Macros and Misadventures: Training with tech

I, like many people who are working from home and situated very far away from there IT departments, spend quite a bit of time curing technology — but not when it comes to fitness.

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Quick! How many grams of fat, carbohydrates and protein are in a handful of almonds?

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Don’t ask me. I don’t have a clue.

What does have a clue is the app on the magic little computer in my pocket.

I, like many people who are working from home and situated very far away from their IT departments, spend quite a bit of time curing technology — but not when it comes to fitness. I have fully embraced technology in that arena.

My coaches in my 12-week fitness challenge have me using two apps I’ve never tried before — My Fitness Pal and Trainerize.

I use My Fitness Pal, which is free, for tracking my nutrition. It calculates both the percentage and grams of the macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fats that I’m consuming. It also tracks calories. People can also use the app to track their exercise and body stats but I use a different app for that.

Trainerize is where my coaches have loaded my workouts each day. I log on and see what tasks I have to do, which may include logging my weight, measurements or taking progress photos. My workouts show the individual exercises. The app allows me to substitute exercises and has video demonstrations of all of the moves.

“Technology is meant to be a tool to help you get to your goals and make life easier. So using technology can really help you track your fitness goals but also guide you through the process of your fitness journey,” says Katrina German, CEO of EthicalDigital.ca.

“Most people would not be going as in-depth into their fitness journeys as they are right now because technology is enabling them to learn these new skills and ways of approaching fitness.”

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German says there’s a multitude of technology options out there people can try. The 7 Minute Workout app, Fitbit, Noom, Strava, just to name a few. And they’re simple enough even I could use them, I’m told.

“The majority of app developers are very focused on a good user experience but I actually think in a way fitness apps kind of lead the way because they know they need to be as easy as possible to overcome the barriers people are having to accomplishing fitness goals ,” she said.

“You’re trying to change people’s habits and if it’s too hard to use the app you’re not going to change people’s habits.”

German does warn against putting too much personal information in apps. Data breaches can and have happened. She also says to consult with a doctor before starting any exercise plan. And another caveat: make sure the apps are working for you, not the other way around.

“If you’re finding that it’s enabling your goals then it’s a good fit, but if you find that it’s causing you to obsess over your goals or engage too much in the space then you may be wanting to assess your experience with those apps, ”said German.

So, how many grams of fat in a handful of almonds?

Who cares? They’re delicious.

(Seven. The answer is seven.)

Jillian Smith is the digital editor for The StarPhoenix. She’s trading in her computer and mouse for kale and dumbbells in a 12-week fitness challenge.

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