Beyond Basal

Beyond BasalFeatures

  • Can display your energy use and goal after your basal metabolic rate has been subtracted. This lets you see only the energy associated with your activity; sitting on your bottom no longer counts.
  • Can display other activity measures (steps, distance and heart rate).
  • Shows the last hour’s activity history in a detailed graph.
  • Shows where you should be up to at the current time of day.
  • Can display energy in kilojoules (kJ).
  • Has an 'Always-On Display' mode (compatible watches only).

Cost: $1 USD + tax.

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Basal Metabolic Rate

You may have noticed that your energy (eg, Calorie) activity level increases even if you stay still. This is because of your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy you expend simply by being alive. It usually contributes more than half of your daily energy goal. Because of BMR, it isn’t necessary to exercise until you reach your energy goal.

The inclusion of BMR in energy statistics makes it hard to see what you’ve achieved through activity, as opposed to just sitting around. It also makes it hard to tell when you’ve done enough activity to get you to your daily energy goal.

By default, Beyond Basal removes your BMR from the displayed values. This has two effects:

  • Your daily energy goal is reduced, so the displayed goal is what you need to achieve through exercise or other activity.
  • Your achievement so far is reduced, and shows only what you’ve achieved through activity.

With these changes, it’s obvious when you’ve burnt enough energy for the day: your achievement (beyond BMR) will meet or exceed your goal (beyond BMR). This makes it no harder than working out whether you’ve achieved a goal of 10,000 steps.

You can disable Beyond Basal’s exclusion of BMR. If you do so, Beyond Basal will display the same daily energy goal and achievement as other clockfaces and apps.

BMR only applies to energy.

Screen Layout

Beyond Basal LayoutBeyond Basal’s screen is divided into three main sections:

  • The time and date are displayed across the top. Between them is an icon that indicates the current activity measure.
  • Below the time and date is a progress gauge that compares your current daily level of achievement (upper grey bar) with your goal (lower blue and green bars).
  • The lower area of the screen is a rate graph that shows the last hour’s history for the current activity measure. Overlaid on this are three or four lines that help you to see how you’re going.

On Versa 3 and Sense watches, the progress gauge appears at the bottom of the screen.

Changing the Activity Measure

Touch the activity icon at the top of the screen to swap between energy (Calories or kilojoules), steps, distance and heart rate.

When displaying energy (Calories or kilojoules), you can swap between including and excluding basal energy as follows:

  • Versa 1/2/Lite: long-touch the top half of the screen.
  • Versa 3 and Sense: touch beside the energy icon.

The unit label in the progress gauge (Cal or kJ) will have a + after it if basal energy is included, or - if it is excluded.

To swap between Calories and kilojoules, use Beyond Basal’s Settings on your phone.

Progress Gauge

Progress Gauge.pngThe progress gauge contains the following information:

  • Units: the currently-displayed activity measure.
  • Basal (energy only): whether BMR is included (+) or excluded (-).
  • Achievement bar: your actual achievement so far today when compared to the track bar and goal bar.
  • Goal bar: the total that you need to get to today. If you achieve more than this, the goal bar will shorten so you can see how much greater your achievement is. Even though the left end of the goal bar is obscured by the track bar, you should interpret the goal bar as though it started at the zero axis.
  • Track bar: how much of your daily goal you should have achieved by the current time of day. In the example above, you should have achieved about 40% of your goal by now.
  • Current achievement: what you’ve actually achieved so far (ie, the length of the achievement bar).
  • Ahead of track: how much the achievement bar is ahead of the track bar.
  • Ahead of goal: how much the achievement bar is ahead of the goal bar.

Terminology Graph (no basal).pngActivity Period

The track bar and ahead of track statistic are based on what you should have achieved by the current time of day (ie, the track value). The track value assumes a steady level of activity during the day’s activity period, and no activity outside of the activity period.

The simplest case is when BMR is excluded or irrelevant (ie, when the current activity measure is steps or distance). Track is zero until the start of the activity period, then ramps up until it reaches your goal at the end of the activity period. After that, it remains at goal.

Beyond Basal Terminology Graph (basal)It’s a bit more complicated if you include BMR. In this case, track increases at BMR before and after the activity period (because your energy achievement will increase by BMR even if you don’t do anything). During the activity period, it will increase at a greater rate, which is calculated to ensure that the track line reaches the goal line at the end of the day.

