All of my newsletters are posted here, so if you ever need to go back and check out old issues, they’re here for you.
(Note: this is posting two weeks late – life happened)
There have been a couple hiccups with Apple Watch. I have been using Record by Under Armour for my workouts. I love the look of the app and I think the kinks will work themselves out but twice last week the workout paused while using the app. The first time I was doing TRX and Kettlebells and as I was checking the heart rate it showed the start screen. GRRRRR. Lost that workout data. Then yesterday I was on a long run with Katie around the golf course here in Oregon. Excited about the GPS and heart rate data (I'm using a Polar H7), in the last mile a quick glance after reaching the top of a hill showed me the start screen again. Not cool. I learned from the last glitch to not start a new workout because that would certainly eliminate all data. Plus what would I gain? One mile data after running 7.5? No thanks. So I just let the watch run and thankfully after getting home and in the middle of my cool down and stretching, the app showed my workout still tracking. So the data was there, I just needed to adjust the end time and then the estimated calories burned and distance traveled – no big deal but certainly a problem that I shouldn't have to deal with. I'm thinking it's a quick-start app timer on one of the watch faces that I think is overriding the Record app and messing up my display.
I am still loving the Breathe app. I'm talking to clients about it because of the mindfulness aspect of wellness. I am tracking my workouts and activity but I'm working on setting better goals for the three components: activity, exercise and stand. And lastly I've noticed many more people around the club and around town wearing Apple Watch. Part of the reason, I'm sure, is because Target just offered $70 off Apple Watch series 1. In fact I have a new client who took advantage of that deal. So that makes it essential that I keep learning the platform and figure out how work through these hurdles and leverage this tool to help people get healthier with Apple Watch.
What Happens to your weight loss when you do the same workout every day?: I was just asking to a client about the importance of changing up her workout routine this week. The body adapts – we need to constantly build and then change the stress to produce positive change.
The Ultimate Guide for tracking your Cycling Heart Rate: Heart rate training will be the side-by-side with fitness trackers as my most used training equipment in 2017
How Exercise Makes You Better at Your Job: Oh. My. Gosh. Every word of this article.
Racket Sports and Cardiac Death: The story ends well if you're playing tennis and racquetball.
One of the most memorable Christmas presents I ever received was a single company share (stock) of Nike. From age 12-18 and had become a fanboy of the athletic brand. Michael Jordan was in his prime, Bo Knows Bo was a thing, and all I wanted to do was Just Do It. I felt a part of the company. I had ownership. And it didn't hurt that the stock split twice. Of course with four shares, I wasn't inspired by the money; I wanted to be part of the story.
The brand took a big hit when it was revealed that it was making products in sweatshops. To be honest, that tarnish of the company lasted a long time for me. Big brands soon became less of a big deal to me (poor college student) and I never regained my passion for the company.
Nike has been making quite the comeback. Their recent partnership with Apple on the Apple Watch specifically caught my attention. I was reminded how groundbreaking the company was with athletic gear and how it has evolved (as all companies must) to provide software apps and a relevant message in the 21st century. Nike established the Nike+ Run Club and almost overnight I found a script where I wanted to play a leading role.
I love the idea of a running club. I've never been in one but the week we moved to Oregon, we were at the Firefly and learned that there is a running club that meets every Saturday morning. Life with three young kids does not make that time work the greatest for us right now, but this spring might be a different story. In my line of work I'm always looking for ways for people to take their health to the next level. I work at a fitness club, I believe there is a lot of value (equipment, community and experts) at a fitness club. But the idea of a "grassroots" running club at the local coffee shop is pretty cool also! Anyway, there's the local running club and there's the digital running club – and you know me, digital is always pretty cool to me.
I'm not sure we need another social network. I know that face-to-face interaction is both essential and at the same time taking a hit in our digital society. Still we need to leverage technology and find ways to connect with more people with said technology especially if it benefits our health. And that is my motivation: a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. Sure, a guy like me often gets competitive but it doesn't always have to be like that. Running is about being in community. Each runner is as different as the next. One of the main features of the Nike+ Running Club is the prompt to run on Sunday. I love this! And each week I've had Apple Watch Nike+ I've participated in the Sunday run.
Nike was the original athletic company. They had a significant fall from grace and they've rebuilt their brand. Nike is continuing to tell the story of health and fitness and is finding new ways to get you and me involved in the story. I'll end with one of my favorite fitness stories. Nike asked Casey Neistat to help launch their Nike Fuel band. Well the Fuel Band ended up being a flop but hey, this video is still pretty awesome. (Sorry for the thumbnail – it’s not all about girls in bikinis).
The purpose of this newsletter is to be a resource of articles for people interested in leading a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. My reading material focuses on health and wellness with occasional instances of personal productivity, discipline, and habits.
