Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Weighing in on the Garmin Index Smart Scale

Last fall I discovered a new product by Garmin that would solve my problem with figuring out my body composition. I would tell people about exercising and dieting but not losing weight. The common response is that muscle weighs more than fat, so even though fat is reduced muscle weight can offset that reduction. Good answer! I thought with the new Garmin Index Smart Scale I would be able to track that increase in muscle mass.
The description reads:
The Garmin Index™ smart scale uses bioelectrical impedance to calculate your body composition. The device sends a small amount of electrical current (which you will not feel) from one foot through your body to the other foot. The device measures the electrical signal after it passes through your body to estimate aspects of your body composition.
It should be noted that stores selling this product do not seem to refer to this "bioelectrical impedance" but simply use the word "measure." My assumption was that the body fat, water content, muscle, and bone would be calculated not based on weight but by the electric current. It is obvious, however, when you look at my data that the data on body composition goes up and down relative to my weight. I'm not losing that much muscle, fat, and bone from day to day or week to week for that matter. It looks to me like the data is being calculated based on some algorithm connected to weight, whether there is any electrical current or not.
I wrote to Garmin about my problem with the data. On Jan. 18, 2016 I was told, "I have created a case in regards to this issue, to be reviewed by our engineers. It can take up too 3 weeks for a resolution to be found. We appreciate your patience in this matter, and apologize for the inconvenience." I wrote again on Feb. 26, 2016 asking about their response. I was told on Feb. 29, 2016, "I sincerely apologize for the length of time this has taken to get more details on the Smart Scale. I was able to locate your case 1190257 and it appears our engineers are still reviewing it. I did submit a request for an update since it is taking longer than normal. Also, once the engineers have come up with a resolution you will receive an email alerting you." I have not heard anything since.
I have no idea if my product is faulty, if I'm doing it wrong, or if this product just doesn't work as advertised. It's a nice scale. I love that it automatically sends the data through wifi to my Garmin online account. I could have saved myself the $150 and kept putting my weight into MyFitnessPal.
If anyone can make sense of this data and explain it to me, I would appreciate knowing that I haven't wasted my money.
I've done two tests. One is to hold a dumbbell while weighing. With the 20 lb. kettlebell (and clothes on) my weight is 278.4, body fat is 31.5%, muscle is 94.2, and bone mass is 22.3. As you can see from the data below, the scale is not simply measuring electrical impedance but estimating based on weight. The electrical current shouldn't be affected by my holding a weight, if it is measuring the impedance through my body. My other test was to see if it actually sends a current or not. I simply put my sneakers on. It did know that it couldn't send the current and displayed a big X. It's good to know there actually is current being detected.

date weight body fat % muscle bone
11/27/2015 256.8 36.5 88.6 18.9
11/28/2015 252.6 36.3 88.1 18.7
11/30/2015 248 35.6 87 18.3
12/1/2015 252.5 36.3 88.1 18.7
12/2/2015 250.2 35.8 87.5 18.5
12/3/2015 250.6 35.9 87.6 18.5
12/7/2015 260.1 29.2 89.9 20.5
12/8/2015 258.5 28.8 89.4 20.3
12/9/2015 254.7 29.3 88.8 20
12/10/2015 251.4 28.7 87.7 19.6
12/13/2015 255.9 28.8 88.8 20.1
12/14/2015 253.8 28.6 88.3 19.8
12/15/2015 252.7 28.8 88.3 19.8
12/16/2015 254.1 28.8 88.3 19.8
12/17/2015 255.8 28.9 88.8 20.1
12/21/2015 261.1 29.0 89.9 20.6
12/22/2015 257.7 28.7 89.4 20.3
12/23/2015 255.7 28.7 88.8 20.1
12/24/2015 254.9 29.0 88.8 20
12/26/2015 256.4 28.8 88.8 20.1
12/28/2015 256.6 28.9 88.8 20
12/29/2015 254.1 28.8 88.3 19.8
1/4/2016 259.4 29.0 89.9 20.6
1/5/2016 259.3 29.1 89.9 20.5
1/7/2016 256.4 29.1 88.8 20
1/11/2016 260.4 29.4 89.9 20.5
1/12/2016 257.3 29.3 89.4 20.3
1/13/2016 255.6 29.0 88.8 20
1/14/2016 255.5 29.3 88.8 20
1/16/2016 256.8 28.5 88.8 20.1
1/18/2016 258.8 29.1 89.4 20.3
1/19/2016 259.9 29.5 89.9 20.5
1/20/2016 257 28.8 89.4 20.3
1/21/2016 255.5 29.2 88.8 20
1/26/2016 254.2 28.6 88.3 19.8
1/27/2016 252.3 28.6 87.7 19.6
1/28/2016 257.9 29.1 89.4 20.3
2/7/2016 258 29.2 89.4 20.3
2/9/2016 256.5 28.9 88.8 20
2/11/2016 257.3 28.7 89.4 20.3
2/12/2016 262 29.1 90.4 20.8
2/15/2016 261.1 29.5 89.9 20.5
2/16/2016 259.5 29.3 89.9 20.5
2/17/2016 263.3 29.3 90.4 20.8
2/19/2016 257 29.2 89.4 20.3
2/20/2016 255.9 28.4 88.8 20.1
2/23/2016 260.5 29 89.9 20.6
2/25/2016 261.8 29.4 90.4 20.8
2/27/2016 257.7 28.8 89.4 20.3
2/29/2016 253.1 28.6 88.3 19.8
3/2/2016 255.8 29.4 88.8 20
3/3/2016 257.3 29.6 89.4 20.2
3/6/2016 262.1 29.4 90.4 20.8
3/7/2016 259.8 28.7 89.9 20.6
3/15/2016 254.3 28.2 88.3 19.9
3/19/2016 255.8 28.5 88.8 20.1
3/22/2016 257.3 29 89.4 20.3
3/24/2016 256.3 28.5 88.8 20.1
4/6/2016 262.2 29.4 90.4 20.8
4/11/2016 257 28.7 89.4 20.3
4/12/2016 258.5 29.1 89.4 20.3
4/13/2016 257.9 29.4 89.4 20.2
4/14/2016 258.8 28.8 89.4 20.3
4/20/2016 261.7 29 90.4 20.8
5/3/2016 259.8 29.3 89.9 20.5
5/5/2016 258.3 36.6 89.1 19
5/9/2016 264.9 37.5 90.8 19.6
5/19/2016 262.4 37.2 90.2 19.4
5/24/2016 266.3 37.8 91.3 19.8
5/25/2016 261.4 37.2 90.2 19.4
5/26/2016 260.3 36.9 89.7 19.2
5/31/2016 263.5 37.5 90.8 19.6
6/1/2016 262.2 37.2 90.2 19.4

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