Massive workout

Back from vacation in a big way.

4-4-18workout

But now comes the tricky part of transitioning from winter/building mode to endurance/cardio training in a kayak on water.

This year will be a more difficult transition than past years because I’ve become part of a new gym culture but I’ll put that aside for a few months as I ramp up functional training.

I’m going to feel this one in the morning

Knowing February is my last month of lifting heavy in the gym before I transition to conditioning for kayaking season in March, I went a little beast mode in the gym after work today.

2-17-18_beastmode

I’m going to feel this one tomorrow.

Reviews and the gear I use in my training

Most of you know I talk about brands I love and have no sponsorship arrangements with anyone.  If I ever get a free gadget for review I will disclose it.  If I ever have a financial incentive to promote a product I will also let you know.

That said, I post screen shots from some of my workouts while wearing the Atlas Wearables 2 wristband.

I’ve now been working out with it for a full year and it has been an integral part of my training and progression.

I have no ties to the Atlas Wearables company but just wanted you to know this is one piece of gear that has become an invaluable tool in my training regimen.

Here is my original written review and my video review is directly below.

 
Buy now through my Amazon Affiliate link:
Atlas Wristband 2: Digital Trainer + Heart Rate Band

Summary for 2017

The results of my paddling and gym training for 2017.  I didn’t paddle nearly as much as I wanted to the second half of the year due to a drought so I stepped up the volume in the gym.

On to 2018.

2017training

Last week of the year in the gym

And boy was it a big one.

I had a couple days off from work and I planned a recovery week starting tomorrow so I hit it hard during the lead-up this past week.

Just over 191,000 lbs. total volume this week.  I would not recommend this type of training to anyone.

I’m now ready to enjoy the holidays and give every muscle and joint in my body time to rest and recover.

My shoulders will be in the best shape ever come paddling season in the Spring.

lastweek2017

A good training day

I finally made it back out on the water today during a well-earned day off.

I managed to paddle 10 miles in the Thunderbolt-X kayak and took it easy so I only averaged 5.7mph.  It was a cold, breezy day so I had to wear a full wet suit which definitely constrains the natural paddling motion.

Nonetheless, it was an extremely enjoyable paddle and the water was clear as crystal.  I also spotted a flock of turkeys on shore which was a bonus.

12-8-17_kayakTaking the Thunderbolt-X out for a spin with full wet suit


Then after attacking an item or two on the “honey do” list, I dropped off my son and his friend for basketball practice this evening and hit the gym while they were at practice.  It wasn’t my typical #MFN (massive Friday night) workout, but I managed some good volume in a somewhat crowded gym for a Friday night.  Usually I can have the place to myself on a Friday night but not tonight.

12-8-18_Atlas

I focused on bent over rows and flies and worked in some squats.

It was a good training day.

Oh, and I’ve gotten myself into dietary ketosis and I hope to stay here for a good, long while.

And in the interest of transparency, here is my starting point for this current “cut,” according to the Skulp Aim.

 

 

Compared to Jan., 2016.  They obviously re-scaled the index since then as it now appears as though Muscle Quality is on a scale from 1-100.  It’s a shame I don’t have a direct comparison.

Massive workout and some time to reflect on my training and my life

I was out of the country this past week and due to jet lag with disrupted sleep patterns, long work hours, and my own stupidity, I was only able to hit a gym twice last week.  Last Sunday and last Tuesday.

I flew back from overseas yesterday so today my typical Massive Friday Night Workout (#MFNW) had to become a Massive Sunday Night Workout (MSNW.)

12-3-17_MFNWMassive Sunday Night Workout recorded on the Atlas Wristband

12-3-17FatHeadDinner was a grain-free “Fat Head” pizza featuring bacon and provolone cheese 

I did a lot of total volume so I had a lot of time to clear my head and reflect on my life and my upcoming training over the next few months.

Typically I undulate between lifting heavy at low volume and then lighter but higher volume over the winter months and then try to back down and cut some fat and go into dietary ketosis in time for kayak racing season in April.

I’ve decided to do things differently this year.