3 Treads worth tapping into – Harvard Health
I love these three but my mindfulness has been achieved listening to my Apple Watch and the Breathe app rather than Buddhist practices.
Tabata, HIIT, and yoga? Yes please!
The question I try to address each week with clients struggling with exercise adherence.
Easy for the morning guy (myself) to say. Morning routines – always worth considering. Could this be a training area for you in 2017?
From the blog:
One week with Apple Watch Nike+ TL;DR this device is fantastic
Love This Book: the vlog (first four episodes)
Two weeks ago a gracious client let me borrow his Apple Watch series 1 (since he had upgraded to series 2). It was a nice introduction to the platform since work had purchased a series 2 for me but it wasn’t arriving for a couple weeks.
I now have a full week under my belt with Series 2 Nike+ version and I’m loving this product. The general consensus among the Apple and tech community is that Apple “doubled-down on fitness” with this model. It boasts waterproof specs and has built-in GPS. Plus my Nike+ model has the Nike running app that I haven’t tried yet but I’m eager to jump into that community.
The Apple effect
For those of us in the Apple ecosystem, the Watch has been the best addition to the collection since iPad. From opening the box to setting up the device (more of a treat than I was expecting) to getting the first meaningful notifications, the Apple experience doesn’t disappoint. The screen is gorgeous. The navigation is perfect. And like the iPad, it’s allowed me to distance myself from my iPhone. At first I couldn’t believe how cumbersome the strap worked – tucking the band underneath itself seems as un-Apple as I’ve ever seen. But after a couple days it has grown on me. Regarding the form factor, I’m not a watch-guy so maybe my standards are different. But when I think of how it looks in relation to what it can do and the purpose it has in my (health and wellness focused) life, I couldn’t be more happy with this Apple product on my wrist.
Better tech for less tech
Many friends and family know me as a tech-centric person. I know the apps, the workflows, the tricks, the devices; I have a pretty good lay of the land. What people probably don’t know is that I view my technology like a world traveler views their luggage: with experience, less is more. People who passionately travel are often trying to make a trip with the smallest bag and the least “stuff” that they can. Less is more. Simple trumps complex. I absolutely love my iPhone (a 128gb computer in my pocket!). But my iPad gave me a device that was an extension of my phone while at the same time it was a work machine that allowed me to access messages and emails only when it was good for me. Apple Watch has taken this to a new level. It is not efficient to look at email on the Watch. It is not efficient to text people from the Watch. Reading the news should not happen on the Watch. But I’m learning how to lock down VIP settings so that only important notifications get through. And even throughout this process, I wasn’t expecting how easy it would be to see a message and not respond because it isn’t efficient on the device. It allows me to get more work done. Distractions derail me. Apple Watch has allowed me to keep control of my efficient work time yet still triage things that are being delivered to my desk.
Ultimate fitness device
In my first week with Apple Watch, my favorite app has been Breathe. This native application couldn’t be more simple: press ‘start’ and pay attention to your breathing for one minute. Slow down, Hans. That’s the point of Breathe: meditation, relaxation, margin, pause, be still. Will I continue to listen to my Watch when it tells me to stop and breathe? I certainly hope so. Interesting story: a Twitter friend said he had just read an infuriating political story (imagine that) and the next moment Apple Watch told him to Breathe. Kinda cool! Just today, something happened at the house that got my blood boiling and as I retreated to the couch to get away, buzz buzz buzz Apple Watch told me to Breathe. Does it sense the quick spike in heart rate? Not sure, don’t really care. All that matters to me is that I have tools, including a coach, in place helping me pursue wellness throughout my day.
As an exercise specialist, the main reason I bought Apple Watch was for the fitness features. It has built in GPS and it’s waterproof. I’m learning how to leverage Health.app as the main hub for my wellness. I’ve given all the fitness apps permission to write to Health.app so that it’s all in one place. While a dedicated triathlon watch may offer more tri-specific features, I believe it could be done with Apple Watch and for most people, Apple Watch is the perfect fitness device. Now it’s not for everyone, but for all my iPhone friends, if they wanted a fitness tracker I would certainly point them to Apple Watch. Which brings me to my last point.
Just another tool
As much as I love my Apple Watch, it’s just a tool. It’s my job to use the different running and fitness apps. It’s up to me to listen when it tells me to Breathe (that’s the name of the app and why I capitalized). It will send me as many or as few notifications as I allow it – so I must master the platform. But it’s a blast to use and I see it as my primary health and wellness device. Moving forward, I think about tools like this for my industry. How can we use tools like this to help people get healthier? Can we build apps that are easier to use? Improve communication between clients and trainers, patients and medical staff? Can we use technology so efficiently that it actually gets out of the way so we can live healthier and more disciplined lives? That is my goal.
