[Transcript] – What Is Your Favorite Fitness App?

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Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/lifestyle-podcasts/fitness-app/

[00:00] Introduction

[01:28] About Bruce and Fitness for Geeks

[04:15] The Geekiest Things Bruce Did for Fitness

[09:11] What Bruce Did to Eat Better

[14:18] Does Bruce Track His HRV

[17:26] Apps for Sleep

[20:41] Balancing Between the Geekiness and An Information Overload

[32:20] Apps for General Health

[40:11] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey, folks.  It's Ben Greenfield here, and I have an author on the call today who's written three books, primarily on software and also a book on fitness called “Fitness For Geeks”.  He knows a lot about everything from quantifying your workouts, to using apps, to basically just geeking out with your workouts.  And today, we're going to talk about how to get a better body and how to improve your performance by geeking out.  So, my guest today is named Bruce Perry.  He hails from Massachusetts and he's got a pretty geeky website called fitnessfg.com.  Bruce, thanks for coming on the call.

Bruce:  Hey, Ben!  Thanks for inviting me!  It's great to be here.

Ben:  Yeah!  No problem.  I've been checking out your website ever since we connected for an interview and reading the articles that you put out on using apps and in quantifying some of your results when it comes to fitness and training, and you're doing quite a bit as far as the stuff that you write, and I'll be sure and link over to your site in the show notes to this episode.  But can you tell me a little bit more about yourself?  Tell the audience a little more about yourself, and specifically what this whole “Fitness For Geeks” thing is.

Bruce:  Yeah.  I'm a writer with a journalism and software engineering background.  I've spent decades as an athlete doing various team sports, endurance sports, et cetera.  And researching fitness issues the whole time and usually including early versions of some of these biofeedback tools, sort of the early geek, tools like heart rate monitors, and watches that would record your route, altimeters and things like that.  And basically, I always wanted to write a book on fitness, and my publisher is essentially a software, kind of how-to publisher.  So, we got together and I convinced them to get into the fitness field, but from a geek aficionado background or angle.  So, that's how Fitness For Geeks originated.

And basically, it's a holistic book because I think health and fitness is a melange of things.  It's not just losing weight or working out.  So, it's a holistic book that includes the science of nutrition, the science of exercise, like resistance exercise and endurance sports, the science of sleep and fasting, and all interwoven with this explosion of software tools and fitness apps for smartphones.  And I included maybe a dozen interviews with scientists and athletes as kind of spice on the main dish.  There's just a lot of stuff in there.  I have a friend from Austria who I gave the book to, “Give it a read,” and I think she might have been a little skeptical beforehand.  “Alright, I'll read this because Bruce wrote it.”  She came back to me and she just said, she put it better than I could.  She just said, “Everything is in there.”

Ben:  Nice.

Bruce:  Micronutrients, macronutrients, technology, sleep, fasting, et cetera.

Ben:  Cool.  I like it.  When it comes to giving the audience a little bit of flavor of what it is you do, what are some of the geekiest things that you've ever done to get fit, or to eat better, or to basically achieve any of the goals that our audience might have?

Bruce:  That's sort of a take-your-pick question because…

Ben:  I want to hear about some of the out-there stuff.

Bruce:  One of the things I've done, I actually write about it in the book, is I use a smartphone app called EndoMondo.  And what it does is it uses GPS software to record where you are, and so you can map out your entire route.  You can take it a step further…

Ben:  So, you use this like when you're running or…?

Bruce:  Running, hiking, cycling.  Anything you're doing, it will generate this really cool map.  So, what you can do though, you can take it a step further and export what they call the GPS exchange file, which is basically, here's a geek talk here, it's basically an XML file that has all the location data, all the geographical points, millions of them, depending how far you went.  You can take that file, rename it, and import it into Google Earth, which reads that kind of a file.  So, that's sort of sharing data between different applications.  And Google Earth will give you an even richer map, showing where you were.  I've done simpler things like worn two devices at the same time just to see if their data is different.

Ben:  Right.  How do you think that's most helpful for you, when you use something like that?

