July Update: Open LiveTracking, New Graphs & Results

Are you sweating like we are? It has been one hot summer here. And not just because we now include temperature with our workouts. We’ve also got some hot new releases just finished rolling out this month. 🙂

I did my first half-marathon in a long while last week and just about collapsed, the heat was killer, and I think I went out too fast for the heat. According to iCardio I finished in 1:59:58, but official time ended up being 2:00:01 – so close. Still, a shiny new medal and a sense of accomplishment. I’ll take it and call it an excellent weekend!

App Releases Hot Off the Press

Apple | New Graphs
Hot off the heals of Power Sensors and Power Zones support, we’ve added trend lines and current readings to our graphs. A great way to easily judge your averages over each lap, and keep yourself on target!  A personal favorite feature, for sure.

We haven’t got the Apple Watch stand alone out yet, but continue to work hard to put the finishing polish on it. We’ll keep you posted.

Android | Custom Dashboards & More
Show you what you want, the way you want it. Yeah baby. A new, very powerful custom dashboard feature comes to Android.  One stat or many, you get what you need. We’ve also added auto-swipe for screens, which is great when in the gym or Spinning® class. Check it out and let us know what you think!

LiveTracking | Open Tracking
Track your workouts and have your friends and family join in without having to log in – new on my.fitdigits.com profile Account Settings. Star members set your LiveTracking sessions on Open, and the link you can share (or not) is open to anyone you share it with, no login or account required.

Thank you for allowing us to do what we love and to serve you. We appreciate you being on the health journey with us. Stay strong and keep cool when you can, but remember sweat is good too!
Chris

Chris & Team Fitdigits

June Update: Welcome to Summer with Power Released, Strava Integration

Welcome to Summer! It’s the season for long runs, rides, hard sweaty workouts, and fun new features.

It's a Fitdigits Summer!

The first day of Summer. Time to review how you did over spring, and set new goals for the long warm days ahead! Check out this presentation we did to remind you of the hard work you put in this last Spring:

 

YOUR SPRING WORKOUTS IN REVIEW

 

Now it is time for beach, bathing suits, long days like today and tons of fun!

We hope our members have been enjoying having the Weather recorded automatically on each workout! We think it is totally cool and critical info.

We Have the Power! Watts that is.
Just released for iOS is Power Sensors and Power Zones support, mainly for our cycling friends, though we look forward to hearing good things from the Rowing community as well. Let us know how it goes, we’d love to hear from you.

This also marks the first time our full product line is available in Spanish, and the re-introduction of Strava as a share partner. Woop!

The Apple Watch stand-alone is still in Alpha, but making progress. Sorry for the delay there. We are still hoping by the beginning of July for Beta.

On Android, we are putting the final touches on custom dashboards as we get ready to add more types of sensors to the apps. Looking good on that front.

Once again, we enjoy serving you, and look forward to a long and healthy journey together. Stay strong and have fun this summer!
Chris

Chris & Team Fitdigits

May 2018 Update: Weather, Power & Watts Support, Apple Watch

Cold, hot or just right? How temperature affects your exercise.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Bless all those in uniform, current and past, who allow us to be where we are today. So many of my personal friends and family I need to thank, I am grateful and blessed.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, time for winding up of school years and thinking about fun in the sun activities. It’s the perfect time for barbecue and working out!

With summer comes temperature changes. Temperature has such a significant impact on performance when it comes to working out, which is why we’ve now released a great new feature for members – Weather! We now automatically add weather and local temperature to your tracked activities. Wonder why your heart rate was more elevated last weekend? Maybe because it was over 90 degrees out? Now you’ll know and track it with everything else.

But that isn’t all. We added Power / Watts support for our cycling friends out there, in the spirit of the totally inspiring Amgen Tour of California. Those guys are amazing! They even came through our home town of Ventura this year. It was fun watching them ride through our neighborhoods with the rest of the Fitdigits team.

We’ve also released updates to our debug logs (to make tracking down those hard-to-pin-down issues easier), and a bunch of other fixes and improvements.

