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The fad of fitness apps

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Do you use Fitbit? Myfitnesspal? Or any other of the gazillion options out there for tracking and analysing every last detail of your diet/workout/cholesterol/heartrate/activity levels on your phone.

 

The Herald republished an article from The Independent today:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11433594

 

It's very well written, so worth reading in its entirety, but here's the point that got me thinking...

 

 

The British Medical Journal published a debate on the things this week, in which a Glasgow GP, Dr Des Spence, eloquently warned that health apps could be bad for you. He thundered about "middle-class neurotics continuously monitoring their vital signs while they sleep". ... He asked: "Will apps simply empower patients to over-diagnosis and anxiety?"

 

But Dr Spence makes an additional point that's alarmingly zeitgeisty. He says that health monitoring will lead people to subscribe to "the unspoken yet widely held view of illness - that there are the deserving sick... and the undeserving sick. Death and disease is a lottery outside our control. So when the 'undeserving' sick get sick, they feel cheated".

 

You see where this takes us? To the idea that those who don't closely monitor their health "had it coming" if they fall ill, just as surely as if they smoked Capstan Full Strength all day; and to the counter-idea that those constantly on the medical qui vive somehow deserve to live for ever.

 

Is he right?

 

We've all looked at a fatty in a fast-food joint with a tray piled high, and inwardly thought, "Jeez, no wonder you've got problems..."

 

It's not much of a stretch to see a world in which the "you brought it on yourself" sentiment is also applied with same un-sympathy to people who don't use fitness apps, and therefore clearly don't look after themselves.

 

Question is, which side of the fence would you be on? The "ignorance is bliss" side, or the smugly statistic-tracking side?

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My 2c worth - knowledge without understanding is useless.  A fitness ap, just like a HRM, won't tell you anything unless you're prepared to work at it.

 

A fitness ap is arguably worse than a tape-measure or a stop-watch at guiding someone to health.  Even if you log things scrupulously, including the 'just one biscuit' at morning tea, meal times, workout duration - and the app can accurately log, and track, the input, it's seldom a complete picture.

 

Even then, the "garbage in, garbage out" rule applies.  If you aren't honest with the data, you'll get rubbish results. 

 

Would I be 'ignorant' or 'smug' - I think you could only be smug if the stats-tracking showed you were getting faster, leaner, stronger.... and I'd bet that 50% or more of the stats-trackers aren't seeing that.

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Myfitnesspal etc useful to track macros if you have a basic understanding of food.

No use if you use myfitness pal to hit macros with icecream and quest bars

You say that but I know people who just aim to hit their macros and get themselves shredded.

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You say that but I know people who just aim to hit their macros and get themselves shredded.

Do they dissapear when they turn side on?

Pretty difficult to build or hold onto to any kind of muscle if you eat shit food, if you don't have much muscle then it's ok. This is why 70kg guys and bikini competitors push this. It works on a basic level but they think it's universal and I don't buy it.

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Do they dissapear when they turn side on?

Pretty difficult to build or hold onto to any kind of muscle if you eat shit food, if you don't have much muscle then it's ok. This is why 70kg guys and bikini competitors push this. It works on a basic level but they think it's universal and I don't buy it.

I think it works for certain genetic types. Definitely not for everyone. But in the early stages of a prep I don't really care what they eat as long as they hit their numbers and then we work from there. I don't really buy into just immediately dropping everything out of a diet just for the sake of it. And I've had clients prep the whole way fitting things into their macros that I wouldn't put into mine. You're right in the sense that for big guys I'm not sure it would work that well but for figure, physique, bikini and men's bikini iifym seems to work just fine :)

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Quite a few ppl at work got fitbits and battle each other re steps etc but still eat shit food and look like shit.

They keep tellin me I should get one but I just prefer to eat right, lift weights and actually look good

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my phone (note 4) automatically records steps i take and does this awful trumpet victory song when i hit 10,000steps, havent bothered to silence it but everyone at work looks at me when this triumphant song comes on and it really fucked me off

 

suprisingly accurate though

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Yeah i have it turned on on my phone too but dont carry the phone around with me every single place I go so only as accurate as when I have it with me

 

Havent heard the 10,000 song though. Usually do about 10k most days, unless I'm playing golf and then its 25 to 30k normally

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Information is power.

If you are a middle aged office worker and you are carrying 30kgs more than you should after 15 yrs of neglect because of 3 kids, no free time and f*ck all spare cash, then you're hardly going to be a guru in sports/exercise/nutrition science. Then you get a band on your wrist and a free app on your phone and BAM you have information that will change your life for the better!

Information, in this case, is the power to change your life.

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Information is power.

If you are a middle aged office worker and you are carrying 30kgs more than you should after 15 yrs of neglect because of 3 kids, no free time and f*ck all spare cash, then you're hardly going to be a guru in sports/exercise/nutrition science. Then you get a band on your wrist and a free app on your phone and BAM you have information that will change your life for the better!

Information, in this case, is the power to change your life.

 

Or for some it's the feeling of being in control.  The information alone does nothing.  They're just numbers.

 

The people who will benefit from this are the people who were going to figure things out one way or another in any case.

 

Which leaves us circling back to Opie and the psychological ramifications for the majority of people using such tools.  Or any other approach.

 

 

The public, with food anxiety at 11/10 already, can now ramp up their concerns over their minute-by-minute physical well being.  Down voted.

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Anything that creates some kind of accountability can't be all bad. And yeah if people feel bad cos they eat shit food and are unhappy with how they look then ummm... imo job well done fitness apps and kudos to you:)

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