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My goals for #MobileFit month – Daniel Rubino

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.

Technology

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 (opens in new tab), 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

My goals

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 (opens in new tab), so reconsider that drink following a fried, fatty meal!

Frequency

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.

Diet

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.

For now, you can read this great BBC article on IF, join this great sub reddit or check out this ‘101’ guide.

Wrapping up

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!

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

60 Comments
  • Anything in particular for fitness tech you want me to check out? Let me know!
  • Great regime you got there Dan. I plan to return to the gym myself after this short break for exams.
  • Would love to know more about affordable, wrist band/watch style heart rate monitors.
    Week #4 of a 6 week gym layoff because of surgery. Can't wait to get back and embarrass myself on the treadmill.
  • Actually I'm wondering if there's any bodyweight exercise apps you know that comes with video/animated guide since you'll want to do it right and safe. Do you have a personal trainner Daniel?
  • Health Vault and Bing Health and Fitness apps. Let the world know that Microsoft had these health apps for a while now... Crossfit apps.  I use One Rep Max for Crossfit benchmarks and stuff. http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/one-rep-max/83539e78-7f0d-e011-9264-00237de2db9e
  • Yes, I would also like you to check out Health Vault and Bing Health. Perhaps as a second Bodeefit would also be a nice one (a windows 8 app as far as Ii know). The interesting thing about Health Vault and Bing Health is a possible  backstory to these apps. You can collect data, but apparently there are questions about its privacy statements and stories that captured data could unwillingly be sold to companies without you knowing, also the personal data. To a degree perhaps okay, but in the grand scheme of things the data could lead to biasing and confouding claims as to what is actually effective health advice. And what about backdoor selling of data to insurance companies. If insurance companies indrectly find out about the bmi and smoking habits, what influence does this have on health benefits and mortgages etc.
  • I actually tried the GPS tracker in bing health and fitness and it was surprisingly accurate. I love my fitbit flex though. I just designed and 3d printed some pendants to hold mine so its much more stylish than that band that gets all icky after a while ..I found the color started to rub off after a while ..
  • Say something about nokiasensorcorw in 630 that tracks your steps with the help of bing health and fitness . I gonna write a not for nokiasensorcore in my fb group
  • We already wrote on that and it's linked in this article (2nd paragraph).
  • Okay got it article by Abhishek baxi
  • Do you guys need a style editor, because by the looks of it...
  • Any article where they don't say "price point" or "leverage (on)" where "price" and "use" will do is a good article.
  • Awesome you use endomondo! By the way, the latest endomondo beta has support for heart rate monitor :) shouldn't be too long before it hits the public version :)
  • Any good windows phone news today?
  • This is a great question. Let me answer it...
  • I like it how you reply to the comments.. Only few people do this.. :) Well I'm sorry if my comment was offensive.. Btw,The wp 8.1 update is indeed a good news :P
  • lol, not offensive. We are expanding though, so expect more than just WP news ;)
  • Okay mentor :D
  • Alaaaaarm bells
  • Planet Fitness :| 
  • Here's the thing: if you're already at a "real" gym and lift regularly, this article and our series is a waste of your time. I'm interested in reaching the people who don't exercise, who don't lift weights. Sending them to some meathead gym with guys dropping weights and grunting like a porno won't inspire them to workout. It's about baby steps and lowering the barrier to entry. Gym snobs...well, I can't say I'm a fan of their views ;)
  • I wouldn't recommend starting at a gym that has pizza and bagel days :). But whatever works for them I suppose. 
  • eh, it's once a month for a few hours at night. They have fun there, nothing wrong with that. And if you eat and exercise right, nothing wrong with pizza ;)
  • The more, the merrier - nice mention of LeanGains (CNS/CBL-er over here). Looking forward to what you have coming up.
  • Cool stuff! Will look to mention CNS/CBL.
  • "Bench press (max) – 225 pounds (102 kg) for 4 reps; Smith machine Leg press (max) – 405 pounds (181 kg) for 5 reps" i don't know Daniel... Do you even lift bruh?
  • It's not important how much I can lift, it only matters if it looks like I can lift ;)
  • lol! true
  • Dude, did you see his body weight??? Those are great bench and leg maxes! Kinda makes me wonder if you lift.... :P Daniel, try doing squats more than leg presses. You will really increase core strength and increase metabolism.
  • This is great Daniel. You gotta bring out the guns for the summer.lol I'm 29 and plan to get back in shape myself although most people would look at me and say I am already. I have a very high metabolism(think eating chips, donuts, and drinking sodas for the summer without much exercise and losing 10lbs of muscle!) and I'm usually in the minority group as in people actually looking to put on some pounds of muscle. I've done it before with weightlifting and minimal cardio(cause my metabolism doesn't need to speed up anymore) and protein packed meals but I have never stayed consistent after hitting a healthy 165 with around 5% body fat. I'm probably at about 155 now and I want to take on the challenge again.
  • Not sure if exercising 5 times a week and only consuming one meal a day is a good idea.