Next up for the next iOS releases, look for Power Zones support, now in beta. We’re also getting our feet wet with a Spanish version (looking for beta testers btw :), and adding Strava as a share partner. The real big news though is Apple Watch stand-alone officially hit Alpha, and it looks great!

On the Android side, we are putting the final touches on custom dashboards as we get ready to expand the different workout sensor types supported. Totally revamped, you can choose between one and many metrics on any given dashboard and add as many as you want. Currently in beta, this gives you the ultimate control over what data you want to see in your workouts.

We enjoy serving you, and look forward to a long and healthy journey together.
Chris

Chris & Team Fitdigits

iCardio Version Migration

iCardio ♦ iRunner ♦ iBiker Version Migration

App Migration PromptIf you are reading this, my apologies, you most likely saw a screen shot like the one to the right. On the positive side, the app you love is alive and evolving, and all your data is safe and sound.

Some great new features and updates on the new version you may enjoy includes custom countdown timer settings, improved stability, and for certain members, weather / temperature integration and LiveTracking too, just to name a few. It’s worth it!

Base Facts

If you are being prompted to download a new version of the app, please do so, and login with your existing username and password. All your data and purchases will come down, though some custom settings may need to be re-set to match your current defaults.

Download on iTunes:

iCardio  ♦  iRunner  ♦  iBiker

If you have trouble or something doesn’t come down quite right, we are confident your data is safe in the cloud. Please contact us at support and we will do what we can to set things straight for yoApp Migrationu. Once you have things all set and are confident everything is in place, please delete the older (red icon) version of the app.

Why Do You Need to Migrate?

If you have been prompted to download a new version of your app – iCardio, iRunner or iBiker, that means you are on a version of the apps that were created in an attempt to keep the apps alive at a time where the good people at the companies involved either didn’t have the ability, due to technology restrictions and/or trademark reasons, to migrate the apps or names to the Fitdigits portal after Fitdigits acquired the apps, nor could Fitdigits take over the original Apple account.

Things being what they are, duplicated apps had to be created and put in the wild for a while to keep them in the store, alive and available. However, as time passed and technology evolved, things that were at one time impossible (like transferring apps) became possible. In the end, instead of having to migrate the vast majority to a single app, there is only a small percentage that need to migrate. Apple has granted us this build to inform you of the need to migrate in order to keep using the app and your Fitdigits accounts.

On the plus side, as mentioned above, there are some great features available to members and others that aren’t in your current builds! As always, we thank you for joining us on the journey to and through a healthy life. Sorry for the extra hassle. We look forward to being your activity tracking partner for many years to come.

 

 

Digifit MVP Program Ends, Fitdigits Star Membership Begins!

Important Note about the MVP Program

Our Dream
We have a dream – to be the best, most informative, easy to use heart rate tracker and trainer in the world, making heart rate tracking easy, informative and fun. To change millions of lives for the better by making them more aware of their body and their health.

I think you appreciate that dream, which is why you originally became a Digifit MVP subscriber so long ago. We are continuing that tradition at Fitdigits now, focusing solely on making your cardio and health tracking the best ever.

The Digifit MVP program was originally designed as a yearly subscription at $49.95 per year. The program was discontinued in 2015. When Fitdigits came onboard, we decided to keep all benefits active until the time we had a new program in place, and your old MVP benefits are still in effect. That said, we are really happy to announce our new subscription offers including the Star Membership going for only $39.99 per year, or the even more affordable Pro Plus at $9.99 per year. MVP benefits will be merged into Star as of September 30th.

To continue your benefits, we hope you join us by signing up for a new Star Membership to replace the expiring MVP program today. You must re-subscribe from an in-app upgrade (Menu > My Upgrades). Learn more

ChrisWe are moving all subscriptions to the respective app stores, iTunes or Google Play, so all subscription management will be handled there. Our apologies for the inconvenience in the short run. We believe this is best for the long run, so we can focus more on what we do best – cardio fitness.

We hope you continue with us on our journey to a healthy heart and body. We promise to do our best to continually evolve the experience and delight you. Thank you so much for your support.