Bruce:  Just to make sure that you're getting accurate information and just for pure interest's sake.  Because the different devices really do give you different lengths of your workout and things like, Ben, you always see that following a road race because everyone's wearing these watches now, carrying their smartphones.  And they all say, “That wasn't 10K.  It was 6.3!”  Or, “That was 6.1,” et cetera, et cetera.  The ironic thing is that the race directors were probably correct because the GPS devices, in terms of a tenth of a mile, are notoriously inaccurate.  So, the race was probably 10K, but you're getting different distances.  Another interesting, sort of geek event that happened lately was, I was just talking to you about a visit to Portland, Oregon.  And as part of the promotion for my book, there was a 5K along the river there, and it was called the “Couch to Quantified 5K”.  It was a bunch of software guys, a couple hundred showed up for the run and the purpose of it was, as they announced during the race, they usually give you directions and things like that, it was all about the data not the race.  So, everybody was supposed to bring a device, and this is really geeky, do the race, and they were gonna hack the data afterwards.  And there was actually, that weekend, following the 5K, there was a hackathon.  If that isn't a fitness geeky event, I don't know what is.

Ben:  What exactly was going on during the hackathon?

Bruce:  They were just combining the data using different programming languages, like Python, and JavaScript.  And I wasn't part of it 'cause I had to leave earlier that week, but I did actually write a little article on the blog that I write describing what I would have done with my data, which is basically taking different devices and exporting it.  I think you can potentially do something interesting by taking an entire race, like, for example, a duathlon, and hacking all the data from people's devices and you could see, for instance, you could see patterns in the data of the paces at different points in the course and compare it with age groups and genders.  In a way, it was just a way to combine a 5K with the things that these guys like to do best, which is hack data.

Ben:  So, in addition to using something like EndoMondo or competing in a hackathon, what other kind of geeky things have you done to help you to eat better or to get fit?

Bruce:  Well, in terms of eating better, I use NutritionData a lot, which is an analytical site where you can plug in what you're eating and find out its macronutrients, and vitamins, minerals, types of fats.  I'm always looking up what a particular food contains in terms of its omega 3 versus omega 6 and things like that.

Ben:  Cool.  I know NutritionData is a website, and that's actually a really good website.  I'll use that a lot of times to check up on foods and their content.  That site is run by the Nutrition Diva, who I know a lot of listeners know of.  She has a great podcast over on iTunes called “The Nutrition Diva's Quick and Dirty Tips To,” something, eat better and feel fabulous.  Something like that.  But anyways, that's a website.  But there's also a ton of apps out there.  Do you have some favorite fitness apps or diet apps that you recommend or that you use?

Bruce:  Right.  Yeah.  I don't really like to play favorites, but there's so many out there now and they're emerging week by week.  But I use EndoMondo, occasionally the Fitbit tracker, which is a pedometer on steroids.  It's useful for laps for a workout, then as identifying patterns in your activities throughout a day, and it has a really nice connected website.  All of these things have web dashboard for the users.  That's where a lot of the quality comes from.  It's not necessarily having this app on your cell phone as much as all these cool charts, and maps, and aggregated data on what you've done.  I think that's how they've changed the most.  They've got this rich web interface.  And Garmin Connect, you've seen, or used the Garmin devices.  So, they've got their own pretty cool web-related area where you can see all your data.  They have an interesting feature which, I think it's called the Player.  And you can, for example, do your cycling workout, let's say you're training for a triathlon, and go back to this player and actually replay the cycle on a map, so you can see the little red dot go over the terrain, and how fast you were going, and even what your heart rate was at the moment.  And I really wish I had that 10 or 20 years ago.  I mean, that's extremely useful.  So, that's Garmin Connect.  And then there was Runkeeper, and there's a new fairly new running-related or endurance-related app that looks promising called Runtastic.  I haven't used that, but I recently downloaded it.

Ben:  What's it supposed to do?

Bruce:  It's very similar to EndoMondo in which you can just set the type of workout you're doing, running, cycling, hiking, whatever.  You take off, it records everything, it has some sort of 3D interface.  I actually read a review of it, so I'm getting information second-hand.  But the guy was in the New York Times and the guy talked about a feature in which you can actually follow another user on a map in real time.  So, you can see them running down a street in and that seemed kind of creepy, but sort of like cool, but a little creepy.  So, that's Runtastic.  There's another interesting thing tool online that actually can slow people down so you don't overtrain, this one is called Restwise.  And I wrote a…

Ben:  Yeah.  That's a great one.

Bruce:  Yeah.  I wrote a section in my book on that where they just take very pretty basic biofeedback, and then you plug it in, and then it gives you a score.  Based on how rested you are and whether you should train hard, train moderately, or take a rest day.  This is a really underappreciated aspect of fitness.

