So I think I have figured out an exercise routine that works for me using trackers and apps. I have played with the Fitbit Flex, Basis watch, and Google Glass as devices and tried a several health tracker apps, finally settling on Bodbot.
I have used the Fitbit continuously for well over 6 months now to track my steps each day. With the Fitbit I shoot for 10,000 steps a day, usually getting one half or more of my daily goal during a morning workout at the gym. This week Bodbot announced that they had integrated with Fitbit and Jawbone; but for now it just shows the steps taken during the day in the Bodbot app or online and does not assign them to various walking or running activities that Bodbot tracks. When working out at the gym I enter this into Bodbot from my cell phone.
Bodbot, is a relatively new exercise app that I have used for a number of months now. It has been very good for me because:
- it varies my daily routine,
- has exercises for both the gym and home,
- allows me to remove those exercises that I cannot do that day due to lack of equipment access when traveling or when I switch the recommended exercise for another similar one,
- times the various stretches and activities
- Allows me to add/drop sets and weights,
- explains the exercise and often has videos to show how, and
- it is easy to add other exercises via the app in real-time.
I also like that Bodbot has a broad range of fitness activities including free weights, kettle bells, weight machines, stretches, aerobic and other activities which have increased my strength, stamina and flexibility and introduced me to new things. While the social aspects are okay, that has not been of much use for me. Here is a screenshot of one days recommended workout:
Each morning before heading to the gym I check Bodbot to get a sense of what’s coming. I then spend about 15 to 20 minutes doing aerobic activity on the treadmill, except when Bodbot recommends either sprints or a long run, which I then incorporate into my time on the treadmill. This is followed by the Bodbot recommended exercises and then I finish back on the treadmill to cool down. During the past month, I have averaged 6 days of exercise a week, and feel that this habit is settling in nicely. Often in the evenings I go for a walk, and sometimes a hike on the weekends, or a trip to Kona Skate Park where I ride my BMX bike.
I do not track meals via either the Fitbit app or Bodbot, as it is still a hassle. This is one area that is a major stumbling block with all the apps I’ve tried.
My thoughts about the Basis watch have changed and I stopped wearing it. I found it lost the tracking of my heart rate too often during exercise, and while the sleep tracking was interesting, was not enough to make up for the inability to track my heart rate during workouts. I tried tightening the band and loosening the band, all to no avail. It seemed to lose track when weight lifting or during high intensity activities. I also found that it under-counted steps; I even manually counted them and then looked at the watch to check. The Fitbit worn on the other arm at the same time was consistently better. In the end, for my needs, the Fitbit is just simple, easy and more accurate.
As far as the Fitbit and social, here is an interesting story…
My brother who has a Fitbit and lives on the other coast and I linked our accounts and we get our weekly progress comparisons and can see daily activity. A few months back I was speaking with my mother who said “your brother is a little worried about how you are doing.” I asked why, as all was well, and she said “he saw that your walking activity has dropped way off and thought maybe something was wrong or you got hurt and is planning to call you.” I proceeded to inform her that the band on my Fitbit had broken and I had not worn it for 3 days! I then called my brother to explain…The power of social!