Technology, your new fitness buddy

Get Fit Clovis team learns about ways of incorporating technology into their fitness routines. (Photo by Ron Sundquist)

Fitness and technology can go hand-in-hand for someone who is looking for accountability, motivation to reach their goals and even training assistance.

During a Saturday meet, Ashley Pavan, the technology coach from Clovis Technology Training, taught the Get Fit Clovis team about some advantageous ways to incorporate fitness trackers and apps into our health-driven lives to keep us on track of our goals.

“When people think of technology they don’t necessarily associate it with fitness because if you think of the average use of technology it’s mostly used sitting down at your desk at work or on your iPhone at home,” Pavan said. “But I found technology has made me more fit through the years.”

At Clovis Technology Training, Pavan specializes in teaching brand new to advanced users how to manage their Apple products and shows them the potential these devices have for organizing and enhancing their lives.

Pavan chose to use the Apple Watch as her fitness tracker to keep her accountable of her personal fitness goals.

“I am the type of person that by nature I am lazy,” Pavan said. “I want to be fit and I have all these goals in my mind but I will not be motivated to go out.”

Pavan’s fitness goal is to be healthy overall, and she found a fitness tracker and a few apps to aid her in beating her relentless disinclination to be active in three major ways.

“First, I need something to hold me accountable and tell me I need to go walk today or if I don’t walk I am not going to achieve my goals and my Apple Watch does that,” Pavan said.

Second, since she is a visual person she wanted to be able to see her improvement and progress visually. Finally, she needed something to teach her how to exercise and how to use certain equipment without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a personal trainer.

The Apple Watch runs off of the built-in activity app in iPhone’s. The watch tracks and compiles three sets of burned calorie counts, while moving, active and standing, displayed as rings on the watch. With goals that are preset by the user, the objective is to fill in those three rings throughout the day.

The watch has a built in heart rate monitor which tracks the active calories burned and has a motion sensor so it can also track what kind of activity you are doing, whether it is riding your bike or taking a brisk walk. Once you burn the set calories for the day and complete the ring, the watch taps the person on the wrist and shows a message, “Congratulations, you have reached your move goal.”

The gathered information can also be broken down into hours of the the day, weeks or even months, so you can visually see what times of day you are most active. In the example Pavan showed the team, the information showed that the person wearing the watch had a spike of activity at 6 p.m., which indicates when they did their workout for the day.

The watch can also show the user how many steps they have taken for the day and can even track resting calories when a person is sitting down or engaging in other stagnant activity.

One of her favorite features is the stand ring, which tracks how many hours you stand throughout the day. The watch also indicated to the user when they have been sitting for too long and will tap them on the wrist to alert them they need to be active for a few minutes.

“The idea of all this is that it helps you be more active and it motivates you stand, move around and to have a more active lifestyle,” Pavan said. “It really breaks down the data so you can adjust goals for yourself.”

Other popular fitness trackers include Fitbit and Garmin. Fitbit has eight models to choose from, which include everyday fitness products that track daily activities and sleep cycles; active fitness products that track heart rate, workouts and active lifestyle; and performance fitness products that even include GPS tracking.

Garmin has six models to choose from, which include Track In Style, Get Moving, Heart Rate Training and Up Your Game. Like the Apple Watch, the Up Your Game models of the Garmin can be synced to your phone and can notify you if you receive a text message or email – although Apple Watch is only compatible to iPhone, unlike the Garmin fitness trackers.

Pavan also showed the team a few apps she likes to utilize with her fitness routine.

Life Sum tracks a person’s food and water intake. In the app the user has the ability to look for recipes with specific dietary needs like low sugar, gluten-free, or clean eating, which come with a calorie, protein and fat count. The recipe is then automatically added to your food intake for the day. Over time, the app takes all the data from exercise and the food and water intake and learns your habits to give you recommendations to help you reach your goals. The app is free but there are in-app purchases that can give you access to more content.

Fitstar Yoga is for yoga beginners and for the experienced yoga lovers. Before starting the yoga session the user can punch in how long they want to exercise for and even the pose they would like to do, or they can just choose from one of the present yoga sessions. The app can demonstrate the pose on both the watch and a phone and you can tell the app if a pose is too easy, hard or just right which it will then use to adjust. The app is free but in order to be able to customize the poses there is a subscription that has to be paid.

Fitness buddy can be used as a personal trainer. The app shows you a visual of muscle groups and exercises for it. For example, if you would like to workout your biceps and you only have dumbbells and resistance bands, you can give the app that information and it gives you a list of exercises that you can do with the equipment you have. Once you choose the exercise you would like to do the app gives you step by step instruction with animation. The app is $2.99 in the app store.

Pavan encourages people to research apps based on their fitness goals. With an easy Google search you are able to find an app that is compatible with your device and read reviews of others’ experiences using the app.

“It’s just amazing what fitness trackers can do and being a technology person and having to see things visually it really helped me keep track of all of it,” Pavan said. “If I get to interact and have all of these fun apps that are graphically fun to use it motivated me to do it.”