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A to Z Challenge

by on April 1, 2013

Happy April Fools’ Day!

The A to Z Blogging Challenge

The A to Z Blogging Challenge

As an April Fools’ joke, the Air Force made me go back to work today.

As a non-April-Fools joke on myself, today is the day I get back to some key routines – closely monitoring my calorie intake among them.

It’s also the start of the April A to Z blogging challenge!

As far as Fat Guys Vs Gym is concerned, I’m going to be posting a list of A-Z for things that I personally care about regarding fitness. It would be easy to come up with an A-Z list for common fitness words, but that creates two problems:

1) I would end up with a lot of stuff I don’t personally do or care about.

2) The blog would end up coming across like a required paper instead of something sincere.

So let’s not do that.

What’s my ‘A’ then?

Accelerometer!

That’s why this post is in the Gym Bag category. This is the category I’ll use to bring up and discuss a few things I find useful when I go to the gym or when I focus on fitness and health.

Today makes five days in a row.

Today makes five days in a row.

This year’s tax return was smaller than before, but it was still enough to leave me some spending money. (Thanks, my four kids!) With that money, I jumped on to Nike.com and put in an order for a Nike+ Fuelband. It’s a wristwatch bracelet with a “professional-grade” accelerometer inside. Ok, sure, whatever that means.

Basically it’s a $149 Nike watch that tries to tell you how active you are throughout the day.

As you go about your business, the Fuelband counts up “Nike Fuel” based on how much it perceives you moving. It also claims to count steps (which I find seem off), and it estimates calories burned (which seems fine depending on the activity I’m doing). It’s not water-proof, only water-resistant. The instructions state you could wear it in the shower and it’s probably fine, but you can’t take it swimming. So that shoots down the Fuelband for all the swim fanatics.

Where it shines is the daily goal you set and the motivation to meet said goal. When you set it up, you choose a daily goal of 2K, 3K, or 5K Nike Fuel. A row of LEDs across the bottom of the display show you your progress toward the daily goal. Before surgery, I picked 3K, and found that it was difficult enough that the walking and moving in my normal activity was not sufficient to reach the goal. I had to do extra to get there – perfect, since that’s kind of the point!

You can adjust the goal anytime, to whatever suits you best. After surgery, I cut it in half to 1500. Again, I found this was just enough that my normal hopping around the house wouldn’t get me there. I’d have to go out and crutch around at the store or go for a “walk” to meet the goal.

Share your success with your friends!

Share your success with your friends!

The Fuelband has some problems too. It does not do well tracking exercise where your arm remains stationary. Indoor cycling, for example, doesn’t really add up Nike fuel. Weightlifting also doesn’t give credit for the amount of work you’re doing, because all the Fuelband tracks is your motion.

Admittedly, it’s a lot like a glorified pedometer.

That’s not necessarily bad. If what you want or need is a device that gets you to do a little extra to meet your goal, the Fuelband works great. There are several nights where I checked my fuel, realized I had a ways to go still, and got moving in order to hit the goal. There have also been many days where I discovered I hit the goal early, and I pushed myself to rack up some additional points.

In that sense, the Fuelband is definitely earning its keep!

The app for the Fuelband provides connections to social media and allows you to share your successes and achievements. You can also compete with friends.

The software is easy to deal with and the online site offers “missions” to encourage you to meet or exceed your goals. It also tracks your streaks for how many days in a row you achieve your goal.

Here in two weeks, I get my cast off, and start recovery from surgery. I’ll be kicking my goal up and pushing to beat it.

The price tag is off-putting, and it’s not a perfect product. There are perhaps better fitness tracking devices out there.

But I am completely satisfied and eager to get back to work with my Fuelband chalking up points.

Do you have something you use to track your activity? Let me know what you’re using in a comment below.

Good luck hitting your fitness goals, whatever they may be!

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From → Gym Bag

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