Imagine drinking for five to seven days straight, no exercise, drinking less water than usual, and eating whatever was available. It was a recipe for disaster — for my body, that is. Back in 2019, I spent a week being sick. I was severely dehydrated that I needed to pump in gallons of Pocari Sweat and Gatorade.
That stressful experience led me to take care of myself seriously. Before and at the start of 2020, I made an effort to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. I enrolled in a gym, started cooking healthy meals, and packed lunch for work instead of eating at fast-food restaurants.
Finding the right companion
But the pandemic struck, and my plans were derailed. My hopes of having a healthy and fit body were slightly crushed. I found myself switching smart bands — Samsung Galaxy Fit E, Honor Band 5, and Garmin’s Forerunner 235 — while trying to follow a workout and meal plan.
Of course, it wasn’t a smooth ride. There are days where I got sick due to stress caused by the pandemic, burning out from work, and a whole lot of other things. My desire to get healthier intensified.
When the Fitbit Charge 4 arrived, I had second thoughts about whether a tracker can undeniably help me achieve my goals. I used the Fitbit Charge 3 before and nothing happened. It was such a gag, trying my best to be healthy and fit, and I only lasted for three weeks.
Yet this time around, I had the Charge 4 for two months and I could say I had a great time using it. Unlike before, I was able to continuously develop my body and follow my workout plan.
Pairing it with phone and colors
Having a tracker was the last thing I considered before starting my journey. At first, I bought a water bottle, quick-dry towel and gym clothes, and wireless earbuds so those gym activities won’t be boring.
Moving to home workouts during the quarantine didn’t make any changes to my usual equipment, except now I have extra dumbbells, a yoga mat, mini bands, and a resistance band.
When I got the Charge 4, I paired it quickly with my phones. Back then, I had a hard time pairing it with my Samsung Galaxy S20, but it was easy when paired with my Huawei Mate 20 Pro — which I used with previous Fitbit wearables.
Thankfully, it didn’t come in a striking hue. The band’s color is named Storm Blue, reminiscent of Prussian Blue or Parisian Blue, if you’re into fine arts — a color prominently seen in the Hokusai’s famous artwork The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
The material used for the band is comfortable and water-resistant, I had no problems wearing it in the shower or while sweating during my exercises.
Like a fitness BFF
This smart tracker wasn’t the sole reason I’m starting to get healthier and fitter now. It was discipline and commitment that got me through — something I lacked last year.
Relying on a wearable — smart tracker, smart band, or a smartwatch — won’t get you anywhere in reaching your fitness goals. It’s not their job to make you healthy and fit, only guide you through it.
But to say the Charge 4 didn’t help in reaching my fitness goals is unfair. While determination, dedication, and motivation are necessary ingredients, having a wearable can help you pull yourself together.
Its effects were like having a best friend reminding you of your goals; that’s just how it feels wearing its weight around my wrists. It doesn’t snap at you for not being able to follow through your goals, it simply nudges you to try to do your best.
The right workout
If you’re a Fitbit user, you’d know the magic isn’t at its trackers or smartwatches. It’s the smooth connection between your devices, the Fitbit app, and Fitbit Premium.
ICYDK, Fitbit Premium is filled with guided programs, health and fitness content from partner brands, and fitness challenges to stay active. I’ve tried some, but I realized these workouts aren’t for me.
Finding the right workout is always subjective and personal — what’s working for you might not work for someone else.
I crafted my own workout plan to achieve my goal: gaining weight, toning my muscles to achieve a lean figure, and of course, look sexy in my thirst trap photos on Instagram. Also, so I feel good about myself.
Luckily, Fitbit knows the value of personalization through Active Zone Minutes. It’s a metric calculated using your age and resting heart rate, providing you a more personalized measurement. There are also real-time alerts on your wrist to help you become more efficient in your workouts.
