When Under Armour released a new, free fitness app, Record, last January, which uses IBM Watson to send you personalised fitness tips, I was pretty excited about it.
Under Armour owns some of my favourite fitness tracking apps, especially MyFitnessPal.
I use MyFitnessPal to track my diet. That means I use it to verify that half of the time I’m eating fewer calories than I’m burning.
MyFitnessPal syncs with all the wearable fitness devices on the market and passes the data to the Record service. Record takes all the info from millions of users and compares how you are doing to other people like you.
Before I started using Record, for few months, I carefully logged all of my food and workouts in MyFitnessPal to give Record plenty of data about me. You don’t have to do that. I just wanted to.
For the past month I’ve been using Record daily to log stuff.
And now, I get a daily “insight” about myself from IBM Watson. Some of them are hilarious. Some of them are baffling. And a few of them are useful.
Take a look …
This was the the very first insight I got from Watson. I was mostly baffled by it. I didn't see a correlation between my workout duration, other women's workouts. And it felt like Watson was implying that maybe I was working out because I was depressed?
When I clicked on the 'learn more' it just took me to two random studies about exercise and depression. It is true that exercise boosts my mood. Endorphins are great. That's why they call it 'runners high.'
This 'tip' seemed a bit like a marketing pitch but then again, I actually haven't used the app to meet other fitness people.
This tidbit about 'vertical jump height' was the most hilarious insight I got. But it makes sense. The more body fat you have, the harder it would be to jump high. Thanks for the tip, Watson.
Watson loves to point out that I work out more minutes than others. I know this. I'm training for endurance mountain bike races which often means gruelling hours on the bike. And yes, I agree: the best cure for an awful day at work is to get outside and move.
This was a sort of nice pat on the back from Watson, telling me to trust my judgment. It's partially true. If you are tired or hurt, your body is telling you to rest, no matter what your training schedule says. But I use a heart rate monitor and other devices because I've learned that what 'feels' hard isn't always at the top of my ability and that I can push harder and do more than I 'think' I can.
This is true. A bit of light-ish exercise can boost energy. A quick run isn't always low-intensity, it can be really, really hard. But now I'm just quibbling.
This was fairly random. Watson noticed I took a rest day (no workout) and that I only walked my dogs once that day. (It was raining.) There was no way to tell Watson that I work from home and can't bike to work.
This was a pretty useful tip. Even if you workout, if you sit all day, YOU WILL DIE YOUNG. Good to know.
Now this is a really useful tip! Fibre is the key to weight loss. Makes sense since the key to health and weight loss is to eat a lot of veggies, especially raw.
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