You wear SLIMCOACH on your waistband and it counts your steps and keeps track of your activity calories burned. It does not have a numerical display, but instead uses a red/yellow/green lit health circle to display your daily progress. Upload your exercise data via a USB cable to the MYTRAK web site to see more details on your physical activities and calories burned. Plus, you can track your diet or use their diet plans. The MYTRAK Manager uploads to either PC or Mac.
The SLIMCOACH Activity Monitor
The SLIMCOACH doesn't have a numerical display, but instead has a Health Circle display that lights up from red to green as you wear it throughout the day. Push the Health Circle once to see your progress in burning total daily calories. Press it twice to see how you are doing towards your three indicators: heart, health and energy.
Heart: you have a daily goal to get heart-healthy activity. My first goal was set at 30 minutes a day of moderately intense activity, which I was able to achieve with fitness walking. This goal increases each week.
Energy: Think calories -- your daily calories burned in exercise. My first goal was burning 170 calories in exercise activities each day. That matches up well with 30 minutes of walking, but I could also achieve that with fewer minutes of more intense exercise.
Health: This ring averages your daily exercise activity for the past seven days, to tell you whether you are getting exercise consistently.
SLIMCOACH recharges via a USB cable, either attached to a computer or by buying an optional AC adapter. I found that it recharged well in an hour or less each day.
The red/yellow/green display is a simple way to see whether you are achieving your goal for the day. But I am a numbers person and I would prefer there also to be a numerical display on the device.
MYTRAK Web Site
On My Dashboard you have a row of icons for displaying different data.
Goals and Health Plan: I set a goal to lose weight and I had to set a realistic timeframe in which to achieve it. MYTRAK then calculated what my daily goal and weekly goals should be for activity and calories (both expended and how much should be your maximum intake). These goals evolve as time progresses and SLIMCOACH records your actual activity. The first week, the goals are easy to achieve as everyone is set to "inactive" and given easy goals. The targets get bigger each week as you progress. By the second week I was rated a "rabbit" with a moderate lifestyle.
Today's Results and Overall Results: See your Health Circle and targets for the current day and your overall results for the past seven days.
Heart Activity Chart: Here you can see details on your heart activity minutes each day. The chart shows your target, your daily totals for the past month, and your trendline. By mousing over any day you can see a complete hourly chart of how you achieved the heart activity minutes that day.
Activity Energy Chart: Similar to the heart activity chart, but here you see how you burned activity calories each day. It also displays how much of your burn was in low intensity, medium intensity, and high intensity activity. Clicking on a daily bar shows you a detailed hourly graph of your calorie-burning activity.
Steps Taken and Distance Taken Charts: These are similar to the Activity Energy Chart, showing daily results for the past month and details for each day.
Daily Caloric Balance: If you use their My Nutrition tab to track your food intake, this page will show how you are staying in balance.
Heart Rate Chart: If you add an optional coded Polar heart rate monitor, the SLIMCOACH can record your heart rate details for exercise and display them here.
I liked the variety of diets offered. I have been tracking my diet with our Calorie Count web site. This offered similar options for entering in the food I was eating, creating my own meals and recipes. But MYTRAK has the advantage of suggesting a menu and producing a shopping list, with recipes.
Currently, MYTRAK doesn't have a smartphone app that would let you input what you eat throughout the day. You can do that by logging into the web site from a smartphone, but not through an app.
You can join or form groups and participate in message board discussions with other MYTRAK users.
Each week, I got a message from a coach with tips to keep progressing with my goals.
However, this community is self-contained. There are no options to send your daily totals or progress to Facebook or Twitter, for example.
Bottom Line on SLIMCOACH
- Red-yellow-green indicators make it easy to know how you are progressing toward your daily goals.
- Your goals become more and more challenging over time so you can continue to progress for fitness and/or weight loss.
- The diet and nutrition planning and tracking tools are very useful and are the kind that have helped me be successful with diets in the past.
- The graphs and analysis on the MYTRAK site are interesting and useful.
- The goals set are consistent with basic exercise recommendations to reduce health risks.
- I miss having numbers on the device itself.
- It takes a little learning curve to understand what is meant by heart, health, and energy goals. It helps to watch the video tutorials or attend a webinar to get the most out of it from the start.
- The device is bigger than I like to wear.
- No social media integration or smartphone app as of March, 2012.