Can technology help us on our fitness journey?

Technology is great. Think of all the wonderful things we can do with today’s technology. The diseases we can treat and cure. The safety features that make life safer, the appliances that make life easier and the games that enable you to waste an entire afternoon.


Eventually some of that awesome technology was going to make its way into the fitness industry.

I see a lot of people using technology to track their fitness progress, some of my clients included. I have had a few conversations with clients as to the effectiveness of some of those devices. Not that I don’t think their effective, but do my clients, and the general population find them useful?

There are a ton of those products on the market. From the Fit Bits, Jawbone, Nike bands, phone apps and the regular old school step counters.  Many of the devices now a days, especially the higher ends ones, can track total activity (not just steps), body weight trends, calories consumed, calories burned, heart rate and other measurable elements.

Do those pieces of technology make a difference? Do they, can they, enhance peoples fitness levels? Does tracking all of those measures really change things?


They certainly can if used properly. If not used properly they can be a big waste of time and money. I personally hope people find them effective and use that technology to get closer to their goals. I am in favor of anything that increases exercise adherence.

Some of the technology is quite good. It will also you to track your progress verses your goal and some will allow you to compare or challenge your friends. That brings a level of accountability and social support into the equation. And for those that are competitive, a level of competition.

If, and that is a big if, the technology is causing you to change your behaviors, your habits, and keeps you accountable to yourself then yes it is useful. it is is causing you to eat better, because you now have a more accurate measure of what you are eating so you naturally consume less calories then it is doing its job.

If you are using it to track your workouts and you are making adjustments to increase or make your workouts better based off of the data then it is a good thing,

Even if you had a pedometer to track your steps, and you set a personal goal of 10,000 steps per day. What would you do if you were at 9000 steps and it was almost time for bed?

Would you:

a) not worry about it and just keep tracking the steps every day for the sake of tracking them?


b) Head out for a quick walk to get to you goal for the day before bed?

Collecting data is great if you are going to do something with it. Unless you are really curious about the number of steps you are taking each day for the hell of it.

I personally don’t use that technology except for the odd step counter to confirm the number of steps I think I am taking each day, especially during events, or conferences. Throughout the day, because i have a very similar routine I know my steps and calories.

I do have a lot of clients that use them and swear by them. it helps keep them accountable to themselves. As well as to me if they allow me to see the data. I can help them set goals based on their activity levels and nutrition intake.

I would use it in the example above. setting a goal and making sure they do everything in their power to reach the goal each day.

Any of the food and nutrition apps can be used the same way, setting a caloric goal and making sure my client only takes in that amount of calories per day.

If they allow me access to their profile then i can keep track and help keep them focused on their goals.

The irony is some technology is causing us to become sedentary and out of shape bur forcing us in front of a screen all day long and not allow us to get up and move then we use the same technology to track out workouts and how much or how little we moved.

the idea that modern technology is doing more harm than good to our health is another blog post on its own.

Whether we like it or not technology is here to stay and will only get more common in the fitness industry. Lets make sure we are using the technology to its full potential to keep us on track and allow us to reach our goals.



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Weight loss tips

I have been getting a lot of questions recently around weight loss. Losing weight, or at least the quest of losing weight is one of those societal things that won’t be going away anytime soon.

Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. From books, diets, eating plans, pills and supplements, North Americans spend more on losing weight then some countries GDP.

For starters the weight loss industry thrives on failure. If people that were overweight lost the weight and kept it off then there wouldn’t be anyone needing the services of the industry. The trick is people lose weight from a product, gain it back after they stop using the product and either use the same product again or try a newer one on the market.


When people lose weight, especially rapidly do to some fad, gimmick or trick without making any significant lifestyle changes the weight will come back on. Sometime people gain more weight.

fad diet

Losing weight is all about caloric balance. You need to burn or use more calories in a day then you consume. There are two ways to go about doing that.

1) Eat less calories

2) Burn more calories daily

Number two can be done in two ways:

1) Moving more

2) Make your body burn more calories at rest.

