2019-06-25 13:35:43 (edited by UltraLeetJ 2019-06-25 23:10:38)

so, well. I have really been becoming more physically active over the last few months... this means: running, weightlifting, swimming, doing abs, ETC
Yeah, mostly gym based stuff but I am training to try to complete  a 10k run for December... that in addition to I must admit, very quick weight loss.

SO I have found a few things that have been very helpful and I can use totally on my own.
First is actually the gym. I can say at this point that pretty much Everyone that works there knows that I go regularly and constantly. This also includes the yoga teachers. So the trainers have been terrific, and very helpful. Of course I must make all the effort but the orientation, tools and explanations to get those muscles to feel they are burning after the 3rd series on the 20th rep are most definitely there.
I am luck y that the gym has got a pool, so the staff there is helpful orienting me to everything, including lockers which thankfully there are some rather close to the pool.
Machines. Oh boy. Well, turns out that some of those have the plastic cover either broken or taken off, so for the most part they are easy to control, plus in the case of treadmills, the trainers help me program them so I can do 20 minutes and go up to a certain speed with a certain incline and so on. I also made some "do it yourself" foam pads which are the length of the entire screen plus a few ends that stick out so that they would not move when you place them on to the machines and had holes on them. Dad is just an expert on this. In fact, very easy to make, You take the measurements of everything, including buttons positions, length of screen and so on and then just buy a Styrofoam sheet at any office supply store and then cut cut cut. If this is too much then you could probably just get the length of the screen and leave some small ends trailing to the sides and down so that you can correctly place the pad and it will not move, which is important and this will hold it just into place. And then label it by buying things like these or bump dots will do too.

This is as far as the basics go. But there is more.
I recently found this thermos, for water
It is just amazing.
The first thing you need to know when you buy it is that with any other food recipients and such you still have to wash it before your first use ((a brush makes the process easier). It does come with a small pack for humidity or mold prevention inside, not sure if it is a mothball, but still. Open it, get it out and throw that away, wash it, and then have the most amazing drinking experience.
I was confused at first because i had pushed the lock accidentally. I tried to open in every way I could and then I realized there was a small plastic cap holding it from opening. So you can attest that this is really safe! the design makes it so that one small flick of your wrist will just have water oozing out of the bottle, its really good because you can drink fast. I think I have absolutely no complaints. The strap is also nice and resistant, I guess its meant to be on at all times but that makes it very easy to carry at the gym. feel free to turn this upside down, shake it hard, it will never leak, no matter how hard you try. It also does have measurement markings that you can feel, which even though I would not use that much, they are just an elegant bonus just as the design of the bottle itself. The little basket or "colander" it has on top was a nice, bewildering bonus too. I can imagine that it is for times where you want o put ice in your water and still be able to drink without interrupting its flow, or for putting fruit to give it some taste. Which by the way is just intact when you drink.

Next up is this heart rate monitor. I bring this up because of an older topic
So this one... awful instructions, works reliably and accurately. Let me explain.
I wanted a simple, no frills heart rate monitor which just did that, track your pulse. No distracting ridiculous stuff like check your sms from it, post selfies, send likes by winking and flicking your wrist, whatever. And found it. I was really close to returning this because the instructions were just non-existent. Until I managed to figure it all out and changed my mind.
The strap is good material and feels nice, I like that you can wash it without worrying as it is waterproof, and comes with a battery preinstalled. The cap is really easy to open, too. The latching of the strap is a bit tricky, but its not a big deal to take off. Same is true for the monitor itself.. you will have to make a small scratch or cut, or place a waterproof sticker in top so you know where the correct orientation is to place it correctly onto the strap. When exercising I noted that this keeps track of the pulse very reliably. Sometimes it feels like its just about to move, but it doesn't and this really depends on you have it on you. After some minutes you will hardly notice it is there. A worthy replacement for the more expensive options out there.
I would have to give this four out of five stars. Because it does what it is supposed to do really well, but instructions are just horrid. The fact that you should stick to one protocol is irrelevant in the end, and the probability that the protocol limits the apps you want to use is subjective and out of everyone's control anyway. As for the instructions, I decided to make my own and will post them here in case anyone wants to buy it, they are android based:

