When I wrote the SCARIEST BLOG POST OF MY LIFE, I put a section in it called Health & Well Being. When it comes to My Story, the food I eat, the exercise I do, my weight and water in-take and sleep play a vital part in who I am. After all, as a writer, entrepreneur, and general misfit storyteller, my energy levels dictate what I can do.
Your own energy levels dictate what you can do, too. We try to do so much, and one of the first things we negate is our health. Just repeat this sentence back to yourself and consider how crazy it is.
When we get stressed and tired and worn down, we decide to sleep less, eat fast food, and sit in front of a computer all day. ARE WE INSANE?!?
I decided enough is enough, and so as part of My Monthly Income Report, I’m Hacking My Health & Well Being to better understand MY STORY. I desire to be the kind of person who can work for hours on end after waking up at 6am. The person who works on numerous projects with a smile on his face. The person who is healthy and light and full of energy. My guess is, you want to be like this, too. What I’m doing may or may not help you, but I hope it inspires you to take action and hack your own health and well being.
Let’s look after ourselves and leave our mark at the same time. It isn’t an either-or situation!
**Let me quickly say this: the majority of links below are Affiliate ones, which means I make a small commission from any eventual sale. It doesn’t affect you in any way, merely helps me keep Kid Turndog alive and kicking**
MY STORY. MY APPS. MY SMARTPHONE AND I
Each month, I’m recording a whole bunch of data, including: the miles I walk, the calories I eat, the hours I sleep, pushups & sit-ups done, and water intake. Like I say, I believe a healthier, fitter, and more energised Turndog will produce better work. I won’t only work better, but for longer. I’ll produce more projects, have a spring in my step, and walk around with a smile on my face 🙂
Well, that’s the plan, anyway, and I can’t wait to see how my story improves as time goes on. As I write this, I’ve only been hacking my health and well being for a month, but already I feel better. I’ve lost weight (around 9lbs), my clothes aren’t as tight, I have more energy, and although I have a long way to go to be the guy I desire to be, I’m getting there.
These are the tools I use to track my daily day, and I’m excited to share them with you:
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MOVES, recently bought by Facebook, is a genus smartphone app that tracks your movement.
It works in the background (and as such does affect your battery – be warned) and tracks the steps you make. It’s a clever piece of kit, too, because it knows whether you’ve been Walking, Running, Cycling, or on some kind of transport (car, train, etc…). I’m not sure how it figures this out, but it’s pretty darn accurate, and breaks down the following:
- STEPS TAKEN
- AMOUNT OF TIME
It compares your numbers on a daily and weekly scale, so as time ticks by, you’re able to see when and where you improve. For example, if you want to run more often, you can track this. If you want to ensure you walk at least 2 miles each day, this too is easy to monitor. And like I say, this all happens in the background, so you don’t have to do anything – and although it does drain your battery, it isn’t too bad.
Another feature I love is how it integrates with Foursquare, therefore showing you the places you’ve been to (although it doesn’t check-in with Foursquare. You don’t even need a Foursquare account). Again, this is great because it allows you to see how far certain places are (the walk from my home to the train station, for instance, which is just over 1 mile) and provides you the motivation to walk instead of drive 🙂
I LOVE THIS APP, and until recently, I didn’t notice how often I walk during the week (usually at least 15 miles). It’s opened my eyes, and if I happen to be having a lazy week, it gives me a kick in the butt to go for a run.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS APP HERE
WATER BALANCE APP
I LOVE water, but ever since I started to spend more time in coffee shops, my water intake has gone down and down and down. This isn’t good, because not only does it dehydrate me and give me headaches, but saps me of energy.
Try it for yourself. Go to a coffee shop, order a few Americanos, and see how long it takes before you slump in front of the keyboard. Water freshens you up (in more ways than one), and WATER BALANCE tracks what you drink.
Based on your height and weight, it calculates your ideal water intake, and every time you have a drink (of water, soda, juice, coffee, tea, etc…) you record it in the app (it takes all of two seconds). Some drinks make your level rise (like water), whereas others make it drop (like coffee). The aim is to reach 100% by the end of the day, and it tracks how successful you are over time.
