“Be better today than you were yesterday. Be better tomorrow than you are today.”
– Jim Harbaugh
For this case study, I will go through a normal day to give you an idea of the types of information I get, and some of the ways I use them. This is not an exhaustive list, but a snapshot of an average day.
Every day, I push to improve myself in some way. I have found that this can be the greatest value of fitness technology-- tracking what you do, so you know when you've improved, and where you have to work harder.
On days I lift, my sleep quality decreases by 1%. Sick? My sleep is 3% worse. Didn’t get enough sleep the night before? My body compensates by getting 15% higher sleep quality the following night. It’s not clinical, but gives you a lot of cool information and helps you learn a lot about your sleep. Even how different weather can impact it.
First, the overall workout. For this, I use MapMyFitness (Free on iOS and Android). It’s an all-in-one app that tracks most activities you’ll do, from Aerobics to Yolates (whatever that is). For my lifting session, this tracks duration and calories. Don’t put a lot of faith in the calorie tracking—it’s way too complex a system to boil down to a simple equation. But it does give you a good idea of level of activity for comparison across days.
In addition to that, I track all of my weights, reps, sets, and splits in Body Space (Free on iOS and Android). This allows me to track weights over time, as well as a roughly calculated one rep max based on reps at given weights. Tracking all of this info allows me to track progress, tailor workouts, and push myself to do a little more every day.
“Today I set a calculated one rep max in bench press.”
If you know about nutrition, it’s a great way to track all the information. I use it for my macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat) to make sure I’m getting the right mix of food for my activity. The barcode scanner makes it really easy to input ingredients as I make food.
"I still need 20g of protein today… I should eat some nuts."
Even if you don't know about nutrition, it can teach you a lot about what you eat. The biggest benefit, especially when you start using it, is the awareness it increases about how you eat. You will likely surprise yourself when forced to think about everything you eat. Especially when you realize how small one serving of cereal is (hint: it's not 1/4 of the box).
"Look at that, I just did my commute home 30 seconds faster than normal. I must be getting faster."
"My average HR was 5 bpm lower than the last time I ran this course, but my times were comparable. My heart must be getting stronger."