Investment in technology: fitness gadgets

Technology has truly advanced what is possible with monitoring fitness and prescribing results. New gadgets come out every year that help us work out better, longer, stronger, and more consistently. I would like to argue that these gadgets are one step above the online workout but one step below going to the gym. Here’s why:


Only slightly more than a month of gym membership, these gadgets will last long after your willpower does. Although, with price ranges from $50 to $250, maybe you will be a little more invested in getting your bang for your buck. Which is pretty much a guarantee if you follow the prescribed workout plan, because these babies are…

Yes——-Expert Certified

The people who make gadgets are experts in their field. These people work to get anyone and everyone with a little drive and motivation the result you want. They know the science and have perfected the workouts. All you have to do is be consistent and motivated….

Yes/No——-Motivation and Consistency

Besides the initial investment, these gadgets do not hold the user to their word. It is up to them to turn on the gadget, and ultimately up them to remain consistent. This can be a difficult task if you feel alone with no real sense of…


A lack of community is a lack of driving force for a person. The bonds made in a group class like yoga or CrossFit are powerful. The real life team environment can’t be beat because it holds you accountable. And accountability is what will keep you coming back.

I recommend pairing these gadgets with a typical gym membership, or at very least a partner who has the same device and will follow along the program with you.

Here are a few of the top gadgets to try out for this year.

Some of the gadgets are specific to one style of fitness like biking or running. A few of the gadgets apply to every athlete. These gadgets involve a ‘certified personal trainer’ to help guide users along their workouts and to their goal fitness levels.

The most positive thing about these gadgets is their popularity. Over half of gym users also have a gadget like the ones linked above, according to the Department on Health and Exercise Science. There is no complete substitute for the gym of course, but owning one of these gizmos may be your next step towards achieving your fitness goals and realizing your potential.



This is a photo of tennis shoes.

Why pay for the gym when you have a computer?

Ever since the invention of the internet, we have been graced with a bottomless bounty of information right at the tips of our fingers or click of a mouse. While cat videos make up most of the internet today (I’m not making this up), there are a few gems that I would argue have revolutionized the fitness industry.

One is an endless supply of workouts anyone can access for free.

This is a photo of the YouTube logo.

YouTube has free workouts online. Photo courtesy of

On YouTube, the fitness craze has taken the turn of fitness channels. On some, people give their advice on nutrition. On others, people give a drawn out explanation of what their “secrets to success” are.

But YouTube is more than just a place to reflect on working out. It can be a place to actually just watch workouts designed for any space, which is usually the viewers home (just make sure you don’t trip over your cat).

A YouTube video can be posted by anyone, and most times the person making the video has had no proper fitness training on movement. So how is it possible for anyone to follow a workout that may be poorly guided? Well, with YouTube there is less unpredictability than you would think.

There are three things that lend to a channel’s credibility;

  1. Video views and likes. If the video is popular, and what’s more if a large percentage of people like said video, it is probably going to be quality (or at least get you to sweat a lot).
  2. Video comments. If the comments are supportive of the workout, the workout becomes more legitimate by popular opinion. If the comments are mostly negative- or worse, if they say the person is doing the wrong form- then consider clicking away to another channel.
  3. Channel subscribers.  Sometimes a video can be unrepresentative of the channel’s overall credibility. Before you hit “subscribe,” check the statistics of that channel’s subscribers. Or better, look at another couple of videos before deciding to get attached to that host.

Check out the top 10 best workout channels of 2015 here.

So these workouts are free, they’re basically credible, and I can do them without getting in my car and going to the gym? From this you might think online fitness channels are running gyms out of business, surely. Well… they’re not, and don’t call me surely.

While YouTube is an awesome tool for accessing workouts, it is easy to get distracted or unmotivated when spending time on the internet. Also, the user has nothing invested in participating regularly. There is no one holding them accountable for doing the workouts, not even their bank. And while you are a part of the thousands of people doing that workout, there is no sense of obligation to that community. No one cares if you show up and no one notices when you leave the page. And finally, as you sit trying to decide which video to workout to, you may decide that a Breaking Bad binge is a better way to spend your time. When you go to the gym it removes you from your environment and obligates you to be doing something, even if it’s not the best workout of your life.