To a hydrated body and better heart
When I was living a sedentary lifestyle, my resting heart rate reached 100 bpm (beats per minute) compared to having 60-70 bpm during my active days. Since I’m still just starting again, I made it a goal to get a better resting heart rate.
Having a lower heart rate is a sign of good cardiovascular fitness. As of writing, I’m back at 65-75 bpm — that’s because sometimes I still fail to do consecutive workouts because of my job and I’m still high on caffeine intake.
If you can’t exercise regularly, you need to walk around. The Fitbit Charge 4 buzzes every hour to remind you to get up and walk, and it was a habit I enjoyed doing in my working hours.
When my Charge 4 buzzes, I walk to the kitchen to refill my water bottle and drink my water. I also stretch my hamstrings while I wait for the bottle to be refilled. Talk about hitting three birds with one stone: moving around, drinking water, and stretching my tight hamstring from too much sitting.
The struggle to exercise
Ask anyone. The hardest thing to do is always getting out of the bed to exercise. Sometimes, you just want to lie down, roll over to watch Netflix, get up to eat and drink, then find your way to bed again. Sounds tempting, right?
I’ve been a victim of this situation, many times especially last year. Committing to a regular workout is such a daunting task. When you’re bogged down with work and your mind is heavily preoccupied, it’s easy to give up on exercise and tell yourself to do it tomorrow.
But you keep saying that until you realize it’s been a month since you last worked out then beat yourself up for not trying hard.
Trying to reach fitness goals was never an easy task. It requires mind tricks and mental fortitude. The struggle in discipline and commitment during your health and fitness journey mostly stems from your emotional and mental health.
How we feel can manifest physically, which is why we need to be in a better headspace so we can push ourselves to work out.
Taking care of our mental health won’t be easy in this pandemic, but you can take little steps. I’ve done yoga and meditation, and it helped me breathe easier.
What I’m doing might be a little bit intimidating. For beginners, you can start with guided meditations accessible through the Fitbit app, Headspace, or Spotify. If you want to really start with something easy, the tracker has a breathing exercise that you can follow easily.
Unplugging made me happier
When you learn how to be mindful, you’ll realize the importance of unplugging and disconnecting. Being glued to our smartphones can wear our minds and extremely take our time. Sometimes, all we need is to step away from our smartphones.
The Fitbit Charge 4 can preview a few notifications on your screen. This helped me disconnect and focus on my tasks that require concentration such as painting, writing, and working out.
I tend to get distracted by my phone and other messages, and having a few notifications can help me decide which one requires immediate response and which one can wait later.
You can customize your notifications through the Fitbit app, and you can sync your messages, emails, and calendar, which appears in the tracker’s notifications bar.
You can also connect Spotify so you can easily control your music without using your phone. It worked seamlessly with my Galaxy Buds and my phone, and this disconnection definitely made me happier.
Give me a good night’s sleep
The most important thing I realized, later on, is the importance of a good night’s sleep. No matter how much working out or mindfulness practices you do in life, you won’t see any results when you’re hellbent on sleeping past midnight.
The tracker has a Sleep Mode to ensure you won’t be disturbed in your sleep (unless you have nightmares from your trauma wherein I have to ask you to go see a therapist).
Kidding aside, it turns off the notifications and disables the screen display. I didn’t find any use for this feature since I find it easy to sleep whenever I meditate or turn off my gadgets and put it away from the bed.
To ensure I had a good night’s sleep, I track my Sleep Score every morning through the app. The data might be taxing to look at, but it’s rich in insight based on your heart rate, restlessness, time awake, and your sleep stages. Although, the summary can be checked easily through your wrist.
Frankly, getting better sleep is what I’m still working on. Adults usually need seven to nine hours of sleep, but six hours can be enough. At most, I usually get six to seven hours of sleep.