Ben:  Yeah.  I had those guys on the podcast before.  The one thing that's not on the Restwise app yet is heart rate variability tracking.  Do you use any apps specifically to track heart rate variability?

Bruce:  No.  And I don't wear heart rate monitors anymore for one reason or another.  And one of the interesting things that happens when you take this biofeedback and stuff is that it trains you to know your own body.  And I've gotten to the point where I can predict what my heart rate is to a surprising level of accuracy.

Ben:  Yeah.  Well, me too.  But what about heart rate variability, like the delta in terms of the change in time between each of your…

Bruce:  You mean you're sprinting, you reach your max heart rate, how long does it take to get, say, under 120?  That sort of thing?

Ben:  Actually, heart rate variability is the length of time between the actual heartbeats themselves, and specifically the delta of that.  So, how variable your heart rate is as a function of your autonomic nervous system, like how your nervous system is feeding into your heart rate.  I know there are some apps out there.  One that I've been kind of messing around with, there's one called, I think it's called Stress Test, or Stress Check, or something like that.  I'll put a link to it in the show notes.  Anyways, what it does is you hold your finger up against the camera lens of your phone and it'll check your heart rate variability, and that's an instant measurement of the amount of stress that you're under at any given point in time.  And I'll put a link to that…

Bruce:  How accurate do you think that it is in terms of your cell phone's ability to pick up something that precise?  Do you think that's very accurate?

Ben:  Sure.  It's just picking up your heartbeat and measuring the change in period of time between heart beats.  So, what I've found is that that tends to correlate pretty well with another device that I use, that app that I just mentioned, that Stress Check one is free.  The other app that I've used for heart rate variability, or the other system I've used for heart rate variability is called the emWave2, by the HeartMath Institute.  And that's cool, and you hook it up your ear lobe and it'll measure your heart rate, your stress levels, your heart rate variability, and it's a really, really cool way to quantify your stress, your emotional stress or your physical stress, but it's like 150 bucks versus free and on your phone.

Bruce:  That's actually not that bad.

Ben:  No.  I mean, it's not too bad.  I mean, people are just getting started into kind of messing around with some of this stuff.  It seems like a chunk of change, but no, to me, that one's worth it.

Bruce:  Yeah.  If you're as knowledgeable as you are you're really going to be using it a lot, because the apps are cheap, but smartphones aren't.  So, that might be a barrier to entry for some people.  But I think more and more people are ending up with a smartphone for one reason or another.

Ben:  What about for sleep?  Do you use any apps or do you do any geeky stuff for…?

Bruce:  Oh, yeah.  There's the Zeo, which I've heard about.  Have you heard about that?  That's the Zeo Sleep Manager.  It's to be the Uber app…

Ben:  The Zeo, 'cause I know there's some free apps that basically just measure how much you wiggle around while you sleep and then approximates your sleep based on that.

Bruce:  The Fitbit tracker does that.

Ben:  Yeah.  But the Zeo, you wear a device on your head that measures your electrical waves or something like that.  Don't you?

Bruce:  Yeah.  I haven't used it myself.  I got one of them to test and to write about, and I had my wife do it because it just, I don't know, I don't like putting things on my head when I go to sleep.  The results are interesting.

Ben:  So, you're measuring your brain waves?  Right?

Bruce:  Right.  And I'm not sure how accurately they can do that 'cause I really haven't looked into it in a tremendous amount of detail.  But it did seem to provide some useful data on when you were in deep sleep, REM sleep, and other sleep stages at certain times of the night.

Ben:  Like those four main stages of sleep.

Bruce:  Yeah.  So you could hack that.  I mean you could see how different times of the week your sleep changes in response to different things you ate before you went to sleep.

Ben:  My only issue is I have concerns that the actual measurement device that you wear on your head from the Zeo may actually interfere with the sleep patterns themselves and possibly kick out data that is unique to when you're wearing the device.  That's my concern with that device.  And I've talked to a few other folks who share that concern in terms of the potential for the electrical waves kicked off by the Zeo itself to actually kind of like to skew the numbers while you're asleep.

Bruce:  That could be possible.  The simple act as having head gear when you're sleeping could change the way you're sleeping, disrupt.