Email is obviously essential to our communication and this success in our digital age. Email is great for sending and receiving information but not so great to organize tasks. I have learned to process my email to Inbox Zero as often as possible and get the important information out to a dedicated task management system. Challenge your thinking and strategy to handle email.
Let’s go way back, shall we? I’m a senior at Pewaukee High School. I’m getting ready to go to college and so I’m spending more time on the computers doing bigger writing projects. My friends who are already in college are telling me it’s all about writing papers. In the high school library things are changing. They’re expanding the computer lab, computers are increasingly using a mouse (connected by a wire of course – 1995 people!), and for the first time we have an opportunity to sign up for electronic mail. I think it is safe to say I was the first one in my class to have an e-mail address – very cool! Except that I’m the first and the only so I have no one to write! If only there was a sad-face emoji in 1995…
The next year as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin I was required to have and use my University-issued email address. It was a confusing time because I was on the verge of being “cutting edge” at my high school and now I’m one of 20,000 other freshmen with an email address I was expected to use daily to communicate with classmates, advisors, and professors. And ever since that first semester as a Badger I’ve been expected to communicate personally and professionally over electronic mail.
Fast-forward twenty years (gulp). I cannot imagine a world without email. I know you’re in the same boat, but where our journeys may differ is that I’ve come to peace with my email inbox. In fact it’s not an exaggeration to say that I actually enjoy email. I can make this claim because over the years I have developed a system to process email (HT Inbox Zero by Merlin Mann).
I’m going to start at the end, meaning where I currently sit with email. I have tried all kinds of apps and different practices to handle the digital communication that is email.
I can’t imagine running a business without email. At the same time most of us are sick of email, buried in email, and probably don’t “do” email well. We all know that it is one of if not the primary mode of communication in business. For us to succeed, we better figure out how to be an email power-user if we are going to keep good relationships with our clients. We need to quickly and efficiently follow up on leads, adjust workouts, schedule sessions, and check with clients at week’s end.
On iOS most users will default to the built-in Mail.app. To be fair, Apple is continually updating the features in Mail but I still believe it lacks the power and efficiency for a professional with my needs; namely, it doesn’t have a share sheet. The share sheet allows you to send parts or all of an email to other apps. For me, this means saving files (attachments) to Dropbox or Google Drive, adding an email to my task management system, or creating a PDF from an email. If you’re asking yourself “why would I have to do these things?” you’re probably not alone. Let me explain.
I use email to communicate (i.e. exchange and share information); I do not use it as a task management system. There’s a difference. We all get emails that require us to do something. When you get these, do you organize it in your mail app? Do you print it off so you can do it later? Do you flag it or put it in a folder? For me this doesn’t work. I use a dedicated task management app (2Do) when I have specific things to do. That means I need to get things out of email and into 2Do. If it’s not a specific task, I need to copy text into the appropriate project file – anything to get it out of email.
I use Airmail on iOS because it offers the easiest way for me to send a task to 2Do (my task management app of choice) and to Snooze an email so it comes back to me at just the right time and so that I don’t forget it. If those two reasons seem small or insignificant to you, then examine how you use email. Maybe Mail and copy/paste is good enough for you. Maybe you use email (tags, labels, folders) to keep your tasks and reminders organized. Let me be clear: do whatever works for you. But in my experience, email is for communicating with people and getting information. A dedicated task manager is for getting stuff done. I don’t want to have to retrieve information in my email system because inevitably when I’m looking something up I’ll either see another message that needs attention or some new message will come in and distract me from the task at hand.
How do you process email? Have you ever thought about it? Do you think your system could be more efficient?
If you’re looking for more details about Airmail, read Federico Viticci’s review on Macstories.
The first thing I recommend to take your business to the next level is buy an iPad. I am not trying to get anyone to switch phones or carries, but a tool that fulfills end-to-end aspects of an allied health business like personal training or sport-specific coaching is going to certainly up your game. That tool is an iPad.
I work with some old-school trainers. They keep all of their workouts, contracts, and notes in a three-ring binder. Fine, if it works for you than run with it. Not me. And probably not you. That’s why you’re here. Why would you use written notes and eliminate the ability to copy and paste? Why would you not have the ability to email or text message a workout to a client? Why would you have files and notes that couldn’t be searched on a computer, tablet or phone? Don’t get me wrong, I love my analog notebook. But as a professional tool, everything that can be digital should be digital. And the single best digital tool for this is an iPad.
