Growing up I was not always the slender and #fit girl you see today. This part of my childhood may be gone, but it is certainly never forgotten (especially if my grandmother has anything to do with it). At every holiday or family function my grandmother loves to tell the story of how she would always “lose Julia in the house”. The story begins with my grandmother suspicious that the house has suddenly gone silent (because It was obviously more likely that I was lost than I was just a quiet ad well-behaved kid). In order to find me she starts searching high and low meanwhile calling my name into every room. With no answer back and no body to be seen she begins to worry. All of a sudden she hears rummaging and crunching through a closed pantry door. It is at this point in the unveiling of what is behind the pantry door where my grandmother gets to say her favorite line: “It was either the Very Hungry Caterpillar or a very hungry Julia!” After the much-needed pause for laughter and a salute to our favorite children’s book, my very Italian grandmother ends the story by forcing pounds of pasta and pastries on any and every poor sucker that had to sit through that story.
Unlike my grandmother I did not find that story to be especially cute. Growing up I was often stuck between a state of wanting to lose weight, but also eating my weight in candy. In order to help me reach my goal, my mom tried signing me up for every (non-cut) sport she could. The funny thing about sports is that they are only good exercise if you play. Being the round un-athletic kid I was, I found my home on the sidelines of most games. Although my heart may have been racing, I surely was not.
After many tries (and failures) I decided to take matters into my own hands and download all the top fitness apps. I even swore off every video game (unless it was Wii fit). This personalization and focus on the individual really helped me lose that “baby weight”. I am always hearing about and reading online about how lazy technology makes us. I do not think this is true. I believe that blaming our sloth like behaviors on technology is a cop out. As of right now, when I go into my app store the third app on “Top Apps We Love” is a fitness app. This shows that people are using, and loving, the ability to control their own exercise through their phone.
The first reason why I think digitizing fitness is so useful is because it helps you keep track. There is no need to guess anymore. You can track everything from the food you consume to the calories you burn. One of the most popular fitness apps, is called MyFitness Pal. This app let’s you log everything you eat and drink. It also has the ability to link to the health app on your phone or even your fitbit. This allows the app to give you live updates on how much more you can or cannot eat throughout the day to reach your goal. The app also allows you to set short and long term goals, and rewards you when you achieve these goals. This allows for people to see progress that can often be missed and over looked.
Secondly, online fitness allows for friendly (and distant) competition. The main person you are competing against is always yourself, but sometimes it is fun to also compete against a friend. This is another source of motivation for app users. Speaking from experience, working out with someone who is more fit than you can be very intimidating. I have often run into the situation where I would rather not work out than be embarrassed in front of a friend. Fitness apps and online fitness regimens allow for you to share your data without sharing your form.
Finally, computerized fitness is beneficial because it offers a variety of workouts. You no longer have to spend money on numerous different memberships to find out what you like. With the touch of a button you can try almost anything. The best part about all of this is that it usually comes at a small price! The excuse: “gym memberships are too expensive” is no longer valid. A lot of apps will even provide you with your own personal digital fitness instructor. This “instructor” will collect data from what you have showed interest in or activities you have participated in the most and cater suggestions based on that. With digitized fitness you are no longer constrained to the times, supplies, and classes of your local gym.
In conclusion, you get out what you put in. Technology has given us the ability to sit around and stalk or exes all day, but it has also given us the ability to get up and get fit!