    Back when I was in the Marines, more like before I was a Marine (in Boot Camp,) we lived on a 4,000 calorie diet, perhaps even more. I only lost about 15lbs in those 3 months, but I gained a lot of muscle and most of the loss was just fat. If hardcore exercising isn't your thing, the best thing to do is have a little snack every 3 hours in the day. A banana or an apple, or something rather. This keeps your metabolism active and massively speeds up your fitness process. Also, drink a crap tone of water. Chug that stuff down like there is no tomorrow. Also helps with your immune system and body development. After all, your entire body is 60% water.
  • Read the research on IF and especially LeanGains. There's no evidence for the 'keeps your metabolism' active lore, since your metabolism won't shift in < 48 hours with no food. Evolutionary speaking, humans didn't eat "every 3 hours" during our development. We ate once, usually after a hunt. Only modern societies have the luxury of saying "eat every 3 hours" with this weird idea that your body shuts down its metabolic processes otherwise. I'm more alert, have more time and generally feel better doing IF. Everyone is different and this works for my lifestyle. Also check out the "Warrior Diet", another variant of IF. You're still getting the same amount of calories, but the fat oxidation process is very different. Both Warrier and LeanGains are meant for people who lift weights and want to gain muscle, not just cut. I agree about water though. Being under-hydrated is a no-no for a good day at the gym!
  • My favourite is the No S diet, because it's free, practical and doesn't result in huge conversations about food before every meal.
  • Daniel, you should give the Stronglifts 5x5 program a go. You get a great workout in 30-40 minutes, and you will add great strength.
  • Yup, toyed around with the idea of that one. Will consider it.
  • That image makes me cringe. Lol. That poor 1020. :D Daniel, 225x4 on the bench, you dog you. ;)
  • I'm mostly curious about the Endomondo vs Runtastic thing. People seem to be firmly in one camp or the other, but I'm not sure why.  I'm using Runtastic right now because I have friends that use it and we're connected.  My problem is that Runtastic isn't updating MyFitnessPal, so I'm manually entering data when not doing so was a major selling point. ARG.  Is this a problem with Runtastic or MFP?
  • I try to bike 3 times a week, 7+ miles each time, if I can get 21 miles a week then I am happy. I carry my 1520 on a waterproof armband, which I use for music and endomondo to track my biking. And yes it probably looks ridiculously big on my arm. I got the Jaybirds BlueBuds X on Dan's recommendation, because I couldn't find a water proof case with a head phone jack to fit the 1520, and wires are actually annoying. I wonder how many sales were made because of Dan. In any case I find them to work well, as with all headphones/earphones, it isn't going to be 100% comfy but these are better than most. At least one of those biking days, I stop at the "club house" every 2 miles and do as many half pullups as I can, immediately followed by hanging leg lifts and then resume my biking. I try to do 3 sets of close squats one day in the week but I have been missing that a lot. I do hand stand pushups during the week ... well I do halves coming down to 2 books stacked on the floor until I can do full. I do 3 sets on one day in the week, although I get more sets in during the week it can be done quickly. I do close hand pushups 3 sets of 20 1 day in the week, working my way up to eventually do one arm. That is pretty much my current weekly workout. I no longer lift weights but rather do body weight excercises as noted above. I have lost over 20 lbs in the last couple of years. Although I have regained weight back in recents weeks due to get togethers and eating cheesecakes and other junk! My max weight I have been was 225 lbs and my lowest a few months ago was about 185. I am around 190-192 currently. So my goal is to continue my excercises and for me to burn more body fat, I am not so concerned with the weight but rather body fat for health. Of course you have to eat healthy which I try to as much as I can or it will just counter all that hard work. I avoid fried foods, I haven't had french fries in probably a year or more. I don't drink soda, occasionally ginger ale. I avoid sugary juices and mostly drink perrier lemon lime. I snack on carrots, apples, celery, bananas, peanuts, cashews ... which keep me away from junk. I haven't had sour patch kids lol in a really long time, in fact there is a bag of them sitting in my pantry for over a year probably which is a test of my will to not eat that junk again. I have a fitbit tracker which helped a lot initially to motivate moving as I sit most of the day on a desk. My fitness pal is good but after 2 months I just couldn't see myself entering in everything I eat. It is helpful to see, and definetly helps you stop yourself from having some extra calories but too much trouble to enter it.
  • Nice routine and tips! Thanks for sharing.
  • I would think the 1520 would be too big to work out with. And your diet.. I didn't know that was a thing.. I've been doing that too.. But not on purpose lol. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • 1520 can be too big, especially if you keep it in your shorts while running ;) So it depends on the activity. I.F. is cool stuff! If it works for you, keep with it. Good way to keep your calories in check.
  • Ive been useing nokia motion monitor for close to a month now & it seems quite accurate i wonder if it is already using sensorcore even though my rm-927 is just running black wp8.x gdr3
  • Thanks for the article Daniel, which does high light everyone is different. One of my cousin does the same and is insistent that I do too though , but the problem for me is gastritus  so this method would be more deterimental than beneficial. I have been having portioned meals 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) ever since i joined the gym I found this works for me (already lost 3 kg - measured at the gym today and I was 82 kg).