Technology and fitness: the weird divide

Photo credit to

Photo credit to

The idea of fitness training has been around since the Romans trained for their Olympics. Well made things never go out of style, which is why these events and the fitness training leading up to them are still here today. The dedication of the athletes enrapture the audience as they push the boundaries of what is humanly possible.

My point is that it’s unlikely that the Olympics- and Olympic training- will ever not be an icon for fitness.

Over the years we have developed more efficient and better ways to make our fittest fitter and get the regular Joe some access to that same equipment. This is where the commercial gym comes in.

Yet in today’s world of technology, all gadgets point to more efficient and effective workouts. And yet I blame technology for the public’s disenchantment with our beloved commercial gyms.

Because what used to be a staple for common fitness is seeing a troubling trend.

Figures say that 80% of members who signed up for a commercial gym membership in January dropped out in February. Why is there high sign up rates but higher turnover? Do this trend point to the idea that the commercial gym is just another fad?

The commercial gym experience is no longer engaging. Ever since technology has been introduced, machines are more clever. You just put in your weight and target heart rate and bam! A personalized workout is up and ready to go. There’s not a lot of brain work happening there, and if you’re not careful you will become a hamster.

Photo credit to

Photo credit to 

Always using the same machines on the same settings, and getting the same results.

Maybe this is the reason for the high turnover, maybe technology is giving gym goers an excuse not to form relationships, and that impersonal and uncomfortable feeling has more gym goers throwing in the towel.

But there are a few institutions which are thriving today. One is another type of gym which is more personal. This ’boutique’ gym usually enforces relationships between it’s members, causing community and an actual interest and intrinsic dedication to working out there.

One of those institutions is CrossFit, which I have spent a lot of time detailing in my blog.

Another interesting trend that has risen with technology is the idea of the at-home workout. What used to be your mom’s “Richard Simmons: 80’s Blast Off” workout DVD’s are now modernized.

On the internet there are endless follow along workouts you can do just by sliding off your couch. These workouts are designed for little to no equipment, and the internet brings a bottomless supply of them.

Since this blog is about CrossFit, more specifically why would you pay $50-$200 for a membership when there are free WOD’s online?

So why pay for a gym membership of any kind when there are free and easily accessible ones online?

Here’s why I think the gym will never truly fade away;

  1. Getting out of your relaxation space (living room or bedroom) puts your mind in a more active place. When you slide off the couch to do a workout there is always a possibility you will slide back on.
  2. There is a commitment to attend when you invest money into something. To prove yourself, you will end up going to the gym a few times at least, and a few is better than none.
  3. There is no attachment in some gyms, yes, but the internet (unless you have a personal trainer chatting with you) is VERY impersonal. It’s all on you. How hard you push yourself, if you keep going, and if you’re consistent with it.


Is ’boutique’ fitness the new future of commercial gyms?

Going to a commercial gym nowadays is just as much fun as watching paint dry. Unemotional, and uninvolved.

Now I’m not saying that people who go to the gym are not passionate about getting fit and emotionally invested. I mean, they bought a gym membership, so they’re obviously invested.

What I’m saying is that the social environment provided at the gym is as about as fun as a slap in the face with a dead fish. (OK, enough with the simalies.)

There must be a reason why the percentage of people using their commercial gyms membership is lower than ever. And while CrossFit may have some controversy surrounding its member’s love and almost devout following of the exercise program, what it does have is people excited about fitness.

There are a few ways CrossFit is different than a traditional gym;

No flat screen TV’s or iPod docks.

I think one of the main problems with commercial gyms is while you are in a room full of other people, if they are plugged into their iPod they might as well be working out alone. Those social interactions- the flirtation with the cute girl in spandex or the muscled out guy- are what motivates some people to come back.

The “box” that houses CrossFit is almost intimidating in its simplicity. It’s back to basics, and there’s not a hamster elliptical or stair stepper in sight. Everything is propelled by hand, and there is a kinship that forms when you know everyone is there in that moment and living for that workout. It can have the affect of pushing you harder, and that means faster results and more devotion to the gym.

Solitary versus group workouts

Besides the fancy equipment, commercial gyms don’t have a lot to offer. You get ready and work out with a group of strangers who are either not paying attention to you or judging you based on your looks. Eesh, not the best environment for inspiring self-growth.

And what happens when people feel comfortable? They stick with what they know.