So the first thing you will notice when you unpack this is that there is a strap, and a small device. A small printed manual  comes sort of explaining how to assemble it and place it on yourself (not hard at all), which is better than nothing. However, problems start when you want to pair or use it.
This works with pretty much every android phone out there, but, beware! it uses two protocols at the same time and that is why its called dual monitor. Be sure that your phone either supports bluetooth le (bluetooth low energy) 4.0 (this is most likely phones manufactured on or after 2016) or ant+ . You can check these specifications reliably and accurately at gsm arena.
Now that this is out of the way, we can start using it.
The first thing you will need to do is to actually place the hr monitor on yourself. Put some water in the electrode part of the strap that touches your skin (it is indeed waterproof so no worries if you want to just splash some on it) It should go probably just right where your chest bone ends and your abdomen starts for the best reading, in other words, in the middle and a bit above of the two ends of the sides of your rib cage; secure the strap using the small latch that should be on your right side, stretch or shrink to fit and make sure it is tight but not too tight. (google pics or youtube videos or someone who has worn them have a much better visual explanation but this should do).
Now, to know that it is really awake and working, open bluetooth on your phone and look at the available devices. You should see "hrm sensor". If you can and this works, by all means press on it to pair it with your phone. When paired via bluetooth you are all set, so open your favorite exercise app and configure to your liking. You can stop or skip reading here in regards to the instructions using regular bluetooth.

Now, if you have issues or error messages when pairing using bluetooth, just like me, it happens there is a newer technology which has been put into more and more flagship phones and is probably better suited for the task of live sports data monitoring thanks to Garmin, plus it is compatible with other devices of the sort, so its a more specialized protocol, if you will, called ant+. My phone fortunately supports ant+ right off the bat, so I was lucky. But please check at gsm arena to be sure this really is the case. If not, you can still buy and ant+ adapter to plug into your phone's charging port anyway, then you should install the ant+ services app from google play store if you really want to use that protocol; don't be misled by the lower rating it has because its probably the only one that offers the necessary functionality for this chip anyway. In this case my samsung a9 (2018) had it preinstalled.
To test that this really is working using ant+ I recommend you either search for "ANT+ Heart Rate Grapher" on play store or follow this link

Its a simple app that will make the connection to this hr monitor using specifically this protocol (it will show random numbers as the device name when it is found and this could probably be a serial number). When you connect this, the ant+ services that you installed from playstore before or that was preinstalled on your phone should come up,  find the device and let you assign a name to it. It really has no other use. Once connected, this will display your heart rate and collect it in the background for graphing. Talkback will read everything fine, including your current heart rate.

Lamentably, more and more top apps, including the somewhat accessible endomondo, and even the recommended but inaccessible runtastic one, are dropping ant+ support recently for some reason, so the advertisement and the so called "compatible apps list" is certainly misleading.
In this case you should search and try for apps that really do use the ant+ or bluetooth low energy protocol. One I found that works well with talkback, (not that many bells and whistles) is called my workouts
It works very well save for some unlabelled buttons. I assume writing to the developers would not be a bad idea, and we could ask for premium features such as audio tones or alerts when you are going in or out of  a heart rate zone and so on. But the statistics and settings here are fully accessible to read and use.

update: I wrote to the developer. They are working on many things including the audio and text to speech features, so be sure to shoot words of encouragement their way.
I also found another app called cardioMez which also looks very, very promising, because accessibility-wise it has no problems at all, only a few annoying bugs. One is that the choice for the tts you pick at the beginning will not be respected, and the other one is that the screen shifts horizontally and vertically when setting up and during a workout even if you have the screen orientation locked. A missing feature is of course, a voice test but it will speak using what you have set as a default setting or in other words, what talkback uses.
so this is it as far as setting it up. Its a simple thing but too bad that not even the online manual shows it. You do not need to enable anything on phone settings for ant+ to work as it  is a separate protocol using different chips (ant+ is most likely auto managed by android and probably uses nfc)
I found other apps which seemed promising but no luck or they would not pair with this particular strap, or connection was very unreliable.

