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?