Ben:  Yeah.  Potentially.  I use the EarthPulse now.  It's doesn't measure sleep, it simply enhances sleep.  But it's just this device you put underneath your mattress that kicks out this pulsed electromagnetic frequency.  And that, for me, works really well.  But yeah, it doesn't measure…

Bruce:  Yeah.  That's interesting.

Ben:  It doesn't measure sleep, but I know, I qualitatively know it's like, “Yeah, I just slept eight hours and I feel like a million bucks” versus when I don't use it.

Now, in terms of like finding balance between, say, like geeking out and looking at all this information while you're out training, or sleeping, or eating, or whatever, and then also kind of balancing that between the geekiness part but also information overload, like having too much data to come out you.  Where do you find the balance or how can someone find balance when it comes to something like that?

Bruce:   That's a really good question, because people don't equate fitness with technology, and apps, and things like that.  They just figure, “Oh, this is geeks overdoing it again.  They're not really getting healthy they're back on their computers.”  It's a valid point.  You just have to avoid putting the cart before the horse.  It's your health that matters most.  So, you don't go out for a 30-minute jaunt and then spend three hours sitting on the couch, looking at the data.  I think people have to be aware of that.

Ben:  Yeah.  I didn't even think about that aspect.  I was thinking it's more about the aspect of just unplugging and seeing nature and stuff versus like being tied to your phone.  But yeah, that's a good point too is that, yeah, there's kind of that propensity than hour run turns into 30 minutes of sedentary activity looking at the run, huh?

Bruce:  Yeah, no.  What you just said is true also.  I mean, you don't want to just be plugged in when you have your one time during the day when you're getting outside into the woods, and it'll interfere with that connection you're making.  But actually, in general, these apps are probably the main health-positive element of the technology revolution.  I think it's generally, it's played a role in undermining health with all the studies that have shown how unhealthy screen life is, spending endless amounts of times in front of televisions, and computers, and smart phones, et cetera.  But certainly the fitness apps have increased the tendency of millions of people to exercise.  If anything, the downside might be overtraining.

Ben:  For me personally, and I don't know if people who work in technology might have this feeling, I'm a coach.  So I spend a better part of several days looking at files, GPS files, and heart rate files, and power files that the athletes who I coach are uploading to, I use a software program called TrainingPeaks to be able to access their data.  And for me, when I go out on a run and I'm using, whatever, I'm using the Quarq Power Meter on my bike, or I'm using my Timex Run Trainer, or my Timex Cycle Trainer to quantify my data, a lot of times, it feels like work, like I'm on the job.  And so, for me, a lot of times, I almost have to unplug and not pay attention.

Bruce:  In this case with coaching, it's a really practical tool.

Ben:  It's changed my life when it comes to coaching.

Bruce:  I assume your athletes are really ambitious about getting faster and stronger.  So, these are really…

Ben:  Some of 'em.  I mean, some people just want to feel good when they finish Ironman.  But, yeah, I mean some people are looking at how many seconds faster they're running their half mile repeats or their 800's.  And so, yeah, that's the cool thing about some of these apps and these tracking tools, is the ability to upload the data to a software program and share it with somebody.  But yeah, that's also the hard part for people who are coaches.  So, yeah.

Bruce:  For instance, the Restwise tool is really almost more for coaches because they can pattern their athletes, the periodicity of their training can be patterned of what…

Ben:  Well, the cool thing about Restwise is you can predict when somebody is going to get sick or get injured.  I have six folks who I work with who use Restwise.  So, they're signed up with Restwise and they have me selected as a coach to share their data with.  So, I get those people's charts and it'll give me a Restwise score that's, whatever, 70, or 50, or whatever.  And soon as I see the Restwise score begin to drop, if I don't actually make a change on their schedule that I've laid out for them in TrainingPeaks, there's a 90% chance of injury or illness within two to three days.  It's like you can predict with that tool, which is cool.

Bruce:  Yeah.  And I like the little device that you can use to pick up your heart rate and oxygen perfusion.

Ben:  You mean the fingertip device?

Bruce:  Right.  Yeah, I started using that every morning.

Ben:  Yeah.  The oxygen saturation monitor?

Bruce:  Right.

Ben:  Yeah.  That's pretty cool too.

Bruce:  I always saw it in emergency rooms, unfortunately.  Visiting a family member or something in the ICU, they would have this thing on their finger.  I always asked about it.  So, now I have my own.

Ben:  So, do you ever look into any of these apps that can be used or, not really apps, but more like training tools that can be used for swimmers in terms of monitoring when you hit a wall and you flip and measuring like how many laps you've done, or how long your stroke length is, or anything like that?