 

Chris & Team Fitdigits

 

Fitdigits Membership Options

Update iCardio, iRunner to v4 for Android

Updated Interface • Customized Countdown • Material Design • Integrated Goals

Step 1: Download the latest v4

Download iCardio v4 for Android Download iRunner v4 for Android

 

Step 2: Tap the Big Green Button

The program will sync your old version to make sure all your data is in the cloud, then sync that back down to the new v4. When complete, it will even ask if you want it to delete the previous version for you. Deleting the previous version is not required but nice to do, you can always access previous versions from our iCardio Android Archive.

The All New v4 for Android

We are thrilled to announce the new and updated iCardio and iRunner v4 for Android, the next generation in health and fitness tracking and heart rate training!

V4 apps include a whole new user interface, simplified and streamlined for access to the things you want most. All new navigation, from Profile to Sensors and Settings, and more features like creating goals or joining groups at your fingertips. Tablet support is new to this version too, with in-workout landscape mode coming soon. The update to v4 requires downloading again from our new Google Play home.

 

 

Why are we requiring a new download?

We used to be managed under one name but became Fitdigits back in 2016, and Google Play doesn’t allow some things to transfer over between entities in our case, so we can not continue to evolve the platform on that Play account, we have moved.

The good part – it is super easy to do, and all your data and previous purchases will be immediately available!

 

 

Troubleshooting

If you don’t see the big green button, check the version you currently have installed and are logged into.You can see your older app version at the bottom of the Settings screen. You can tell the older version because it will say iCardio 3 under the icon.

You may not have the latest 3.9x installed and be logged into that version. In that case you can either first update your existing 3.x version to the latest, then run v4 (it will recognize the older version on launch).

You also can login to v4 with your existing username and password you used on your current installation.

  • In the existing 3.x app, tap Settings > Profile. Make a note of the email associated with your account (tip: watch for typos). This is your email/username for your account.
  • Download the latest v4 of your Fitdigits App: iCardio  |  iRunner
  • Using the account password, or if you logged in with Facebook, login as an Existing User.
    1. If necessary, see how to reset your password. You might check your email and password by logging into my.fitdigits.com – if you haven’t been in a while, it has undergone some nice upgrades recently.
  • When you are comfortable everything is over, delete your older version.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at support.

Results of the Fitdigits Genetics & Fitness Survey

Results of the Fitdigits Genetics & Fitness Survey

Thank you all for your responses to our survey in last month’s newsletter! We are always curious about people and their beliefs, as well as the science, behind health and fitness. While this is certainly not a scientific study, it was very interesting to see the results.

 

Great Believers in Genetics

First we looked at the answers from those who are great believers in genetics. For those folks, all of them were in OK to fantastic shape themselves, and 30% of them have always been that way. Only 10% have gotten worse over time, and around 20% have gone back and forth.

20% of these felt like they needed to lose a bit of weight, but over 80% said “maybe just a little”, or that they needed to gain weight. 70% of them also said their mothers were in ok to good shape, and 80% of fathers were too, so there is a high correlation to their shape and their parents. However, only 25% reported that neither their mother nor father struggled with weight issues, which seems to contradict the assessments of their health, or at least they didn’t associate health and fitness primarily with weight.

These respondents were about 50% likely to be similar or somewhat similar in body type to their family members, which is lower than the next group and significantly different from those with opposite beliefs.

 

Genetics + Habits = Determination

By contrast, since 100% of those who believed fitness and weight are heavily determined by genetics and were all in great shape, we looked at those who weren’t in good shape (or terrible shape), since they obviously contrast the first group.

Of these people, almost 60% have gotten worse over time, only 12% have gotten better over time. They are primarily (75%) of the mindset they need to lose quite a bit of weight. Not a single one said their weight was good or they needed to gain weight.

None of these respondents reported having a mother or father in great shape either. In fact, none reported a mother above an “OK” rating for their health. Only 10% related that their parents improved their health over time – most were always poor or gotten worse over time. Only 5% reported that neither their mother nor father struggled with weight issues over their lifetime, so in contrast 95% had dealt with weight issues in their families. Also, over 75% reported having a similar physical structure as their parents.

