Yesterday was the official kick off of our #MobileFit series for the month of June. We’ve done this before back when we called it ‘Fitness Month’ and we held it in the unseasonable month of February. This year, we’re doing it in June because you’re most likely to exercise this month instead of the cold doldrums of winter.
What is #MobileFit? It’s where we explore how to improve our lives with modern technology. Since you’re reading our site, there’s a good chance you’re looking to use the latest and greatest gizmos in ways that can make your existence better. From smartphones with built in pedometers, weight scales with built-in Wi-Fi, to smart wearables and the services that power them, there’s a lot to share in 2014.
In fact, I’ll go so far as to argue that the smartphones revolution is over, and it’s wearables that will be the next big thing. Smartphones will continue to evolve and improve, but the concept of what they are and what they do is 90% complete. Wearables – like Fitbit or smartwatches – are just the tip of this new category, and that classification still needs definition.
Before we start our main coverage though, let me share with you what I plan on doing for the month.
I’ve cheated. I’ve been exercising and using whatever technology I can for over two years now. In that sense, June is just another month for me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have my own goals. It also means I can share with you what my normal routine looks like and what tech I’m using. So here you go!
- Windows Phone – Mostly for music, but also to use apps like Fitbit Tracker, Endomondo, and Track Runner, my Windows Phone (mostly a Lumia 1520) is what powers me at the gym.
- Fitbit Force – Nope, rashes be damned I’m keeping my Force. I also have the Flex and One laying around. Fitbit is the go-to name for wearables for monitoring activity, steps, sleep and more. Sure, it can’t yet sync directly with Windows Phone, but with my PC and apps like Fitbit Tracker, it’s almost there. In addition, an official Fitbit app with Bluetooth 4.0 LE should be coming later this summer.
- Fitbit Aria scale – I gave a brief review of this pricey scale last year. Weight? I honestly don’t care about it. What I do care about is my body-fat percentage. While scales that measure your body fat are not as accurate as a full DEXA scan, if used consistently it can give you a reliable baseline. Toss in the fact that Aria has Wi-Fi built into auto-sync to your Fitbit account and you have a super easy way to monitor your progress.
- MyFitnessPal – Besides Fitbit, I’m a huge fan of MyFitnessPal. The calorie counting service ties into Fitbit directly so that they can ‘talk’ to each other. Set your goals in Fitbit, let MyFitnessPal handle the calorie counting. Rumor has it a bug fix update is coming for Windows Phone quite soon.
- Jaybirds BlueBuds X- Earlier this year I extolled the benefits of these prime headphones for runners and gym rats. They’re not cheap ($145), but for me they’re essential when exercising. Sweat proof, lightweight, high battery life, excellent audio fidelity and the ability to stay in your ear during vigorous exercise, the BlueBuds X are pretty amazing.
- Heart rate monitors – I don’t use these often, but I do have both the Adidas miCoach and Runtastic heart rate chest monitors. They can work with certain Windows Phones directly, and I think it’s neat how treadmills and elliptical machines can also receive their signals. Great for helping to know how many calories you’ve burned.
- Gym membership – I’m a fan of Planet Fitness (www.planetfitness.com). For $10 a month, you can join a gym. That’s amazingly cheap. They’re also super friendly, meant for new people to the gym scene, so there’s less of the ‘intimidation factor.' If you’re in the US, there’s a good chance you have one nearby, so do yourself a favor and check one out.
- Standing desk – I have an Anthro Elevate II Adjusta desk, because I’m behind a computer for 8-10 hours a day. Standing, as opposed to sitting, is better to burn calories, posture and more. While my Adjusta is the Rolls Royce of standing desks, it doesn’t mean you can’t find one for your budget. I’ll be reviewing the Adjusta in the coming weeks.
- Odds and ends – Nalgene water bottles, compression shirts, shorts, and some good New Balance sneakers all round up my gym essentials
So what are my objectives for June? Here are my current stats:
- Age – 36
- Weight – 168 pounds (76 kilograms)
- Body Fat – 14-15%
- Bench press (max) – 225 pounds (102 kg) for 4 reps; Smith machine
- Leg press (max) – 405 pounds (181 kg) for 5 reps
In many ways, I’m already in good shape. Still, I’ve had my body fat percentage as low as 10.5% almost one year ago, so I’d like to get down to a more modest 12-13% for June. The goal here is to drop the fat, but not burn muscle, so I won’t be doing cardio strictly and will continue my weight lifting routine as well.
I’ll also be giving up my nightly beer or scotch and skipping desserts. I may indulge a bit on the weekend, but for weekdays I’m keeping clean. For the record, alcohol can be very detrimental for weight loss, so reconsider that drink following a fried, fatty meal!
I try to exercise five days a week, usually for 90-120 minutes (50 minutes of lifting, 40 minutes of cardio). I think anything less is nonsense if you’re looking to burn fat, get in shape and make a change. Sure, if you haven’t worked out in years you’ll want to ramp up to that, but a minimum of 3 days a week should be your starting point. I don’t believe in overworking, especially if you live the sedentary lifestyle like myself.
But hey, even if you can just spare 30 minutes a day for three days a week…it’s a start. So set realistic (but ambitious!) goals for yourself.
I practice what is called Intermittent Fasting (IF). My buddy Kevin Michaluk jokingly refers to this as ‘periodic starvation,' which isn’t too off from the mark. In short, I skip breakfast and lunch five days a week and just eat once at night. Like a gremlin. That means I’m fasting for 15-18 hours a day and then consume my 2000 calories in one or two sittings, almost always after I exercise.
Sounds weird, right? I’ll do more on IF (and a subgenre called LeanGains) later this week.
So there you have it. That’s what I’ve been doing for a few years now, and it’s what I happen to like. Is it the magic plan? Certainly not. The best diet regimen and workout schedule is the one that works for you. So your goal? Find out what your ideal habits should be going forward. Remember, diets are not temporary things you go on, they’re permanent lifestyle changes.
What are your goals for #MobileFit? Have any advice for me? Sound off in comments!