Does technology help or hinder your workout?

2347247356_540697b6d6_nWhile I was working out the other day, I noticed a middle-aged man get on the treadmill next to me and straddle the outside. Although he was fidgeting with something, I figured it would just be moments before he set up his treadmill and started using it. After a few minutes or so, I glanced over to see what was going on. To my dismay he set up his treadmill, but never really utilized it. This guy was so distracted and fixated with his iPad, he had no business being on a treadmill. His workout consisted of walking for approximately 15 seconds while holding on to the handle bars, then pausing for 3 minutes to scroll through some apps and push buttons on his device. This process of walking for 15 seconds and pausing for at least 3 minutes, continued back and forth for 30 minutes. Seriously?! This was wrong on so many levels! First, holding onto the handle bars means you burn 30 percent less calories. Second, what the heck kind of a workout is that? Being a personal trainer, I really wanted to get out my whips and chains, but with my busy schedule, this just wasn’t feasible. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but wonder what such a ridiculous workout really amounted to—that is, in terms of time. My curiosity posed an interesting math problem. How long was this guy supposedly working out? Before I figured out the answer to this equation, it occurred to me that oddly enough, we had something in common. Both of us were using technology during our workouts. I was wearing my heart rate monitor and my iPod was cranked with my favorite music. So let’s compare the results.

My Workout:

  • Training Zone 1 = 5 minutes
  • Training Zone 2 = 9 minutes
  • Training Zone 3 = 11 minutes
  • Training Zone 4 = 4 minutes
  • Training Zone 5 = 1 minute
  • Total Duration = 30 minutes
  • Calories Burned = 189
  • Maximum Heart Rate = 158
  • Average Heart Rate = 127

Mr. Dud Stud’s Workout:

  • Training Zone 1 = 2 min 15 seconds
  • Calories Burned (estimated by his weight and speed) = 10 minus 30% = 7
  • Note: If there is a way to measure the calories used to touch buttons, he wins!

For many of us, this doesn’t come as a real surprise. Go into any gym and you’re bound to find individuals whose workouts are hindered by technology. Perhaps you’ll notice the high-powered business executive who roams around in the free weight section bellowing orders on his cell phone, or that inconsiderate person who holds up a machine because he or she is so preoccupied sending text messages, or posting status updates on Facebook. The present reality is not a matter of whether technology affects us; but rather, how technology affects us.

There are plenty of people who never use their gym memberships. Why? On the surface, they could have some elaborate excuses. If we dig deeper however, there is a legitimate reason behind the common replies of time constraints and lack of motivation. While there will always be individuals like Mr. Dud Stud who go to the gym in vain, the sad truth is many people don’t work out because they never get any real results. To be sure, the later can benefit from technology by making the time they spend working out more efficient and goal oriented. The right tools can help motivate us and measure our heart-rate, distance, calories burned, number of steps, pace, recovery time, plus so much more!

If you want to see progress in your workouts, I strongly recommend investing in a good-quality heart rate monitor.  Also as discussed in my book, there are several benefits to knowing your sport zones. Your sport zones can be determined by the default demographics in your heart rate monitor watch or more accurately, through a metabolic test that unlocks your Anaerobic Threshold (AT, sometimes referred to as lactic threshold). Life Time Fitness offers this test along with many other similar testing services. This metabolic test (aka, Cardio Point) provides incredibly useful information such as whether you’re predominately burning sugar or fat during your workouts, and it comes with a customized zone training program. In short, when you know your zones and train with a purpose, you will start getting real results.

There are all sorts of tracking devices to help take your workout to the next level. Other useful gadgets include foot pods, Fitbits, fitness bands and iPods. So please, if you’re going to be working out with technology, make sure it’s relevant, motivating and beneficial! Don’t waste futile hours in the gym. Focus on quality, not quantity. Read The Proactive Health Solution, get motivated, and learn what is really needed to reach your health and fitness goals. Click here to order your copy now!

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