Everyone is plugging into them, following them like lost zealots trying to find enlightenment, or at least the perfect body.
Now there’s nothing wrong with fitness apps, at the start, or as an occasional check-in (and by occasional, I mean a few times a month). But what I see as a trainer and nutritionist is that those who are heads-down into their fitness app are becoming dependent, removed, and anxious!
I’ve put clients on whole routines, only to see them in the gym pulling up their fitness app, and loading in yet another exercise for back, or legs, or whatever. Seems like what I gave them for a workout wasn’t sufficient, and they needed more (?). (My motto: More is not better, better is better). The same client goes onto the food app, and has learned that according to this wonderful piece of technology, she is supposed to consume 1700 calories (how does it know? Genetics, pH levels, age, acid alkaline levels, hydration, body type and so much more determines your individual metabolism,) and she diligently plugs in her food for the day, to tally up right. Not a smidgen over, or under, please. Gotta be exact or she’s off her game for the whole day.
And then there’s the popular IIFYM (if it fits your macro’s) approach. While it’s good because people are learning about food according to their macronutrient profile (carb, fat or protein), again, it’s creating an anxious, number-counting culture. So, if you didn’t eat the proper amount of carbs for the day, as dictated by the technology theologises, you are to make it up at the end of the day. So stuff that pop tart in your mouth and count it as 30 grams of carbs. You hit your carb macro. Well done! Now you feel in control, safe, on target. The math adds up. Whew! On to tomorrow..same thing, plug in those numbers..
But apps are free, you say. True. They are succinct. True again (boy, are they! Don’t want to be outside those golden numbers of yours!). And they’re portable. OK. And they’re teaching everyone how to eat and train properly, with more info, more options, tending to the numbers….
And that’s where it all falls apart. There are a few coaches out there that use them with their competitor clients. Fair enough, especially if you are going into show and need to go to the extreme that our sport requires to get down to almost single-digit bodyfat (I would still argue that you can do it without an app. I have, for 7 contests now. Oh yeah, and I eat dairy, fruit and drink coffee right up to show, too. I know, I hear the gasps from the competitor’s crowd. But at 53, I crave and move toward total autonomy and freedom. I aim to NOT follow the crowd, and it works beautifully every time. On and off season.)
So let’s ditch the apps, and live real, with freedom. (I just know I’m gonna get a TON of emails over this one!) Let’s come to live by flexible eating, and trust in Self, where we learn to eyeball what we need, how much we need, and know when to eat it (yep, some of these apps actually tell you when to eat too!). Because to me, this is joyful eating, still with a good measure of compliance and discipline, but not dictated by a device in hand. As athletes, and as mature women, we can actually learn to eat intuitively. Power within Self! It’s about time, don’t you think?
And training. Real training for results requires not more exercise choices, but rather proper execution, with intensity, and different training techniques, knowing when to back off on that intensity through the months. And how does your body work with higher rep schemes, or lower reps with more weight (do you even know?), and is that App inspiring you, supporting you, teaching you to strive, reach, apply, test, reapply? This is how real results happen.Training with progressive results, year after year, is intuitive, creative, fulfilling and fun! And we are constantly looking, altering, applying, learning, growing…..that’s the beauty of it.
In my view, apps may have their place for a small time frame, and for certain people, usually those people who need to rein things in. Fair enough. But give an app to someone who has had an eating disorder, or who is borderline OCD, or who is juggling kids, work, life, and, well, you create a bigger mess. Besides, we don’t need to make mathematicians out of our clients, to have them stay within hard, prescribed lines. That’s not human. Or real.
How about returning to basics and put pen to paper, as I’ve always done, for the first while until you learn the ropes. Old school you say? So. It works. And it returns the power to self, and I am not forever relying on a piece of metal that dictates my life, my eating, my body. Release me, please! I’m a big girl! I CAN do this.
In my programs, I teach people to count calories and macronutrients, to start. Then they are taught to un-learn it. I want them to learn to eyeball a buffet and know what they are consuming, to make it all intuitive, flexible, real. I want them to bring that Power back within themselves, rather than give it over to the Technology Gods, the Almighty Apps.
Ah, freedom….can you feel it? That’s what we’re after. That’s the real way to live, eat and train. And that’s what us humans are meant to do!
PS My 10-week Best Shape of Your Life Challenge is open for registration. We start January 2015! Join us! And the 12-Week Advanced Best Shape Challenge is open for Graduates of the 10-week Challenge only. See you on the other side..!
“It’s my second time on the Challenge, and I loved it! It tunes me up for the year and sets me back on track! And I look pretty good in my (now) size 6 dress. Thanks Karen! It, and you, are one of a kind!” – Sheila Basset, Ontario