I could go on and on about fad diets but will save that for another post. Today I wanted to share with you some tips to help you either consume less calories or to burn more calories each day.

keep calm

There are hundreds of tips on how to lose weight but here are the top 10 I give to my clients. Most tips I provide are based on their goals, and their lifestyle. Many of my clients are business professionals and are very busy with their careers so trying to develop some eating habits is key. But these tips will work for everyone.

1) Take your lunch to work as often as you can and avoiding eating out. This way you can be certain of how many calories you are consuming. Restraint and cafeteria food always have a lot more calories in them than you would expect.  It is also a good way to save money. This is a good start at reducing the calories you eat every day. It goes hand in hand with some of the other tips below.

2) Add weight lifting or some sort of resistance training to your workout program. Adding a little bit of muscle will enable you to burn more calories at rest.

3) Limit alcohol. Alcohol has calories in it too. A beer (depending on the kind and size) has around 150 calories per bottle. Hard Liquor (depending on the proof and the shot size) has give or take 100 calories, then you need to add in any calories from the mix. With a few drinks comes the fatty snacks. So you need to limit those as well when you are out. 

4) Before eating have a glass of water. Many people when they thing they are hungry are actually thirsty. This will help fill you up and reduce the amount you need to eat to feel full and satisfied at your meal.

5) Replace higher calorie foods with low calorie ones. for example replace cream based salad dressings with vinegar based ones. Use tomato pasta sauce instead of alfredo sauces, sweetener instead of sugar and so on. 

6) Eat more Veggies. By filling up on veggies you are filling up on a food that is not that calorically dense but has a lot of volume. Besides that vegetables contain a lot of fiber and water that fill you up. Essentially eating a lot of veggies will make you full without adding a lot of calories so you eat less total calories in the day. 

7) Cardio/HIT/Interval training. Doing cardio will help expend a lot of those excess calories. If your body needs more energy it will tap into your fat stores for energy. One of the biggest factors that influence a persons desire to perform exercise is if the person likes the exercise they are doing. 

If you are forced to do a particular exercise or to go beyond your comfort level before you build the habit then you are not likely to want to continue with that exercise. 


Do you think joelle is enjoying her training session? Do you think she is going to want to continue to do that even though she accomplished it at the end? Think she would do it on her own? If you start associating negative feelings towards exercise in general it is less likely someone would do it. 

If someone has positive feelings towards the exercise they are more likely to stick to it. 

Starting an exercise plan like a horse out of the starting gate won’t help if you only do it a few times. 

8) Eat 5-6 times a day. This keeps your metabolism high, thus keep you burning calories throughout the day. Don’t eat more food in the day just spread out the food out over 5 to 6 meals throughout the day, usually every 2-3 hours. 

9) Eat breakfast. Like tip number 8 you need to spread your food over several meals and unless you are on some strange polyphasic sleep pattern you need to eat immediately upon waking. If you sleep between 6-9 hours at night, even if you ate right before bed you have been fasting for 6-9 hours. When you don’t eat for several hours your metabolism slows down. To kick start your metabolism to an optimal level so that you are a calorie burning machine.

10) Keep a food log. Keeping a log will help keep you accountable to yourself. I often get my clients to keep a food log of what they eat, how much the eat and when they eat it. Before making any changes to your diet I recommend logging everything you eat for three days, including one weekend day, because everyone eats differently on the weekends. Then when you make some eating habit changes you can compare where you were to where you are and see what the caloric difference is. 

 There are just a few of the tips I offer to my clients. Often times I will help them work on a plan that is best suited to their lifestyle and habit. The tips can be modified and changed based on an individual’s lifestyle, goals and workout habits. You don’t need to add in all the changes at once. One or two changes at a time, especially if you are not accustomed to making drastic changes in your life, work best. Build  the habit of those changes first and make them part of your lifestyle. Once those are established then you can add on more changes to help compound the weight losing effect.


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A trip to the bank

We have hectic and crazy lives.

I am very blessed to live in a peaceful country and a great city. I go to work during the week, I get to work out, spend time with my family and friends and enjoy life. We often take for granted what we have sometimes, actually I would venture a guess as to say most of the ime.

