Measuring Your Workout With GPS
GPS Tracking Fitness Apps Help Monitor My “Performance”
I will be the very first person to admit that I am obsessed with my smartphone to the point where it is literally is probably unhealthy for me. Throughout the day I find myself wondering where my iPhone is at if it is away from possession for more than about 15 minutes because I feel the compulsive need to review the emails in my inbox, check sports scores on the ESPN app, see what my “friends” on Facebook are doing and pretty much anything else from seeing what the weather will be like in a foreign country to breaking stones on Angry Birds. I read Google News or play Scrabble on my smartphone every night before I go to sleep, and the alarm, which is also on my smartphone and omits the lovely sounds of ducks quaking, is the first thing to greet me in the morning. Toss in the ads I frequently post on eBay or Craigslist apps, the songs the Pandora app provides me while I am driving and the dinner my Martha Stewart app tells me to make when I arrive home from work and it is easy to see why the iPhone is my closest companion. Although my smartphone has given me more useful and useless ways to conduct my daily life than I ever thought was possible, it wasn’t until recently that my phone has been instrumental in helping me evaluate my workout performance through the use of GPS tracking technology.
Anyone searching iTunes or App Stores can easily come across thousands of different apps designed to help people with their physical fitness goals. These apps include Nike Training Club, iMapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and more. The apps are created to do everything from measure heart rate, power (in watts), speed traveled, distance ran and other various data that can help determine whether the individual is meeting their personal health goals. What almost all of these apps have in common is that they utilize a technology very similar to that used by fleet management companies and for vehicle tracking applications. The technology is GPS tracking, and I never thought it would it would help me with my workout routine until recently.
For the most part, I consider myself the average man. I work out irregularly but try to stay active as much as I can, but that is difficult considering I work in an office environment. I also try to eat healthily, but I am no stranger to the fast-food lifestyle that many of us are now accustomed too in our fast pace world. Looking to get myself in better shape, I downloaded a few different free fitness apps for my smartphone and decided I would use the apps to help get me off lazy butt. What I decided to do was begin running three nights a week with the goal of going at least 2 miles per session. I would then use one of the fitness apps, which would act almost as a GPS tracker, to calculate the distance I ran as a way to catalog my training to help build positive reinforcement. I figured every time I ran I would save the mileage I ran so that when I looked back on my efforts at the end of the week I would feel pretty good about what I had accomplished. I tend to believe when a person is on a healthy path they continue to make healthy decisions. For example, I do not ever eat Jack’n the Box, but if I were out at a bar all night then there is no other delicacy I would rather have than some fast food, thousand calorie combos. Bad choice A leads to bad choice B.
After testing many of the different free fitness apps, I was pleasantly surprised to see how accurate and easy many of the features on the apps were to use. Although some of the apps had a lot of different bells and whistles that many real athletes would take advantage of, I found myself only using the distance and speed features to provide me with information about how far I ran and the average speed I went. I really did not care how fast I was running, but it was pretty interesting to review the data. However, the distance feature was really important for me since I mostly ran (more of a power walk) in different suburban areas near my home, making it difficult for me to accurately gauge exactly how far I ran.
Although I continue to make poor food decisions at times (even though Martha Stewart would be disappointed) and occasionally drink one too many adult beverages, I will no longer go for any type of run without using one of the fitness apps on my smartphone. Why wouldn’t somebody want to monitor and meet their fitness goals more quickly with the help of these free apps?