My preferred way get in shape involves mercilessly tracking my effort and results. I have a mishmosh of fitness trackers and gadgets I use to monitor my daily progress towards, or away from, being physically fit. Integrating all that data into one place? Oy vey.
A recent visit to Los Angeles, where I was body shamed, left me feeling it was time to pick the flag back up and get in shape. I'd spent too much time hiding from old injuries and had gained a noticeable amount of weight. I knew just what to do, I'd start tracking my every move and calorie, just like every time I get back in shape.
At the core of this fitness effort is an Apple Watch, I use it to track my standard daily activity. I have been a fan of FitBit for a long time, but I lost my last tracker well over a year ago. Other members of my family love the Apple Watch, so I decided to try it out. The Apple Watch gives me everything the Fitbit did and integrates with the rest of my iOS lifestyle, so I'm pretty impressed. The watch grabs data from my standard daily motion and reminds me of it all day long.
I picked up a refurb Apple Watch. I really enjoy it. The easy ability to look at the face and see how I've done against various metrics is helpful to me. The ability to respond to text messages and some simple scheduling while away from my phone is fantastic. Swapping watch bands to let me wear it with casual and formal clothes entertains me. It is my favorite fitness tracker yet. It is no Rolex.
One important thing a fitness tracker has taught me is that the recommended daily caloric intake for an average US Human Male is pretty damn high if you spend most of your time working online. I do not need 2000 calories a day if I am not working out.
Data from the Apple Watch goes right into Apple Health and the Apple Activity app. Apple Health serves as the grand repository, for me, of all the various sorts of data I'm collecting, and it does a fantastic job of both storing it and displaying it. Apple Activity is kinda watered down version of the metrics I want.
My big physical activity, four times a week, is to ride my Faux-Peleton bike. I aim for forty five minute rides, that burn a lot of calories and take a good deal of effort. I love spin classes as they let me choose my own level of intensity. I am always pushing myself enough, but not too much. A lot of great heart rate, cadence and estimated caloric burn info gets generated by my Wahoo Cadence and Wahoo Heart Rate trackers.
Passing the Wahoo data into Apple Health is easy. You can simply allow Wahoo Fitness under Sources in Apple Health, and the data will automagically port its way over.
A non biometric source of data that helps me a lot is tracking my caloric intake and nutritional goals via MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is an app that lives mostly on my phone, there is a website too, and serves as a database of things I eat. I put everything from vitamins to steaks in there. All of this data, from how much vitamin C I've consumed to a grand Carbs/Protein/Fats macro calculation is available. Even better? All of that data gets shuttled off to Apple Health as a source as well.
Here comes trouble, I have a Fitbit Aria scale. The scale looks good, maintains a decent wifi connection and appears to calculate my weight within a decent margin of error. Sometimes standing on the scale twice in a minute will get me two different readings, but hey, I like it. Apple does not.
Getting the scale to integrate with Apple was a problem. Apple and Fitbit hate each other like Apple and Palm.
IFTTT to the rescue! If This, Then That is a wonderful automation service that helps take manual actions between various internet connected devices, and make them magic. Some kind soul has written an IFTTT applet to take your weight from the Aria and dump it into Apple Health. It works! Sometimes it'll migrate the same weight reading two or three times in a day, but that doesn't hurt anything. It works. I have emailed in a request to add the Aria's BMI estimate as well, even though I know that induction test is likely bunk. It is an apples to apples point of data I can refer to.
End of day, every day, I get a pretty great set of what I've done. I know if I am sticking to my planned diet, how much effort I've put into my exercise, and how far I walked my dogs. Keeping track of this keeps me on track. I've lost 10lbs and am pretty close to my target weight again.
None if this data is expected to be super accurate. The calories burnt and ingested stuff is super wild-ass guess-y, but all of it provides me points on a line. I hope the line trends down until I want it to stay flat-ish, and I do the things that are supposed to make that happen.
I am disinterested in hearing theories about how Apple will use this data to make clones of me.
Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular), 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band – Grey (Certified Refurbished) via Amazon
Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor, Bluetooth/ANT+ via Amazon
Wahoo RPM Sensor for iPhone, Android and Bike Computers via Amazon
Fitbit Aria WiFi Smart Scale via Amazon