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Chris Bair holding bacon
Jan 14  ·  3 min read
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The Apps And Tools I’m Using To Track My Progress

A coworker asked me a while ago about all the stuff I’m using, so here are the apps, monitors and other things I’m using to track stuff about my health.

Activity Monitor

I grabbed a used Fitbit Flex off eBay about a month ago to see if I would like it better than the Jawbone Up I had. Ultimately the Fitbit won and the Jawbone is in my backpack in case anybody on craigslist decides they want to buy it for $40. The Jawbone app was actually far better than the Fitbit one and gave me better information but I like the bluetooth sync function of the Fitbit and couldn’t find an Up24 for cheap. Neither do automatic sleep tracking, you had to tell the device it was nap time and again tell it when you woke up. The more expensive trackers do more stuff automatically. Both Up and Fitbit talk quite nicely to all the other apps mentioned here, sending activity data over automatically.

Fitbit Web UI
Fitbit Android UI

Weight Tracking

The Withings app/website does a great job of tracking weight, blood pressure and a number of other metrics. It’s also free to use and will send the weight data to a large number of applications. By having it send that data I don’t have to go into 5 different apps to update my weight all the time, it just does it automagically for me. You can use the Withings app and site with the Withings Wi-Fi scale or one of their fitness trackers, but you don’t need to. I did eventually end up buying a Withings scale but I used the app for about a month and a half before that. You can also import and export all the measurements very easily. I imported my weight logs from all the way back to October 2006.

Withings Web UI
Withings Android UI

Nutrition Tracking

I’ve been using MyFitnessPal for 2 or 3 years to (occasionally, up until 4 months ago) track my nutrition. Currently I’m on a 87 day streak of putting in my food, weight and activity. I use MFP as a sort of “central hub” for everything else. All my activity monitoring, weight and workouts head here. On a Ketogenic Diet I also need to track how many carbs I’m eating and it does a good job of that. There’s some settings and a userscript that enhance MFP for keto diets. It’s particularly nice to be able to scan a barcode to add food and with how I’m eating mostly the same stuff every day it’s a cinch. I used to use My Net Diary but MFP is way more useful.

MyFitnessPal Web UI
MyFitnessPal Android UI

Workout tracking

I’m using Digifit on my phone to track exercise (via a heart rate monitor, see below). On an ideal day I’m doing 30 minutes of elliptical in the morning and 30 minutes of running/walking in the evening. They have Android and iOS apps that have limited functionality unless you pay the $1.99 or whatever to upgrade it – it was worth it and I used an account that is shared on all my family’s phones and devices to pay so my wife gets the upgrade too. It can be used indoors on exercise equipment (which is what I mostly do) but it really likes going outside to fire up your GPS and correlate actual distance and speed with heart rate. It gets weight data automatically from Withings to use in calorie calculations.

Digifit Web UI
Digifit Android UI

Heart Rate Monitoring

I bought a Jarv Bluetooth 4.0 Chest Heart Rate Monitor for myself and then another one for my wife about 3 days later since it works so well (then we can work out together!). It works exceptionally well and communicates to Digifit just fine, although occasionally it takes a bit of prodding or wetting the chest contacts to wake it up. Coupled with Digifit, it does a much better job at calculating the actual calories you are burning. This morning with the heart rate monitor, Digifit calculated that I burned 439 calories in 30 minutes on the elliptical. That’s a far cry from the machine’s solely weight based calculation of 870.

Ketone Level Monitoring

After a few weeks in Ketosis you get accustomed to what it feels like and can mostly just Keep Calm & Keto On. I do still occasionally check my ketone levels. When I first started I bought a 200 pack of  2 Parameter Glucose & Ketone Test (URS) Urinalysis Reagent Strip (C 200 Strips). I also picked up a very, very cheap blood alcohol breathalyzer about 2 months ago for fun because the super cheap ones can’t distinguish the difference between alcohol on your breath and acetone. Actual breathalyzers that cost more than $5-10 can tell the difference just fine. I’m very proud to report that this morning I blew 0.05% even though I have no alcohol in my system at all.

Cheap Breathalyzer
Ketone Test Strip looks great!