You might be thinking that an iPad is a toy or a luxury. Certainly it can be those things. But for me the iPad is my primary device. In fact there are entire communities built around iOS-only computing. I communicate with all of my clients using email or iMessage. I schedule everyone on my Google calendar. I create every exercise program in Numbers. And I use Interval Timer 70-80% of the time during my training sessions. You can’t do this on a computer and you don’t have the screen space to efficiently do this on an iPhone (even a “plus” size model). My services are conducted from end-to-end on an iPad: from the moment I meet a client, conduct their medical history, design and implement their program, and follow up on how their workout week is going, working on an iPad is one of those things where when you start you will never go back.
This new project of mine, Tech Trainer, exists to help personal trainers, athletic coaches, and other allied health professionals completely run their business on iOS. I believe it is very important to always ask “what is the best tool for the job” and then to maximize your workflows to consistently deliver the best service possible. For me, the iPad has allowed me to do all of that and more.
Get yourself an iPad. There are pros/cons of the different models, but don’t spend too much time here. If you were going to start on the cheap, pick up what I’m using – an iPad Mini 2 for $269. The latest iPad Mini 4 is just $399. That is my minimalist approach. If you want “full size” the iPad Pro starts at $599 and supports Apple Pencil and is very fast. For a completely digital experience and all the best apps available, the iPad is an essential tool in my professional life.
I’m working on a new project called Tech Trainer. It is a writing project that focuses on using technology in the allied health fields. As a personal trainer I have leveraged a lot of technology (both workflows and apps) to be productive and efficient with my work and it’s time to open the conversation.
The following was written to be a stand-alone domain but until I get at aspect figured out I decided to publish it here on my personal blog.
Why Tech Trainer?
I absolutely love what I do and I’m guessing you’re an exercise professional who feels the same. We are the lucky ones, doing what we love and getting paid for it. But it is hard work. Put more fully, we all could do our job a little better, a little more effiiciently. In our digital world, how do we leverage all the technology that year year is getting better and cheaper? That is why I started Tech Trainer. Because I have spent my career bringing my expertise in exericse together with my passion for cutting edge technology.
Time is money. As a personal trainer I work on commission. Any time that I spend working on clients’ programs, communicating and/or scheduling with clients, or developing a new class or small group is time that I’m not getting paid for. So I need to be using the best tools so that I can be both fast and efficient. While much of this can be copy and paste, automation on iOS has evolved to be faster and more powerful. There are better apps for the job and as a cutting edge tech guy, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how these apps work and how a personal trainer can leverage them to be fast and professional.
I don’t expect readers to adopt all of my advice. But Tech Trainer is a forum where we can establish best practices and share other tricks of our trade. My goal is to help any trainer who wants to be more efficient with their business learn the tools here, practice them and then report back what is working and how we can take the industry to the next level.
Tech Trainer is based on iOS and macOS. I’ve never used an Android phone or tablet for this work. I’ve used an Android phone at a previous job and it had a couple advantages: Google voice-to-text was fantastic and the Swipe keyboard was awesome. But my personal phone has been an iPhone for seven years and I’ve had an iPad for six. I had the first generation iPad because I could see the vision: iPad was the future of mobile computing. The apps weren’t there yet, the operating system was a sub-par, but I trusted Apple – I always have and probably always will.
This project is about using iOS because I believe it is a superior operating system with superior apps. The community around iOS is fantastic. I follow some great developers on Twitter and read expert blogs on the iOS platform. Let’s not create a Android/iOS war here. I’m just drawing lines in the sand – we are going to share how iOS and macOS can make us better professionals.
Running a business means wearing many different hats. I image this blog will evolve into a review of apps, sharing of workflows, and even marketing ideas that will resonate with the community. I got into the health care field because I want to make people’s lives better and live longer and stronger. Part of the way I do that is equipping the trainers that are doing the same thing for their clients. This is Tech Trainer.
I’m putting together a seminar for work next week. It’s called FT2 (Fitness Tracker 2.o). The premise is that many people have fitness trackers like FitBit and Apple Watch but (1) they aren’t using all of the data available and (2) they aren’t getting the results they want. For the last year I have been taking a small group though an intensive Fitness Tracker class where we analyze their workouts, customize new workouts, implement those workouts each week. I’ve learned a lot about these fitness trackers, especially FitBit and I want to help others leverage this amazing technology.
I am looking forward to the opportunity to teach again – I coach clients all week but this is a different scene. One of the challenges of a seminar like this is that attendees can come to it from all sorts of different places. Some have used the trackers for years, others are just getting started, and still others are newly in the market and they’ll ask “what should I buy and will you set me up?” What an opportunity! With all that I’ve learned this year, I’m honored to play a role in each attendee’s pursuit of their health. After all, it’s about building a relationship, not necessarily teaching content as a one-time info session.