October 29, 2011

iFit Live - The Review

I have now owned the iFit Live for 5 workouts already so I figured a small review is in  order. For those just tuning in: I use it together with my NordTrack T20.0 treadmill.

The Good

I try to always start with the goog things first and for the iFit there are many.

  • The ability to do workouts that have been created by professional trainers: Awesome. As I already mentioned in one of my other posts I am really bad when it comes to setting goals. I tend to be too lazy and make it too easy for myself. A professional workout being delivered to my treadmill forces me to bite through my self-pity and just do it!
  • The maps functionality: Wow :) I mean come on, being able to design routes of events you want to participate in and so on. Really nice. 
  • Total solution: It is clear that iFit wants to profile itself as an all around solution to help you get in control of your own life. It gives you the tools to track your food and weight and all related things.
  • Facebook integration: Nothing gives me more energy than a friend who encourages your workout by being able to respond on your facebook and that reaction appearing on your treadmills display as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

The Bad

  • The issues with the treadmill turning of at random points. This is now solved by locking my wireless network into a single channel. I'm not really happy about it, as I think that the ability of the airport devices (and all other apple devices) to be able to relocate to a new wifi channel when the old one is not optimal is awesome. But I guess I'll live. Don't ask me how I figured out that this feature was the culprit, I'm not even sure myself :P (more details)
  • Getting the entire thing to work. Don't know how or what I did wrong and perhaps the above issue is related, but it took me a shitload of effort to get the entire thing working. After more than an hour in the treadmill I still had no users (I have an account with 2 users but the treadmill always showed me the main login). When it finally worked I could not find out how to add a specific workout to my program. I managed to find a page once where the workouts had the "+ Add workout" button, but after that, nothing more to e seen in my account.
    It took me a while to figure out that all it needed was a logout/login to get the workout to be displayed on my dashboard and the rest to show up. Or perhaps I did that re-login just at the right time and the site was very slow? Nevertheless this process took 3+ hours.
  • The classical music. Who's brilliant idea was this? Seriously! The first time your treadmill starts playing classical music on its own it has a bit of a "wow" feeling but after 15 times it gets REALLY annoying. Is this really the only way to convey "I'm currently loading data" to the customer?
    My GF and I usually do our workouts back to back. It turns out that the treadmill is being turned of after 5 minutes of inactivity. I don't know if this is done by the iFit module or the treadmill itself. Anyway, if it turns off like this, the only way to get it back on after that is to power-cycle. So everytime  we leave on the treadmill for each other and the other one is a bit too late, I get to hear the fancy tune again.
  • Also, the first workout I did turned out to be the wrong one. It made me do the "Get Fit #1" first while I wanted "Weight Loss #1". Seems that this can be solved by going back to the "Home" section and pressing the "My Trainer" button again on the treadmill. It then appears to re-download some data and decides that it should now use the other workout.

The Possible Improvements

  • Treat all your customers equally. What I mean by that is this: if you offer the possibility to switch between imperial and metric, be consistent and do it everywhere. Don't convert back to imperial internally because for someone who uses metric it is really annoying to see that if you enter your length as 184cm it is displayed as 182.7cm the next time. I understand that in the States it is rounded to an inch, but we use cm's and I don't like to be smaller all of a sudden. The site displays numbers in metric fine. The workout summary mail gives the impression it was added hastily afterwards (by displaying the numbers in imperial but giving you a conversion between brackets) and both the "measurements applet" and your facebook app don't even support metric. My GF would really like to use the measurement applet but we can't convert everything to inches.
    A lot of people who follow me on facebook don't have a clue on how to convert miles to km's.
    Small piece of advice from the web-developer in me: Store the numbers as they are in your database. Keep them in metric for metric users and in imperial for imperials. Just determine what unit name to add behind it when you output instead of re-caculating things. 
  • If this is my treadmill's fault then I apologize, but it seems that a lot of the encouraging voice samples ("Come on, you can do it! You are changing your body right now!") have a couple of silent seconds at the end. On my treadmill this manifests as: your music stops, the sample plays and then you get to enjoy silence from 0 to sometimes 5 seconds. Getting my energy to workout from my music this is somewhat annoying.
  • The navigation on the site is really unclear to me. My GF and I only discovered by accident that you could edit the current weight by going to the Goals page and then use the breadcrumbs to navigate "up" to the other pages. Up is quoted because it is displayed as being a navigational path, but actually it isn't.
  • Sharing maps. As was pointed out to me on the iFit facebook page it is not possible to share running routes. Since it takes a lot of time and effort to draw your own it would be nice if this was possible.
I will definitely keep using the iFit as despite the aforementioned things, but fixing these will increase my happiness level for sure.

