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…


About Fresh

Mac Fan/Sys. Engr - NASA planetary missions. guitarist/producer/AFOL/fitness fan/film+TV+sndtrk composer/podcast host/Python newbie coder. Music by me: http://SFTF.bandcamp.com. Mellowly Cool. Find me on X and Bluesky
This entry was posted in Apple, Apple Watch, Fitness/Training/Nutrition, Nike Fuel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Justin York says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article! I am currently charging my fuel band se and decided to do a google search “fuel band in 2017”. I too have been searching hashtags in IG for fuel band activity haha. I look forward to seeing how I will enjoy the “resurrection” of my fuel band along with my  watch series 2. Great job!

  2. Fresh says:

    Sorry for the late reply! Thanks for commenting in on the post. I am enjoying using the FuelBand alongside my watch. Feel free to comment back here with your experiences! Cheers!

  3. Charles Wilson says:

    My SE won’t connect to Nikeplus website. Looks like Nike has stopped supporting the software.

  4. Fresh says:

    I was able to connect with my MacBook via wifi. I have the software for the FuelBand. Let me know if you’d like it. What OS are you running on the SE and is it connected to wifi?


  5. Ricky says:

    Hi, can you please send me the link for the fuel band software for mac? I tried plugging mine into the newest version off the nike website but it is not detecting my fuel band.

  6. Gia says:

    Hello, I just got the fuel Band, looks like nike has stopped supporting, cause the site wont let me login or register.

    How else can I make the band work ?

    Please help me out

  7. so sad says:

    Does anyone know how to retrieve their old nike fuelband data. They discontinued the fuelband app on April 30th. I called about 10 times before April 30th and every technician said my data would show up on the nike run app. That isnt the case. They were wrong. It took 11 phone calls and to talk to a Level 2 rep for them to tell me all of the customer service reps had been wrong. I want my data back. So sad.

  8. Patti says:

    Very excited to read this. I completely related to the wow factor on the LEDs. Lost my Fitbit about two weeks ago and was researching whether or not to buy another one or see what was new out there. Came across my beloved Fuelband in a drawer and decided to charge it up. Once it’s ready I will try updating on my Mac. The thought of using it again brings me the same joy as listening to 80’s music… great memories.

  9. Fresh says:

    Hi Patti,

    Thanks for the enthusiastic reply. My Fuelband is still going strong, however, now that the website and apps are gone, it’s only a matter of time until the band’s memory gets full. Without being able to sync it, it will become useless. 🙁

  10. Fresh says:

    I spent time talking to Nike Support via Twitter right before 30 Ap, and yes, their level 1 reps all read from scripts (smh). There is no way to retrieve NikeFuel data now that the website is gone. The only app that continues to generate NikeFuel is the Nike Run Club app – they even moved it out of the NTC app. I’ve been doing research on the web trying to get answer as well.

  11. Fresh says:

    Yes you are correct. I am trying to find out how myself, as my FuelBand is still tracking but without the website, I can’t sync it and free up memory. Soon it will be full and I’ll be out of luck without the website. I’ve approached this issue with creators of the Fuel band and awaiting a (hopeful) reply. Stay tuned.

  12. Drico says:

    Any luck??

  13. Fresh says:

    None yet.

  14. Karim Shibl says:

    Hey Fresh , please if you reach any solution email it to me because now my memory is full and i relay on my fuelband so much 🙁

  15. Fresh says:

    Will do,. bro….stay tuned!

  16. Marts says:

    Hi Fresh,

    Encountered what you have been dreading. Big fan of the tracker as well, went through 3. This last one being my 3rd. The band reported that the memory is already full. Since the webiste is no longer active, didn’t know what else to do. I thought that reseting the band to its factory settings will erase the memory. Which did. And everything along with it. *face palm*

    Now even the Nike Fuelband app won’t recognize my band.

    Any luck from your end?

  17. Fresh says:

    Hey Marts…
    Appreciate the comment. The short of it is this: In the very least, unless the Nike+ Connect app is released as open source and it can be re-engineered to sync to desktop without website integration, the Fuel band is pretty much useless once it’s full. I hastily brought a near brand new – worn once by an older lady. I did the same thing you did, but without syncing to the website I cant change anything in her profile data. If I reset it, I’m in the same boat you are. Shame they let it go, but from a business standpoint, based on my research, I can see why.

  18. Karim Shibl says:

    Hey Mr Fresh , any luck ?

  19. Fresh says:

    Nothing…I’m still checking around. Nothing on your end, I take it? I haven’t heard back from Nike on releasing Nike+ Connect as open source.

  20. Karim Shibl says:

    Check this fresh but it is for the Nike+ Sportband


  21. Fresh says:


    Yeah I saw this last week. I just sent you an email. Good lookin’ out…

  22. Amanda Gallant-Turner says:

    Hi Fresh!

    Can you still use the Fuelband as a regular digital watch when the memory is full? I have an Apple Watch, but I’ve been missing my Fuelband.

  23. Fresh says:

    Amanda, looks like your comment got cut off. Short answer is, you can use it for all it was meant to be used for until the memory is full. After that it will cease to be of any use.

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