Friday, April 22, 2016

Tools for Success

First off, RIP Prince. He was only 57. Between Prince, Glenn Frey, and David Bowie, my workout playlist is starting to look like the soundtrack at a mortuary. And though I may not have any Merle Haggard on my phone's playlist, you better believe I have some on the PC I am writing this from. Depressing.

So, on to workout tools. We actually have a shiny new elliptical trainer sitting in the front room, just waiting for me to make use of it. Lor gets to use it, but I do not. Why, you ask? Because the stupid thing has a weight-bearing limit of 250 pounds, that's why. You would think that the designers of exercise equipment might anticipate the possibility that fat people might want to use their tools, yes? But apparently not. As it is, I have to lose 30 pounds before I can even get on the thing. The Elliptical Diet Plan: Motivate yourself to lose 10% of your body weight so that you qualify to exercise on our gear. Grrr.

So, instead, I walk. And if you have a smartphone and want to workout by walking, there are two apps you should really be aware of:

This is the primary tool I use for tracking what the heck I am doing in the world of "Fat Man Walking". I tell it to "Start Workout" when I leave the front door, then forget about it till I get back, panting and covered in sweat. Then I tell it to "Save Workout" and I am done. It then uploads a lovely report like the one above to a website for me, so I can track how far/how long/how many/what for/etc.  Using the website tie-in you can also design new routes for yourself, keep track of gear (like shoes, for instance), even log meals if you want to. (But the ads for Light Beer in the food section are highly annoying.) There is also an "MVP" version of the software - purchasing opens up a bunch of new functionality, and presumably removes the Light Beer ads. If you are going to be walking to get started on your weight loss journey, you need this app. No need to buy a Fitbit or anything. (Fitbits don't work with us bariatric surgery patients anyway - our caloric count post-surgery is too low for Apple to make sense of.)

Now, if your exercise is a little more free-form, and you like storytelling, this is the app for you. You plug your headphones into your phone, and suddenly you are in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies. The storyline continues as you walk, with pauses in the story being filled by music from the playlist on your device. Occasionally you will encounter threats as you amble through your workout, and you will be forced to speed up your walk/run until you are clear of them. That's right, folks, interval training, cleverly disguised as an app on your phone.  For those that are so inclined, there is even a setup for training a person for their first 5K. With my 2 blown knees, it will be a while (if ever) before I run a 5K, but I can certainly walk as fast as those knees will take me to get away from the hordes of man-flesh-eating creatures on my tail. Not a tool to be used when walking in a group, but the perfect one for solo exercise.

Besides, any app endorsed by Wil Wheaton can't be too far off the mark, right?

Catch you all again on Monday!

Considering Walking The Dog (So I Can Throw Her To The Zombies),

- Hawkwind

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