Tanita BC-1000 ANT+ body fat monitor

I got this thing about a year ago and I figured it’s time for a long-term report on it. You might have read my first post about the scale.

After a year of using it and saving data, I’ve noticed a few things about it.

This graph illustrates a few things I’d like to point out about the scale.

It looks like I gained about 20lb between August 15th and 16th, right? That would be wrong.

What happened is that I put the scale on a tile floor on the 16th, whereas prior to that, I had been using the scale on a carpet floor. The scale comes with “carpet feet” and I had been using them on the carpeted floor, but there was still a big difference between my measured weight on this scale and my doctors’ office weight. I don’t have thick shag carpet, either. It’s just a typical plush carpet with a typical pad underneath. My only conclusion is that the carpet feet aren’t good enough and the scale needs to be used on a hard surface regardless. Once I figured out this problem and resolved it by using the scale on a tile floor, my weight as reported by this scale meshed very closely (within a pound or so) of my weight as measured at my doctor’s office (except for the fact that I weigh myself at home in my boxers and at the doctor’s office wearing a couple extra pounds of clothing).

August was also about the time I began a structured workout program. I started the Cancer to 5k running program and I also hired a personal trainer at my local gym to help get me started on a strength training program. You can see the scale tracked a solid decrease in weight AND body fat composition over the course of that time.

You might also notice that the body fat % reading for the last measurement dropped enormously from about 17% to <10%. That’s not all that unusual. Here’s the scoop on that. Tanita’s Healthy Edge software lets you set your activity level and body type in your user settings.

The software help file provides guidelines on which setting to choose.

Activity Level
This setting is used when determining the Daily Calorie Intake. Choose “Low” if a user gets little or no exercise, “Moderate” if exercises occasionally or at low intensity and “High” if regularly engages in intense physical activity.

Body Type
Choose “Standard” or “Athlete”. Tanita defines “athlete” as a person involved in intense physical activity of approximately 10 hours per week and who has a resting heart rate of approximately 60 beats per minute or less. Tanita’s athlete definition includes “lifetime of fitness” individuals who have been fit for years but currently exercise less than 10 hours per week.”

For the last measurement, I changed my activity level from “moderate” to “high” because I’ve been working out consistently about 4-5 days per week for the past few months. I also changed my body type to “Athlete” because my resting heart rate is about 60bpm, I do exercise about 10 hours per week, and I would also count as a “lifetime of fitness” individual because I’ve been very athletic more often than not for the better part of 20 years.

Up until now, I’ve only been able to use my BC-1000 with the included Healthy Edge software. I have been unable to use the scale with Garmin Connect because of Garmin’s insistence upon requiring users to send health data through one of only a couple compatible fitness watches into Garmin Connect. That will soon be changing. DC Rainmaker‘s blog hinted that Training Peaks would be offering support for this scale eventually. I sent my own inquiry to Tanita today, and also today got a response that such support would be available before the end of the year. There’s only about a month and a half left in the year, so it looks like that’ll happen pretty soon. With Training Peaks as robust as it is, I think that will be a very good option.

Overall, I’m very happy with the scale itself and Tanita has been a very responsive company every time I’ve had an inquiry. When I first bought the scale, I was only able to use it with my laptop because the Healthy Edge software didn’t work on 64 bit systems at the time. I was communicating with Tanita and helped provide bug reports on their early 64 bit versions of Healthy Edge. They were excellent to work with.

I’ve seen a lot of talk lately about the Withings WiFi scale. I haven’t used one, but I’ve poked around the Withings website. The Withings scale certainly has a slick interface, but I’ve noticed it only measures weight, fat mass, lean mass, and it calculates BMI. The BC-1000 calculates a visceral fat rating and body water % in addition. The Withings scale works with a larger variety of third party programs and websites right now, but with Tanita adding support for Training Peaks, that gap will begin to narrow.

Overall, I’m very happy with my BC-1000. Tanita could have been a little more proactive about offering support for importing data into 3rd party programs, though. Hopefully the competition from Withings is spurring them on in that regard.

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