I’m going No Beer No Wine (NBNW) effective immediately along with going very strict on my No Sugars, No Grains (#NSNG) lifestyle.  I will stay as strict as I can through most of kayak racing season, my 100-miler with Vinnie Tortorich down the Bayou LaFourche in Louisiana at a date yet to be determined, probably late April or early May, and the James River Rundown some time in June.

BayouLaFourcheBayou Lafourche, LA

I know there will be some weeks where this will be difficult if not impossible over the holidays and with some scheduled business meetings, so I’ll allow for these brief setbacks but get right back on the horse immediately afterward.

I’ll get in as much paddling time on the water and on my indoor trainer as possible and let my gym time fill in the gaps rather than making gym time the centerpiece.  I also want to get back on the bike and work in some more cardio training.  I’ll let my body judge what my gym training will look like, but I anticipate fewer workouts with moderate weights and reps with a focus on legs and core.  In short, this is going to be an extended period of leaning out and cardio conditioning.

I also want to get back in touch with my guitar as it has taken a back seat for the past year or so and has collected too much dust.  That had always been an important part of my mental health and I need to bring it back into my life for some balance.

I also hope to get back in the gym later this week to record a new episode of “Exercises for Kayakers” for my YouTube channel.  The next exercise will be a modified bench press.

I’ll keep you informed as I try this new style of training and living.

Changes are in order.

 

 

Next generation fitness trackers

fitnesstrackers

We’re having a drought here in Central Virginia so I have not done much paddling during a time of year where I typically love being on the water and logging many of my annual kayaking miles.

So in the absence of much to talk about in terms of my kayaking and on-water adventures, let me  explain several of my recent posts involving fitness tracking technology.

I started searching for a fitness and gym tracker a few years ago in order to log and track my training both in the gym and on the water.  Being able to track paddle cadence on the water and progress in the gym would be very useful.

I started out with the Amiigo device, then moved to the Xiaomi Amazfit Arc followed shortly thereafter by the Atlas Wearables Wristband 2.

As a result of reviewing those units in YouTube videos and on this blog, two other companies reached out to me and sent me devices to evaluate in exchange for fair and honest reviews.  Those devices were the Actofit Wearables tracker and the MBHB Sport Smart Bracelet.

I have also researched countless other devices to find the right one.

So far not a single device meets all my needs.

Many of them do not count paddle strokes as “steps”, some are not reliably waterproof, and some do not have the battery life to last for an all-day outing or ultra-marathon kayak trip or race.   Some let you train new movements or exercises while others do not.

The one device I am truly in love with is the Atlas Wearables wristband for in the gym.  It recognizes my exercises, lets me train new ones and allows me to enter the amount of weight on the bar or edit the number of reps right on the wristband during my workouts.  It has completely replaced my clipboard with paper exercise log in the gym and the online dashboard lets me review my training progress and areas of focus over time.  It is a great training tool for the gym, but is not intended for all-day wear.

I am looking forward to seeing what Atlas Wearables comes out with next.  This is the one company that seems to be truly innovating and delivering on their promises and their customer service and support is awesome.

Aside from the Atlas device, there are many, many other fitness trackers out there that all do the same basic things and maybe have one or two unique features such as blood pressure measurements that set them apart.  There is no lack of affordable trackers with basic functionality if that is what you are looking for.

But, again, I have not yet found one device that meets all my needs.

I have also been approached by a few companies doing market research asking me what I’m looking for in a fitness tracker so I thought I’d share what I’m looking for in a next generation device.

My ideal next-generation fitness tracker would be/have:

  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable and stylish enough for all-day wear even in professional settings
  • 5+ day battery life before the need to recharge
  • Good tracking exercises in the gym and allow you to train new, custom motions/exercises (such as kettlebell sumo squats and the kayaking wing paddle stroke)
  • An online dashboard that allows you to track progress over time
  • Export capabilities of all data so data can be imported into a spreadsheet for long-term tracking and analysis
  • A display on the device that allows you to edit exercises and change functions during exercises and activities without access to the paired phone (my phone is either in a kayak hatch inside a dry bag or in a gym locker people!)
  • Automatic sleep tracking
  • Ability to measure blood pressure on-demand
  • Heart Rate (HR) capabilities both on-demand and automatically at pre-set time intervals
  • Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measurements to better understand recovery
  • Basic functions such as steps, calorie burn, distance, etc.