You can change the activity period’s start and end times using Beyond Basal’s Settings within the Fitbit app on your phone.

Icon Colour

The colour of the activity measure icon (between the time and date) is related to the progress gauge:

  • Blue: your achievement is below track.
  • Green: your achievement is between track and goal.
  • Lilac: your achievement is above goal.

Heart Rate

The progress gauge works differently when the current activity measure is heart rate. The upper bar indicates your current heart rate, and the lower bar is divided into heart rate zones:

  • Grey: below resting.
  • Blue: between resting and fat-burn (ie, out of zone).
  • Tan: fat-burn. Think of the colour as cream (fat) and/or orange (burning).
  • Green: cardio.
  • Lilac: peak.

The heart icon’s colour also indicates which zone you’re in.

The numbers on the progress gauge also work differently:

  • The value in the centre is your current heart rate.
  • The value on the left is the number of beats-per-minute by which your current heart rate is above the lower limit of its current zone.
  • The value on the right is the number of beats-per-minute by which your current heart rate is below the upper limit of its current zone.

Beyond Basal Rate GraphRate Graph

Historical Achievement Bars

The rate graph contains a series of bars that shows your achievement over the last hour. The rightmost bar corresponds to the most recent time.

By default, each bar corresponds to five minutes. You can change this to one minute as follows:

  • Versa 1/2/Lite: long-touch the lower half of the watch screen.
  • Versa 3/Sense: touch the graph.

Sometimes your watch won’t have complete historical data. Incomplete data is indicated by an upward-pointing arrow-head on the tops of affected bars. When narrow (one-minute) bars are used, the arrow-heads are brightened to improve their visibility; they look like dots on the tops of affected bars.

The rate graph’s vertical scale is compressed (ie, logarithmic) so that small values can be easily distinguished while still allowing large values to be displayed. This can be helpful because your average energy achievement rate is only about 5% of the rate you can achieve during intense exercise. If the scale were not shown like this, the rate lines would often be very close together near the bottom of the graph, making it hard to distinguish their values. The grid lines on the graph are evenly spaced in terms of the values they represent; for example, on the graph shown above, the grid lines are one Cal/min apart.

The vertical scale can change automatically, to ensure that all bars are displayed completely. You might notice the scale changing when starting or finishing periods of intense activity.

Rate Lines

Up to three horizontal rate lines will be displayed on the rate graph:

  • So far (green). This shows the average rate you’ve achieved up to now.
  • Req’d av (blue). This shows the average rate you’d need to achieve to meet your daily goal. It doesn’t depend on your current level of achievement.
  • From now (lilac). This shows the average rate you need to achieve from now on to meet your daily goal.

In Beyond Basal’s settings, you can change whether the rate lines depend on the activity period. The options are:

  • Never. Rate lines indicate whole-of-day (midnight to midnight) figures, and ignore the possibility that the level of achievement expected during the activity period may be greater than that expected at other times. For example, if your step goal is 12,000, the Req’d av line would indicate 500 steps/hr at all times.
  • Always. The req’d av line indicates the level of achievement expected at the current time, which can be higher during the activity period. For example, if your step goal is 12,000 and your activity period is 12 hours long, the Req’d av line would indicate 1000 steps/hr duing the activity period and 0 at other times. The So far line shows your achievement level as though all of your achievement occurred between the start of the activity period and now (if the activity period hasn’t started yet, the line isn’t displayed). The From now line shows what you need to achieve from now until the end of the activity period (if the activity period has finished, this line isn’t displayed).
  • Only during activity period. During the activity period, the lines will be the same as in the always case. At other times, they will be the same as the never case. This is useful because it allows the From now line to indicate what you need to do until the end of the day if you don’t reach your goal during the activity period.

A rate line won’t be displayed if its value is too high to fit on the rate graph, which is scaled to fit the historical achievement bars only.

Heart Rate

The rate graph works differently when the current activity measure is heart rate. The bars still show the last hour’s history, but the rate lines now indicate the thresholds of the heart rate zones.

Because there is no need to distinguish between small values, a compressed (logarithmic) vertical scale is not used.