Friday, December 28, 2012

Quantified Me

There is a 'movement' of sorts that is known as Quantified Self. It boils down to people who like to collect real data about themselves and use it to learn more about themselves and/or adjust things to be healthier or happier. Those things could be obvious like dietary choices, medicines, supplements, or more complicated things like when to go to bed or adjusting yoga and relaxation methods for better results.

For almost a year now I have been experimenting with different sensors, devices, and tests. It started with just a paramedic's curiosity and has led down different paths that have really stimulated my intellectual core.

I have used/tried/checked out devices and apps from these sites:

Out of these I have come to favor a few of them more than others. The major criteria that I use is the service (and they are all services) needs to give ME information in a way that helps me to make better decisions. If it does not do that, I don't have the time or patience for it and that is why some of these are no longer on my list of 'go to' apps.

FitBit has been the most utilitarian of all these systems from my perspective (community, customer service, and the apps). Because I have a FitBit tracker and the Aria wi-fi scale, I know that in the last 10 months I have:
  • Walked and run 2.1 million steps or more than 1,200 miles
  • Climbed almost 7,000 floors or 70,000 feet (more than two Mount Everest climbs 
  • Lost more than 45 pounds (with many more gained and lost again!)

For managing fitness there are different or additional considerations. Weight loss and aerobic training are really the result of heart rates and foods eaten. These two things are the most critical aspects of your body to be monitored, measured, and managed. Nothing else is as important so you should focus your first efforts here!

Before I upgraded to a Garmin Forerunner® 910XTheart rate monitor, and foot pod I relied on iPhone based apps such as MayMyRun, DigiFit, and a few others that I tried along the way. If you are looking for an entry level app to get started with, I recommend you simply get a Polar Heart Rate monitor and pair it with the DigiFit app. With DigFit you can use their default heart rate zones and just get started with monitoring your heart rates. If you want to learn about the techniques, you should also pick up the book Heart Rate Training to get started.

I've taken this to the next level by doing treadmill testing with exercise physiologist Ken Nicodemus of FitStopLab. This initial test established my baseline and provided me with valuable information about 'how' I should approach my training and what my expectations should be for my body. This was really cool and invaluable! Look for another blog post just on this experience and what it has done for me.

I also came across the InsideTracker company and their services. For this one you first select and purchase your plan online, then go to a LabCorp facility for testing, and a couple days later you will get an email notifying you that your results are in. I will also write another blog post on this experience but in the meantime I have arranged for you to get a 10% discount if you use the promo code: RUNMED12012 at checkout.

What apps or devices have you tried? Do you have a growing collection of things that you've tried but no longer use?

Happy New Year!



No comments:

Post a Comment