I just don’t understand why this device is so elusive.  There are trackers already that do all of these things, but not one single one that does them all.

If you find it or know of this elusive beast, please let me know.

 

 

Actofit fitness tracker review – follow-up

~~~ Update Dec. 26, 2017 ~~~
Actofit have reached out to me to let me know they were not able to address the production issues with their first generation tracker but they are coming out with a gen2 device, The Actofit Rise, in Q1, 2018. They have emailed all their backers to let them know there is a plan for free upgrades to the new device. If you were a backer and have not heard from them you should reach out to them to let them know. It sounds like they will take care of you.

UPDATE Dec. 9, 2017:
After repeatedly reaching out to Actofit, they finally responded and stated,

Over the past few months, we have tried to fix certain things with our assembly line and production control processes based on feedback we have had from our initial batches. However, our current design does not allow us to maintain quality at higher production volumes. To improvise on these design defects and to enable us to fight the struggle between manufacturing yet delivering a world-class product, we have had to make the hard choice of discontinuing the first variant of the fitness tracker. This was a tough decision and let we assure you, our future products will be more powerful.

The new, next generation Actofit Blitz is expected to launch in January/February 2018.”

Original post:

My regular readers will recognize that I am a data geek and believe that if you can’t measure it then you can’t manage it.

As such I’ve been looking for a fitness tracker that can do everything I want including:

  • Be a good gym tracker in terms of exercise recognition with easy entry of weight lifted
  • Waterproof so it can go kayaking and be underwater for short periods of time
  • Learn new activities so I can “teach” it the kayaking wing paddle stroke
  • Accurately track sleep including resting heart rate (RHR)
  • A bonus feature would be for it to also provide heart rate variability (HRV) while sleeping to provide an indication of stress and recovery

The Actofit company sent me their tracker to evaluate in August and I was very hopeful.  I even did an initial review (embedded below.)

Since that review I’ve communicated with the company and they were responsive.  The inaccurate weights that I reported in my initial review was the back-end server assuming incoming data was in kilograms, so even though I chose pounds as my units for weights, their servers assumed my pounds were kilograms and then converted them to pounds.  They fixed that problem quickly.

They also responded and cleared gym sessions that were “stuck” in synchronization mode.

Then my Samsung Galaxy S5 updated to Android 6.0.1 and all communications with the device were lost.  In fairness, that updated also bricked my Amazfit Arc tracker.

Then after I upgraded the the Galaxy S8+ both tracker apps worked fine once again.

I started wearing the Actofit again and was using it as my every day and night fitness tracker and it showed signs of being a very good gym tracker.  I did not get it wet or take it kayaking but was hopeful that once I had put it through its paces on land that it would then perform well on water.

Well, water then became the issue.

As my local weather started getting cooler and drier, I noticed condensation forming inside the unit.

afitcondensationCondensation forming inside the Actofit screen

Then last week I went out to California where it was even drier and the condensation built up to the point where it shorted out the device.  Almost all the LED elements lit up and then it just went dark–for good.

So after approximately 6 weeks the device is dead.

It was obvious to me the device was manufactured in a high humidity environment and once my local weather got cooler and drier the humidity inside the waterproof device condensed to the point where it shorted out the device.

The company has since confirmed they rejected a lot at QC for this very issue. (Why they sent me one of these units for review I’ll never understand.)

I felt I owe my readers a follow-up to my initial review to let you know how it turned out.

If Actofit are willing to send me a new device for review again I’ll be happy to give it another try because it had become the device that stayed on my wrist 24/7.  I was very happy with its sleep analysis, loved the measure of RHR, successfully taught it custom exercises and its exercise recognition was adequate so I was satisfied with its gym tracking capabilities.

But at least for now, it is back to the Amazfit Arc for 24/7 wear and the Atlas Wearables 2 for in the gym.

Why can’t somebody come up with a device that does it all well?