    Fresh!

    Health and Wellness Week: July 25 – 29: 8 Surprising Benefits of Drinking Water

    Greetings…

    On this next to the last day of Health and Wellness Week, I decided to post about another physical aspect of well being and that is the benefits of water. All you physicians check me on this, but from what I know, the brain is 78% water and the body itself is composed of 98% of this stuff called dihydrogen oxide. I try to drink as much water as I can. It’s my favorite overall beverage (with Sobe Elixirs a close second…haha). In any event, with the plethora of sports drinks out, I always reach for water for replenishment and thirst when I can. I ended up finding a pretty good article earlier this week entitled

    As the week winds down, I wanted to also share another friend in my Twitter stream, Dr. Melodie, a health and wellness practicioner and practicing chiropractor. She has a great health and wellness blog that I suggest you check out. I like it a lot. If I get a chance to do a final post tomorrow, I’ll reflect on what I enjoy about it. Check out my friend’s posts this week at

    Peace,
    Fresh!

    Morning run (08 Jul 11): Nike+

    Good morning crew…
    Happy Friday to all. It’s been a minute since I blogged about running, much less blogged at all, but since I have a few minutes this morning before I head into the office, why not.

    If you’ve been noticing my FB page updates, I’ve been having my run stats posted there. I fell off the wagon last summer (right at vacation time) from running for the first time with the Nike+ system. Running is a great form of cardio, but frankly, I’ve NEVER liked running. It’s the techie in me that made running interesting, because with Nike+, I can track my personal performance metrics using a device I’ve grown to love since the first ones came out – the iPod. Running with music is great, the Nike+ website leverages superb marketing and offers a great deal of interactivity, not just with the site but fellow runners, known and unknown.

    Most of my runs have been on a treadmill, but as much as I hate road runs, it’s not only the most popular form of running, but I’ll be doing it more and more to sever the reliance on treadmill running. The training of outdoor runs, for me, is tough now, but the gains I’ll achieve will keep my mindset looking forward to them. Combined with an improved diet, free weights and circuit machine workouts, I like what the combination is offering. Today’s run was not bad, the weather was perfect and I learned about pace. Time permitting, I may run at the gym today at lunch or after work, I’ll see. The good thing is I got my run in for the day either way. As for inspiration, this five year old commercial does it for me…this is where I am (at least) trying to get to:

    Have a great day…

    peace,
    Doug

    12th Run – Nike+


    (Image use courtesy of Nike.com)

    Good day all,

    I hope this post finds you well. I got up early this Saturday morning (5:30am) to go on an early morning run. I succeeded in doing so. I did a little editing of a podcast I am posting tomorrow, drank some Gatorade G2, had a little apple sauce. By the time I got to the track (6:39 am), it was already bustling with walkers. Anybody already out walking around a track at 6:45am on a Saturday morning, has got to be serious about their fitness.

    I warmed up and started my run. After the first lap I already heard that G2 in my stomach and yet again realized one thing: I dislike running outdoors, which made me realize another thing: I have to start running more outdoors. While running outdoors is far more popular, running in the gym is more convenient for me (and my performance is much better). I want the best of both worlds, so time to have at it.

    Today’s run was eh…not my best time. I’m still not convinced my form is quite right (meaning foot placement), maybe still too much heel. I’m learning to land a bit more on the balls of my feet but not totally, as I watch other runners for their form and it seems they are not on their heels at all. I’ll get there. Right now the goal is to build cardiovascular endurance.

    On a related note, I got the pleasure of teaching a good friend all I know about Nike+ (she seems to think I should work for them or something, based on my blog posts- *wink*) I think she’s gonna enjoy using it, via the Sportsband or iPod solution! Best wishes whenever she gets started.

    Ok, here are today’s run stats
    Ran 1 mi on 8/14/2010 at 6:47 AM

    Time to keep it movin’ this day….

    peace!
    F!

    11th run – Nike+

    Evening crew.

    Had a really good run during lunch. Everything about it from the mental prep through the end of it was good. The gym was packed with an exercise class right in front of me – maybe that added a lil energy to me as well.

    The anomaly was me somehow during off the female feedback voice (or so I thought I did – checking the iPod now shows it as on) I didn’t hear her during the whole run, which resulted in a longer, but best workout length so far.

    After work, my kids persuaded me to head out to the track so they could jog, so I guess I can add that on as post-run activity. I also met my first goal!

    Here are today’s run stats. Ran 1.49 mi on 8/10/2010 at 12:14 PM

    Answering my friend’s tweet, I’ll sleep good tonite!

    peace,
    F!

    10th Run – Nike+

    Greetings…

    Back from my run. This time it was on a different terrain – the track. Today I saw how much different running outdoors (again) is than running in a more controlled environment. This one was not one of my better runs (could it have been the nap beforehand?). I’ll attribute the less than desirable performance to the terrain – I had to walk part of it, as opposed to the steady non-stop runs I do indoors. This tells me I have to run outdoors more. I think it’s time I look into Nike+ Coach. Let’s go! This is where I’m trying to get to:

    On another note…this was a family event. Wife and kids came this time. Son had a good share of running, while the ladies near power-walked. Great temps – low 70’s. More people were on the tennis courts than on the track, although by 8:15pm, people were still coming. I’ll miss daylight savings time.

    Todays run stats: Ran 1.02 mi on 8/7/2010 at 7:50 PM

    peace!
    F!

    9th Run – Nike+

    Good evening crew…

    Short post here. Work has it’s ebbs and flows of busy-ness. Today was a flow, that flow right into my lunch hour. Needless to say I didn’t run during that time and decided to go right after work. About 3pm, and being a Friday, I started to skip the run altogether…BUT…missing out on a run last weekend put me behind in reaching my goal for tomorrow. Unfortunately this run was not a good one. I definitely wasn’t mentally hyped for it, and the performance showed (plus, they cut the AC off in the gym after 5pm….what? So what I was the only one there :-))

    Anyway, the dreaded run stats: Ran 0.92 mi on 8/6/2010 at 5:44 PM. Looking to do a 6am run in the morning., Seeing as it’s 10:47pm, I should be getting in the bed, huh?

    peace!
    F!