Since my design of the Healthylife Watch is a collaboration of fitness apps, watches, and heart rate monitor devices that all ready exist I used these to test out how I can better unite them into one seamless device and user interface.
This last summer I set a weightless goal of losing 15 lbs through diet and exercise following the Insanity Workout program as well as documenting everything I ate and all my workouts using the Lose It! App. This App was very helpful in showing me how many food calories I was consuming vs. how many calories I was burning through exercise. These kind of Apps that require constant data entry work well if the user is consistent about it. Yes, I beat my goal by 5 lbs but when I moved back to Portland (real life) it was no longer as easy to document everything I ate and excercise I did. As much as I know it’s not healthy to be obsessed about every calorie one consumes it did keep me on track with my diet. These last couple months I have been trying out other Apps and devices to find the right balance of what I do need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Last summer I was using the Nike fuel band, it uses “gameification” to get users to compete with one another/share and be rewarded with earning Nike Fuel Points. It was a flashy watch and did encourage me to reach my daily “goal” but it was basically just a fancy step pedometer and was not extremely accurate in actually counting calories. For example, if I walked with my hands in my pockets all day it might not be able to track my movement. So after further research and a limited budget, I looked at what Amazon had to offer watch wise. I’ve learned that the best system out there to track one’s calories (and best priced) is though a heart rate monitor. I looked and read a lot of reviews and decided to get the Polar FT40 Fitness Watch. It comes with a heart rate monitor that straps around your chest and syncs up to the watch to let the user know if they are in their target heart zone, it also does a much more accurate job at tracking calories by actually “listening to your body.” This watch came in the mail the other day so I decided to test it out along when doing my Insanity work out. I realized that I had been under guessing the amount of calories I was burning from this work out all summer (which in the long run was a good thing) because all though the Lose It! App lets you add custom work outs to your data, one really wouldn’t know how many calories they burned it they chose a work out that wasn’t in the data base. For example, I can choose that I ran on the treadmill for 30 min and it will do a rough guess based on my height/age/weight how many calories I burned, but it doesn’t have a data base for the Insanity work out program so I just put it under “aerobics” which is much lower intensity than the Insanity work outs. The other day, after I completed my Insanity work out, I looked down at my watch and saw that it had only took 45 min long, so deciding to push myself I went for a cool down low intensity run. Next I pulled out my Nike Run App to track to use the GPS to track where I went on my run. This app also tracks one’s calories using the pedometer, it does not sync up to my heart rate monitor, when the 2 mile run was complete the calories on my watch with the heart rate monitor were 80 calories higher than the Nike Run App. I then took all of my data from my work outs, the food I ate, and where I ran and put them in the Lose It! App. One thing I made note of while during my running work out was the option in the Nike Run App that gave me verbal feedback through my head phone every time I hit a mile mark. There are also options to have cheering/clapping over the top of your music as well as setting certain songs in your play list as your “powersongs.” Also I made note that it would be nice to have wireless headphones that could be stored within the watch.
I believe that giving the user raw real accurate data is the best tool, and when it is made easier to access it makes the process a lot less “work” when working out. The user can focus on being healthy rather than trying to calculate how many calories they expended.