However, I tend to sleep at 12 midnight recently, caused by watching Lucifer, chatting with friends, reading a book, or painting. I tend to wake up at five or six and seven in the morning, depending on what time I slept.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Fitbit Charge 4 offers a lot of features to help anyone starting on their health and fitness journey. It’s an advanced fitness tracker that detects your heart rate and improves your sleep. Moreover, it measures pace and distance through a built-in GPS, and packs with essential features.
It’s a worthy companion, since it lasted seven to eight days on a single charge based on my experience. Fully charging it takes only just an hour and a half. There’s a lot more to explore, but there’s one thing for sure: The Fitbit Charge 4 is a tracker made for everyone.
The Fitbit Charge 4 retails for PhP 9,590 (US$ 198). It’s available in black, rosewood, storm blue, and storm black. You can purchase it through Fitbit’s authorized retail stores like Digital Walker.
How I got fit with the OPPO Watch
Our goal is to survive
When the global health crisis struck the world into a colossal spiral while we all watched anxious in our homes, I decided to escape into a fitness challenge. Hey, I needed some form of healthy coping and I thought putting my frail, petite figure into the ringer was a good way to keep me distracted.
So, since the end of March of this year, I decided to do at-home workouts six days per week. And, by the end of April, I had somehow dedicated hours into working out consistently from Sundays to Fridays.
Deciding to be fit
If you’re thinking, “she’s mental,” hi. Yes, I am. I always knew I was capable of sticking to something I wanted to work towards. I’d go so far as to say I’ve always had an obsessive tendency towards things I set my mind on. There was, of course, a good incentive: my mental health.
I’ve always struggled with my mental health. Even when writing about how video games helped me through rough patches in my life, I’d spiral back into the same mental state over and over. I wanted to break that horrible cycle. And so, I set myself to use fitness to expend energy I would usually have to be anxious or self-destructive on something healthier and beneficial.
Oh, I almost forgot a tangent motivation to all of this: I was weaning off my medication. So, if you didn’t know, which you probably didn’t, I was taking antidepressants and mood stabilizers to get by.
Whenever I had teetered into fitness, I weirdly felt on-top-of-things. I brought this up to my psychiatrist and knew that if I wanted sustainable stability, I had to work on long term changes to my lifestyle.
So, back to the task at hand, I had consistently worked out, built muscle where I didn’t know I had and gained a ton of weight. By late August to early September, I had felt better mentally.
Tracking with the OPPO Watch
When I got the OPPO Watch, I had already checked out most of my personal goals except one: getting stunning abs. I went to work on journaling ab workouts I was going to do and healthy meals I wanted to treat myself to. I was planning on running outside to get my daily 10,000 steps through the watch’s Wear OS out of the way and was pretty excited to strap on the OPPO Watch.
Before we hop into my journey with the OPPO Watch, here’s a couple of things you might want to know. The Oppo Watch’s dual-curved 1.6-inch AMOLED display makes it look identical to the Apple Watch.
Elephant in the room finally out; let’s talk specs. It’s got a Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC with an Apollo Chip. All of that runs on Wear OS by Google and is powered by a 300mAh battery. And, OPPO boasted the watch’s 21-day battery capacity. So, I was hyping myself up for a two-week ab workout program to accompany the specs and features the watch was decked out on.
Let me just get it out there: as much as the OPPO Watch has an identity crisis on potentially being an Apple Watch wannabe or clone, it delivers on looks. The watch is pretty and the interface never once stuttered while I used it. But I digress…
Road to getting abs
On day one, road to maybe getting abs, the watch flopped and stopped recording my run, and ab exercises because it had run out of battery. Frustrated but also quietly relieved, I dropped my plan for the afternoon and eased out of my workout quicker than I often would.
You see, I had become overly obsessed with working out. So much so, that I was scheduling everything else in my day around the 2-3 hours every single day I wanted to exercise.
Although it was a disappointing first day, it was a wake-up call. I had always felt fatigued and out of breath from just doing typical chores. I’ve long ignored this symptom of over-training and kept overworking myself.
As much as the watch didn’t get to keep up with my “typical” day, it drew red flags on the fact that I was unusually active.
