Archive for August, 2008

Online Tool: PhysicsDiet.com

Today I’m going to point you, dear reader, towards a tool I’ve found that has really helped me track and visualize my weight loss.  I started using physicsdiet.com about a month and a half ago to track my weight loss.  The website is easy to use, low friction for data entry, and very basic.  Some people might frown at the lack-luster appearance of the site in this time of web 2.0 goodness, but for me it’s not always about the eye-candy.

Every morning I get up, jump on the scale, and then go to my office to record the weight.  I simply click on the fitness log and I’m greeted with a prompt to enter my weight for the day and a table listing my previous weigh ins.  If I manage to forget to weigh in, then the website estimates my weight based on the other two weigh-ins.

Physics Diet uses moving averages to show a trend line.  Daily weight readings will vary (sometimes wildly), and that can get frustrating to watch.  The moving average will show your overall trend and help make sense of all the noise that is your body weight.  This really helps me to focus in on what matters, and that is which direction am I going. Earlier I mentioned how it handles missed weigh ins.  When the chart is displayed, those missed dates will show as a circle instead of a diamond.  This lets you know that that part of the chart is incomplete. If you would like to read more about the trend line, then please read Signal and Noise from the Hacker’s Diet.

Ultimately what I care about is the data.  One of the reasons I like physics diet is that I can export my weigh ins from it.  That makes me feel less locked into their website.  Regardless, physics diet provides me just what I need without the fluff: a place to record my daily weight and a chart showing relevant visualizations of the data.

If you want to keep tabs on how I’m doing, please visit my about page. It contains an updated graph from Physics Diet.

World of Workout Tip of the Week #1

Have you packed on a few pounds since you started playing World of Warcraft?  Are you tired of walking into World’s End Tavern and overhearing the group of Scryers at the bar comparing you to a Tauren?  Are you a gnome that is starting to resemble a dwarf?  If so, then listen up!

When using the gryphon or wyvern to travel the vast expanses of Azeroth and the Outlands, instead of just sitting there and staring at the pretty landscape pass by, get up and do some jumping jacks.  The average travel time in World of Warcraft is 2 minutes 24 seconds.  Doing jumping jacks for this amount of time burns ~36.5 calories for a 225 pound person.  Four travels a night results in a total of 146 calories burned, just enough to work of that handful of Cheez-its you threw down during the last Kara run.  To kick it up a notch, fly everywhere.  Stop using your hearthstone and stop taking shortcuts… I’m talking to you mages.  For the long flights, switch it up halfway through and do some crunches.  This little bit of exercise will get your heart rate up and pick away at your waistline without taking any time away from your game play!

As always, consult your personal doctor before attempting any exercise presented here.  This has been your World of Workout tip of the week.  Have fun and stay active!

Online Fitness Tracking Face Off: Traineo vs. Gyminee

One of the most important things to do when starting to lose weight is keeping a good journal of what you are doing and what you plan to do.  While this is one of the best methods for meeting your goals, it always been the most tedious part of the whole routine.   Like a lot of people, I live for the here and now and only look forward.  While I recognize the benefit of maintaining important data, the time needed to keep that log and maintain it just seems pointless.  Well… no more.  In the age of Web 2.0, RIAs, and kick ass mobile devices, keeping track of your workout routine is no longer a hassle.  It’s now fun and motivating.  There are a TON of online (and offline) fitness tracking applications, including FitDay, Online Fitness Log, and even WeightWatchers. Today, we will be looking at two free online apps: Traineo and Gyminee.

