MobileFit - Phil

Giving this MobileFit thing another go ...

Today is June 1, the start of Mobile Nations Fitness Month. It's our third-annual endeavor of this sort, if I recall correctly. Yet I am still fat. But it's a new year. We've got new blood in the ranks, not just at Android Central, but at Mobile Nations as a whole.

So let's try this again, perhaps.

It's important to set goals, I guess. I just have to figure out what those are. And in fitting with my personality, it's important to start small, otherwise there's no way any of this will last two weeks, let alone a full month.

In another life I worked at a hospital, for a department that sold corporate wellness plans. The idea was we'd show the employees how unfit (unhealthy, really) they were, and propose small changes that could make long-term differences not only in lives, but in bottom lines. So I'm trying to make small changes. When I got an office last winter, I got a standing desk. (More on that later this month.) I'm using smaller plates when I eat at home. I'm carving out a half-hour most days for the exercise bike. (It's so much easier on the knees than running, though I do hate being stationary. Oh well. I'm finally catching up on "House of Cards.") And probably most important is that I'm going to lay off the sauce this month. (It's been nearly a week already, actually, and you're hearing this one before even my wife. Don't tell her. Let's see if she notices.)

Maybe that's too many little changes at once. I don't know. Giving up booze for a month may be a bigger thing than I realize (though that in and of itself perhaps tells me something). I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know how much effect any of this will have. My goal? Probably just to lose a few pounds, I think. I don't have a target number. I feel pretty good. I could look better. I could sleep better.

We could spend the month telling you what you need to do to be more healthy. We could listicle all the apps. And we'll do both those things, sure. But I'm sitting here at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning, sweaty after another half-hour on the bike (HoC Season 2 is really good) and am doing so without any sort of headache. So maybe things already are changing.

Today's Day 1. Let's see how far we can ride this. You can find all of the June MobileFit stories from all of our sites here.

A few other thoughts on the week that was ...

  • Did I mention that change is hard? Same goes in the editorial world. We published 692 stories on Android Central in May — more than any other Mobile Nations site. Mad props to our Newsroom for much of that, but I'm also extremely proud of all the features and reviews and events we've done as well.
  • But one sponsored post (and I'm really not crazy about those, but I'm told we have to pay bills) and the occasional paginated post, and it's funny how upset some folks will get. We averaged 22 stories a day (that includes weekends, by the way). But try something different, and look out.
  • I'm OK with that, though. Feedback is good. I like the dialog.
  • Our pagination layout (where long pieces are broken up into smaller, individual pages) still needs some work. And we're working on it. But we're not going to be be afraid to try new things, nor will I apologize for doing so. And we use it so sparingly. I think I can count the number of times on one hand, still.
  • WPCentral had four times as many comments as us last month. I still have no idea how that happens, but it's incredible to watch. (Lack of competition, maybe?)
  • I think I mentioned this last week, but we're getting into the silly season when it comes to rumors. Yes, there will be new phones later this year. Yes, Google will introduce new things at Google I/O in a month. Be not surprised, and be judicious in your skepticism.
  • And here's the thing I think is important about leaks: They tell so little of the story of a device or a service. (And sometimes they confuse more than they inform.) We're here for the other 95 percent.

And with that, it's time to play with the family. Catch y'all on Monday.

 

Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: Let's try this again ...

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I'll cut back on most things, but won't give up a good pint (or two, or three... ;P)! Especially on a hot summer day. Overall I've found the key is moderation (in all things!). If you splurge on something, cut back on another. But the biggest though, get offline more often, put down the gadgets, disconnect and get OUTSIDE! :D

Working out and trying to be healthy is a lifestyle change. It's hard to get started, but once you do, it's more maintenance. It's a mindset thing... Good job with trying Phil, and you can hang in there if you pit a little effort in it. Good luck!

Need to create sustainable lifestyle changes. If cutting out beer helps you lose some weight, great. If you just start drinking the same amount down the road it's very easy to gain it all back. That's why most diets fail, they aren't sustainable. Pick and choose what works for you and take it one day at a time.

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Yep, so true.

