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My Fitness Tracker is a Watch

October 12, 2014

Photo from October 12, 2014

I just looked at my watch and it’s nearly approaching 10:00 a.m.

My watch is supposed to be much more than that. That’s why I bought it.

My watch was supposed to do all sorts of things for me. It was supposed to track my activity, tell me when I’ve been sedentary too long, tell me how many calories I’ve burned in a day, what my heart rate is when I am exercising and how many more steps I need to take to achieve my daily step goal.

I bought my Garmin Vivofit ( It’s the spiffy looking teal band in the picture to the left. ) as tool in my weight loss toolbox, but much to my disappointment, for the most part it’s just a watch.

On the plus side, it does have what I now refer to as the “Red Bar of Inactivity.” A little red bar of dashes that gets longer and longer when I have been inactive for too long that reminds me to get up and get moving.

But as far as an activity tracker, then device is extremely inaccurate. I’ve had days I have run half marathons that it’s calculated at nearly 8 miles more than I actually ran. I’ve had days I ran 8 miles and it’s tracked me at over 13 miles.

When I was in Orlando for the RunDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon last October I had the opportunity to speak to a Garmin Vivofit representative at their booth at the Fitness Expo. I asked specifically about the alarming inaccuracy in distance and was told that the device wasn’t meant to track running, it was meant to track activity. Needless to say I tilted my head to the side for a moment.

As a Fitness Instructor and Weight Loss and Wellness Coach, I do understand the difference between exercise and activity, Activity is considered the little things we do in a day that put our body in motion. Motion of any kind creates a caloric burn. Our body expends energy with every step we take. Activity is walking from the car to the door, doing housework, window shopping at the mall. Exercise is when we purposely get our heart rates into much higher zones to burn calories. It’s our time on a treadmill or elliptical, an hour of a step or kickboxing class.

Now if I had known that the Garmin VivoFit was only intended to monitor low intensity activity I probably wouldn’t have purchased it. When a device has a heart rate monitoring feature and asks me to spend even more money purchasing the additional heart rate strap that allows it to monitor my heart rate I expect it to utilize that information a bit more efficiently.

Let’s just be blunt here. If I am going to go the trouble of strapping a heart rate monitor under my chest which is the equivalent to me of wearing a small-scale torture device, I expect it to actually ascertain my heart rate and use that information to decide how vigorous my activity is and how many calories I am burning. The VivoFit does’t even really give me a true heart rate reading. If I set the screen to display my heart rate I get a reading of 0 – XXX where the end number is the highest heart rate it’s registering at that given time.

Last week I was doing a H.I.T.T. training workout on a treadmill where my heart rate was well into the 170s at times and it never registered my heart rate above 70.

According to the Garmin website the VivoFit “You can also pair vívofit 2 with a heart rate monitor during fitness activities, such as a run or a cardio class at the gym, to record your heart rate and zone data and get more accurate calorie burn information.”

Sorry, I’m not believing them.

The distance discrepancies on my device while annoying are also understandable. Everyone has a very different stride when they run. Many devices ask you to set your stride, the distance you take between each step in order to more accurately calculate your total distance. If there was a way to change that setting or actually calibrate the VivoFit it would probably be more accurate, but it failed to provide that feature.

So if my heart rate is being calculated wrong and my distance throughout the day is completely inaccurate, then I can pretty much bet that the daily step goal as well as the daily calorie burn count is also incorrect and thus when I look down at the $130 dollar device on my wrist and wear that $60 heart rate band, my first thought is, “I spent $190.00 on a watch that tells me when I’ve been sitting down for too long.”

All in all, if I wanted a device that told me the time and reminded me to get up and move I would have set movement reminder alarms on my smart phone and called it good. Lucky for me I bought mine at REI who let’s you exchange any purchase you’re not happy with within a year of purchasing it so hopefully I can find the packaging it came in and take it and trade it in for something more along the lines of what I was looking for and not a product that bills itself as an activity and fitness tracker and ends up being a decorative watch on my wrist.

 

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 Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker and currently works as a Fitness Leader, Weight Loss and Wellness Coach in Wilmington, NC

Back To Being the BEST version of ME

DssButton2FB2-150x150Dear Slender Seekers,

Sometimes you just have to stop and write. I’ve been quiet for too long. I’ve gotten off track and felt guilty. But today, I fixed it. Today, my first day off since New Years, today I promised myself to fix it, and from here on out, I am going to keep my promise.

If you only knew how much weight that promise holds.

Here we go.

I’ve shared with you in the past that a wise man once taught me that part of our responsibility in our journey is to have the kindness of heart to reach back to those behind you in the journey and help them along.

