Thursday, September 15, 2016

Furlough Fitness Part 4 (Getting High Tech)

Getting High Tech

"There's gotta be an app for that..."

Yes, there is a phone app for just about everything. I have a couple of apps that I use to help me with my fitness goals for furlough. Kristine does too! When I asked her what apps she uses, I was quite surprised at how different, yet how similar, our two main apps were.

I discovered she and I both use a food app and a fitness app, but the apps we chose and the reasons behind them are as different as she and I are.

Exercise Apps

My exercise app?


I have recently discovered Strava. What is it? It's a route, distance, and pace tracker for cycling and running. Since I actually bicycle occasionally when on the field, I enjoyed that feature. Here in the States, if I don't have access to gym facilities while traveling, going for a jog is one of my frequent back-up options. My goal is to work up to a 5K-- running without stopping. I am happy to say that I am halfway to my goal.

Charity's Strava Snapshot, jogging in a limited area

Kristine's exercise app?


My Fitbit tracks my steps, miles, stairs, sleep quality and amount, heart rate, and calories burned. I've had my Fitbit for nine months, so I had a good idea of what my average activity was before furlough. It has helped me to see when I need to move more. The weekly challenges with other Fitbit users have really encouraged me to push myself and are fun. Some weeks I will set a goals to walk 10,000 steps every day, so I find myself doing everything in my power to get those steps in, even if I have to jog in place before bed to accomplish my goal.

Kristine's Fitbit Snapshot... SUCCESS!

Some weeks we are traveling so much that it is just not possible to get all my steps in. Those are the weeks that i struggle with my weight.

Tough Travel Week Fitbit Snapshot

On a Good Day

Food Tracking Apps

In sharing our food apps with one another, I made another interesting discovery. The apps we chose fit our personalities and what motivates us. Kristine is all about encouragement and accountability. I am all about the numbers and hard data. Kristine is very relationship oriented and visual. I am highly organized and love structure.

So what food apps did we choose?



My YouFood app records my food and exercise through photos, which I love because I am a very visual person. I can tell at a glance how I am doing with both my activity and my eating.

YouFood is my favorite tracking app because it does not require counting calories, is not time consuming, and I enjoy the encouragement from my YouFood community.

YouFood is very simple to use. All I do is discreetly snap a quick photo of my meal and post it to my app. At the end of the day, I can glance over my food choices and quickly see if I made any mistakes. I can take a photo with the YouFood app itself, or if i don't want to take the time to post immediately, I can snap a photo with my camera and post it at a later time. There is also an option if I want to write in what I ate so I don't have to photograph y food in front of a supporting pastor! I also love to take scenic photos of my hikes and walks. I enjoy looking backover my days and weeks and seeing all the variety of food and scenery that I have experienced because of furlough.

Here is an example of a good day and a bad day. In a few seconds I can see where I went wrong.

A friend cheering me on through a bad food choice...

Exercise post...

Both of these apps have been invaluable to my weight control on furlough. If i am up a couple of pounds, I can easily see that I ate those Tim Bits donut holes or I didn't get in my 10,000 daily steps that week. I also enjoy the encouragement from my friends on both apps. If you are looking for a quick, visual help for your weight control, I highly recommend both!


My food tracker app of choice?


I have to admit, I have always scoffed the calorie counting thing in the past. (Who has time to calculate and research to keep up with all that?) But several friends repeatedly recommended the MyFitnessPal app. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to give it a try. I have been a vocal fan ever since.

I was shocked at how user friendly, easy, and quick it was. I can usually enter in my food for a meal in thirty seconds to a minute, and the app does all the calculating. I just look for the food in the simple search options and hit enter. If I have a package with a barcode, I can even snap a picture in the app of the barcode and the app will do the rest. If I am at a restaurant, the app can access the restaurant's menu. Then all I have to do is select what I chose. Sometimes I check the app before I order to see what selections are the best options. The app even saves your frequent foods so that you can scroll through quickly to select them.

It not only tracks calories, but the full spectrum of nutrition (carbs, fat, sodium, etc.) I love that it gives me warnings when I choose a food that is higher than my goals will allow and it gives me the green light when I choose things that are beneficial to meeting my goals.

There are sections to track water intake and exercise, too.

I love that I can even enter things in ahead of time to plan my food for the day. That way I can change things up if I see my plan is going to sabotage my efforts.


Our styles may be very different, but what both Kristine and I have discovered is that keeping track of our fitness through some form of tracker/journal has helped us be more aware of what things are helping or hindering our Furlough Fitness. Whether it be food, exercise, or both, consider an app or two for your Furlough Fitness plan.

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