Third and last is this website which is chock full of exercise instructions and routines. I did not mention it before as these are covered by the gym instructors but they can nevertheless be a very useful asset for others who want to buy a few weights and do things at home by themselves.
So, this is it so far and is all I know. Any other smartphone apps you like? other equipment, podcast, whatever, you have found useful for sports or exercise?

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2019-06-25 18:21:12

I'm a cross country skier. I train a lot. But i haven't found a good heart monitor. Does this work with ios as I don't have android. I need to be able to track heartrate zones. My guide isn't able to tell me while skiing as he's skiing ahead of me so its not really possible to see if you just glance back quickly. So I haven't really tried any. And I don't know about any talking monitors that are independent devices that don't require a phone. While running it is easy enough as the guide is beside you more or less, depends on how close you like to be tethered.  But would be good for a treadmil and such as well.

I am the blind jedi, I use the force to see. I am the only blind jedi.

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2019-06-25 19:36:33

Wow guys this puts me to shame then.
Most of my equipment is home made, stuck to posts of an outside deck.
A couple bars, 1 fixed, and another on chains.
2 medicine balls of various weights, free standing weights, and a swiss ball, some rings which I can put on the bars but havn't used much.
My brother trained me for 3 years  for my fitness.
My greatest asset is a travel alarm timer that attaches via magnet to a bracket on top of my excercise bike which is just a flywheel and a seat.
Its not as good as the fan resistance bike seat wize I had before or the older bike I had before that but its good enough.
The cost of all my equipment was a bit, some of it on sale and my brother owns the weights and medicine balls.
The swiss ball came free with something and he designed and built the bars himself.
All equipment was sourced locally.
I have a stereo with sub and a extensive disk library.
I also have a radio on that to for listening to the saturday morning show when I do my huge training session and should I use it a tv which I don't use.
However thats got an hdd recorder and dvd but none of those are smart though I know my brother who plays tenis and runs does use the tv a lot to watch dvds and netflicks.
As for gym equipment computers, the clock replaces the excercycle computer and I don't use any apps bar that bit of kit.

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2019-06-25 23:14:53

BlindJedi wrote:

I'm a cross country skier. I train a lot. But i haven't found a good heart monitor. Does this work with ios as I don't have android. I need to be able to track heartrate zones. My guide isn't able to tell me while skiing as he's skiing ahead of me so its not really possible to see if you just glance back quickly. So I haven't really tried any. And I don't know about any talking monitors that are independent devices that don't require a phone. While running it is easy enough as the guide is beside you more or less, depends on how close you like to be tethered.  But would be good for a treadmil and such as well.

an independent  talking monitor would be a killer idea for sure. I believe this does work well with pretty much any iPhone. You just need and app that supports bluetooth le sensors which can be tricky to find, I say this because apple products simply to not have and will not have the ant+ capibility but I am sure there are many apps out there with bluetooth low energy sensor support.

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2019-06-25 23:18:41

crashmaster wrote:

Most of my equipment is home made, stuck to posts of an outside deck.
A couple bars, 1 fixed, and another on chains.
2 medicine balls of various weights, free standing weights, and a swiss ball, some rings which I can put on the bars but havn't used much.

awesome! I was also thinking of some solutions for home use and this could be it.

My brother trained me for 3 years  for my fitness.
My greatest asset is a travel alarm timer that attaches via magnet to a bracket on top of my excercise bike which is just a flywheel and a seat.
Its not as good as the fan resistance bike seat wize I had before or the older bike I had before that but its good enough.
The cost of all my equipment was a bit, some of it on sale and my brother owns the weights and medicine balls.
The swiss ball came free with something and he designed and built the bars himself.
All equipment was sourced locally.
I have a stereo with sub and a extensive disk library.
I also have a radio on that to for listening to the saturday morning show when I do my huge training session and should I use it a tv which I don't use.
However thats got an hdd recorder and dvd but none of those are smart though I know my brother who plays tenis and runs does use the tv a lot to watch dvds and netflicks.

very cool. I find music and the like distracting when I am running and stuff but to each their own, too. I admit I have not even used medicine balls before so that is a new one for me.