It isn’t full proof by any means, but it gives you a quick insight into your water intake. And when you have a lot on, and you’re travelling and dashing from one meeting to the next, neglecting your body is easy to do. At the very least, WATER BALANCE reminds you at the end of the day to drink some water, so at last you’re able to catch up. Water has always been a huge part of my story, and thanks to this app, it once again is.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS APP HERE
MY FITNESS PAL
Whether your aim is to lose weight, gain weight, or develop a well balanced diet, MY FITNESS PAL is here to help. Like Water Balance, I record the meals I eat and the drinks I drink within the app (again, a two second task), and it tracks how I’m doing throughout the day. Based on your weight, height, and goals (to lose weight, etc…), it calculates your ideal calorie intake, so as 6pm ticks by, I’m able to see just how much (or too little) I’ve eaten.
However, I think it’s easy to get caught up in calorie-counting, and this isn’t the true benefit of an app like this. Because it has details on just about every food and meal out there (a database of over 2 million meals), it breaks down the carbs you eat, the protein, fats, sugars, minerals, etc…
This is VITAL in my opinion, because calorie-counting is a short term game, and if you want to create long lasting health, developing a balanced diet is key. It SHOWS you which meals have too much fat, or too much protein, or what is lacking in your diet. From this, you truly can hack your health, and ensure you give your body the fuel it needs.
MY FITNESS PAL is a game changer in my story, because not only does it help me cut down on sweets and bad foods (because who wants to admit to your phone that you had a doughnut), but showing me the stuff I’m lacking, and the kind of foods I should eat instead.
Add the fact you can add the excise you do (so it aligns with the MOVES APP rather well), and you’re left with a great insight into your health & well being – again, on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS APP HERE
An often overlooked aspect of health is sleep, and SLEEP CYCLE is here to ensure you get enough of it – or, in my case, not too much.
I love sleep. When I meet someone who tells me they don’t like it, or how they wake up and are ready to take on the world, I want to punch them in the face. I hate them. I’m green with envy, because when I wake up – no matter what time it is – all I want to do is roll over and snuggle up to my pillow for just a few minutes longer.
It’s a disease, it truly is, but I have ambitions to be the kind of person who wakes up at 6am with a smile on their face (or at least to rid the thoughts of murder). Such a life would add many more hours to read and write and craft ideas. Oh my, just imagine the magic and mischief I could get into…
I’m a LONG way from achieving this, but SLEEP CYCLE helps. Full of features, it not only tracks your sleep (by the amount you move during the night), but also helps put you to sleep (with various sounds and music). Placing it under my pillow, I drift off to sounds of the ocean, and it wakes me up at an optimum point in the morning.
For example, say I want to get up between 7 – 7.30am. Sleep Cycle monitors when I’m in a nearly awake state, and it’s at this point during the 30 minute window its lovely and calming alarm goes off. Seriously, it’s the nicest alarm I’ve ever had.
All this is great, but the best features lie in the analysis, because it tracks when (and for how long) I’m in a deep sleep, and ranks my ‘quality’ of sleep out of 100. This is wonderful, because it allows me to test when to go to bed, when to wake up, what days in the week are good, and which ones are bed, and whether drink or food has an affect.
I’ve tried a few apps like this one, but so far I haven’t come close to finding one as good. I love it, and I have faith it will one day transform me into a morning person (or something close). Here’s to my story, and it’s soon-to-be morning addition 🙂
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS APP HERE
Hacking your health & well being isn’t an overnight process, but this isn’t about making my life better now – rather forever.
We all suffer with stress and hardship, and we need to work through the bad and enjoy the good. It’s part of life, and the day we allow our health & well being to suffer, a rocky road is sure to be had. This is why I downloaded these apps, and so far the insights they’ve offered into my story are HUGE.
The stats and figures are great, but it’s the constant reminder and motivation that makes all the difference.
I’m kept honest and humble each day, and I’m able to see where I am going right and wrong over time. Like I say, I won’t find success overnight, but as the months and years go by, I believe I will. Just like Yoga and Walking has brought great joy into my life, hacking my health & well being will, too. So, here’s to my story. Here’s to your story. Here’s to smartphone apps that are far smarter than me.
What do you think about these apps? Have you used them before, or maybe similar apps instead? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please get in touch on TWITTER or FACEBOOK.
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