Monthly Archives: September 2016

Fitness and Activity Trackers

Along with the Fitbit Zip ($59.95), among the company’s other offerings are the Fitbit One ($99.95), Flex ($99.95), Charge ($129.95), Charge HR ($149.95), and the Surge (a $249.95 smartwatch). As you can see from the company’s website, the Zip and One are small, clip-on trackers, whereas the Flex, Charge, Charge HR, and top-of-the-line Surge are bracelets.

You can find Fitbit products at consumer electronics stores such as Best Buy, as well as mass-market retailers, including Target and Walmart.

All of these Fitbit devices track steps, calories burned, and distance throughout the wearer’s day (including when they’re involved in workouts or fitness-oriented activities). These devices can monitor “active minutes” versus time when the wearer is stationary.

Depending on the Fitbit model, some also display a clock, handle sleep tracking, track the number of floors climbed, and allow the user to set various types of alarms.

The Charge HD and Surge also include some of the broader functionality of a full-featured smartwatch. For example, the Surge offers GPS tracking, the ability to remotely control the iPhone’s Music app, the ability to display incoming text messages and Caller ID information from the iPhone, and it has a built-in heart rate monitor.

After purchasing one of the Fitbit tracker devices and/or the Aria scale, you need to download and install the free Fitbit app, which is available from the App Store. This proprietary app can handle a variety of tasks, including:

  • Tracking activity throughout the day—Depending on which Fitbit tracker the app is wirelessly linked with, the app tracks and maintains details about steps taken, floors climbed, active minutes, and calories burned. In addition to displaying data from a single day, the app makes it easy to view progress over time by enabling you to look at and compare data from the past.
  • Logging meals and caloric intake—Via a variety of food logging tools, the app makes it easy to track the foods you eat and what you drink, calculate your caloric intake, and determine other nutrition-related information with minimal manual data entry. For example, you can use the camera built in to your iPhone to scan a food or drink product’s barcode (shown in Figure 3.19).
  • Set and monitor personalized goals—The app allows you to set and work toward step, weight, and activity-related goals. Based on data collected, the app suggests ways to improve the results you’re achieving while working toward each goal.
  • Interact with friends to share achievements—Using communication tools built in to your iPhone, including email and Facebook connectivity, you can easily share your fitness-related achievements with your online friends, as well as the Fitbit online community (if you choose to).
  • Track a runner’s progress via the MobileRun feature—Instead of using a stand-alone app for runners, the Fitbit app has specific tools available for runners that allow you to track your pace, time, and distance, and differentiate between runs, walks, and hikes. The app can also utilize GPS data either from the iPhone or one of the higher-end Fitbit trackers to map routes.

Club App on iPhone or Apple Watch

The Nike+ Running app for the iPhone and Apple Watch has been a pioneer when it comes to using mobile technology as a fitness tool. If your fitness activities extend beyond running and are more exercise or workout oriented, the Nike+ Training Club app will probably be better suited to your needs. This free app offers a guided collection of exercises and workout routines that display on your iPhone in live-action video (see Figure 12.9).

Many of the more than 100 video-based workout routines available via this app are hosted by celebrity athletes and Nike Master Trainers. Beyond just providing workout videos to watch and follow along with, the app focuses on motivating you and serving as a virtual fitness coach that’s available to you whenever and wherever you can work out.

Whether you’re looking to tone up, lose weight, or enhance your strength, for example, the individual workouts offered by Nike+ Training Club can help you achieve specific goals. However, by grouping these workouts together into organized four-week programs, this single app can help you more systematically achieve your goals.

Nike+ Training Club is for people at all fitness levels, enabling users to design a fitness and workout routine that fits into their schedule and that’s for the home, outside, or at a gym. The app includes tools for gathering, tracking, and analyzing activity data, and for sharing the workout experience with others.

After you create a free online-based account, the Nike+ Training Club encourages you to select an initial workout based on a goal. Goal options include Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong, or Get Focused. Next, select an Experience Level.

Know more App on the Apple Watch

It’s time to exercise, and the Apple Watch can help you track your workout sessions. In this excerpt from Apple Watch and iPhone Fitness Tips and Tricks, Jason Rich shows you how you can set a Caloric, Distance, or Time goal, and then have the watch display real-time data it collects as you pursue that goal during your workout.

The Workout app is somewhat similar to the Activity app, but instead of being designed for use at all times while you’re wearing the watch, this app allows you to collect and analyze data related to actual workouts.

To use this app, launch it from the Home screen of the Apple Watch (see Figure 5.23), and from the main menu, select the fitness-related activity you’re about to participate it. Options include Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Run, Outdoor Cycle, Indoor Run, Indoor Walk, Indoor Cycle, Elliptical, Rower, Stair Stepper, or Other.

When you’re ready to begin a workout, follow these steps to activate the Workout app on your watch:

  1. From any watch face you’ve selected to be displayed on the watch’s screen, press the Digital Crown to access the watch’s Home screen.
  2. Tap on the Workout app icon to launch the Workout app.
  3. When the main menu appears, tap on the type of workout you plan to engage in.
  4. Depending on the activity you select, a submenu screen enables you to Set Calories, Set Time, or Set Miles, or select Open (if you have no goal in mind, but simply want to track your workout-related data). If you select the Set Time screen, a timer appears, showing 0:00, with a negative sign (–) icon on the left and a plus sign (+) icon on the right. Tap the + icon to set the desired duration for your workout. Press the Start button, shown in Figure 5.24, to begin your workout.