We don’t live in a war torn country where going to the store can be dangerous. Your religious  beliefs, sexual orientation or other personal beliefs won’t get you killed.

We are free (for the most part) of natural disasters and extremist actions. And if something were to happen in this country our government and government agencies would act fast to help and save as many people as they can.

I was at the bank the other day and took notice just how stressed out people are.

I had to go to the bank for work. I needed change for our till at the gym. So one of those times where you actually need to see a teller. Before I started my new position I couldn’t remember when I actually did my banking business with a teller. Like most people that are versed with technology, and to be honest I don’t know much, I use an ATM or online banking for almost everything I need to do.

But this day I need to talk to someone, If I could have gotten the change I was looking for from an ATM I would have.

This particular day as soon as I stepped inside the bank I knew something was wrong. The line to see a teller was a lot longer than usual and people in the bank seemed stressed. Evey have that vibe when you walk into a place that everyone seems mad or upset? Well this place stank to high heaven of it.

Needing the change for work I stepped in line and began to wait, Another odd thing about the day was that I didn’t have my phone on me. So no facebook, twitter texting or checking email while I waited my turn. Nope just had to hurry up and wait.

While waiting, when not occupied with my phone, I like to watch people and observe their actions.

First thing I noticed was that there was only two tellers working. Normally when I come in this bank there are at least three or four, So I deducted that they were short staffed today. No biggie, has happened to me in my gym and happens at other customer service places as well.

Second, the main teller that is getting through the most people in line looks stressed as hell. She is concentrating like she is defusing a bomb. She is not happy and I am sure she is getting the brunt of the complaints of people having to wait in line.

Next come the people in line. They are stressed and starting to get mad because of the wait. As I am starting to make my way up to the front of the line and the customer service “help desk” that is not actually a teller is trying to help people if they don’t have or need cash. It helps but I can’t tell if it is making those people more or less mad.

As I get closer to the front I start overhearing conversations between the members and the teller that is whipping through customers. Two of the three people in front of me are making a deposit.

Wait! a deposit?

WTF! I say to myself as I stay there in line. The two most stressed out people in line just wanted to make a deposit.



Well the ATM over in the corner is working fine and doesn’t have a lineup. They could have easily made their deposit there and saved a ton of time. They actually waisted their own time by wanting to see a teller.

When I finally get to the teller she looks stressed. I smile and that immediately relieves any tension between us and I think puts her at ease, I am a big guy and I bet she thought that I was going to complain about the wait. I engage her in small talk ” busy in here today!” “you guys short staffed today?”

“Yeah sorry about the wait” she replied as she was counting out my change.

“Don’t worry about it. Its not your fault. If the worst thing that happens to me today is having to wait an extra 10 minutes in line at the bank, then its been a pretty good day.” I replied.

Thinking back as I left the bank and all those stressed out people I thought about how much of that stress was self induced? Many of those people could have done the banking they need to get done online or at an ATM.

In total I don’t think the wait was more than 10 minutes. Many of those people have waited in line at starbucks longer.

Here is a little rant about the lines at Starbucks.

The best is when there are 10 cars in the drive through and no one in the store yet you choose to stay in the drive through because you don’t want to get out of your car. You could be with your coffee much sooner and lower your stress level by many points but the drive through is just easier. Even though you are stressed you are late you still want your coffee and you still want to go through the drive through.

To get to the point of my post today, stress is everywhere but much of it is self induced. If I went into line at the bank mad because I wasn’t going to be in and out as fast as I thought I could have stressed myself out too. Yet I choose to look on the bright side of things and enjoy that time to people watch. then write a blog about it.

"I should tell you this transaction is being recorded, and may appear on my blog."

Stress kills! it takes a tole on your physical and mental health. And to tie it back in with the theme of my blog, stress can prevent you from losing weight and depending on how you cope with stress cause you to gain weight.

Next time you find yourself stressed out take time to think to yourself “is this really worth getting stressed out over?”

In a future post we will explore some stress reduction techniques.

in the meantime remember, things could always be worse.



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