They start relying on the machines they like best, and get into a rut of doing one kind of workout. The body and soul benefits from constant new challenges.

The boutique gym takes that model and flips it. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to be forced to do team workouts. Although it can be an uncomfortable notion, the CrossFit’s model of group fitness is very deliberate and very different from any fitness on the market, besides joining a sport. People care if you don’t show up for a workout, and you are greeted by name as you walk in the door.

Relationships are formed, and while that can sometimes have negative implications (avoiding the gym because you dread the ‘where have you been?’ questions when you return), for the most part those connections create a stronger allegiance to the building and the experience of working out.

So the new ’boutique’ fitness clubs may have a set of rules that make us uncomfortable, but I think jumping off of that cliff and grabbing the vine is better than doing the same things day in and day out and getting more frustrated when you get the same results.

Whatever it means for you, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone (and into a brand new level of fitness).

Stay motivated,


Workout selfies or “welfies” bad in large doses

The newest (and hottest) craze since social media began is fitness posts.

Anything from complete workouts, move dissection, and fitness tips can be accessed through the internet. Many fitness gurus now reach out through social media, riding fitness trends through the free source of the inter webs.

Unfortunately, these social media sites harbor another use: the post workout selfie.

What is called the “welfie” or “workout selfie” is now all over the internet. People tracking the physical manifestations of all their hard work, usually with little clothing, have taken over social media sites. And for good reason: who wouldn’t want to look at beautiful people post-gym?

While these photos get a lot of attention, for the female fitness population, these welfies are befitting no one.

For whatever reason, females are predisposed to negatively compare themselves to other females.

As a female myself, I know from experience that there are three states of mind I am in when browsing welfies. Here’s a peak into what is goes on inside my head;


Stage One: Tough Love11351883193_0a3cd1c776_o

Let’s see, it’s been four days since I started working out. So another week and I’ll have my summer bod?

No, this isn’t a temporary fix, it’s a lifestyle choice!

I will look like these girls. What one woman can do, another can do, right? Time to go to the gym.

Stage Two: I will never be as happy and pretty as she11351835634_116b591776_o

Listen to the message, you need to start going to the gym now. No, now!

Wow, look at her muscle definition. I wonder if I can get my muscles to do that… nope, not yet.

Yes, listen to the motivation. Now put down the phone. No, don’t keep scrolling! Ooooh…

Stage 3: You fat cow

I’m not going to list my thoughts for this stage, because they are ugly. The heading should give you an idea, though.

This stage happens after I’ve spent far too long looking at people happier and healthier than me. I’ve gone through the stages of motivation and pressure to go work out, and I am spent. I sit on the couch, usually cradling my favorite comfort foods.

What I don’t like about welfies is the negative feelings females tie to fitness when they get to stage three. If this is what trying and fitness is like, why would they want to go back to the gym- back into that toxic environment? Tough love can only go so far.

So welfies can be inspirational, I think, but only in small doses. If you inundate yourself with pictures of model-type fitter females than you, eventually you will get those feelings of hopelessness. And ultimately this leads to negative self-talk and self degradation.

Through social media sites welfies are too abundant and too easy to obsess over. When a female looks at these sites on their cell phone, it can add fuel to the fire, sort of a “look where I could be” feeling. But as it goes with the internet, too much of a stimulus can become overwhelming.

My best advice is to know yourself, and know your stages.

Because the issue is not the welfies, but the state of mind you are in when you look at them.

So go ahead and look at them, but also know when to move on (hopefully to your sneakers).

Take care,


The CrossFit Controversy

It seems to me that when you talk about a topic like CrossFit, people either really love it or really hate it.

And why is that? Besides being a generally hard training program, why are people so adamant to never try it? Why is there almost a fear that surfaces from people who are new to it? I looked up some of the main controversial points nay-sayers have against CrossFit.

The CrossFit Ego

This is a quote from a Training for Something Greater blogpost;

“Sometimes I wonder how fast CrossFit would be growing if so many CrossFitters weren’t such jerks about how CrossFit is the only way to pursue elite fitness.”

What Wade is saying is that not only are these egos annoying, they are the main reason why the training program is so popular, not the results. That without the devoted harem of followers, it wouldn’t be so popular.

I have to agree with this. CrossFit really is a cultural phenomena that- like leggings and Netflix- has spread like wildfire. And CrossFit is a new way to train, but is it the end-all holy grail of training? I don’t believe any training program can amount to that.