Bruce:  No, I haven't seen anything for swimmers.  It might be a little difficult because not too many of these apps are waterproof.  Now I know that I'm…

Ben:  Well, in this case, it's like…

Bruce:  I'd like to try one though.

Ben:  Like the Garmin 905, for example, I know is one.  It'll measure even something like an open water swim, like how far you go on it.

Bruce:  I was just going to say, that would be really cool to have.  I just took an ocean swim this afternoon.  To have a Garmin device and go to Garmin Connect afterwards and see the map and add water temperature data and things like that, that would be excellent.

Ben:  Yeah.  That's the kind of stuff.  They make one, and I think the company FINIS makes one also.

Bruce:  Generally, I'll do something like turn on EndoMondo and then forget about it.  For example, last week, I was up in the mountains of Vermont and I took a ridge hike above Mad River Glen Ski Area, and it was all mapped out for me afterwards.  And one of the good things about these hikes and then looking at the route afterwards is that you get ideas for the future.  I figured out a really good back country ski I could do in the winter from doing that hike and just looking at the Google map and Google Earth afterwards, and it showed the ski area below me, and I saw a place where I could take the hike in the winter and have the skis on my back and then ski down.  And then the next night, I took a really good mountain bike climb and mapped it.  I figured out the elevation grade afterwards based on the altitude data.  But while I was doing it, it's a beautiful summer evening and I'm getting into the physical aspects of doing the cycle climb and the beauty of the mountains.  So, in general, the apps are, especially if you turn off the voice and things like that, EndoMondo has a little thing that says, “You just did you know the fifth mile in six minutes and 19 seconds,” or something like that.

Ben:  Yeah.

Bruce:  They're pretty unobtrusive.

Ben:  Yeah.

Bruce:  A lot of people are using the social media aspects to, either they're beginners, they're getting back into, or getting into exercise for the first time or they're coming back from injury and illness.  That's probably an unappreciated side of it.  So, all their family members are watching them make this great comeback.  And whereas I don't get into social media as much, I'm more of a mapping geek, I think that's a really good feature of these tools,

Ben:  Yeah.  I've actually done that before when I have a very important workout to do.  You can turn on “Map My Ride” or “Map My Run” in either of those apps.  I don't know if that EndoMondo app that you mention does this as well.  But basically you can select it, it'll kick out data to your Facebook page or to your Twitter page every, whatever, every five miles, or every 20 minutes, or whatever.  And so, it's like if you've got a, let's say you're training for Ironman and you've got your 20 mile run to do and you're just like, “Agh, this is going to this is going to suck.  I can't do this.”  You go over to Twitter or you go over to Facebook, and you're like, “Just about ready to head out for my 20 miler,” and then you turn that app on, it starts to kick out data.  And you just know if you stop that you'll have half a dozen friends when you get back being like, “What happened after five miles?  All of a sudden, it appears that you quit.”

Bruce:  You got a few people looking over your shoulder.

Ben:  Yeah.  And that can be pretty powerful.  And I see that as a coach sometimes too, when I'll look at someone's workout and they did half the number of intervals of what they're supposed to do.  And usually the athlete who I'm working with beats me to it and they give me their excuse when they upload the data or they give me the reason when they upload the data.  They ran out of time, they had to take their kids somewhere, or something like that.  But, yeah, that ability to share your experiences is, I think, in most situations, a powerful way to motivate yourself.

Bruce:  Yeah.  I do a little coaching myself and cross-country, and I plan on this fall, integrating some of these tools into it a little bit more than I did last year.  For example, there is a pretty good interval feature in EndoMondo and makes it a lot easier for me if I'm doing intervals with younger athletes to have the tool.  It chimes in different ways when you're supposed to be in a rest segment as opposed to the sprint segment.  So, you can just turn it on, put it in my shoulder strap-on thing, and it can more or less organize the Tabata sprint or whatever you're doing for you.  Because in the past, I've literally run out of breath when it comes, especially during Tabata sprints, and when it comes to telling people that the 10 second rest is up and to start again.

Ben:  Right, right.

Bruce:  There's lots of tools that you can integrate into workouts and it's kind of doing the work for you.

Ben:  Yeah.  Now, I know that we're starting to run short on time, but what about health?  Do you have any apps or any hacks that you use for just general health, like monitoring anything from like blood glucose, or lab numbers, or anything like that?

