Hi, guys! I hope the new year is treating you right, so far!
I wanted to talk about something that is becoming increasingly popular in the fitness world that I think deserves the spotlight for a moment. All of these new fitness gadgets and apps. Are they beneficial? Are they accurate? Why should or shouldn’t you use them?
In my opinion, technology can only enhance our experience in the realm of health and fitness. I think that being aware of certain aspects of health is the very first step toward reaching that healthy lifestyle. I always talk to my clients about the importance of sleep, of taking the stairs instead of the elevator, of knowing your typical heart rate. But honestly how can we really know how effective we’re being if we can’t track it? That’s where technology has come into play.
Personally, I like to use a standard Heart Rate Monitor. My HRM doesn’t track anything other than my heart rate and calories burned, but it helps me keep my workouts consistent and intense. I will definitely tell you that when I didn’t workout with a heart rate monitor I thought I was working way harder than I actually was. This was a pretty big wake up call for me when I started seeing how much harder I could truly push myself. Naturally, I’ve gotten significantly better results since monitoring my workouts and becoming more aware of my aerobic capacity. It keeps me honest and it keeps me motivated to push myself daily. Awareness is the first step to a healthy lifestyle.
Another little piece of technology I use on a daily basis? A diet tracker app on my phone. Every day I find myself entering my meals in order to make sure I’m keeping a balanced diet and staying within a healthy caloric range. It’s hard to guess how many calories a certain meal contains and sometimes I find myself eating more than I realize! Diet tracking is so simple and useful and has taught me to make better decisions diet-wise. Just the other day I was getting really groggy at work and couldn’t figure out why. When I checked my diet app I realized I had barely eaten any complex carbs. I added some rice to my next meal and was focused and energized again for the rest of my work day. If I wasn’t aware that my problem was diet related I may have resorted to a sugar filled energy drink. Or a craving for something sweet. Being aware is the first step to a healthy lifestyle.
But what about on a bigger scale? Aside from us workout gurus, how can technology help us? Something I’m extremely passionate about is the idea of preventative health. If we can develop a healthy lifestyle where the human machine is functioning optimally on all aspects (sleep, exercise, diet, etc) – then maybe we won’t get sick as much? Maybe we won’t need to see the doctor as much? Maybe we can PREVENT some of the widespread disease caused by a poor lifestyle? As this idea becomes more popular, insurance companies are jumping on board to help people get started. I have recently been in contact with Oscar Health Insurance ( they operate out of New York and New Jersey: check them out here) and they have started helping out their clients by giving them MisFit fitness bands. I think this is huge for preventative health and I’m so excited about what this could mean for the general population.
I recently had a client come to me with extreme frustration. She was working out and dieting well yet she couldn’t get her weight to budge. I asked her about her lifestyle in general and I was shocked at how much she could squeeze into one day with her kids, her jobs, and her workouts on top of that. Naturally, she was missing out on her sleep and I pointed out that sleep is a critical factor in fat loss as well as overall health. Sleep is important for allowing the body to produce growth hormone, reduce stress, and heal! She had gotten a MisFit fitness tracker for Christmas and was starting to use it to track her daily steps and her sleep. She came to me a week later and showed me the results of her sleep tracking: she was only getting about 2 hours of restful REM sleep per night. Yikes. Now she is working on getting to bed earlier and making sleep a priority. In this case, technology allowed her to become AWARE of her poor sleep quality which could prevent a number of health issues down the line. It’s one thing to hear it from a personal trainer, it’s another thing to actually see it. Awareness is the first step in a health lifestyle.
I think it goes without saying that I am absolutely on board when it comes to mixing technology with fitness. As the general population starts to become more aware of their health, I think its important that we all have access to critical health components more often than just a yearly check up. I also think that technology is the bridge between being in the dark about our health to knowing more and being in control. We are making decisions on a daily basis about our health – its pretty important that we know how those decisions impact us, right?
What type of technology do you use for your lifestyle? How has it helped you so far?