Is Technology Ruining Your Workout?
Stew Smith, CSCS
I often get emails and questions from people about certain programs, gadgets, fitness videos, GPS devices, music, heart rate monitors, pedometers, I-phone applications, you name it. I get to test much of this new fitness technology out and will either decline to write about it or give it a plug.
If you have followed my decade of articles on fitness, you will recall me discussing “moderation”. “Everything in moderation” my Dad would tell me. Usually, he was telling me that because I typically did too much working out or sports when I was a kid in my teens. Once in my twenties, I recall the same phrase used when going out with my friends and having a good time partying. I have used this in my writing often when it comes to drinking alcohol, eating high calories meals, or other less than healthful habits for folks seeking fitness / health advice. Today, I am saying it when it comes to Fitness Technology. Here is an email I recently received:
Stew, I have been doing a few fitness videos to lose weight and it has been a big help to get me moving. I also have a pedometer and try to do 10,000 steps a day on my non-workout days. I now have a fitness app on my phone/mp3 player and use a heart rate monitor to keep me in fat burning mode when exercising. My only problem is after a few weeks, I have made no progress with my weight loss goals. Any advice?
I think you might be distracted by technology. Here is a quick story about me getting distracted by technology. In the mid 90’s, hand held GPS just came out and we used them for the first time in the SEAL teams on some training missions. We launched from a submarine in a Zodiac boat and headed to shore some 15 miles away. Usually, we would just use a compass heading and known speed of the boat to calculate where we were on our course / charts. Well, I had this new GPS device and was fascinated by it. I could see our speed, how far left/right we were off course by a matter of feet. We were right on course and heading into the beach but instead of scouting out a landing zone and focusing on whether it was a friendly beach or not, we landed right in an ambush on the beach. This was my fault. I lost my night vision from staring at this glowing device and had to resort to evacuating the mission area. In the end, I did not need the GPS on that mission.
But back to the question – you certainly do have plenty of fitness tools to use and if you are doing something active everyday that should be enough to see results. However, you do have to take a look at the other side of the calorie equation. I think you are missing this. You can work out hard every day and NOT LOSE any weight IF you are eating higher caloric foods and drinks each day. At the end of the day / week, your weight loss results will generally be a function of how many calories you burned versus how many calories you ate. There are other factors as well, but typically this general equation works.
I think we often get distracted from the basics of fitness, health, athletic performance, and nutrition by the multitude of options we have today. Sometimes the answer to better health or in this case, weight loss, is adding more water to your diet or just saying no to the after meal dessert or alcoholic beverage. I am not trying to knock technology here. I am just saying it is easy to become overwhelmed and not realize it. I am a big fan of technology. It has enabled me to train people all over the world and changed my business significantly in the past ten years.
Some days when you workout, try to go back to the basics of just walking, biking, running, or swimming for your cardio activity. Sure take some music if that keeps you moving, but do some “old school” methods like take your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by SIX to get your beats per minute pulse. After a while of practicing with and without a heart rate monitor, you will find that you will be able to realize (self awareness) when you are aerobic or anaerobic. Do some basic calisthenics or weight circuit for resistance training and mix in upper body, lower body, and abs/lower back exercises together in a way to create your own full body workout. I am sure there is an “APP for that”, but do you really need it? Not all the time, but every now and then it is fine. Remember – “everything in moderation” even technology.
Good luck with your program and I hope you see improvement soon. These workouts and others can be easily obtained at the Policelink.com Fitness eBook Store. Send me an email and I may post it up as an article next week. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.