As for gym equipment computers, the clock replaces the excercycle computer and I don't use any apps bar that bit of kit.

well, we all got to start out with something, which is the idea of this topic.. maybe we can get somewhere and have a really nice blind exercising kit.

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2019-06-26 07:54:57

Following.
I love the idea and I've been wanting to go to the gym for a really long time now.
This will help a lot
Thanks much.

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2019-06-26 09:14:40 (edited by aaronespinozaca 2019-07-01 23:41:00)

Here is a good podcast I heard about this topic.
http://acbradio.org/sites/default/files … 5%20PM.mp3
Here is the website of the man that's on the podcast.
https://mobilityfitness.org/#content

If your behind in the race run faster.

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2019-06-28 22:54:01

nice podcast! I heard a bit but have to spend some more time because I just could pay attention to the first 10 minutes and had to go out. By the way, I am waiting on this mini bluetooth earpiece to arrive probably next week, and so I will update and let you know how it goes.
Also, cardiomez has been a great app! the developer on this one is working hard and will also incorporate many of my suggested changes and he seems to be very aware and sensible to the accessibility bit on android. This app is nice because it supports both bluetooth low energy and ant+ protocols. You can connect to the sensor in any way you like. And the statistics is just pretty amazing, it really encourages you a lot and training within heart rate zones has been most helpful. I have been using other bt headphones but I really want this small earpiece because its just a single one, very portable,, sweat-proof and so on plus its for a very specific use--hearing the voice announcements from the app when working out.

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2019-06-30 17:19:06

OK, so I heard the podcast. I does have suggestions that are a bit outdated, like using a headphone jack to get voice feedback. Its also heavily U.s. based and that is understandable, though its a bit sad that you have to pass laws and enforce regulations just to have something as simple as marked buttons on exercise equipment. I know for one that in this country that will be decades if not more away and so that is why I exactly was describing the do it yourself solutions.
Why is the headphone jack not a good idea? because when you are moving, let alone running for example, it becomes really really difficult to do stuff... and wires most certainly get tangled and so on. That is exactly why I prefer some wireless protocol like bluetooth because even though its nature makes it have  terrible implementations, its still a hands free experience. Just pair and let the technology work. A cellphone can do a much better job of tracking your actual heart rate and estimate many things. Using cardioMez alone has been a really great guide for me because I now know when I am burning calories and when I am doing resistance training, all based on the heart rate zones I cover
In this case, I let the warm up cardio at the start of my training be no more than 70% of the rate, trying to stick to the lower end of that zone. I do feel the heat and sweat, burning,  and this is also referred to as the fat burning zone or fitness zone. For the ending cardio I do ramp it up some more. trying to mainly stay within the aerobic (70 to 80 percent) and have some moments in the anaerobic (80 to 90 percent) zone. Its hard! the app has better names for them though. Warm up, light, moderate, hard, max. I try to stay on hard zone in the final cardio. I probably will achieve some moments in the maximum zone in about two months, I hope.
Has anyone tried the google fit app? it seems promising, too.