He also taught me to have the courage to reach forward to those ahead of me and ask for help when I needed it.

Today, I lived that lesson.

I read a post from a friend on Facebook today that reminded me so much of where I once was in my journey; the day I created Desperately Seeking Slender. I was just coming out of bariatric surgery. I had decided I wanted to help others in their weight loss journey and found myself wanting a career giving people what I felt I needed most right then, someone who had been there and someone who could tell me what sort of exercise to do and teach me about nutrition.

I reached out to my friend and offered to send him a book that would help him in his journey. The extra Cooper Manual I had to buy when I didn’t have it with me when I got there for class.

This did two things.

I allowed me to give someone who is following a similar path as my own, a little guidance as to how I did it and what directions he might want to go in.

It also allowed me to reach out and ask someone who might be willing to help me with something I am struggling with; someone to study with me over the phone. I have this wild image of me running on a treadmill answering flashcards questions while panting and then reading off flashcards for my study buddy to answer during set reps.

Yeah. I’m a little weird.

I’ve also realized that once again I got sucked into my own emotional pit. (I also realized what it is that usually snaps me out of it.)

10314493_1015076241852179_6251278648778862597_nI have a really hard time dealing with grief.

Sometimes it sneaks up on me in placed I don’t expect it. It was really bad for me on Christmas Eve. Missing my Father in combination with my first holiday season away from Oregon, missing my PNW Family and Friends was really hard for me.

But the same friend I reached out to today had reached out to me on Christmas Eve. I was driving to the gym. I had managed to get myself off the couch and into the car but I just wasn’t feeling it at all. In fact, I was already having an internal conversation with myself about how I was only going to do a really short 2 mile run. I got a text from my friend encouraging me to get out of the house and go for a run.

Somehow just knowing that someone else was there cheering me on helped me. I got on that treadmill and put 5 miles on my shoes that day. Guess what? I felt so much better afterwards. I was so grateful to the friends that had helped pull me out of that slump.

I’m a big believer in the “Attitude is Gratitude movement.” as well as the “Pay it Forward” movement.

Today I was able to thank my friend for being there for me when I needed it by being there for him when he needed it and by giving him something I wish I had possessed a little bit more of earlier on in my journey, experience and guidance.

I need to get back to the ABC’s – Back to the basics.

First step, confess. – I got off track again. Guilty of taking on too much and not having enough time to do all the things for me that I need to do. I stopped doing the very thing I teach others to do. Even though I love my father I have a bad habit of letting old ghosts haunt me. Sometimes, it just takes that ghost giving you a little nudge and telling you it’s time to move on. (I do love the way my father can still teach me a lesson to this day.)

Next, reassess. – I can’t do it all but I can do most of it. My running time needs to get worked back in. I need to somehow combine studying and exercise to help make that work. I need to give my clients everything they need from me to help them be successful with this challenge we have going on while still maintaining my exercise and study goals. This is my number one priority. I got this.

Now, commit. – I need a plan.

I’ll schedule my days more carefully to allow for better time management. I will schedule in, travel, exercise and study time.

I will let go of the grief I’ve been feeling. I’ll write more often. I express emotions better in words. Even better if I am the only one reading them.

I’ll keep my promise to myself to not take on any other big projects until I have completed my goals. (This is a big one for me.)

I’ll keep my promise to myself to always use Sunday as a Celebration Day. Celebrating the things I am proud of.

Today is Sunday, and as I shared with you earlier I am proud of myself for the way I was able to live a lesson I believe in today. I’m also proud of myself for the ability to realize that I am not perfect and recognizing my mistakes. As one of my heroes, Heidi Powell would say “I’m Perfectly Imperfect.”I’m also proud of my ability to learn from people like her how to fall without failing and what steps to take to get back up.  Most of all I am proud of myself, for the person I am, the woman I’ve become, and the coach I strive to be.

Now since we’re talking about getting back on track Slender Seekers I have a challenge for you. I challenge you to do the same thing I am doing in the beginning of the year. Don’t make a New Years resolution that might not last past the first few months of the year and set goals you’ll be disappointed in yourself when you don’t achieve. Instead I challenge you to simply be the best version of yourself you can be right now.

Look at your current situation, confess anything you’ve fallen short on to yourself. Reassess the situation and decide what your priorities are and then commit to a plan to get yourself back on track. I’d love to share this journey with you and celebrate the steps you take to get to where you want to be along the way. In fact, why don’t you write to me and tell me what successes you are celebrating and I’ll celebrate them with you.

That gives me a whole new idea. But more on that later. Now, it’s time for me to get some sleep.

Sending you lots of virtual hugs,

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 Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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