Part 1: Traineo.com

George's Traineo Homepage

I really like Traineo’s design.  It is slick, easy to navigate, and even easier to use.  After you set up your account and set your goals, you can easily see your progress in the upper right hand corner.  You are able to quickly, and I mean quickly, enter your weight and workouts for the day and see you progress on a pretty graph.  The workout entry system is extremely simple: “What did you do today?”  “Crunches, 10 min, it was hard.”  You are limited to 3 workouts a day though.  So if you like mixing it up by walking, running, weight training, and making love (yes, making love is considered a workout), you are going to have to leave something off.  You can also make custom logs, such as distance run or … Cans of Tuna?  Hmmm, I guess that is useful…?  Traineo also has a nice group system in which you can join together with others that have similar goals and interests and motivate each other via the groups’ forums.  Where I feel Traineo is lacking is in it nutrition tracking system.  It gives you two sliders: How did you eat today, poor->outstanding.  And how many calories did you eat.  It then gives you a link to the USDA food database.  I think this is a weak way to track your nutrition.  This means I will have to keep track of food all day on …. *gasp* pen and paper, and then enter it at the end of the night or the next day.  Overall, Traineo is a great site.

Part 2: Gyminee.com

George's Gyminee Homepage

Gyminee has a great design.  Big links for the major site areas make for easy navigation with drop down menus to get you to the sub sections.  The “Locker Room” shows you your weight (with a really nice graph), your goal, and a quick way to tell whether you have met your fitness and nutrition goals.  You can also see your Gym Friends’ status and enter quick journals.  You can set what workouts you want to do, walking or the Hundred Pushups challenge, for example.  You then track the progress you have made on each workout.  Where Gyminee really shines is the nutrition tracking.  It has a quick search for foods and their nutritional facts, very quick and tons of foods in the database.  You can add each food item you eat for the day and it will track the calorie intake and give you a breakdown of where your calories are coming from… very nice.  Gyminee also has groups with forums and challenges, where you can challenge your friends or the community to different competitions, such as weight lost, distance ran, pounds benched, etc.  Oh, did I mention Twitter integration and an iPhone app?  Gyminee also maintains a great fitness and nutrition blog.

Part 3: Face-off

Category Traineo Gyminee Aditional Comments
Design

It’s a tie! Both sites have a great design. They are organized well and are easy on the eyes.
Navigation

I’m going to have to give it to Gyminee on this one. Gyminee has one set of bold menus with drop down sub menus vs. Traineo’s 3 rows of different menus. That being said, neither site was hard to work through, so this decision was made on my personal preference.
Weight Tracking

Both site make tracking your current weight and your weight goal a breeze. One thing I like about Traineo’s weight graph is it scales the Y-Axis to the weight values you have entered. So my 3lb. loss over the last week looks like a very happy downward sloping line. This is very motivating. Gyminee, on the other hand, scales the graph to include your target weight goal, so my 3lb loss looks like nothing on the graph spanning 30 pounds, but I do like the fact that I can visually see my progress towards my goal. They both have their benefits, and I’m conflicted on which I like best, so…. A tie!
Workout Tracking

Once again both sites have their pros and cons, and it depends on what you are looking for. Traineo makes entering your workouts so simple. Click a workout, rate your exertion, then click OK. Gyminee is a little more complex, but with that complexity comes some great features. For example, to tell Gyminee you have done some exercise, you have to choose or create a workout for that exercise. Then you can submit your progress towards that workout. This just seems like two many steps to record that I walked a mile.  However, the benefits of doing it this way is that you can choose or create workout plans that lay out how exactly many miles or minutes you want to run, how much weight or how many reps you want to curl, etc. For me, having this forethought into my workout just brings me so much more motivation.  Instead of printing out my Couch-to-5K routine, I can just go look at what I am supposed to do on Gyminee.  But I can’t discount the benefits of just how easy Traineo is to record with no prior setup. Once again, a tie.
Diet Tracking

No question for me, Gyminee wins this. The ability to break down your calorie intake and specify the exact foods you eat (and also choose your favorite food for even quicker entry later on) makes Gyminees diet tracker the winner.
Community

I would have to say Traneo has a better community. The numbers don’t lie:

  • Gyminee: 576 topics, 2,599 posts, 430 voices
  • Traineo: Total Number of Signed Up Users » 91550 Total Number of Topics » 6337 Total Number of Replies » 68430
Features

Gyminee just seems to be more in line with providing features. They have more visualizations, better social connectivity, video examples of workouts, and mobility integration. Not to mention the ability to upgrade to a pro account that goes above just pure tracking, and adds total fitness and diet planning and professional workout plans.