Losing weight is actually pretty simple- has little to do with what is consumed or type of exercise (although exercise *is* important, of course). There is no magic and no pills necessary... no special foods nor fads required. It is mostly just a simple equation of how many daily calories eaten vs. how many calories are used. The easiest way to lose weight is just eat less of whatever you already like to eat (a lot less at first) then when you get to your target weight, you can increase your intake until you find a balance. But if you return to eating the same as before... wham, all the weight will come back (unless you are a LOT more active than before) :(

I have lost weight several times to get to my ideal weight by just eating less- for me it was easy. The hard part is trying to make a permament lifestyle change such that I don't slip back into eating the same portion sizes again. Maybe this next time I can manage it?????

Phil, good luck with whatever you choose. Though you've found the magic bullet to weight loss, keep off the sauce the whole month and watch the pounds melt off.

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It's nice to do a little reset sometimes, and when are ready to start enduging again you can choose "healthier" options. Low Carb/calorie beer, mixed drinks with diet coke, etc. Heck lowering carbs in general is a good thing in our sedentary lifestyles. But them again I would love to eat whole loaf of bread right now!.....good luck on your journey..

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On the subject of the sponsored post, it is necessary and I completely understand the need for it.
Perhaps you could do a small "review" of the item yourselves that you follow the sponsored post with(keep the sponsored post just link to your post)? Maybe people will be more open to a review from you guys.
Either way still love the site.

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Cutting out the sauce not only cuts calories but will increase your metabolism. Excercise is great but moderating intake is much more significant calorie wise. Good luck, have fun and try a real bike.......

Lol.. My sentiment exactly.

I walk 2 miles to a bar, have a couple and walk two miles back. I figure I at least break even

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That is true, but I find that when you do excercise, especially high intensity, it's like your body WANTS to eat more healthy. This automatically leads to you eating better and healthier, without sacrificing anything.

So: excercise is super important, but it's true that it's your food that counts (unless you're a elite cyclist or something)

Good luck, Phil - as others have pointed out: diets do not work, it's a lifestyle change that matters..

Phil I'm right there with you my friend. I'm going to be using the s health app not just much more, but also properly..
And yes, HoC is mind blasting. Who needs sauce when you can watch 40+ minutes of corruption at its finest :-)

Posted from my caseless GS5, because I believe in myself

One thing I've been doing lately that helps is I make a fruit smoothie and that is one of my meals during the day. Grocery stores will have frozen bags of fruit, then just add yogurt, peanut butter, milk (which brings me to another point below), blend it all and you have your meal.

Another helpful thing to do is substitute ingredients. Instead of 1% milk in my cereal, I started using almond milk (which I've found to be tastier). Instead of sweet tea, I've started drinking unsweet tea with one or two packets of Splenda (not an easy thing to do living in the south). Wheat bread instead of white. Simple changes that don't seem too big-which makes them easier-but are a lot healthier.

Let me suggest two more things. Instead of splenda, which uses unhealthy, unnatural sweateners, use pure cane sugar or agave syrup.
Also try grain breads instead of wheat. Wheat is gluten and gluten is fat.

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Oh, and gluten is protein, it is not fat. There is nothing inherently "bad" about gluten except that some people are allergic to it.

I use fitness pal and YouTube for inspiration. I have dropped a total of 80 pounds and I have 100 more to be at my goal weight. I hope we make a journey together Phil.

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I understand the need to keep the doors open, so do what you have to do. I don't understand why some people get so bent out of shape for something that is free for them. I appreciate the fact that everything is labeled in a way so that you know what you're going to read at least after the first time you read it.

Could you have better filters? Yes, however I know certain things that I don't want to read and I just don't click.

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Would love to see a write-up about what tech / gadgets / etc you, and others on AC, use for fitness, tracking, etc. Good for you, keep it up!

Try Ideal Protien program first. That's what I did..I dropped 47 lbs...now I run 3x a week (with map my run) and I've never felt healthier. Best of luck in your efforts!

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Phil - good luck in your endeavor. I'm still rocking the MotoACTV, which I believe, even 2-3 years later, is still the best running watch available. I put 6 more miles on it this morning, and over 500 on it last year. I really hope whatever comes out of I/O this year incorporates a lot of the good things that watch does.

As for the sheer # of articles this month, congrats, but it does have me concerned about how the AC App is going to handle notifications when that feature is implemented. I was looking forward to that feature, but after all of your teams hard work in May, I'm less inclined to use it. Hopefully there will be a way to select categories (even better if it were specific products too!) for notifications. As much as I respect the SG5, LGG3, HTC M8 - I don't own one and wouldn't want a notification for every little thing they do....

