Fitness Apps and Accountability

I believe that developing self-awareness is a huge part of our success in everything we do, especially health and fitness. With few exceptions, most of us overestimate how active we are and underestimate how much we eat. We also tend to falsely believe that we can out-exercise a bad diet. I’ve written about this before, but in a nutshell, exercise is necessary for good health, diet controls our body composition.

I’ve also written about this before, that just moving more throughout our day as well as sitting and standing with active posture is going to be far more beneficial for our health than doing nothing at all. For this reason, I think having a pedometer is a fantastic idea. Tracking your steps helps you keep track of just exactly how much you are moving and may help motivate you to move a little bit more by going for a walk, parking further from the front door of the shop you drove to, or just getting up and walking around your house every hour. If you like to go for walks or daily runs, you can also use a fitness app such as Endomondo or Mapmywalk/Mapmyrun to track your distances and times.

For the record I’m not a fan of fitness trackers tell you how many calories you burned for a couple of reasons.

  1. They aren’t accurate.
  2. We shouldn’t really look at calories burned as calories we can now eat. Its just not that simple and can lead to overeating.

Generally speaking, we want to get 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise a day OR 5000-10,000 steps per day for good health. By good health, I mean lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart attack or stroke, insulin sensitivity, and muscle and bone maintenance. It also maintains our ability to be active. A sedentary life is not a happy life and we should be able to enjoy our lives, pain-free, as much as possible.

On the diet side of things, I have used a few different diet trackers and it is pretty eye opening when you actually track how much you eat on a daily basis. MyFitnessPal is a great one and I used that to keep track of my diet through two pretty crazy weight cuts. I’m sure there are others.

On a whim, mainly out of curiousity, I started using the Noom app to see how it works. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. It has a built in pedometer, an extensive food database for tracking your meals, and it is much more interactive than a lot of apps I’ve used. It also has daily, very short, lessons that educate you not only on different strategies to be successful, but also to gain some personal insight into what may be influencing your behavior. It also helps you set reasonable daily goals. For example, my first day, it told me I had to get in 1700 steps (I got 12,000). If I succeed, it only increases that by 300 steps a day, which I think is great for beginners who may be intimidated by what may seem insurmountable. I’m still new to the program so haven’t gotten in to the personal coaching and support group yet, but if you need a little more accountability, I think this fits the bill.

I’ll be checking back in after a few more weeks on Noom, but in the meantime, if you are new to fitness or just trying to get rid of all your Christmas cheer and quarantine padding, start with some simple tracking. If you don’t know where you are, its impossible to figure out where you need to go or how to get there.

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