Part 4: Final Thoughts

Both sites are great.  Traineo is extremely easy to use and takes very little time to record my data, so much so that it was part of my nightly shutdown routine within a week.  Gyminee got my geek blood pumping with the sweet design and bundle of cool features.  While it took longer to get my workouts and favorite foods set up, the pre-planned workout routines and accurate calorie tracking got me motivated to work out and eat right.

I really like both of these sites and I could recommend either of them.  But, since I hate sites that give comparisons, but no suggestions, I will tell you which one I am choosing to stick with…

Part 5: George’s Pick

I couldn’t resist all of those features. And with the continuous release of new features, Gyminee seems to be top-notch and only getting better.  You can follow my progress on my Gyminee public profile

As always though, in the world of technology, today’s results are most likely outdated by tonight. So please comment to tell us about your favorite tracking program or let me know if you feel that I missed an important topic. Also just let us know if you like the style of the product comparison. Given some good feedback, we would like to continue these face-offs as a regular topic and make them better and more suited to what you want to know.

Hello! My name is George…

Welcome to GeekIntoShape.com.  If you are coming to this site, you are either a member of the United Order of the Geek (A Nerdius Maximus) or you are part of my family (Hi mom!).  I will assume the former (Sorry mom).  Either way, I am really glad you have stopped by and I know you will enjoy the content we have to offer.

Question: So what is the content you speak of, George?

Well, the goal of this website is twofold: Motivation and New Ideas.

As a motivated technophile, I have become apathetic about my physical, and ultimately mental, health.  Why would I want to run around the block, when my Level 70 mage can run around the entire continent of Azeroth in the same amount of time?  Why do twenty crunches when I can read the last twenty TechCrunch posts (Have you read them yet, they are soooo good).  I feel like there are many people that have this same internal debate.  But there is no need to choose between being geeky and being healthy, because there is plenty of time for both.  All you (and I) need is a little bit of motivation and a ton of new ideas and fun workouts tailored to our geekhood.  GeekIntoShape will provide you with both!

Question: Who do you think you are telling me how to get in shape?

I don’t like your hostile attitude.  But to answer your question, I am a 26 year old System Engineer.  I have a wife and a little 18 month old girl.  I love programming, video games, social networking, and internet TV.  I have always been chunky, and at my max weight of 255, decided to make a change in my life.  I have since dropped 30 pounds and am looking to drop 20-30 more by the end of 2008.  Along the way, I have put alot of thought into how to ease the transition of a sedentary lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle, while not having to give up my nagging desire to stare at pixels all day long.  So while I am not an expert or professionally trained, I know what has worked for me and I would like to share that information.

Question: Oh, I was out of questions… You go ahead.

Good.  I know Josh and I are really excited to start this project.  Not only for our own goals, but also to help you meet yours.  We plan on bringing you alot of useful information and some unique ideas of view that you will not find at any other fitness website (But by all means, go to these too, the more the better).

So please subscribe to our feed or just stop back by, you won’t be disappointed!

Introduction

I just wanted to take a few moments and introduce myself and this blog.  The first few posts for a blog are always awkward, so I’ll try to be brief.

Who am I?

By day, I am a software developer for a national ppo network.  By night I am a husband, insect killer, grass mower, and author of digitalbush.com.  I am presently on a mission to lose 50 lbs this year and I want to share it with the world.

Why this blog?

I’ve been actively posting my results onto my other blog monthly.  I want to post more frequently about my weight loss adventure, but I feel like the audience of my other blog might not care as much as I do.  (We’ll see how many of them meander over here once I post the news over there.)

What makes this blog different from all of the other 1,272,913 weight loss blogs?

That I don’t entirely know yet.  I want this to be an outlet for George (He should be introducing himself soon.) and myself to motivate others to lose weight.  With that said, I’m sure our content will have a geeky twist.

I’m appalled at the amount of misinformation that exists about losing weight and being healthy.  I want to share with you the resources I’ve found that aren’t gimmicks and will lead people towards a healthier lifestyle.

So, please subscribe to our feed and follow us as we geek into shape.