Withings are a French consumer electronics company and the Wi-Fi body scale was the first product they released, back in 2009.
The scales come nicely boxed
In the box you get
•Withings Wi-Fi Body scales
•USB 2.0 cable
•4 AAA batteries
•4 carpet feet
Withings Wi-Fi Body scales
The scales themselves are rather handsome. There is a screen in the middle of them, and are covered by a glass slab. They would not look out of place in any bathroom. They weigh in at 2.3kg's, so not that heavy at all to move around.
Before you start getting on the scales and weighing yourself, you will want to get the scales set up, connected to your Wi-Fi network, then the scales will automatically send your data to the Withings online portal.
To accomplish this, you need to first set up your Withings online account.
To set up a new account, it is incredibly easy, and you need to just
After you have set this up, it this then time to set up a 'user' for your account.
You can have a maximum of 8 'users' with the scales, plenty for even the biggest of families.
One cool feature here is the 3 letter nickname you give each user will be displayed on the scale when that user steps on the scales and weighs themselves!
Once you are done with creating the users for your account, you need to download the software and begin the setup on your computer to get the Withings scales connected to your Wi-Fi network.
Again, the setup is incredibly easy, and the PairingWizard means that even the most technologically challenged individuals should have no issues in setting the scales up.
Once you have set the scales up to your Wi-Fi network, you are done and all is left is to use them!
To activate the scales, all you have to do is stand on them.
The scales will then provide you with your weight, once it has found which 'user' is on the scales, it will also give you your body fat% and also BMI.
Here is a video the scales being used, so you can see just how easy they are to use:
The scales can be set to give your weight in either
There is a little switch that sits next to the batteries, and you just need to flick it so that it selects the units you want.
There a few tips for using the scales which you should follow in order to get the most out of them:
•You should be barefoot when weighing yourself in order to receive the full body composition analysis.
•Weigh yourself under the 'same' conditions each time you weigh yourself. Do not weigh yourself after exercise one day, and in the evening the next, as this will yield varying results. Also, if you weigh yourself as soon as you have woken up, it is possible that your results will be a bit off because you will not only be dehydrated, but the distribution of liquids in your body will cause a change and so prevent the most accurate of results.
As the scales are able to 'recognise' users, if you have two users who are very similar, it is possible that the scales cannot device between them. If this is the case, the options of available users is displayed on the screen. To select the correct user, all you need to do is take your foot off the incorrect side, so leave the weight on the foot which represents the correct user. Similarly if there are 3 users, you use the foot trick to move the arrow up and down, and wait for a few seconds on the correct user.
The Wi-FI on the scales only connects after you have weighed yourself. Do not worry if your network is broken or out of range, the scales will store a maximum of 16 weigh in's before deleting old ones.
One of the best parts of the Withings scales is their online platform, where you can view your weight over time and keep yourself motivated.
navigating to my.withings.com will allow you to log into the Withings online portal and start to track your weight
When you log into your account, you will be presented with a number of 'Tips'
These are very useful and explain a number of things, from BMI, to why you need to monitor more than weight and an explanation of the 'Yo-Yo' effect!
I suggest reading these tips when you have a few minutes spare.
When you first use the dashboard, there will be no data on there!
However, after a few weigh in's, it will be full of data
There are 2 versions of the dashboard, standard and enhanced. I actually prefer the standard version as it is a bit cleaner and gives each data point a value
However, with the enhanced version of the dashboard, you are able select from a number of different curves and zoom in on the data. Whilst I like being able to select the curves I am looking at, I find using the standard version of the dashboard a lot easier!
In the bottom right of the dashboard is a panel, which can be minimised by pressing the minus button, and this provides a full breakdown of the weigh in for the day selected
Here you can see all your information in more detail, and even change the units being used at any time. You are also given your BMI.
Contained within this panel is an area called "objectives", this allows for you to set targets for your weight and fat%. This is one of the many ways that the Withings scales provide motivation for you are your goals.
Whilst this may not appeal to everyone, you can share your data via a number of different channels, whether that be with other Withings users, embedding your on a website (as I have done below, as you can see the Widget works well but embedding the curve seems to be a bit troublesome) or by setting up Facebook/twitter sharing.
If you decide to share the information via twitter and Facebook, the unit will automatically send these out after each weigh in. This is a great way of allowing users to not only track your weight, but also encourage you on your way to your various goals.
One other area that I think Withings are really ahead of the game is their willingness to work with other services and to allow other services to work with them.
If you go to the partner section of the page, you can see all the other applications that will accept the Withings data, and also a couple that will even send their data to Withings.
If you use Training Peaks for example, then you can set it up so that Withings sends your data to their site and you can view your weight data there!
It is also possible to import data from the RunKeeper and Zeo into the Withings platform, and see their data on your site that way
I think that this is fantastic as it means you get the most out of your Withings system by using it with as many other services that you also use. Withings get a big Thumbs up from us at the Running Supplement for that.
As with almost everything these days, there is an app for it, and Withings are no exception. Available here, or by searching Withings in the app store (also available for Android).
The app is well made and provides for an excellent way to view your data on the go.
Download the app, and to begin with you will need to log into your Withings account
After this, you can choose which user you want the App to display
Once that is done, you will be presented with your latest weigh in results. The app does work offline, storing your recent results locally. If you are not connected to the internet, the app will then not download your latest results.
Turing the screen horizontally will display the graph view, and you can have one or two graphs showing
Another useful feature of the app is the ability to set reminders, so you know you need to take a weight measurement.
Viewing the data on the iPad is fantastic, and with the larger screen it really looks good.
One very useful feature of the iPad app is the ability to add in a user on the app itself
I want to talk a bit about the data that the Withings Body Scales provide
BMI - Body Mass Index
This is a standard created by the World Health Organisation, it is calculated as the relationship between a users weight with the square of their height. It allows for the risks for health linked to abnormal weight to be evaluated. Generally speaking, we want a BMI between 18 and 25. BMI needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, as for elite level athletes, they will have a very high BMI (due to their high muscular mass), this doesn't necessarily mean that they have any health risks.
Withings want you to be aware that just monitoring weight alone is not goof enough. This is why you need to monitor your BodyFat % and Lean Mass%
There are different ranges of desirable fat for Men (15%) and Women (23%) Fat is vital as it ensures temperature regulation and is an envelope for organs and joints.
Monitoring fat levels during a diet will be very rewarding as it should decrease over time.
Lean mass is all your bodies bones, muscles and organs.
Lean Mass is a good indicator of the potential to become thinner. The more Lean Mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate, which helps to reduce our excess body fat and helps to loose weight.
How the scales work
The scales use Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis to help calculate results. The unit sends a low, safe electrical signal through the body. The resistance provided by the different tissues in the body is then used to analyse your body.
I am a huge fan of the Withings Body Scales. They provide a great deal of information at each weigh in and are a great motivator. They are also great for all the family to use as you can have 8 users on one set of scales. With the other data that is taken into account at each weigh in, you know you are getting reliable and useful information.
There are a number of other platforms that the Withings scales work with, and this increases their appeal and use infinitely.
As a runner, having accurate body composition information is fantastic, but then having the ability to easily share that data with a coach is phenomenal.
We thoroughly recommend the Withings scales, they retail at £119.99 and are available from Amazon or for €129.00 from the Withings store. They are not the cheapest scales in the world, but provide a lot more than just giving you your weight, and with the ability to set up numerous users, your can easily spread the cost amongst a number of friends!