Fitness and diet monitoring and tracking with your BlackBerry

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I decided I should probably try to get my blood pressure under control. My Doctor hooked me up with a dietician and she has me keeping track of my calorie intake and my exercise habits. At first I thought, piece of cake, I’ll just write down everything in a notebook. After the first 3 weeks I lost my notebook. I got another notebook, but it’s just too tedious to keep up with. After a little deductive reasoning, the next best solution would be to use my Blackberry device as my journal, as I never lose track of it, knock on wood. After going through what was available online I decided on Ascendo Fitness. My first impression is I like what I see so far.

Installation

There are a couple of choices in installation: Over the Air (OTA) or download a ZIP file and install using Desktop Manager (DM). I chose OTA for this installation.

Main Screen

The main screen menu items are touch screen sensitive for the Storm, so you don’t have to press click in other words. When typing on the keyboard you will need to press click the screen. Figure 1, the user can enter in a wealth of information, from nutrition intake, exercise; you can create journal inputs to keep track of your weight. Under Progress you will see charts of your progression. User Setting is where you would input your Height/Weight/Sex/Gender/Resting Heart Rate. Within the goals category, the user can setup their goal for calorie intake, burning and other nutritional goals. Calculators give the user Healthy Weight for your height, Ideal Weight, Body Mass Index, Maximum Heart Rate for your age group, and Basal Metabolism Rate. Options let you set the default measurements US/Metric, weather you want to show Help Alerts, Show Background Image (I think I might set this one to off, you can see the background image below ), and if you want to turn the splash screen on or off.

Nutrition Data

Entering in food is done through the Nutrition screen (figure 2). To enter in food, you type in the first letters of product, in my instance I typed in heart (for Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal); it didn’t find it in the database, so it gave me the option to input the data. I pulled up the nutritional value on Kashi’s website and was able to input the data. One of the nice features for the Storm is when the keyboard appears for entering data. When entering in numbers, the text keyboard appears, when entering in words the keyboard with letters appears. Nice feature to have so that Storm users are not constantly changing keyboards around.

Exercise

As with intake, a body also burns calories. At rest the body burns so many calories which is factored into the calculation. You can create an activity from the New Daily Entry (figure 3). For the first day I walked the dog for 40 minutes. Just like in calorie intake you type in the first letters of the activity. In this instance I typed in walk. There was a walking the dog option so I did not have to enter any data in this section. I just chose how long the activity was and voila, calories burned were calculated into my daily regimen.

Journal

The Journal (figure 4) helps keep track of current weight. My dietician says to weigh once a week, at the same time to get a more accurate reading. It also has a memo area. This is helpful to remind you why you may or may have not have lost weight in this particular week. For instance, memo for last Saturday night went out drinking all night and had bar food. Thankfully my designated driver cut us off before too much damage was done.

Graphs

The graphs (figure 5) help the user keep a visual status on their current day or goals. It’s useful for following your progress with the graphing display from your current weight to your target weight. You can also see how you are progressing and where you should probably cut back no either sugars, carbs or fats.

Conclusion

After a week of use, I find this is helpful tool for tracking ones health. All of the data stored on the device can be emailed and converted to something your Dietician or Doctor can use. I did find I needed to input a lot of data myself. This will be more apparent if you cook your own meals and do not buy prepackaged food or fast food. The task is made easier with the desktop software and can be synchronized with your device. Another issue is restaurants that are local only and not a part of a chain, you will have to do your best guess at the nutritional values. One thing I was hoping to see in the exercise area was the ability to track exercise by GPS. This would give you the ability to start an activity have it keep track of your whereabouts and possibly post your mileage, speed and input the data automatically. Let’s hope this feature is added in the next version since most devices come with GPS.

To purchase Ascendo Fitness for BlackBerry, go here.
Price $29.95

JW Luce

  • http://www.VirtualFitnessCoach.com/ Gcayce23

    Wow! Really informative article (just wish I had a Blackberry!). Some more food for thought for those who are looking for the same online organization all in one place but don’t have a Blackberry is http://www.virtualfitnesscoach.com. A personal trainer keeps track of your daily caloric intake, gives you daily meal options and customizes daily workouts for your lifestyle and goals. It costs the same as a gym membership and call all be done from your home computer (or blackberry!). Thought that might help!

  • http://www.VirtualFitnessCoach.com/ Gcayce23

    Wow! Really informative article (just wish I had a Blackberry!). Some more food for thought for those who are looking for the same online organization all in one place but don’t have a Blackberry is http://www.virtualfitnesscoach.com. A personal trainer keeps track of your daily caloric intake, gives you daily meal options and customizes daily workouts for your lifestyle and goals. It costs the same as a gym membership and call all be done from your home computer (or blackberry!). Thought that might help!

  • http://www.VirtualFitnessCoach.com Gcayce23

    Wow! Really informative article (just wish I had a Blackberry!). Some more food for thought for those who are looking for the same online organization all in one place but don’t have a Blackberry is http://www.virtualfitnesscoach.com. A personal trainer keeps track of your daily caloric intake, gives you daily meal options and customizes daily workouts for your lifestyle and goals. It costs the same as a gym membership and call all be done from your home computer (or blackberry!). Thought that might help!

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  • DrFlinton

    Useful information.It is great that you managed to keep your weight at a reasonable point.Fitness is very good for our health and I guess everybody should find some time for fitness.

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