These respondents also responded that primarily they did not enjoy most types of cardio exercise and their bodies did not respond quickly or easily. Surprisingly, when it came to flexibility / coordination exercises and weight lifting, over 50% reported that their body does respond well but also plateaus quickly. This also correlates highly with their enjoyment of those types of exercises.

One hundred percent of these respondents believed that habits and attitudes were at least as important, or more so, than genetics in health and fitness.

 

Genetics – Bah! Self-Determination!

Which then brings us to the final question for now, and that is, what is the profile characteristics for those who did not believe genetics really played any significant role in health and fitness? All other options had already been covered!

There weren’t many, but the pattern appeared fairly quickly. They were all in very good shape, and yet all had mothers (and a vast majority of fathers) who were not in shape or in poor health. They indicated they were always healthy, unlike their parents. Most just did not identify in physical structure with one or both parents. Like most respondents who reported a high level of personal fitness, they enjoyed fitness activities (cardio the most), and responded well to them.

 

Conclusions

It is hard to draw any real hard conclusions on a non-scientific study, but certainly we could see the patterns beginning to form. Mostly, we are an experiential being – what we experience, we tend to believe.

For example, those who were in good shape, and whose parents were the same, certainly were most likely to believe in genetics. For those who weren’t in good shape, and neither were their parents, they were more likely to be on the fence, and believe it was both habits and genetics in certain roles. Some in the families had transcended in health, while others stayed in the same health stasis. And finally, those who were in good shape but came from parents and family who were not healthy or fit, they were certainly the most likely to believe in self-determination, and habits over genetics.

What the truth is, we are just starting to scratch the surface. But it is a fascinating journey, and thank you again for being part of it!

 

A Healthy Living Weight

I have been measuring body fat levels on professional athletes for the last 25 years. Ironically, the purpose is not to determine how much fat they have; rather, it’s to identify their ideal playing weight. Regardless of the sport, every professional athlete has only one goal – ­peak performance. Training a professional cyclist is similar to designing the perfect race car. The point is to have the biggest engine and carry the least amount of excess weight. The NBA player wants to maintain as much muscle mass as possible, until the point where it begins to decrease his vertical jump or first-step quickness.

The main reason I measure body fat levels on athletes is to quantify fat pounds and muscle mass as separate components. The ability to separate these two variables helps fine-tune training programs that impact fat levels and lean body mass. Determining an athlete’s ideal playing weight only requires a simple calculation of adding the two variables together.

Identifying an “ideal playing weight” for an athlete is relevant, but different, than a “healthy living weight” for an individual interested in maintaining general good health.

The connection between being “overweight” and the increased risk of developing certain diseases began back in the 1950’s. Although the evidence of this connection continues to be highly debated, the overall consensus is that there is a negative health risk with being “overfat,” not necessarily being “overweight.” To date, the list of medical conditions shown to be associated with “overfatness” includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers. The key finding is that there are individual differences in the relationship between a person’s medical risk and levels of excess body fat.

My recommendation to individuals whose main goal is to stay healthy is to consider measuring their body fat in a similar manner as the professional athlete, but with a different perspective in mind. While an athlete wants to maximize performance by achieving the lowest fat levels possible, the typical adult should view body fat measuring as a tool that helps minimize the risk of developing lifestyle related diseases.

For example, an individual may be diagnosed with high blood pressure and have a body fat percentage of 30%. This person begins a structured exercise program and changes his caloric intake. A few months later the individual remeasures his blood pressure and percent body fat levels. As expected, both blood pressure and body fat percentage drops. The blood pressure measurement may now be in the healthy range, but the body fat percentage may still lie out of the healthy zone. In this case, the individual has to remember the goal was to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, not to have the lowest percent body fat. Many people mistakenly believe that continued fat loss always results in lowered blood pressure. In essence, the health conscious adult needs to define a “healthy living weight” in terms of health risks, medical conditions, and the effect of being “overfat.”

underwater-weighingThe only drawback with underwater weighing is its limited capability to break body composition into only two components: fat pounds and lean body mass. For example, a 200-pound male who is measured at 20% body fat via underwater weighing knows he has 40 pounds of fat and 160 pounds of fat free or lean tissue.   Today’s new technology has drastically improved, allowing lean tissue to be further separated into bone, skin and muscle weight. An additional advantage of the new technology is the ability to compare upper and lower body segments with regards to these variables. For example, a test can tell a person he has 75% of his fat in his legs, or that his right arm and left leg have significantly more muscle and bone density than the opposite limbs. Quite fascinating!dexa-scan

