Geek's Guide to Getting Fit

I almost titled this post Geek Girl's Guide to Getting Glorious Glutei because of the alliteration. That is how much of a nerd I can be, but I chose to restrain myself for brevity's sake. No buns of steel here, just tech tools and tips for perusing a wider scope of understanding that will help you geek out about fitness.

The fundamental rule for getting and staying healthy is the simple idea of do what works for you. Although the principle is basic, the personalized elements of what works and do can be tricky to figure out. Everyone understands that expending more calories than you consume is the key to losing weight, but how to implement this theory into your life becomes a stumbling block. 

The cliché of a nerd, joystick in hand, motionlessly staring at bright screen in a dark room... is true. Working in / consuming digital multimedia leads to a relatively sedentary life. In turn, traditional diet and exercise routines can be frustrating or dull for nerd-tech focused people. Nerds need quantifiable data crunches *ZING* to satiate our academic needs while getting us buff. Having tangible data, tools and micro goals is a great way to understand the varied elements involved in getting healthy beyond just the number on a scale. These are the tech-oriented fitness tools that really work for me by appealing to my documenting and multi-tasking oriented tendencies. 

Calorie Tracking Apps - Lose It (iPhone) / Calorie Counter (iPad)

Similar to programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers these apps help you track your eating habits. You enter your height, current weight and goal weight/date and it will calculate a suggested daily calorie budget to meet that goal. As you enter your meals or exercise throughout the day these apps will keep a running total of your allotted calories. They also track and chart your BMI.

Having the app available in your pocket with almost every food, restaurant & recipe included makes it super simple and easy to keep up with. It appealed to the side of me that likes to make lists and play the same Tetris or Angry Birds games over and over with the sole intent of beating my high score. I suggest approaching calorie counting as a learning tool rather than restrictive regiment. Being aware of calories helped me balance out my nutritional needs, grocery shop better and understand that I needed to consistently make healthy meal and exercise choices so I could occasionally indulge guilt free. 

Fitness Video Games - Wii Fit (Wii) / Just Dance (Wii/Xbox)

If you like hanging out in big groups, sports or being in the Great Outdoors then yahtzee! Join a team! Go on a hike! However if you hate being in groups, outside or waiting in line for an elliptical machine then active video games are great home workout alternative. Working out has long term benifits, but it's hard to appreciate that in the moment and not get lazy even if you are "working out." Like a pedometer or heart rate monitor the Wii or Xbox Connect's motion sensors track your movements and progress. The rewards of gaining points for accuracy or time spent, even the soothing voice of the Wii Trainer saying "you are a little shaky...," helps keep me motivated.

The systems, accessories and games are ultimately cheaper than a gym membership and much more convenient. Another benefit is, unlike a real trainer or class, I can also choose to blast a podcast or rock song in the middle of my yoga session.

>> For more health tips check out Lifehacker's Workout blog series.