Bruce: I know there's a lot of them out there.  I interviewed a guy at Boston College who's doing cutting edge research on fasting and things like longevity and cancer.  And he actively uses a tool, he and all his lab partners use this tool that measure blood glucose and ketones, because they're all on a ketogenic diet.  He's a very strong advocate of keeping very low fasting blood glucose.

Ben:  I've interviewed a guy named Peter Attia on the podcast before, and he keeps himself in pretty strict ketogenesis, measuring is his ketone body formation, I believe, using a strip for that.  But there's an app called…

Bruce:  Yeah.  A lot of people on that paleo regimen are using glucose and ketone apps, but I haven't gotten into that.

Ben:  Glucose Buddy is one…

Bruce:  This doesn't really fit the criteria of health app as much as maybe fitness, but I use a connected body composition analyzer made by Withings, and it's wireless.  So, I step on it, it sends the data out over the internet, and it gets connected to the Fitbit tracker.

Ben:  That one's called what?

Bruce:  Withings.  W-I-T-H-I-N-G-S.  It's fairly accurate as body composition analyzers go.  They tend to be a little quirky, like I found that they give you very flattering results when the temperature is hot in the room.

Ben:  You suddenly magically lose fat?

Bruce:  I suddenly have 6% body fat.  But it's a very useful tool if you are going to, for example, try to use these apps to engineer a weight loss or a muscle gain.  For example, you're analyzing your nutrition so you know your energy intake in calories.  You're using the fitness apps so you know what you're burning up.  In the same dashboard on the web, you have all the results historically from the BC analyzer.  Because, for example, the Fitbit dashboard is connected to the Withings, which is pretty cool.  All these things can be connected.  They're all working with each other.  It's similar to what you were talking about with Twitter and Facebook being connected.  So, it's an interesting suite of tools that can be used.  For example, Fitbit, plus FitDay for nutrition, plus EndoMondo, plus Withings, and they're all grouped together.  And so, you get all that information at your fingertips.

Ben:  Yeah.  Do you even…

Bruce:  That's the plan for the future, is to have everything wirelessly connected.  It's sort of like, you've heard of the geeky term “the cloud” where all your files and everything are internet-enabled, so you don't have to have them on your own hard disk.

Ben:  Yeah.  I…

Bruce:  All these fitness apps and health apps can be all grouped together and wirelessly connected.  That's kind of a good geek topic to conclude on.

Ben:  Well, on the show notes to this post, I guess, we would probably have a lot of people curious, and maybe to give people direction, I'll tell folks that are listening in, here's what I'm going to do.  I use an iPhone and I've got a billion apps on my phone.  I'm always kind of geeking out on mostly like health, diet, and sleep apps and some fitness apps.  I'll upload all of the different apps that I have on my phone if people want to just take an inside sneak peek at what I've got on my phone.  What do you use?  An Android or an iPhone?

Bruce:  I have an Android even though I'm an Apple guy.

Ben:  Cool.

Bruce:  Never put up with an iPhone.

Ben:  I took some notes while you were talking.  So, I'm going to put a link, folks, to all of the Fitness for Geeks recommended apps too here.  You can go over there and check 'em out.

Bruce:  I would also just chime in on a point that you made earlier, don't overdo it on this too.  It's really healthy to unplug, and I really think people should take technology holidays and technology sabbaticals, or whatever you want to call 'em and institute things like don't jump right into your e-mail first thing in the morning or Twitter.

Ben:  Guilty as charged.

Bruce:  Right.  Me too.  I kind of forced myself off technology.  It sounds kind of contradictory, but you can overdo this stuff and you don't want to make it a health negative thing.

Ben:  Right.  Yeah.  That makes a lot of sense.  So, yeah.  Check out the show notes, folks, if you want lots of interesting links.  I know we covered a lot of kind of different little tools you can use.  Don't worry, they won't be affiliate links that we make money off or anything, just links to the apps.  That's all.  So, anyways though…

Bruce:  And Nike+ is another big area we never talked about, but that should be added to the list.

Ben:  That Nike+.  Do you use that one?

Bruce:  Nike+?  No.  That's the sneakers that are connected to their own tools.  It's like Garmin Connect and EndoMondo, where it's a whole suite of tools and you have a website and everything, but that's certainly a big one.

Ben:  Cool.  I'll put that one in there as well.