In his post Wade comments on the negative and annoying side of the harem people: this idea that CrossFit is the only way to “really” get in shape. Popular t-shirts for sale have demeaning slogans like “Your workout is my warm up” and “The girls at my gym can beat the guys at yours”. He argues that this arrogance and exclusivity is one of the main turn-offs for people who haven’t tried it.

These are our mascot? Uncle Rhabado

This is not the uncle you want your friends to meet.

Uncle Rhabado is the unofficial mascot for CrossFit. He is a clown who has worked himself to a hospital bed. CrossFitters are supposed to glorify the model of exercising until you are sick.

This type of blatant advertising reminds me of the Heart Attack Grill based in Las Vegas, NV. This grill boasts of their fatty menu sending customers to the hospital with a heart attack, and the waiters even wear medical garb to serve their customers grease and calorie-soaked hamburgers.

Maybe the CrossFit coaches should start having athletes push dialysis machines across the floor.

I do believe it is possible to get unhealthily obsessed with something, but if the whole model of a business is built on that, maybe it shouldn’t be a business at all. Whether giving patient smocks to burger customers or mascotting a disease gained from too much exercise, it is wrong to glorify pain and suffering real people face because of these conditions.

But I guess when you are talking about a fitness program that pushes people to their extremes and is not for any specific purpose… it’s easy to see where some eyebrows get raised.

But how about you? Let me know in the comments below what you think of CrossFit. Do you like it? Why? Do you dislike it? Is it for the same reasons I listed above?


7 days of CrossFit WODs

Seven days of CrossFit WODs (a.k.a. Workouts Of the Day)

I’m surprised that besides the workouts the main CrossFit site posts daily, not too many blogs have posted a point-blank list of what a week of CrossFit workouts look like.

I think especially for people looking to join CrossFit, this seven day list gives a peek into the variety and style of movements typical to CrossFit.

A few disclaimers for understanding the WODs:

  • If you don’t know what an exercise is, click on it for step-by-step instructions
  • Weights are specific for me, so feel free to scale the weight up or down to meet your preferred level of difficulty.

And here they are!

DAY 1- Killin’ it                                                   

 Exercise  # of Repetitions  Weight (lbs)
 Warm Up:



Bar (35 lbs)

 WOD (3 rounds):  150 single jumps


25 lbs

DAY 2- “Chelsea”                 

 Exercise  # of Repetitions  Weight (lbs)
 Warm Up:


 WOD (30 rounds- yes, I typed that right! 30 min, start on the minute.):  5

5-10                            10-15

DAY 3- Calm and Focused      

 Exercise  # of Repetitions  Weight (lbs)
 Warm Up:
  •  5 min. jumping rope
 WOD (1 min. on, 1 min rest per exercise):  20 lbs

DAY 4- This is how we do it  

 Exercise  # of Repetitions  Weight (lbs)
 Warm Up:
 WOD (Rest 2-3 min. between sets):

*Then 3 rounds of the following:


10                               10                                6                                6                                4                                2

15                              25

75 lbs-55% of max 95 lbs-65% of max 105 lbs-75% of max 115 lbs- 80% ofmax  120 lbs-85% ofmax  125 lbs-90% of max

20 lbs

DAY 5- Give me everything      

 Exercise  # of Repetitions  Weight (lbs)
 Warm Up:
  • 5 min. jump rope
 WOD(each round is 4 min.):

Bonus! Abs:

       Round 1: 

Round 3:

Round 4:

3 min. plank (each time you fall out of it, 10 sit ups)

AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible)      10                              10

5                                5

90 single jumps          10

20 lbs.

DAY 6- Steady as she goes

 Exercise  # of Repetitions  Weight (lbs)
 Warm Up:


35-45 lbs (weight of bar)

 WOD [AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) in 10 min]:  10                              10                              10                                    20 lbs.                        15 lbs.

DAY 7- FOCUS                

 Exercise  # of Repetitions  Weight (lbs)
 Warm Up:
  •  500 m. row
  • 100 m. walking lunges
 WOD: 3 Rounds not for time:

4 Rounds of:

10-15                          10-15                          30-40


3                                2 (One per leg)

I would love to respond to questions; please leave a comment below!