Don’t get me wrong. The OPPO Watch is a great smartwatch. It’s got a ton of features I want a smartwatch to have. It had a training assistant, a heart rate monitor, a sleep tracker, sedentary reminders, and had a vast array of workouts you could track through Wear OS.
It was the best thing to help validate the hard work I was making on a daily. I would use and abuse installing the Google Fit app to track my strength training, workout sets, and footsteps. But, if there’s anything I slowly learned from over-training and “over tracking,” it’s that you tarnish your relationship to exercise if you obsess over calories.
More to getting fit than looking a certain way
If you’ve been hating yourself for not getting fit or not losing weight while the rest of the world is ablaze, let this be the reminder you need. We’re here to survive, not to pressure ourselves into losing weight, getting fit, building unhealthy self-images, or getting sick and injured.
This year, especially, is not the time. I know that being isolated can feel relentlessly daunting and peeking into social media feeds into unhealthy and toxic standards you might feel pressured to try to achieve. But, there’s more to health than trying to look a certain way — there’s the important bit about how you are and how you are feeling.
A lot of the ironically toxic parts of health and fitness is from building fundamental goals on visual validity: a number on the scale, a measurement, or aesthetic muscle development. When health and fitness should be about developing something sustainable: strength, flexibility, stamina, or better well-being.
It’s also good to note that quick and sudden fixes can show fast results but won’t be sustainable long-term. The quicker the change, the quicker it is to lose. Easing your way into small changes until you achieve a healthy lifestyle that isn’t restrictive of anything you want is the way to go.
For the past two weeks with the OPPO Watch, I decided to be more attuned with myself, mentally and physically. It was a good time for my body to recover from brutal stress I put it through.
The watch’s Wear OS features breathing exercises that helped a lot with this. I would find myself struggling with anxiety late at night and I’d go on the watch and do the breathing exercises until I calmed down. I know the feature is simple and I can do without it but, having something to guide me through deep breathes really helped.
Throughout my two weeks of what was meant to be non-stop ab exercises, I decided to work out on days I felt like working out and rested on days I wanted to. The OPPO Watch gave me a good feel of my health with my heart rate and step count even if I stayed indoors.
It monitored and gave me customizable daily goals which were less about reaching them every day and more about realistic and forgiving progress.
Oh! It’s good to note that the watch might be able to last about a week but it’ll need to be on power saver mode. You’ll be limited to viewing the time, checking your pulse when you want to, counting your steps, and getting notifications.
On that week, I kept active and went about my day without worrying about the nitty-gritty details of how much calories I burnt from walking, running, or lifting weights.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
I didn’t keep the OPPO Watch on power saver mode for long for a few reasons. To recover from over-training, I wanted to improve on my sleep and work on my relationship with exercise and calories so tracking my sleep was important to me.
On top of that, the breathing exercises weren’t accessible on power saver mode which was a huge bummer seeing as that feature helped me through some anxious nights — what a legend of a feature.
The OPPO Watch is decked out with so much to help you get better, happier, and healthier but only in ways, you choose to. So if you’re not a fitness fiend and are looking for a smartwatch to just track your pulse, steps, and of course, keep track of time, consider this watch. The OPPO Watch costs PhP 12,990/GBP 229.
Apple Fitness+ brings the gym to your iPhone
A new kind of fitness experience
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing gyms and fitness centers to close indefinitely all around the world, many of us have been opting for home workouts with the help of popular YouTubers Chloe Ting and Blogilates, as well as popular apps like SWEAT, Nike Training Club, and Peloton.
At its September event, Apple unveiled what might make those said apps to lose business: Fitness+. At just US$ 9.99 per month, anyone can have access to studio-style workouts delivered by world-class trainers on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, while incorporating metrics from Apple Watch.
