Basis Fitness Watch Band

How often have you wondered what your daily caloric burn REALLY is rather than estimates from metabolic tests or formulas? What about resting heart rate? Sleep patterns? Body temperature and perspiration? How about steps you take a day? These are all indicators of the work your body is doing or not doing if you're asleep.

Well enter BASIS. Recently acquired by Intel, their website calls it, The Most Advanced Health Tracker. And I tend to agree. Some history.

Sally Edwards and I had just started working on ZONING. A major part to ZONING education was simple heart rate training. But sampling heart rate historically had come at the cost of wearing a chest strap. Often an obstacle to
ongoing use, the chest strap is cited as, scratchy, pinches, squeezes and plain uncomfortable. I was on a quest to find a reliable heart rate monitor that did not require a chest strap.

IHRSA was in San Francisco that year (2011). So Sally and I stopped by a San Francisco start up company before heading off to IHRSA. That company, BASIS.

We sat in their offices as the lead engineer explained their technology and what they hoped the future uses in the wellness field could be. I was wearing one of the prototypes and comparing heart rate between my prototype Blink 1 and the BASIS watch. Spot on.

The unique BASIS watch measured my heart rate using optical sensors rather than EKG like the Blink. That meant no chest strap. 🙂 Moreover, it also measured body temp, perspiration, counted steps, told me the time I spent walking, the date and time. Finally a health and wellness tracker with heart rate and no chest strap. I didn”™t want to give them back the prototype.

It was clear that the price point for such a device was way off from what Sally and I wanted to bring to market and it didn”™t have flashing LED”™s.

Fast forward three years. I find out on Facebook that BASIS is now on the market. Their web site up and running explaining everything good about wearing a BASIS watch. Once one owns a BASIS watch the site will start tracking one”™s wellness just like they predicted.

I had to have one. The price had come down a bit from three years ago and is now in line with mid to upper range heart rate monitors. Mine first BASIS cost $169. With one downside (more on that later) I loved it from the moment I strapped it on.

Yes, my first BASIS. Let me explain. Marianne (my better half) had been an avid Body Media person. She had that ugly thing strapped to her arm since it was first introduced. It measured steps, body temp and somehow turned it into activity monitoring. She liked its simplicity, the nutritional nature of the their web site and velcro strap. But after years of wearing Body Media around her upper arm it had left a permanent mark.

After I had worn my first BASIS for a couple of months I was impressed with how well it tracked my activity, regardless of intensity level. I realized this is just what Marianne needs. So I let her try mine. She wouldn”™t give it back citing how easy it is to wear and the accuracy of its features. Like most women, she is weight conscious. The BASIS website unlike the Body Media site does not provide a place to record one”™s nutritional intake. Read monitor calories in. She has recommended to BASIS to add such capability and has kept wearing mine. So I bought another.

For our club athletes, tracking activity is often more helpful than zone training. BASIS provides a good look at resting heart rate - always a good indicator of VO2max - so ones overall fitness gains can be seen by improved (lower) resting heart rate. If BASIS could add a nutritional component to their web/mobile app I think more of our riders would be interested in stepping up to the plate for a device that cost twice as much as Fitbit but does four times as much.

I mentioned earlier one downside. BASIS does not sample heart rate continuously. Because of memory limitations displaying/recording real time heart rate is not possible. That is quite the limitation for those doing heart zone training. When I ride outside I use my Garmin. When I teach inside I use my Blink.

But the other 23 hours per day I wear my BASIS. And it has been most useful. I now know at age 60 that my caloric burn is more hot air than fire. Still, it helped me reset my caloric intake which really had not changed in over 10 years. Sadly, my weight had :-(.

Now that BASIS is a part of Intel's Devices line I hope there will be a surge of new development that will take this wellness product into the fitness limelight. I'm an avid heart zones training guy but, when I'm not training, I wear BASIS.

To date I've yet to walk more steps than Marianne.

John adds to Chuck's post here with Intel purchased the company behind BASIS today, for a rumored price of roughly $100 million. Why can't I come up with an idea like that?

Chuck Cali
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