So I've had notifications pouring in for a week or so, just in beta form. And so far it's been a firehose — everything got pushed out. Now I keep my phone on silent all the time anyway, so that helps. I really can't say how it'll work once we get to production, though. More on that once we get it closer to release.

Thanks Phil. One app to keep a close eye on is Bleacher Report Team Streamer. For the sheer amount of data available from their web site, from broad sports specific categories, to team specific categories, they do a great job of user selected streams. It wasn't perfect when it started, but now I allow them to send me a flood of notifications simply because I've selected to receive those notifications based on my interests.

But if they were to send me all of their notifications, I would turn it off within the first 24 hours.

Thanks for not being a health n***

Thanks for not being one of those out of shape people demanding that the rest of us get healthier

I used to be a health nut -- I got sick & became disabled. Being healthy [and I was as they say "healthy as a horse", whatever that means] is not a guarantee of any sorts. Exercise burns calories. It also damages us a little bit -- remember "no pain, no gain"? -- and when our body rebuilds it's a little better than it was. Along with all the toys & apps please remember that we have to take even better care of ourselves if we are exercising, so all that rebuilding can take place. [And no, that's not why I got sick. ;) ]

Something else to watch out for, something that was invisible to me before I became disabled, is that any focus on exercise for weight loss can be painful for the millions of people who will not lose weight, regardless their activity level, regardless what they eat, or don't eat. They've tried all the diets, they've tried the different exercise routines & fads, & they're still too fat or too thin. Simple logic would suggest that calories in minus calories burnt is all there is to weight loss -- for millions of people, not so. These poor folks are told so often by so many to just eat less & exercise that I'm surprised some have not gone homicidal -- instead they either feel guilty or tune out the moment they think something like that is coming... neither is good I imagine for readership numbers.

So part of that job I had at the hospital was — I kid you not — to weigh and measure and inform women as to their percentage of body fat. And that went about how you'd expect. But the key was to remind them that it really was more about dress size and feeling good than worrying about the number on the scale. Weight ain't everything.

Exercise and proper diet can get anyone in healthy physical condition. If you are ingesting less calories than you are burning your body is burning fat (or muscle if your diet isn't right). Another thing to remember is the importance of weight lifting. Cardio is good for your heart and circulatory system but building muscle burns fat around the clock because it takes energy to keep those muscles. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn. Lastly, don't make changes in your diet you aren't willing to keep or you'll end up right where you started.

Also... To increase your metabolism eat smaller meals 5-6 times per day. It makes your body think "hey, I've got a constant source of calories, no need to store any." You can even eat as much as you are now, just spread that food out and it'll make a world of difference.

I'm sorry, I just don't buy this "som people cannot lose weight" argument.
While there might be small genetic differences in how WELL our bodies burn calories, unless you have a serious illness, it really is about counting the calories.

To put it on the extreme: take one of your "cannot lose weight" people, put him in a room for 2 months, with only access to water and one carrot daily. If he survives (most people would), I bet all my belongings that he would have lost considerable weight.

Sorry for sounding negative, but this "it's not people's own fault" kinda argument can also be damaging, because a lot of people who cannot seem to lose weight, will use this as an excuse, so they'll never lose weight.

1st off I should have simply said that if you offend people they'll leave, with or without sending hate mail. Android Central is a daily stop I enjoy, so IMHO increasing their health can only be good -- losing visitors etc. only bad.

I wouldn't dream of giving Phil [or anyone else] more than good luck wishes. Sports science has come an awful long way -- there are strategies for just about any goal, which is why you use a trainer if you can -- and those strategies will go further, achieve better results if they're personalized for you, which is why if you can, get a really good trainer. ;) Even men & women whose physical condition is their day job use them -- it gets that involved.

That said, exercise is breaking, injuring tissue so that it rebuilds stronger. The BIG problem is that our bodies are smarter than we are -- they learn to say: "So what", & start doing the *repair* but not the *rebuild better* part. That's one place where trainers come in big time. Activity is just using those muscles. It's separate. If you run the same course for the same distance at the same pace over & over, once your body masters it, it becomes pure activity & not exercise. If you want to improve you have to do something different, & measuring the effectiveness of that something different, & when to change routines, is where tracking metrics comes in, and for that many of the enabling Android toys & apps can be very helpful. They can also help in a less direct way -- almost everyone can reach a level where they enjoy their workout, whether you run or lift or whatever, but before that, when it's just work, &/or when you hit a wall & can't seem to improve, metrics can refocus you on the smaller gains to help stay motivated.