Other Methods of Body Fat Testing
Today there are many other methods available for estimating percent body fat. It is important to realize that no matter which procedure you use, all measurements can be slightly off. The degree of error pertains to the test’s validity or reliability. Validity refers to a test measuring what it’s actually supposed to measure. Reliability is the degree that a test measure is stable and consistent, produced by retesting. The following should help you compare the validity and reliability of today’s most common methods of measuring percent body fat.

Skinfold Measurements with Calipers

Commonly known as the “pinch test,” skinfold measurement testing is widely used to determine a person’s body composition. The test measures skinfold thickness at specific locations on the body. The tester literally pinches the skin at certain locations and pulls the skin away from the muscles so only skin and fat tissue are being measured. Formulas have been devised to calculate body composition based on the caliper measurements. 

ADVANTAGES: It can be 98% accurate and reliable when conducted by a skilled, trained tester. It is easily performed and fairly inexpensive. Scores are readily calculated by looking at a chart that shows age, gender, and the skinfold measurements.

DISADVANTAGES: Skinfold measurements are difficult to perform when a person has a high amount of body fat. Also, the test will not be valid or reliable if the tester is not skilled or the calipers are not calibrated.

FatPinchTest2

Bioelectrical Impedance
This form of testing is popular, because the testing devices are relatively inexpensive and the test itself does not require a high level of proficiency to perform. The science behind this procedure involves the transmission of a low level current through the body. There are two ways to perform this test, either by placing electrodes on the ankle or the wrist or by standing on a specialized impedance scale. Both modalities are based on the premise that muscle’s high water content makes it very conductive. The basic theory is that the more body water that is present, the higher the amount of muscle per pound of weight. Unfortunately, most exercisers have a tremendous amount of fluctuation in their fluid levels due to sweat loss vs. fluid consumption. It is imperative – with respect to reliability – that pre and post-test settings pay particular attention to the subject’s exercise and fluid status prior to testing.

ADVANTAGES: Testing can done quickly, inexpensively and in the privacy of your own home.

DISADVANTAGES: It can have very poor reliability due to exercise and hydration states.

ElectrodesAnkle2

Circumference Measurements (girth measurements)
Circumference measurements are becoming more and more popular due to the fact that they do not require expensive equipment or a skilled technician. The science behind girth measurements is based on the fact that fat tends to accumulate around the midsection. Consequently, if your circumference measurements increase, you are increasing your body fat. In other words, you can now correlate “inches gained” to fat pounds gained and “inches lost” to fat pounds lost. The calculations to predict body fat percentage can be done using a hand held calculator or online by entering the measurements in inches.

ADVANTAGES: It is relatively accurate and very reliable when performed on populations who are average to above average body fat. The calculations can be easily performed.

DISADVANTAGES: It does not work well on males under 7% and females under 15% body fat.

CircumferenceMeasurements2

Stay tuned for our next blog on the relationship between your genetics and body composition. You will learn how and when fat cells are created in our bodies, who is predisposed to be being over fat, and what you can do to maintain a healthy weight irrespective of your genetic profile.

___________________________________________________________________________

Are you intrigued by this article? Are you interested in learning more about your own genetic profile? Would you like to know how you can improve your health and fitness by knowing more about your genes? Email us: genetics@fitdigits.com.

 

 

 

Fitbit Changes “Active” Minutes

fitbit-logo-for-twitter

Fitbit has recently announced some changes to the way they count user’s active minutes.

Before if at any time you picked up your pace Fitbit would count that increase in effort as “Active” minutes, and simply sum up those minutes each day. However, in compliance with suggestions by the American Heart Association, Fitbit will only count active minutes after 10 minutes of continuous motion. This change will not affect your step count.

As a result, you may find that your Fitbit active minutes will be lower for the foreseeable future.

For more details, read the blog post Fitbit Extends Minimum Time Frame for Active Minutes.