  • i would like to know if this wifi smarty scale can also read skeletal muscle % like the Omron HBF-514C, oh and what about a flooded bathroom, will it survive?
  • skeletal muscle %, no no idea about a bathroom flood, but if that's a concern, I'd pay more attention to fixing that than getting a scale ;)
  • lol there's not much to do if you are in a hunry and left the bath all flooded, i guess they havent though about it to specify if it is water proof or not :P
  • Stop using the smith machine Daniel, you're lifting on the moon
  • lol, and that's why I specified I was using one ;) PF and my apartment complex gym don't have regular benchpress setup, so I either use dumb bells for rotation press or the Smith machine. Not ideal, I know.
  • Do nothing but biceps. I want you curling those 70s for 8-10 reps by the end of the summer.
  • :P I'm already worried by arms are out of proportion...need more chest! (and legs, doing lots of legs lately)
  • Whoa. That is lots of tech for what is usually deemed to be a natural activity. Double effort might have just taken on a new semantic. What happened to just knowing your max and trying to surpass it? 36 is up there in terms of your metabolic rate for synthesizing new proteins. This is a much simpler task at 18 years. Maintaining present strength is a more easily attained goal. And if you build some new 'ceps, than the surprise is all the more rewarding.  Good looks on designating June's theme. Another reason to celebrate , or conversely to start being more active, or both! Make those reps count dude
  • "Whoa. That is lots of tech for what is usually deemed to be a natural activity. Double effort might have just taken on a new semantic. What happened to just knowing your max and trying to surpass it?"
    I generally agree, but I will say this: getting the tech has inspired me to workout. That's because I'm merging one hobby with another one, so it helps keep me motivated. That's an important lesson for some and if you're on this site, it may help you as well ;)
  • Aging hits everybody different, but getting that extra push helps be it literal or figurative.. Hopefully your efforts yield success
  • Daniel, just a heads up-- That smith machine at Planet Fitnesses has a base weight of 25 or 35 (it will say on the machine somewhere) and not the standard 45 like most barbells. I've never done any research on IF, but it sounds like an interesting theory.  The masses conform to "hey if I won't eat, then I'll lose weight"--In the lifting community this is dismissed as nonsense and most will cut weight by eating a very lean 5 meals a day with the logic being eating constantly throughout the day but staying under (depending on weight) 2000 calories will be a more effective and healthier way than fasting.  I'm also curious as to what detrimental (if any) effects this has on your workout regimine.  I'm a firm believer of eating a meal 1.5-2 hours before my workout and it seems to me (whether placebo or not) that I always get a better workout when I eat before hand as opposed to skipping that meal.  I will have to read up on IF some more, thanks for introducing me! Sounds like great goals overall especially for your weight--Good luck to you, sir!
  • Ah, thanks for the heads up! Will calculate that weight and adjust accordingly! Regarding IF, yeah it's a real interesting theory. Some evidence supports the idea that it even slows down aging, etc. And yeah, I have a few friends who are hardcore weight lifters, they sip protein drinks every 90 minutes. Depends on what your goals are. Mine is not to get huge, but rather lean and muscular. LeanGains though is for adding muscle and cutting fat. Some people swear by it but macro calculating can be tedious too (IF is more general, so easier; Warrior Diet is even more general, no calorie counting). Re: working out while fasted, it depends. I will say I DO supplement with BCAAs before I hit the gym (plus NOs, alanine, preworkout mix, creatine, etc.), so I'm not completely fasted. For me, it works. But I know for others they're like you, and feel stronger/more energetic with a meal. The important thing: find what maximizes your results ;) Glad you found it interesting..hope I can share more!
  • I'm lame when it comes to tech at the gym. Excel on the phone is good enough for me. Having said that a good timer and counter for cross fit sessions would be good, any you'd recommend.
  • IF is great if it works for you and your eating habits. Overall though no matter what your eating schedule is flexible dieting (iifym) is the way to go for anyone wanting to still live a normal life. Watch the 3dmj pyramid series on YouTube. Plus anything by Alan Aragon, Eric Helms, Layne Norton, Omar Isuf, Matt Ogus and Sebastian Fitness to name a few. As far as routines go Jim Wendler's Beyond 5/3/1 book is great for beginners on up. Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength is a pure beginner book but still great. Just a little helpful info for people.
  • I have a standing desk. That fasting method at the end is very dangerous. At least skip breakfast, but not lunch. Work out right after breakfast time, and then eat at 12, eat again at 5 as your last meal
  • Good luck with your fitness goals! I like the ProGym app because it is very simple and replaces my workout notebook. I use Runtatic for running. I bought the Jaybirds BlueBuds X but unfortunately I can't get the speaker to stay securely in my left ear no matter which foam cushion I use, so I use Nokia Purity Pro wireless for lifting and Nokia Purity buds for cardio. I have bought a FitBit or similar device because I have not been very interested monitoring my daily activity or diet electronically. Weight has never been an issue for me and I don't even use my scale. I do like monitoring my weight training and running so I can set goals but my phone apps do that.  
  • Daniel, You mentioned you mostly use your 1520 while exercising.  How do you carry it?