Now, activity burns calories. The more muscle tissue involved, the more calories that are burned -- each muscle cell takes X amount of energy to do its thing, so the more muscle cells using energy the more fuel that's needed. The same logic applies to muscle mass -- even at rest muscle cells consume energy -- just not as much -- so the more you have the more energy that's consumed just sitting there. BUT, that's just focused on burning calories -- for optimal health you should really research & perform both aerobic & anaerobic activities &/or exercise. Same stuff basically, but different portions of your body. Using sensors things like Android apps can help measure & track aerobic related aspects like the heart rate everyone should be watching. Google, research this stuff, & if you can, use a trainer at least occasionally to focus you where you need to be focused, to better avoid injury.

Despite all the claims, No One has figured out how to get rid of fat 100% of the time other than physically removing it. You can grow more fat cells, & you can make fat cells bigger/smaller in volume, but once you have them, for the most part they will not go away unless they're physically removed. That's one reason you'll see people lose an awful lot of weight, only to slowly gain it back -- it takes a much smaller amount of calories to balloon all those existing fat cells than it takes to grow more fat cells. IOW it may require a constant weight loss diet rather than a stricter diet to lose & a maintenance diet afterwards. Again, Google, research -- don't take my word for it.

Condemning someone simply because they look overweight is really no different than condemning them because they're wearing a turban or are poor or have a different color skin than you do. The same goes for assuming anyone has whatever traits, e.g. a lack of willpower &/or a dread of exercise. There's more than a little social dysfunction when commenting on a person's weight is acceptable while commenting on their race or partner preferences makes you a pariah. You can cure any of those misconceptions through knowledge -- by overcoming the very obvious lack of knowledge that feeds & drives those *opinions* & prejudice.

Millions of people's bodies don't work the way that they should. *Just looking at them you don't know.* Medical science doesn't yet know everything about the human body & how it works, so surprisingly often what can cause what symptoms or illness is unknown. When someone is overweight it could be because their body doesn't work right or because they eat more than they burn, but in that 2nd case what they eat in whatever amount may be beyond their control, the same as the amount of physical activity they can engage in. And yeah, it can be a lack of motivation, &/or a lack of knowledge or a lack of money. The healthiest foods are expensive -- prohibitively expensive for an increasingly large portion of the population. What's cheap? Snack foods & boxed meals & over processed foods either frozen or canned, & the value menu at Burger King & Wendy's & McDonald's etc.

Or you can always take the easy way out & frequently get cursed [whether you know it or not], accumulating tons of bad Karma if there is such a thing: "Exercise and proper diet can get anyone in healthy physical condition.". You might even talk about engaging in torture: "put him in a room for 2 months, with only access to water and one carrot daily." Again that social dysfunction -- if *Outside of a Weight Loss discussion*, someone talked about kidnapping & restraining anyone, then forcing a diet guaranteed to result in serious malnutrition, the local PD would be looking forward to a very serious conversation with that person. As the saying goes: "There's a Special Place reserved..."

The reason WP Central had that many comments is because Microsoft has a corporate culture encouraging their employees to comment (and troll) on everything Microsoft. Read through the comments, compare them to related sites and you'll notice that a lot of the comments are coming from a relatively few people.

I am a long-time Windows user, since the days the UI was started by typing cd windows » win, and I wouldn't install anything else on my PC, but even I think Microsoft are overdoing their "grass root presence". I would hate that happening around here, hopefully the bulk of the Google people will stick to Android Police. =)

I tried exercising once. I got all sweaty, my heart was beating fast and I could barely breathe. I think I'm allergic.

And its pretty sad when you have to defend having the audacity to write a column that isn't "Look at this phone with its MOAR SPECS"

SMART Goals, Phil. Those are the key to success in this endeavor. Set goals for yourself that are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-based.

I am disappointed it took you this long to se House Of Cards Season 2. It was probably the best thing I ever saw concerning a TV show. But for fitness, I joined LA Fitness a couple months ago and have been working out 2-4 times a week. I will start my body weigh work outs again too. I want to get toned before I get back to College in August.

