Wahoo Balance Scale

Wahoo Balance Scale

The combination of a couple of injuries, a few child-inflicted illnesses and many lost days of training due to our move has given gravity an increased interest in my movements. I’ve got a rendezvous with a 125-ish mile ride in early October and I don’t want to be on the road for nine hours, so my work is cut out for me.

A while back I tried the FitBit Aria scale and couldn’t get it to work despite repeated (and often unanswered) emails to their tech support department (and no, they had no phone number). I never got to the bottom of my problem and returned the scale to the Apple store. They’ve since stopped carrying that product, I’m told, because so many were returned.

Losing weight is a good deal harder for me today than it was during my racing heyday, and so I’ve made the decision to resort to technology. In addition to keeping track of what I’m eating, I also wanted to track my weight with an app, which was the reason for my interest in the Aria.

Given my previous success (read ease of use) of other Wahoo products, I decided to give the Wahoo Balance scale a try. Ideally, I’d like feedback on my body fat percentage—no matter how bad the news. The Balance doesn’t offer body fat percentage, but it does offer Body Mass Index (BMI) based on your height. It’s not nearly as objective as electrical resistance to test for body fat, but it’s not a bad indicator for someone who isn’t training 20 hours a week, trying to win masters races.

A confession: Seeing the number on the scale go up when I’m trying to lose weight can send me free-falling into depression. I’ve had uglier existential crises, but none are more instant. The BMI number is handy because if my weight goes up half a pound but my BMI stays constant, it just means I’m better hydrated. Crisis averted. I return to Defcon 5. 

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The Balance is only a piece of the equation. What gives the scale its real value is the free Wahoo Wellness app that connects to the Balance via Bluetooth 4.0. The scale stores each weigh-in in flash memory and when you open the app it gives you the opportunity to select which weights are yours to give you the opportunity to track your weight historically. And if your sweetie is using the scale as well, you can dismiss her weigh-ins (or cheat). If I import my kids’ weights into the app I think that could make for an amusing graph, though. No word whether weight loss of greater than 100 lbs. links directly to 911 or initiates a Bluetooth high-five.

The Balance goes for $79.99, and if ordered directly from Wahoo’s site you get free shipping. I’d still like for them to offer a scale that measures body fat percentage, but I can’t deny this has provided me with everything I need.

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6 comments

  1. brian ledford

    I’m confused. Why would your weight change but not your BMI (weight/height^2)? And why would that have anything to do with how well hydrated you are, instead of “I just went to chipotle”?

    1. Quentin

      I agree. It seems to me that BMI (assuming height remains constant) is basically an alternate measurement of weight that uses fewer significant digits. It is therefore less sensitive to small scale fluctuations that occur on a daily basis due to both hydration, burrito consumption, and any number of other factors. Individual data points are probably only meaningful to within a pound or two, unless they are considered in the context of longer term trends.

  2. JohnK

    In the same boat. I signed up for the “Panzer” course on the Levi’s ride, (112mi) I believe, trying to rehab a torn meniscus, while my three boys vie for my attention and my 50th Birthday is two weeks away. Nine hours sounds about right.

  3. Don Jagoe

    I’ve been very successfully using an Aria for a couple of years–now I will be waiting for it to fail catastrophically. Not sure how much help the electrical resistance feature would be for you. I’m consistently between 5.5 and 6.5%. I’m a lean ectomorph type, but don’t think I am that lean…Still, on a relative basis, I suppose it is somewhat useful. Certainly the weight is extremely accurate. And tracking it over time has been instructive. I can tell in advance how many extra pounds each business trip will incur and how many days it will take to lose it…


  4. Author
    Padraig

    Brian, Quentin: I spoke to a friend with a background in diet/nutrition/weight loss and she helped clarify the misinformation I was working from—which didn’t come from Wahoo, I might add. Yes, you’re correct, BMI tracks with weight (hell, the info was there in front of me), not independent of it. Which leaves me in my existential tailspin. To keep me happy, I’d still do well to find a scale that tracks body fat.

    John: See you out there.

    Don: I’m not sure if Aria’s problem is quality control or just that they didn’t control for all the variables in the wifi communication, but everyone I heard from who got one to work told me it continued to work flawlessly. I expect yours will continue to serve you well for some time to come.

  5. UpTheGrade, SR, CA

    I only wish I could get down to 168 lbs. Just turned 50 and these days my weight is stubbornly fixed at 185. It goes down a bit after double century rides, but than reverts right back if I eat anything. Don’t want to struggle too badly on the Fondo this year, so need to lose some before those hills. Gravity is unforgiving!

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