Bruce:  [0:38:24] ______ in Portland, Oregon, I went into one of their stores and I tried their connected vertical leap analyzer and I wrote about it on my blog to see how I won the Larry Bird jumping contest.

Ben:  Wasn't Larry Bird the white guy who didn't jump for [0:38:43] ______.

Bruce:  Right.  I wish I tried it when I was 19, when I still had some leaping ability.  That's part of the whole Nike+ thing.  And if you go into their stores, you can try it out.  And it's projected on this big screen and everything, and the baseline is LeBron James, which is 40.3 inches, and I did 19.8.

Ben:  Nice.  You're one-half of Michael Jordan.

Bruce:  But that's what Nike's getting into.  They're getting into all these fitness apps too.

Ben:  Okay.  Cool.  I'll put a link to the Nike stuff as well.  And then the last thing is if you are listening and you're trying to scream through the microphone or through the podcast right now and be like, “Wait, you guys!  You forgot this awesome app that I use,” or maybe you're a complete geek yourself and you've got your own apps that you'd recommend, chime in on the comments to these show notes and let us know what apps you use, and why you dig 'em, and how they're helping you, and we can get a little directory going for folks.  So, fitnessfg.com is the name of the website that you can go to to check out some of the other stuff that Bruce has written, and his book is called “Fitness for Geeks”.  I'll link to that in the show notes as well.  And Bruce, thank you for coming on the call today.

Bruce:  Hey, Ben.  It was my pleasure we should do it again.



(I do not condone riding your bicycle while using your phone or exercising at the gym while talking on your phone. Do not be that person…)

In today's post, I'm releasing an audio interview with “Fitness For Geeks” author Bruce Perry. Bruce and I geek out on how you can use technology to get a better workout and a better body.

One of the things we talk quite a bit about are smartphone apps.

So I figured I'd give you a sneak peek into exactly what I personally have on my iPhone, and how I use these apps to enhance my life…

…these are the fitness apps I have on my phone right now:

Men's Health Workout for when I'm bored and want to outsource my workout to an app. I just pick a goal, like “Crowded Gym Workout” and follow the instructions.

Nexercise for getting points and winning awards for doing workouts. I did an audio interview with the Nexercise inventor here.

PZizz iPhone app for brain training when I need to get a quick nap in (I don't like this app for long sleep sessions, though).

White Noise app for when I need to sleep in loud settings (dogs, kids, airports, etc.) or for when I need to sleep on an airplane. I like the “rain” setting.

 Stress Doctor by Azumio for quick relaxation, breathing and breath control training.

Stress Check by Azumio for tracking your HRV instantly (at 0.99, affordable compared to emWave2).

SleepTime app by Azumio (kind of similar to Zeo Personal Sleep Coach system, but a more affordable alternative to Zeo)

TrainingPeaks is kind of a no-brainer for me – I use TrainingPeaks to coach all my clients and can also use it to log my own training and nutrition, and sync with my online TrainingPeaks account.


I'd love to hear which apps YOU use in the comments section below this post, but first…

…let's move on to today's audio interview with Bruce Perry (pictured right), in which we discuss which fitness apps that Bruce thinks are the best, and how to find a good balance between “geekiness” and actually enjoying your workout.

You already know about the apps I personally have on my phone. During our interview, here are the apps that Bruce recommends or personally uses:

 EndoMondo Sports Tracker – Using the built-in GPS, Endomondo Sports Tracker tracks running, cycling, walking and any other distance based sport. On top, you get audio feedback on your performance during your workout and your friends can follow you live and send you peptalks in real-time.

 Runtastic GPS Fitness Tracker – Track your runs and activities, improve your performance and receive live cheering during your workouts to stay motivated.

 Restwise is the first system that lets athletes simply and accurately quantify their state of recovery from exercise. Track 12 easily measured inputs each day, and Restwise calculates your recovery score.

Withings – The Withings Health Companion is the simple way to take care of yourself and stay healthy. It’s free to download and is designed for anyone who wants to lose a few pounds, exercise more, keep an eye on their blood pressure, or sleep better.

Nike+ is the most popular running app on iTunes. Map your runs, track your progress and get the motivation you need to reach your goals. No sensor or additional products needed, just grab your phone and go.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy the following posts:

-A Fun Free Fitness App For Busy People

-Top Rated iPod and iPhone Fitness & Nutrition Apps



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