I came to the conclusion that spending $129 on P90X is much better than buying a fitbit or jawbone up. If you want real change that is.

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I agree. Fitness trackers are good for data and if data motivates you to move that is awesome, but it would be far less mental overhead to just get a sheet of paper and mark off the days you do your fitness regimen of choice. Straight hash mark on the days you do yoga/karate/MMA/biking and nothing on the days you don't is the best data for someone not training to be an athlete.

You have to buy "Zombies, Run! 5k." Basically a Couch to 5k program, but the zombie noises blasting through your headphones give you a little extra motivation to keep going.

Okay, so you'll get a lot of advice about being fit and losing weight this month. Magic bullets will be flying everywhere. Nothing beats good, consistent work though and giving up alcohol and riding a bike for 30 minutes a day are two great places to start (and even end - you only need about 30-60 minutes of activity a day, I'm told).

Something I did with my fiancé last month was Whole 30. I've turned in to a schill for it because I felt so good by the end of the program that I can't help but sing its praises. I also lost 20 pounds by combining it with exercise. No starving, only mild fights against cravings, and I got to eat a lot of delicious foods. It is a very sensible modification on the paleo diet (my words - not the creator's). The philosophy of the program is what made it so good, though. You have a wife and kids so following it strictly would be tough but even just adapting some principles may make you feel better. That is currently what I'm doing.

The sponsored post annoyed me but I simply chose not to read it. I've purchased plenty of things because a MN site recommended it and in a perfect world you guys would get some sort of kick back, in the most ethical way possible, but I don't know if that is the world we live in. A sponsored post like that in that venue doesn't encourage me to buy a product. Put that same product up during a podcast for 30 seconds and I'd listen. As a blog post? Not my cup of tea.

Stationary bikes are OK. However, the focus on the media consumption reduces awareness on fitness.
Try walking at dawn alone, or evenings with the spouse. .. It's a nice complement to the bike workouts and gets you moving especially after dinner.
Less alcohol is better. Wish I had learned that earlier. ..I'd be ten pounds lighter. .. Alco droid is a great tracker for drinking and motivates one to reduce or avoid those delicious calories with great time charts and talking. ...
When in doubt keep moving, stress can't keep up worry a moving target :-)
Good luck
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Windows Phone is a small community (relative to Android/iOS) and they feel like they are always defending their cherished OS against the barbarian hordes ("unwashed masses that don't see the elegance of WP) and I believe that keeps them more engaged. All you have to do is look at the WebOS faithful and how long they held on to their cherished OS (my first smartphone was a Pixi and I still have fond memories of it with the tiny screen and tiny keyboard. It still has a number of areas where it is still better than some of the current OSes (even though development stopped a long time ago). I'm sure Derek Kessler would have some comment on passion in the WebOS community. The difference is MS has very deep pockets and may be willing to stick it out for a LONG TIME to make sure they have a presence in mobile devices (even at a loss - look how long they lost money on XBox (may still not have turned a net profit in a 9 year lifespan), and Bing.

The reason WPcentral gets so many comments is because on every article it is crazy how many comments they get. It is interesting to see all the support on WPcentral and less of the trolling that seems to happen on android central and imore. It is interesting to see the lack of trolling on wpcentral, but maybe users that don't actually use WP don't go there to bash like others do on android central and imore.

Good luck, Phil I am also giving up MY sauce this month. (7-up, Mountain Dew, sweet tea w/ extra sugar). Hopefully this will be the time it actually sticks.

I've been using a Garmin watch and cycling computer that sync through Bluetooth and the Garmin Connect app has seen some real improvement over the last few months. If I was looking for an everyday fitness monitor I would seriously consider their new vívofit.

I see the rationale for sponsored stories and I'm glad you label them well enough that I'm not left guessing whether a story is sponsored or not.

I'm really glad the stories with the new pagination layout give the option to view as one page. Websites that force you to click through 10 pages to read a story drive me crazy. It's a nice way to navigate through an in depth review by being able to jump to a specific section but I'm not a fan for normal articles.

Posted via Android Central App on my Droid Maxx

Good stuff, it seems a lot of people have the exercise bug. I signed up for one of those Insane Inflatable 5Ks, thus forcing me to prepare for that so I don't pass out half way through and embarrass myself. Setting goals makes it all work.