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The Ki to a new you

Written by Fiona January 19 2011

A recent article of mine published in the Daily Record. It’s about a great new fitness gadget called the Ki Fit. For anyone who wants to get to grips with calories in and calories burned through exercise this is an excellent asset. I tried it for a week and thought it worked well. Beware though as you could become addicted to beating the calorie deficit! See the article It’s the Ki to a New You

Here’s the article in full:

IT’S THE KI TO A NEW YOU

CALORIE COUNTING ARMBAND IS A WHOLE NEW WAY TO SLIM AND STAY IN TRIM

Byline: Fiona Russell

ARE you fed-up with “miracle” diets that just don’t seem to work or a souldestroying regime of yo-yo weight loss and gain?

Do you wish you knew just how much exercise it takes to burn off a Mars bar or the exact calories burned in a 20-minute walk? Now a new fitness gadget claims to offer wearers a complete diet and fitness overhaul.

The KiFit multi-action sensor – worn on your left upper arm – monitors motion, sweat and body temperature then relays the data to an online display for your personal viewing.

It tells you how many calories you’ve burned every 24 hours, your exercise intensity, how many steps you’ve walked or run and even your sleep quality.

By logging your meals and snacks at the end of each day, KiFit users gain a picture of the calories consumed versus the calories burned off.

Billed as the complete lifestyle management system, KiFit is proving a hit among men, women, the overweight and fitness fans.

The gadget, which you only take off in the bath or shower, has been developed by medical experts.

The science behind the KiFit is based on the theory that to lose weight, we need to use more calories than we take in.

Since there are about 3500 calories in a pound of fat, if you want to shed that pound in a week, you have to burn 500 more calories than you consume every day.

By logging your activity and food consumption, the KiFit system shows you in clear graphic form exactly what that 500 calories represents.

Bar charts show you each day whether you’ve achieved a calorie “deficit” – and whether you’re on target to lose weight or not.

A sleep recording also tells you if you have had enough or too little time in the land of nod as research has shown that a lack of sleep can lead to over-eating and weight gain.

The gadget lets you work out what it takes to reach your goals of weight loss or improved fitness, then can adjust diet and exercise accordingly.

Having put the KiFit Having put the KiFit news through its paces for five days, I’ve concluded users could easily become obsessed with it.

There is something in-built that makes us want to beat a machine. I found myself overly keen to clock a calorie deficit. But surely this is not a bad thing?

Performance coach Molly Cameron, of Glasgow, agrees, although she points out that our bodies do require an adequate level of fuelling.

Cameron, who owns Nexus Sports Consulting, said: “A gadget that motivates people to exercise and cut the calories has to be a great idea.

“Being able to clearly see the effects of calories in and out is a brilliant incentive to be active and to eat less.

“But it is also important to ensure you are taking in enough energy to fuel the activity that you do.

“Most people underestimate their food and calorie intake so a gadget that displays the facts and figures is to be welcomed wholeheartedly.”

The KiFit system also comes with a separate digital display device that syncs with the armband sensor so that you can see your calories burned or the steps taken in real-time.

While sitting at my desk, the calorie count was depressingly slow. But a quick blast up and down the stairs offers a calorie-burning booster.

When out for a run or a brisk walk, it was heartening to actually see the calories being the calories being the calories being zapped.

When the sensor was plugged in When the sensor was plugged in to my computer, I plugged in to my computer, I saw a more indepth analysis of my activity, calories burned and steps taken over the day. Clear and colourful graphs reveal periods of activity from little to vigorous.

A “calories burned” chart had me fascinated as I checked out the peaks and troughs.

“What was it that I was doing at 1pm on Thursday that sent the caloriesper-minute reading soaring?” I wondered. Then I recalled the 30 minutes clearing my car of snow.

A couple of hours off sledging with my daughter added to the burn at an average of around 4.5 calories per minute.

A 40-minute run on Wednesday morning sends the calories per minute graph to a high of 9.1.

A bar chart showed that in one day I was “moderately active” for 162 minutes and “vigorously active” for 44 minutes.

The number of steps taken on the same day was recorded as 9119. That seemed quite impressive to me.

However, on another day when I do a 50-minute dynamic – and very sweaty – yoga session, the calorie burn didn’t appear to as be as high as I would have imagined, showing the workout as only moderate exercise.

Andy Parker, of Ki Performance, the firm behind KiFit, told me the sensor is up to 95 per cent accurate when taking part in everyday activities and while walking or running.

It is his belief that my yoga session was not as calorie burning as I’d thought. He suggested that I take a look at the calorie burn after the yoga workout. “You should see that because you were doing strength training, rather than a cardio workout, that your calorie burn will remain higher for hours afterwards,” he said.

And he’s right. So even though the yoga doesn’t burn as many calories as I’d hoped during the session, the after-effects are long lasting.

The KiFit is only around 86 per cent accurate while cycling and it is not waterproof so can’t be used while swimming. But I was able to add in bespoke details online of calories burned while cycling and swimming.

Another function of the KiFit system is to assess your food eaten during a day – and the calories consumed.

Of course, you could lie but you would only be cheating yourself.

The food logging is a bit of a hassle but once you have entered a few of your favourite foods and drinks, it becomes a simpler process.

The system then works out your daily calorie deficit, the number of calories burned as compared to eaten.

It also assesses the nutrition of your food intake and draws a pie chart of the percentage of fat, carbohydrates and proteins eaten.

There is a slice – mine is a little too big, I fear – of the alcohol consumed.

Whether you want to lose weight, maintain your weight, get more active, eat more healthily or a combination, the KiFit system lets you set goals.

After each 24 hours of use, the data will tell you if you’re “on trend” to lose weight. Or not!

Even if you’re not keen on statistics and charts, this personal diet and exercise system is fascinating.

Cameron said: “When it comes to weight loss and fitness, knowledge is power. A gadget that offers no-fuss analysis of your eating and activity patterns is sure to be a hit.”

The good news is that some 60 per cent of our daily calories are burned by our basal metabolic rate – just by sleeping, breathing and sitting around.

The bad news is, it’s the other 40 per of calories that we need to work off to be able to lose weight.

THE INNER SECRETS OF THE SYSTEM

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE APPLIANCE

The KiFit System has been clinically proven to measure calorie burn and levels of physical activity, according to a report in the British Journal of Sports Science.

It is hailed as a medical device and was the subject of an independent study.

Researchers compared the KiFit armband and a “pounds 25,000 portable oxygen analyser”, recognised as the gold standard for assessing calories.

The results showed an average error of less than 10 per cent in measuring total calories for activities and less than five per cent in total minutes of exercise.

HOW DOES THE KIFIT WORK?

The sensor armband collects data from various areas of your life.

Motion: An accelerometer measures how you move. Glavanic skin response: When you sweat, your skin becomes more electrically conductive. Measuring this helps the system judge how active you are.

Skin temperature: The electronic thermometer inside the armband evaluates how hot you are. Heat flux: When you move, your muscles produce heat. The system assesses the levels of heat that flow from your body into the environment. Steps: The sensor system counts your steps, using the accelerometer to analyse the patterns you create by walking or running.

THE COST

The KiFit system costs pounds 99.99 for the armband sensor and digital display package. On top of this, you need to pay a monthly subscription to access their online data. See www.kiperformance.co.uk

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