Just my $0.02 :)

I'm becoming iFitter!

So this morning I finished workout #2 in the iFit Weight loss program (level 4). 

I did workout 1 yesterday. On their site, the workout looks like this:

The blocks with the white lines are the inclination of the treadmill. Top of the image is an inclination of 10%. The black line is the speed which, at its peak, is 7.7kph.

Workout 2 looks like this: 

I realized today that not only are they switching between speed and endurance training, but they also change the main form of training between workout. The first one was more oriented towards speed, whilst the second one was more inclination.

For fun, I weighed myself yesterday before and after the workout and the diference was 800gr! This means that I sweat out nearly a complete kg during the workout. Wowza :)

As a sidenote: I am now at -7.3kg from the starting point.

I will not be adding more images, as I'm sure people at iFit won't like this :)

October 28, 2011

Running across the world

Ever since we have the treadmill, I've been checking out that iFit functionality and last week Friday I decided to just order their live module. The idea of being able to do workouts designed by professional trainers, or run a specific route after you click it together on Google Maps, it just spoke to me. Like I said a couple times already, I love running, but if I get to set my own goals I am way to gentle to myself. So I need someone to kick my ass and force me to push through.

Today the module was delivered and I thought I was ready for loads of extra fun.

Unfortunately that's not what happened. The setup seemed to be going great, although it's pretty obvious the product is made for people running windows on their computer. I do not however since a while. 

Placing the module in the treadmill, I finally managed to get it to find both Sandy's and my account. Messing around on their website to try to get one of those programs activated so I could do it. I thought it was okay and after doing the first one I realized it made me do the first step in the "Get Fit" program instead of the "Losing Weight". 

On top of that the module has made my treadmill crash a couple times already. Can you imagine that? :) 

I don't know how this is going to end but at this point it is NOT looking good for that iFit thing.

Update: While trying to analyse what could cause the crashes at random moments I came to the conclusion that perhaps the automatic radio channel selection functionality of my Airport network was to blame. Please don't ask me for the flow-process on how I got there, I honestly can't even tell you. Anyway, it seems that I was right. I disabled the automatic switching to the best channel and locked it down. The module hasn't crashed since.

October 24, 2011

Going, going, gone!

Short update: the treadmill is awe-some! It took me a bit of messing around to get it to stop slipping (or however its called when the belt shifts) but since then it's been working really nice. Both my GF and myself have used it every day so far. I try to run at the very least 2.5km a day. So happy to realize that even with the extra padding, I still love to run on a treadmill. Good thing, as it wasn't the smallest of investments someone can make.

October 22, 2011


I've always liked running since I started working out. At my lowest weight I ran on a treadmill 3 times a week for an hour and a half. I'm one of the few persons I know that actually likes running on a treadmill as opposed to outside. The fact that I can completely zone out during a workout and just focus on myself and the awesome music I'm listening to at that point, yeah it's what makes it fun for me.

Well that and the fact that I have bad knees (mainly due to my weight) and that I sometimes get sick of it all of a sudden and just want to be able to press the stop button and retry another time. 

The thing that bothered me most about using the treadmill at the gym however, was that you actually have to pack your bag and drive there and back etc. What a time waster!

