Jawbone Up3 Calorie Counter: What’s the Hype?

I’m not going to start this article by diving into the rich history of the Jawbone family of activity trackers, as I’m assuming you did not reach this page through a stroke of luck. Instead, I’m going to show you why one of these devices, the Jawbone Up3, can be a very worthy investment. Before we start, this is not a sales pitch for the Jawbone brand. I care not whether you ultimately go ahead and take the plunge by ordering the Up3. What I do care about is providing useful information to those interested in the Up3 or another similar Jawbone activity tracker so that they can make a more informed decision about whether this device is right for them. I will say at the outset: although it is a very solid product, you can certainly put the time and effort in to be your own calorie counter and save yourself the extra expense. The problem, of course, is that it takes much more work, relative to wearing a wristband and loading up an app on your phone, to achieve this goal. This is why a device like the Jawbone Up3 was created. It is not there because it does something that you cannot handle doing on your own, it does not have any magical data that will make you lose weight. Instead, it is a tool that you purchase for the purpose of convenience and motivation.

Whether you are trying to lose fat or gain muscle, the concept of figuring out your maintenance calories is crucial to your success. Most people don’t realize that this is the most crucial component of your fitness goals, and simply attempt to exercise and jump on a “diet” to attain results. Sure, they might get somewhere, but they’ll stagnate at some point or trip up from limiting themselves too much. All of this randomness will only work up to an extent before someone really serious about their objectives will begin to calculate their maintenance calorie count in an effort to pin down what they really need to hit calorically each day. The Jawbone Up3 calorie counter can cut that experimentation out of the way from the start, allow you to get on the road to achieving your fitness goals immediately, and motivate you each time you look at its statistics throughout the day. It might not be necessary, but its benefits go beyond its actual functions.

Before calorie counters were created, the only way to calculate and figure out your maintenance involved a level of guesstimation based on certain formulas that had to ultimately be tested through several weeks of weight watching. Once you had your maintenance guesstimate based on the formula, you had to see whether that caloric amount was actually higher or lower than your maintenance by sticking to that number and monitoring whether you were gaining weight or losing it on a weekly basis. To the extent you gained weight, you’d lower the number and check back in a week or two later, and vice versa. This process would take several weeks sometimes before you settled on a number that maintained your weight. Of course, depending on how varied your activity levels were from day to day, you could never get a truly proper number and would need to constantly guess how much extra or less calories you burned on a given day from your set amount. The main draw of these calorie counters, then, is to help you skip this entire process and provide you with real time information as it varies from day to day. This way you get a pretty accurate number and are able to track it conveniently on your phone at all times.

I’m not the type to buy products of this nature, and I usually don’t. However, after countless research spent on reading reviews (smart consumer, right?) it became apparent that this Jawbone Up3 gadget might actually be useful. Most of the negative reviews came from over-expectation, blaming the Jawbone Up3 product for not melting the fat right off of a person (as if that was possible). My main concern was whether the calories were truly being calculated properly based on the activity the people were doing, and in that regard the product delivers. After all, it is a calorie counter right? There’s actually quite a few of them out there, some pricier than others, but there is a reason this one is so popular. The Jawbone Up3 gadget accounts for your activity levels with great precision and delivers more than simply calorie counting, as it has sleep monitoring and heart rate tracking as well.

Knowing how much calories you wind up burning in a 24 hour period is amazing, because it gives you flexibility in how you eat based on the amount of activity you wind up doing that day. Even if most of your days consist of the same routine, wearing that little wristband will make sure you don’t go diving for that extra snack or eating that extra meal. It acts as an enforcer of your need to focus on your diet, based on your calculated expenditures. Put simply, it keeps you in line as it is a constant reminder. Sometimes you might feel like you want to throw it in a box and forget about it because it’s just there, constantly. However, that’s the Jawbone Up3 calorie counter’s extra positive, it will keep you on track. In the end, you won’t put it in the box, and you won’t have that extra snack (well, I can’t be absolute, but I’ll tell you it’ll be much tougher to have one with you wearing it).

I used to own a Bodymedia, which was a calorie counter bought out by the Jawbone brand. It cost about $140 and required a monthly subscription to keep the data streaming to your phone app. I originally had a year’s worth of free subscription, but then it became a drag to pay for this on a monthly basis. I was happy to learn when switching to the Jawbone Up3 that this is a thing of the past. The only price is the price for the product, which is a very respectable $60-70 (UP3 by Jawbone Heart Rate, Activity + Sleep Tracker). The question, again, becomes a matter of what you’re looking to accomplish by purchasing the Jawbone Up3 calorie counter. If you’re lacking motivation to really pin down your diet and count your calories, or you’re too busy to keep track of this each and every day, that money can go a long way towards giving you the body you need by allowing you to have complete control over your caloric expenditure. This, in turn, will allow you to improve your food choices and achieve results long-term by focusing on each day that contributes along the way. The best part, perhaps, is the fact that you can link your profile with a friend’s so you can see each other’s activity levels in real time whenever each of you update. This was something I did not have with the Bodymedia, but now it is there and I use it competitively with my friend. Although a little creepy, as I see all the same statistics he sees when updating it on his phone, you cannot beat getting motivated and springing into action by watching your friend’s caloric expenditure for the day jump sky high because they are pushing themselves extremely hard in the gym or on the track. It really is a beautiful motivator.

As mentioned earlier, the reminder effects of the Jawbone Up3 are also a great motivator. Not only will you want to set new goals and break through them, but wearing that wristband on days when you really haven’t moved much will keep you away from loading up on snacks or having big meals. The same can be said for active days, where it’ll be a reminder to feed your body a bit more than usual (knowing it is perfectly fine!). This is really an underrated component of wearing the Jawbone Up3 with you everywhere. You know you can’t cheat, but more importantly, the Jawbone will help you zero-in on exactly what those differences will be, instead of random guesstimations.

From personal experience, I think the Jawbone Up3 calorie counter is worth it. I have one, and I haven’t stopped using it because it has become an invaluable tool for me as I track my progress. It really works, but you won’t truly appreciate it until you put it on your wrist and watch it do its thing. If you’re iffy about the price, think about what you get as a result. It takes the hassle out of the diet, and let’s you focus on achieving your fitness goals. Not too shabby for a one time purchase price that is probably close to your monthly cell phone bill. If you want results, the Jawbone Up3 calorie counter can only help. Indeed, considering you can track your progress along with a partner, it’s a smart investment especially if you have a friend or partner equally obsessed about achieving a particular physique. I’m a fan!

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