There’s an app for everything now. There are a wide range of fitness based applications which measure anything from your heartrate, to the number of steps you take, calories that you burn and even chocolate bars that you have earned. For a time, I enjoyed seeing the number of calories that I had torched or how many miles I had covered in a particular workout but the novelty has worn away. I am now much happier going into the gym or out on the road without the added pressure of recording my workout. Before I outline my reasons for ditching apps I want to make a couple of observations.
1: They are extremely useful for those wanting to quantify their workout. By this, I mean logging miles, counting calories or the number of steps taken, heart-rate training.
2: I have used apps in the past. I regularly trained with a Garmin Forerunner 310XT when I ran regularly and used Garmin Connect and Map My Run to record my progress. It allowed me to see the progress I was making on a screen which motivated me as I crushed my previous PBs.
3: They are brilliant motivation tools when you are looking at the workouts you have done in the past.
4: You can look at your past performance and experience the ‘wow’ factor of seeing how far you have come.
It may sound like a step backwards in time but I have largely learned to leave technology behind. My aim is not solely to burn calories although it is certainly a beneficial side effect to working out, it’s to better myself. And that can never be quantified. Furthermore, although most of my workouts in the gym go well, recording the details of the ones that don’t would be destructive rather than constructive. The adage The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do is a good mantra to have as it focuses on the progress you have made compared to that which you would have missed out on. However, I find it much easier to forget a bad workout if I’m not tempted to pour over the detail.
Aside from completing a half marathon and looking back in pride at my mile splits, looking at my workout times has never really brought me any tangible happiness or pride about myself. My pride has solely been in the time I achieved or the new route I conquered, not in myself. I have scarcely run since last year, logging around 7 miles a couple of Sunday’s ago and exploring Holcombe Moor last week – I’m not sure of the exact distance of either run as I didn’t record it.
I am looking to become more defined, to become stronger. To that end, I could measure the number of reps that I perform or the weight that I manage to deadlift or press but I don’t really see the point. I know that I can lift a lot more weight than I could a couple of months ago and I know that I can perform pull ups more consistently than before. The most significant progress that I can see is in the mirror; the most significant progress I can feel is whilst I am working out. But seeing change takes time, recognising progress takes self-belief.
It took a couple of friends to comment on my appearance, positively, for the first time in my life for me to notice the changes that are taking place. It made me realise that no detail of any workout that I had recorded actually mattered. Looking back over the last 9 months since I joined the gym I am currently at, I can now see the progress. Sometimes, an outsider’s perspective is all you need…