Episode 70: Technology Bytes. . .Fitness+

This is Technology Bytes, episode 70, for July 7th, 2020.

Technology Bytes is a microcast where I share brief bytes on interesting technology.

Enjoy, and here we go.

As I mentioned in my previous microcast that I’m going to get some length out of the WWDC announcements, and the fact that I’m running the betas on all my devices, and today is no different.

Today I want to talk about Fitness Plus in a couple of different aspects.

I want to talk a little bit about how I use it and what it looked like in the previous operating system, and then some of the changes that have been made and what I think of those, and how that affects how I do my Fitness Plus activities.

So one of the things that I do on a daily basis is use Fitness Plus.

I take a Sunday off where I just do a small walk, unlike my normal days.

But other than that, every day I’m using Fitness Plus, whether it’s for a high-intensity interval workout, whether it’s for strength training, whether it’s for core, whether a cool-down after a hard workout.

I’m using it every day.

I apologize for all the ums in there.

Anyway, on Apple TV, and that’s where I generally use it, in my living room in the mornings before work, I have a number of workouts, just the weight ones at the moment, that are saved.

The reason I don’t save the HIIT workouts that I do is because they, being Apple, update those on a regular basis.

The strength workouts are updated as well.

And when there’s new ones that fit in the category that I’m trying, then I do them, and then I add them to my library if I like them.

And then that gives me a choice.

Right now I may have 13 or 14 different workouts that I can choose from in the mornings if I’m doing the weight workout.

And that’s kind of a Monday, Wednesday, Friday thing.

But in the HIIT environment, rarely do I like one so much that I need to repeat it on a regular basis, or dislike one so much that I will never do it.

And so I just pick and choose as I go.

Sometimes I remember what they are, but most times I’m either choosing a new one that has been released in the week, or I’m doing one that I’ve done before.

And those are pretty interchangeable in my work.

So the one thing that happens in the library and the things that I’ve saved, and the workouts that I’ve saved in my library, is they are at the bottom of the screen.

So when I start the Fitness Plus app on the Apple TV, then I have to scroll all the way to the bottom to get to my personal settings.

And that seemed like a pain, and as far as I could tell, there was no way to readjust that.

And so that was a bit of an issue for me.

So that’s pretty much how I use it, and now I’m going to talk about some of the changes.

So the first thing I want to talk about is the changes on Apple TV.

And just so you know, I’m obviously running the beta, as I’ve told you that before.

And so the latest beta update, which is beta number two, developer beta number two, the first time I tried my Apple Fitness routine, I could not get it to connect to my watch.

And so I put that feedback into Apple, and then the next day it started working.

So I’m not really sure why or what happened, but it’s nice that it works.

But one of the things that they have done with Apple Fitness Plus is made it much like the other Apple TV interface, which is you have a home menu in the top left once you’re connected that lets you move between sections of the Fitness Plus app fairly seamlessly.

And so no longer do I have to scroll to the bottom.

I can just move the pointer.

It’s not a pointer.

The active screen to the left, and then it pulls up a menu system, and I can look at my library right there.

And then it just shows me the library on the screen.

I can choose the workout that I want.

So it is really nice.

And then there’s an Explore section.

There’s a place for saved workouts.

And overall, I think it’s a little easier to navigate, and it’s a little faster to navigate.

And then the other thing that they’ve done is put kind of a For You section like they do throughout many of their apps.

And when I say they, I’m always, for the most part, referring to Apple.

And it hasn’t been bad.

The only thing that I can’t tell in the For You section is always the exact workout that I want, but I might explore that a little bit more and see if the For You makes sense because they understand how I use the app.

And then so that makes it easier.

The connection is a little different.

Oh, my goodness.

Why am I saying so many ums?

I don’t remember doing that in the past.

I may have to go back and listen.

But it’s an easier interface, and I think it’s overall a more pleasant experience to use the Fitness Plus app.

And then on the Apple Watch and on the phone, they’ve added a couple things that you can look at to track what you’ve been doing.

And one of those is a training load.

And so every time you do cardiovascular activity.

So I walk and I do the HIIT workouts on every other day.

I walk every day, HIIT workouts every other day.

Then it pops up and gives you a ranking for how hard those workouts are.

And it could be from easy to moderate to super hard.

It kind of gives you an idea of your output while you’re exercising for each exercise unit that you do.

And I’ve noticed for the most part.

Well, let’s see.

I’ll take a step back before that training load can work.

You have to work out for 28 days because then what it does is it compares what you have done today or the last seven days to the last 28 days and let you know if you are working harder than you have generally worked or if you’re working easier than you have generally worked or if you’re right at about the same level.

And you can get grief.

You have the ability to change that training load setting.

So if you have a very hard workout and the fitness app says it was moderate, you can move it up the scale.

Or if you think it was easy, you can move it down the scale.

So you have the ability to change that.

The one thing that the training load doesn’t track is other types of workouts.

So when I do a weight workout, I might do one that is super hard in my opinion.

And because it’s not a cardiovascular and your heart rate may not necessarily go up as high as others.

I guess they don’t track that.

I don’t know if that’s going to change in the future, but it seems like that’s something that could be done.

Maybe there’s a limitation to what the watch can actually track when you’re doing weights, but it would be nice to see that added.

I’ve gone back and added a couple.

Haven’t decided yet if I’m going to continue to do that.

So one of the other things that they’ve added is a vitals app.

And what that does is measures your physical information while you’re sleeping and throughout the day.

So resting heart rates and the heart rate while you’re sleeping, the kind of sleep you got.

And then it lets you know if last night was similar to the nights before.

And so it’s kind of nice because it gives you an idea on your sleeping patterns, your vitals, heart rate, your wrist temperature, those kind of things.

And so it’s another good, useful tool for tracking health.

So with all of that, I think the improvements to Fitness Plus are really nice.

I am enjoying them at this point.

It will be interesting to see as they get a little more smooth and are a little more polished for the actual release of the software in September.

But for now, I am happy with the changes.

That is all I have for today.

If you have comments, suggestions, or questions, as always, you can send them to technologybytesatmerigfamily.com.

That’s M-E-A-R-I-G family dot com.

I want to thank you again for listening to the Technology Bytes microcast.

And I look forward to the next time we are together taking another bite of technology.

Joel Mearig @technologybytes