Hurry Up, I’m Bored! Overcoming Fitness Challenges with Apps

We all have challenges when it comes to fitness. Although it is hard to admit, one of my biggest fitness hurdles is that I find it difficult to stick with a workout beyond the first few times because I get bored very quickly. As a full-time working mom, it can also be challenging finding time to exercise. To overcome these obstacles, I am always on the lookout for a new, quick and easy way to work out!

Fitness apps are a great solution. The options available online seem endless, but one of my favorites is the C25K app by Zen Labs. This “Couch to 5K” free app takes you on an eight-week journey towards completing a 5K race. It starts out very slowly in the first week with 60 seconds of jogging, alternating with 90 seconds of walking, for a total of 20 minutes. Gradually, the app takes you up to three minutes of jogging in Week 3, ten minutes in Week 6 and 30 minutes and three miles by the end of the eight-week program.

The beauty of the C25K program is you don’t have to keep track of the time intervals since the app does all that for you! You simply start walking and jogging when it tells you to. This means you can just focus on your music, podcast, TV show, or whatever you like to watch or listen to while you work out, keeping your mind occupied.

Because the program builds up the jogging time slowly, you don’t feel like you are stressed or overdoing it at any time. Also, you can do the C25K plan indoors on a treadmill or outside—it’s up to you.

The program is designed to have you work out three times a week, allowing time for other kinds of exercise, like strength training, and those all important days of rest. If you miss a workout or two, the app sends gentle and encouraging reminders to help you get back on track. You can also join the C25K community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get inspiration from others and share stories from your own journey!

If I find myself really pressed for time, I squeeze in a quick workout using the 7 Minute Workout app by Perigee. This app takes you through a series of quick, yet effective exercises combined with short rests for a full body workout in just seven minutes. If you like, you can set up to five repeating circuits on the app for a longer workout.

The exercises illustrated on the screen are easy to follow. A voice guides you through each exercise and a whistle tells you when to stop and start, so no tracking is required on your part. The workout gets your heart rate up, but is not too strenuous for beginners. Also, the app incorporates tracking, achievement rewards and levels to unlock as you progress to keep you motivated.

The MedStar Health iBars in Bel Air and Lafayette Centre serve as places where patients can get assistance and education on wearables and apps that help them to proactively manage their health. Helping patients download and navigate apps like C25K and 7 Minute Workout, the iBar ensures our patients have tools at their fingertips to manage a stress-free exercise regimen.

As we get older, exercise and fitness become more important, not just in terms of how we look, but as a way to help prevent serious chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. For those of us struggling with workout boredom and busy schedules, finding something quick and easy can be the key to sticking to your fitness routine for a lifetime.

Visit the MedStar iBar

Get in-person support with health and wellness apps, monitoring devices and wearables at the iBar.

The Weight Loss App that Changed my Life

Growing up, I had a very complicated relationship with food. I think that many women can relate. Many of us were taught that food is something that should be curbed in order to avoid unsightly weight gain. For me, food was always less about nourishment, and more about limitations.

Throughout my childhood, my father warned me about the outcome of overeating and overindulgence by using his family members as an example. “They are obese and now they’re suffering,” he would say. “They have diabetes and other health complications because they don’t take care of themselves. You don’t want to turn out like that.”

On the flip side, my mother and her two sisters were always trying to lose weight and be thin—not by nutritional means or exercise, but through deprivation. They would belittle my oldest sister for becoming overweight, shaming her for her lack of self-control.

As a child, I internalized everything I was told and heard. Through this, I developed a fear of fat and an incessant, consuming struggle with binge eating. Weight gain would sneak up on me, as if I didn’t have control over my body.

I hate feeling out of control. I like to prepare and plan. I like to know what’s going to happen. That’s why I made the decision to take control. On my 30th birthday, I didn’t wake up feeling depressed. I woke up feeling empowered. I had been steadily gaining weight for years, but that morning I made the decision to do something about it. I didn’t want to feel afraid of fat anymore.

I downloaded my first calorie-counting app, MyFitnessPal. It made calorie counting, food tracking and losing weight easy. After downloading the app, I put in my current weight, my activity level and my weight loss goals. After selecting that I wanted to lose one pound per week, MyFitnessPal automatically calculated what my daily calorie intake should be. Throughout the day, I was able to quickly add and log everything I ate, from store-bought food to fast food to food from my favorite restaurants. I was even able to add my own homemade recipes and track my calorie intake by portion size. The best part? Not only is MyFitnessPal completely free—it works! The pounds came off gradually and I was able to keep the weight off.

MyFitnessPal not only changed my life, it saved my life. Once I started monitoring my calorie intake, I was shocked by how much I had been overeating. But that only encouraged me to make healthier choices and control my portions. Over the course of two years, I lost close to 65 pounds.

I give MyFitnessPal full credit. I never believed in gimmicky fad diets. Sure, you’ll see instant results but those results are not sustainable. I wanted to lose weight the healthy way and MyFitnessPal enabled me to do that. It changed my entire outlook on eating and gave me the insight to form better eating habits. I continue using it to this day, four years after I first discovered it in the App Store. This year I even bought my first fitness tracker, the Jawbone UP2, which seamlessly syncs with MyFitnessPal. I use both to help me keep track of my food, sleep and physical activity.

This past summer, I was excited to see MedStar Health open their iBar in Bel Air and Lafayette Centre. The MedStar iBar serves as a place where patients can get assistance and education on wearables and health apps that help them to make better decisions. Offering training on apps like MyFitnessPal and wearables like the Jawbone, patients with struggles like mine will have the support and resources to better engage with their health and manage their weight.

My Jawbone health coach encourages me every day to live my best life. But now, that life isn’t just about me. I am embracing a healthy lifestyle because I want to set a positive example for my daughters. I don’t want them to grow up feeling the same pressure I did. I want them to always feel secure in their appearance and always see how beautiful they really are. And if they gain weight or lose weight, I want them to learn to love themselves at every size.

Visit the MedStar iBar

Get in-person support with health and wellness apps, monitoring devices and wearables at the iBar.