Thursday, February 05, 2009

Fun with Fitness & Organization on the iPhone

It will take me some time to see how I feel about these in the longer term, but here's how I've spent what little free time I had over the past couple of weeks:

iMapMyRide / Distance Meter
I keep track of runs & rides on the MapMyFitness website, via another app, Distance Meter. Have been using it since October, but I was willing to be wooed away from it. I tried to use this iMapMyRide, because it is from MapMyRun / Ride / Fitness. I don't like it. It's hard to say why. Sometimes the GPS is funky. Sometimes it randomly quits, mid-run.

It's not as easy to use as Distance, so I'm sticking with what I know. Distance had it's problems, but many of the random drops and trouble with incoming calls and texts interrupting the workout have been fixed. The screenlock feature is handy - really handy. Since it requires a triple tap to reactivate, there's no accidental switch offs when the iPhone is bouncing around in the zipper pocket on the back of my jacket or shirt.

Grocery iQ
Love, Love, LOVE this one. It's so easy to tap up my grocery list, especially when I'm heading to the Farmers Market. Quantities and notes about possible substitutions can go right into the phone, and it's really easy to navigate in the aisles. I can have one of the kids reading the list and doing the checking, which keeps them busy. (I know, they can do it on paper too. But since it's on a screen, there's not even a hint of complaining.)

After shopping, all the checked items can be moved into my history, making the staples quick to add to the next list or transfer to Favorites. I've gone back in and added notes about quantities for the next trip, so when I put it on the next list, it's automatic. Example: Bought flour on the stock up trip. Turns out I underestimated again this month, but not as badly as last month. What I purchased lasted 2 weeks, so I've doubled the qty in the favorites list, to have it come up properly for the next Farmers Market / Bulk trip.

Gas Cubby
I think I'll end up liking this one, but it will take a month or two to know for sure. I plugged in my gas purchase 10 days ago, along with the mileage, oil change schedule, tire rotation, annual emissions testing, etc. In the 10 days, I've yet to use a whole tank of gas. I've not even used a half the tank yet. Like I said, it's going to take a month or so to see how handy it really is, but I like the idea of it.

Lose it
Saw this on one of Apple's ads. Downloaded it, and haven't stopped using it since. I've been using it for a little over a week, and keeping track of food & exercise. I have customized calorie burn on types of runs, based on my heart rate monitor, which is rather neat. There are a lot of restaurant and supermarket brand name foods and meals available, but what I really find handy is the section which allows you to add your own recipes. For example, I was able to plug in the ingredients for Butter Chicken, including the batch of rice and side of green peas, and get a per person nutritional count. (It's 530 calories, in case you were wondering.) I'm not tracking all of the available info., just calories, protein and fiber.

To give the weight loss goals part a trial run, I'm doing three weeks with my daily calories set for a one pound per week loss. I did put on a couple pounds over the holidays, but it was within my "window", 3 lbs. either side of my average weight. I finished up the first week, and - sure enough - dropped one pound.

What's more - this app has made me aware I've not been eating enough calories. For the first few days, I was coming in 300-500 calories below the amount recommended for weight loss. Some days were fine, but seeing the actual numbers on days with 90 minutes of either running or hot yoga, I've probably been slowing down my metabolism. A bowl of blueberries and sliced strawberries may be super healthy eating, but it's not enough to make up for a 7 mile run, unless I use a much bigger bowl. Lose it had me tossing on an extra scoop of flax meal, and using 1/2-2/3 cup of yogurt, instead of just a couple of spoonful. (spoonsful? spoonfuls?)

Anyway, I'll keep using it, then switch over to "maintenance" as my goal after the three weeks are up. I'll have a virtual cookbook finished by then. I would really like to be able to sync the information for my custom foods and recipes to the computer. Not only would I not be in danger of losing all the data if there was a problem with the iPhone (touch wood), it would be nice to see it on the big screen while I'm doing menu planning and shopping lists. After all, I can't have both Grocery iQ and Lose it open on the screen at the same time.

My photos of the screen are lousy, I know. Here's the pretty version of the daily log screenshot from their website. For as much as you're entering each day, it's pretty simple. Doesn't feel as much like work as writing it all down. Of course, it can also be done through one of many websites, but that requires me to write it down too, so I don't forget it when I get home. If I'm writing it down, there's the little matter of having to also spend time digging up the quantities and remembering where I put the paper or notepad. I prefer Lose it.

1 comment:

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the tip on the distance meter, and did some reading on it. Previously, when I ran more frequently (before the kiddos), I always wondered when they would invent something that tracked runs more accurately. Good stuff.