Keeping Moving – Testing a Fitbit

So I have to admit, since my post about the Blacklight Run I have become a lapsed exerciser again.  Not totally, I still love my high energy classes with Red Squirrels Zumba twice a week, and go to a local Pilates class with Nikki from Move Better Fitness which I love, but the running has ground to a halt.

I think this is because I am not entirely happy when I am running. I don’t enjoy it but I also worry as I run.  The main reason being my total right hip replacement, which was carried out when I was 36 in 2007.  In the back of my mind I know my hip has a limited lifespan, and running just feels like too high impact.  Basically I don’t want to wear out my lovely titanium and ceramic hip.

My day job is very sedentary.  I basically sit in front of a computer all day either bookkeeping, training or promoting my business.  I need some kind of motivation to keep moving between my fitness classes.

Fitbit Review

So I am trialling a Fitbit Flex which a friend of mine is wanting to sell.  I’m going to see if this piece of tech is the kick up the backside I need to get moving again, and watch my food intake more closely. I am a user of Endomondo and My Fitness Pal, and with both these apps they were very motivational when I first started to use them.  I walked a huge 1300 miles in 2012 by following the 100 miles a month challenge on Endomondo, a fact I am very proud of. But the novelty has warn off and I need something new.

Setting up the Fitbit Flex

Once I realised the app wouldn’t work with my Nexus 10 tablet, it was really quick and easy to set up my Fitbit on my Nexus 4.  I was able to set up my profile with ease and the first thing I did was log my first nights sleep.

You do have to remember via the app to say when you are going to sleep and when you wake up, then the fitbit tracks your restlessness and gives you a great graph to see how well you slept.  Not enough is the answer at the moment!

Linking Fitbit to MyFitness Pal and Endomondo

How the apps fitted together got me scratching my head at first, but with trial end error I soon sorted it out. I had to log into my individual accounts for My Fitness Pal and Endomondo on my PC in order to set up the new link to the Fitbit.

In Settings -> Connect you can link Endomondo to your Fitbit

In Settings -> Connect you can link Endomondo to your Fitbit

Historically I logged my exercise on Endomondo which then fed into My Fitness Pal to ‘buy’ me extra calories   I have now had to switch off this link as Endomondo feeds into the Fitbit app with my exercise, then the Fitbit app feeds this information into My Fitness Pal in the form of a Fitbit Calories Adjustment.  If Endomondo also feeds the exercise into My Fitness Pal then the exercise is double counted.  It makes your stats look great but won’t help much with my weight loss target!  The exercise from Endomondo in My Fitness Pal was also fed back into the Fitbit double counting there too – are you still with me?

Fitbit Calorie Adjustment in My Fitness Pal

Fitbit Calorie Adjustment in My Fitness Pal

I do however love the fact that I can still log my food in My Fitness Pal and this then gets automatically fed into the Fitbit App in the form of a calorie value per meal.  I’ve used My Fitness Pal for years now and I have a database of favourite meals already set up, I am a creature of habit, so I dreaded having to recreate all this in the Fitbit app.  Now I don’t have to.

Early Signs

So early signs that having this new Fitbit will hep me get back on track with being more active are good, as I am itching to get out and increase my step count (currently at 4000 steps at 2pm in the afternoon) , I’ve drunk more water today, and I’m not snacking as I’m back to logging all my food.

Let’s see how long this new inspiration lasts.

Learning to Run Step One – Get the right tools for the job

As I said in my previous post How life changes – looking back and going forward, I have decided that in 2013, having mastered walking, I am now going to learn to run. I thought I would share the tools I have used to get me started – as having the right tools for the job definitely makes things easier.

My Smartphone

I have a Galaxy S2 smartphone – and I use it for EVERYTHING, so it was the first place I turned to when I was looking for help with my challenge.  I already used the sports tracking app Endomondo to track all of my walks and other exercise last year.  Endomondo has great challenges you can join, and that was how I logged my 100 miles every month – no messy spreadsheets to manage – just turn on your GPS – set Endomondo running – and the app does the rest.

Runkeeper

So I searched for an app which provides an easy-to-follow programme to get you running, and I settled on Runkeeper.  I was able to set my target as being able to run a 5k in early March – and then the app gave me a programme of walks and runs to follow leading up to this goal.  It suggests one workout every other day , which as I used to try and walk every day, seemed quite manageable.

However, Runkeeper did suggest I did short runs from quite early on, before I was really ready to – so I used it alongside my Endomondo, where I set up an interval training programme which would beep every minute or so, and I used this to do my burst of exercise with alternating walking and running segments.  This has really helped me to keep focused and spurred me on to run a little more than I would have done without these apps to tell me what to do.

Heart Monitor

For my birthday I was given a Zephyr heart monitor.  If you are exercising to lose weight, using a heart monitor makes the calorie burn estimates in Endomondo much more accurate – and you can see your fitness levels improving too by seeing how quickly your heart rate comes down after exercise.  This monitor attaches to a strap you wear round your chest, and links via Bluetooth to the Endomondo app on my phone.  I was very interested to see how my heart rate fluctuates during a Zumba class – we do a very high impact routine to a Rhianna song and that gives me my peak reading!

Supplements

I take several supplements which help keep my energy levels up.  For a start, I take Bee Pollen tablets each morning which helps with energy and stamina,  I take Arctic Sea  for the fish oils and Omega 3 and 6 which has really helped control my inherited high Cholesterol levels and also I take a vitamin C supplement called Absorbant C which helps maintain healthy connective tissues, skin joints and respiratory functions.

Products for Fitness

Products for Fitness

The new supplement I have been trying is a drink you make up from powder called ARGI + which maintains healthy blood pressure and cardiovascular health.  ARGI+ contains L-Argenine and vitamins and I take the drink just before I go out running – and I have noticed that I can catch my breath more easily  when I remember to take it just before my run. I have seen some excellent testimonials from Iron Man competitors about the Forever Living supplements I am taking and how they have helped others – I am not quite up to their activity levels, but every little helps!  You can learn more about these products on my website – clicking on the Order Forever Nutri-Lean button at the bottom right to get access to the web shop.

Progress So Far

So how am I doing with my challenge?  Well, on Sunday 27th January I took part in my first Just Racing 5k Cross country race.  I managed a time of 38:28 and although I walked up some of the hills, I am very proud of my achievement.   Weather and work have now meant I have missed out on a couple of weeks of running – but you may see me at a Park Run in Northamptonshire soon trying to improve my time!

Myself and Jo with our medals.

Myself and Jo with our medals.