“With diverse studio workouts that are suitable for all ability levels, led by a phenomenal group of unique trainers, and an approachable program designed for beginners all the way through to the fitness enthusiast — as well as the flexibility to work out anywhere — there’s something for everyone,” said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director for Health Technologies.
Apple Fitness+ will launch with the most popular workout types including Cycling, Treadmill, Rowing, HIIT, Strength, Yoga, Dance, Core, and Mindful Cooldown. Each workout is accompanied by music thoughtfully curated by the trainers.
Each week, the team of Fitness+ trainers will deliver fresh workouts from the studio across a range of lengths, disciplines, and music genres so there are always new workouts to explore.
If you’re just starting your fitness journey, an Absolute Beginner program is built into Fitness+ that will help coach the basics of movement and exercise, and give you an option to prepare for Studio Workouts.
If you have a an indoor bike or treadmill at home, you can use that with Fitness+, and many workouts can be done with no equipment at all or just a set of dumbbells.
For those who start a Treadmill session with Fitness+ on Apple GymKit-enabled machines, the workout will prompt users to tap to connect their Apple Watch so metrics are in sync.
Apple Fitness+ offers personalized recommendations by considering previously completed workouts and intelligently suggests new options that match the workouts you select most often, or something fresh so your workout stays challenging.
There’s also an intuitive filtering tool to choose what is most important to you when looking for a workout, whether it’s the workout type, the trainer, the duration, or the music. For Apple Music subscribers, favorite music from Fitness+ workouts can also be easily saved and listened to later, whether in a workout or otherwise.
When a workout is selected and started on iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, the correct workout type will automatically start on Apple Watch. During the session, the metrics from Apple Watch will be shown on the screen. For example, when the trainer says to check heart rate or begins a countdown timer, those numbers will animate on the screen. For those who like to push themselves with a little healthy competition, the optional Burn Bar shows how their current effort stacks up against anyone who has done the same workout previously.
At launch, customers can conveniently find Fitness+ in the tab located in the new Fitness app on iPhone, which will also arrive on iPad and Apple TV.
At launch, Apple Fitness+ will be available in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the US.
Fitness+ will be available to Apple Watch customers as a subscription service. Everyone can try Fitness+ free for one month, or three months free with a purchase of a new Apple Watch.
Singapore and Apple incentivize citizens and residents to stay healthy
Earn rewards worth up to $380
With one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, Singapore is incentivizing its citizens to stay fit and healthy in an entirely new way — using Apple Watch and a new app called LumiHealth.
Created in collaboration with a team of physicians and public health experts, LumiHealth is a personalized program that encourages healthy activities and behavior.
It’s designed by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board in partnership with Apple. The program is part of the country’s Smart Nation initiative, Singapore’s nationwide effort to leverage technology to deliver benefits to its citizens and businesses.
LumiHealth uses behavioral insights to encourage Singaporeans and residents to adopt healthy habits and complete wellness challenges through personalized reminders, programs, activity coaching, and incentives.
Within the LumiHealth app, users travel through worlds with a friendly intergalactic explorer who guides them through tasks that are personalized based on their age, gender, and weight. They include weekly activity goals that can be met through not just walking, but also swimming, yoga, and other activities.
By completing these goals and challenges, users help the intergalactic explorer get back home, all while being able to earn rewards worth up to SG$ 380 over the two-year duration of the program.
An Apple Watch is necessary to participate in the challenges, as is downloading the LumiHealth app from the App Store.
LumiHealth also reminds users to go for health screenings and immunizations, as well as participate in wellness challenges that aim to improve sleep habits and mindfulness as well as encourage better food choices.
“Even as all of us around the world are dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, we must keep investing in our future. And there is no better investment than in our own personal health,” said Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister. “This partnership between Singapore and Apple will enable Singaporeans to lead healthier lives, but equally important, it will contribute valuable insights to improving the health of people all over the world.”
The LumiHealth app, designed with user privacy and security at its core, is available in the App Store for pre-order now, and the two-year program will be offered from late October 2020.
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