All of this makes that owning my own treadmill has been the first and foremost thing on my wish-list the last 5 years. 

About a week ago I was browsing through it and when I saw it, I told my girlfriend about this. To my amazement she responded that she also likes to run and would love to start doing it again. But with the winter coming up, she liked the idea of having a treadmill. We decided to invest in one together and after a number of hours looking on the internet it was decided that we would go for the NordicTrack T20.0. Since you have to keep in mind a lot of things when purchasing one (frequency of use, weight of the user, strength of the motor, width of the belt etc), we wanted to get a good one to start with.
The T20 can carry up to 160kg and has a belt of 51cm wide. The motor is 3HP so enough for semi professional running. 

And the best of all: It was delivered today!

Unfortunately it was an extremely big and heavy box (100kgs). The delivery dude helped me put it in the hallway and then told me to have fun and left. Normally he wasn't even allowed to assist me so far. 

The battle against the box started. Since there was no way I would ever get the box out of the hallway in one piece (and believe me, I tried), I finally had to open it up and get everything out in pieces. 

I'm going to save you all from the story to get it assembled but it suffices to say that it is standing in my living room, being happy. Not for long though, this thing will be tortured beyond belief pretty soon!

Ow and by the way: I lost 6kg already.

October 14, 2011

A healthy life

For many years I've been obese. There, it's out. My entire adult life, I was way too heavy. About 8 years ago, after passing 115kg on the scale, I decided to do something about it. With the help of my parents, a really good dietician and about a years time I managed to get to about 87kg. According to the dietician that is my ideal weight, given that I'm built pretty heavy. I remained at this weight for almost a year and between the watching what I ate and a lot of sport I was actually really happy then.

Then I met this girl at the gym and we became a couple. We went out to search an apartment a couple months later and moved out of the nest. Unfortunately we weren't really made for each other and as it turned out later I was a complete idiot. She liked an ice cream pretty much every night and fed me one too. I should've had the balls to refuse but I didn't. It was my first relation and to avoid conflict I just shoved in the food. About a year later I weighed around 100kg's again. At that point, pretty much at the moment I told her I was out of money as well after paying for pretty much everything in the relation, she left me. Broke and fat again. As I posted in the past, I was far from the easiest guy back then. I've also spend the last couple of months of our relation at home. Just came out of a legal battle with my previous employer. I cannot divulge more details about that as it's part of my "I-wont-sue-you-if-..."-agreement with then, but I won (that much I can say). Anyway due to what happend I really didn't feel like taking on a new job for a while.

All of that really did not do me any good. 

To keep following half year short: I took on a job far beneath my potential, just to get money to come in again, went to a really rough time money wise due to my own stupidity and came really close to a personal bankruptcy. 5 months and 2 weeks in the job I got a call from the owner of a company I had assisted working at that company I sued. He was so happy about what I did for them back then and wanted to know if I was interested to come work for them. By then I was so sick of the old job and with 2 weeks left on my trial period (which in Belgium means both parties can pretty much terminate the working agreement per direct) I left.

The rest of the story went a lot better job/money wise, unfortunately not health wise. Due to the stress, laziness and a lot of other shit, I indulged myself with pretty much anything I wanted (food-wise that is). With my girlfriends illness to go trough we both didn't care about what we ate and ordered a lot of pizza and whatnot, we had to much other things to go through. Unfortunately almost 2 months ago I realized that I was about to pass the 130kg on the scale (and not in the good direction!). We talked about this and given the fact that we are both fighting against weight we decided we were gonna try healthyfying up our life.

About a month and a half later I'm proud to say that we are both still eating very healthy every day. I stopped eating candy, chips and all the other junk. No more takeout, no more pizza, no more soda. I have one vice left so far... We have a SodaStream to make our own sparkling water and I really like the sirop in there. Sure there are a lot of light variants, but yeah. In this time, I've lost almost 5kg.

So yeah... how will this continue? I guess we'll see!