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2019-07-04 05:32:34 (edited by UltraLeetJ 2019-07-04 05:34:13)

so, finally got the earpiece linked above. Its impressive value for money. But there is a bit of a catch: it will not respect volume. Its just one set volume all the time. Not sure if there is something yet I don't know, have just tested it for a day, but well at least its loud enough at the gym. Its super tiny and never fell of my ear. The charging box as they describe it, is sort of like a USB stick but with the upper half off, similar to a small tray with a USB plug. The earpiece just snaps onto it. It has basic voice prompts including an apparent low battery reminder but I have not found that one out yet. I would say get it if you are just looking for a specific exercising earbud. Its everything I wanted because it does have a basic multi function button that you use to turn it on or off (hold the button for about two seconds and it will say power on or power off). Its apparently always visible, and its called g 5.0. No special pairing tricks needed. When on, hold the button for a second to bring up your voice assistant. Press it once to answer an incoming call and once again to hang up. Its all I know so far. As far as sound quality, its decent, more so than other earbuds or headphones in this rather modest price range. The audio fades in a bit when it starts, but the cardioMez app announcements are good enough so you get all of the necessary information without missing anything. I like this. It doesn't bug at all, its sweat resistant, very pocket friendly (its almost the size of two almonds or four peanuts stuck together) and served my purpose well. The only con is that you cannot change the volume even though your cellphone will say the percentages out loud, but its just a minor thing at least for me. Trust me when you exercise you want those indications or progress announcements loud and clear.
It comes with a small carrying case, a few extra earbud tips for bigger or smaller ears, the charging tray or charging box, and a set of English and Chinese instructions.

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2019-07-13 01:12:21 (edited by UltraLeetJ 2019-07-13 02:29:36)

so after a recent visit to the sports specialist we were both happy with the progress I had made! this was also very interesting, because she asked me how I was doing all of the exercises and so on in the gym, she asked how exactly I was training, how much weight I was carrying in some exercises, and whether I came to the gym all by myself. I was happy to answer all that because as I told her, I believed that just about anyone could do what I did--fast weight loss without really torturing yourself. For the record, 22 pounds in about 5 months sounds pleasing, no?
And I finally reached the maximum anaerobic heart rate zone today as well. It was just exhilarating and I was able to hold that for about two minutes.
Now, for stretching she suggested I get some of the elastic bands, has anyone worked with these? I presume most exercises of this kind require no sight because you are essentially just making the band do more force for a certain one...
I admit though, that there are a few exercises that are hard to grasp if you cannot see and they are done with a weighted bar, similar to the one you use when doing a bench press. A tough one to understand was the french press that works your triceps. You lie facing up on your back and the idea is that your forearms are going to move up and down, lifting the bar. When they come down, you are supposed to bring them close yo your forehead almost touching it. But your elbows must try to remain stationary and not open during the downward movement,, and your wrists also should be aligned with your hand so you do not break your vital articulations!
regarding google fit. It tried it and its more encouraging because you train based on goals that you set and its pretty good about detecting any kind of exercise you might make, even walking, in the background! Of course, cardioMez syncs to it so it gets the data from it and then collates it all in one big place. its actually pretty accessible too, and gives you very good stats on what you did and the stuff you achieved for a particular day, and so on. You can also add activities such as swimming, manually and it will estimate stats for you so try it out because its a nice app.
As for any other specialized equipment, I have not gotten plans to buy more stuff at the moment, as I am happy with what I have so far. Probably, some running shoes would do, so if you have used any, post that here, I will be happy to hear your recommendations. Also, a slight correction: the bluetooth earpiece does let you change the media volume for music and stuff, accessibility one changes too, but sometimes it doesn't but that is a strange thing. Still, you can hear the announcements just fine from the app, I believe the developer has linked those to the multimedia volume anyway.
I would love to eventually go and do outdoor things so not sure if any one has gotten anything on that matter. For one I know that the independent living site has got some beeping balls, though I bought the one that is used to play cricket and you can actually use it in a pool to play with friends! you just have to throw it a certain way, make it spin so that the rattles will still sound and it becomes actually quite easy to locate it on water. It doesn't sink, because its just pure hard plastic and that is fabulous. Of course, I should probably devise a way to make it softer, like wrap it in cloth or something.
One last thing I got locally, was a microfiber towel, I think its about 10 by 10 inches, the size of a hand washing towel. Its just fantastic, especially because it has a strap you can put onto your wrist and just run with it. Its very absorbent and dries very fast, in about two hours after washing.

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