Josh Lost 200+ lbs With the Help of Fitdigits!

Testimonial by Fitdigits User Josh L.

I am an unabashed Who Dat (New Orleans Saints fan, to clarify for those who don’t know what that is) with a very French last name that has South Louisiana written all over it. I love being from the bayous of Louisiana, and I’m proud to be part of such a rich culture. The history, the people, and the football are all things we are extremely proud of down here. But if you polled the rest of the world, the one thing that would stand out as our claim to fame would have to be the food. We learn at a very early age how to make gumbo and jambalaya, boil crawfish, pot-fry rabbit, fry seafood and just generally excite your salivary glands. Whether it’s tailgating at a Saints game, or feeding a camp full of folks, we do food.

All this attention to food served me well in my younger days while I was still a participant in the sport I grew up loving, football. I weighed about 320 lbs at the time and, as a lineman, it was welcomed heft. But as my days on gridiron ended, and I kept my heft-centric diet, I got bigger, and bigger. I topped out at over 400 lbs. about 2 years ago. I got to a point where I felt concerned about my health (duh! I know, but down here I was just another big guy…which has a lot to do with why coronary artery disease is so common here). So I made a commitment to myself: we are going to drop some damn poundage!

As I followed through on this commitment to myself, and weight began to come off, I began to feel better, lighter, even athletic. And, I wanted to use this rediscovered athleticism. But how?

My wife and I spend our weekends in New Orleans. We love being in the city, and there is a race there called the Crescent City Classic (a.k.a. The CCC) that appealed to me. But it’s a 10k! That’s 6.1 miles! After some initial trepidation, I sold myself on the idea that I could get it done. This is when I began searching for an app to help me get started. I went through several, but couldn’t find one that really satisfied me once I was past the initial phase of starting. I didn’t know what I wanted, I just knew what I had wasn’t it. Then, one day I downloaded Fitdigits.

Everything about this app I liked! The dashboard was brightly colored, and easy to read mid-run. I loved the voice that would talk to me to let me know how far I had been, how many calories I had burned, how long I had been running, and my current and average pace. And the fact that I could customize how and when she (my Fitdigits voice is female, also a choice) spoke was just another thing I didn’t realize I wanted, but once I had it I loved it. This was awesome! Having these tangible results helped me to really hone in on the specifics of how my new body was performing. In tracking and reviewing my results, I was able gauge my gains in running. I barley finished that first 10k, but I did, with a time of 1:50:00.

As the pounds came off, I wanted more. And having these results enticed me to research, and compare myself to runners who do it for a living, just to see. In doing that, I had a food epiphany: if I want my Fitdigits results to get better, I should adopt the plant based lifestyle that every single runner I read about has. And being part of a heavy-drinking, heft-inducing culture, this was difficult to say the least. But Fitdigits was quantifying my efforts, my results. And as I saw the results get better and better, I wanted to be a runner even more! It dawned on me that I could, at the age of 34 be an athlete again. Football is not the only sport on the planet. Blaspheme!, right? I know, but I was changing my whole everything. I could still enjoy my football as a spectator in the New Orleans Superdome on Sundays, and be a actual participant in my new sport, running, the rest of the time.

My new nutrition and lifestyle, along with the tangible results I have recorded with my Fitdigits app., have made me into a runner. I no longer resemble that 320lbs 10k finisher hopeful, or that 320lbs lineman of my youth. I am now a lean, mean 204lbs athlete (I feel more like an athlete now than I did in college playing football) whose new participation sport is running. I completed my first half-marathon on October 12th this year with a time of 2:13:10. In my training for that half-marathon (the Jazz Half, btw. The results are on their website- and my Fitdigits app, of course.), I have inspired others by sharing my Fitdigits results on social media to begin running as well. The first thing I usually say is “get the Fitdigits app, and just start running” when someone asks how to get started.

Being able to quantify my efforts, share, and exhibit marked improvement along the way has been priceless for me in this journey. I am training for my first marathon now, and I post my results of my runs almost daily. One can just flick through my Facebook page or Instagram profile and see from where I’ve come. Fitdigits has empowered me in ways I never thought an app could.

Thank you!

Heart Rate Spikes and Dropouts With the Polar H7 and Other Heart Rate Monitors

See Also: Troubleshooting BLE Sensors

Have you been having spikes and dropouts in your heart rate monitoring? Especially with chest straps, such as Orange Theory and Polar H7 or other devices.

The way the belt works is that it receives electrical signals from the heart that are then shown as Beats Per Minute. However, without some kind of moisture (such as saliva, water, or a conductive gel) to act as a conductor between the heart and the belt, the signal will not be strong or consistent. We believed this is what causes erratic data, so we threw our lab coats on and decided to run an experiment.

Dropouts, which often are represented by “Flat Line” readings on the chart, are very typically low battery level or lost connection issues. An interesting note however; with certain devices such as the Polar H7 which have dual mode operation, the same heart rate monitor can read just fine on gym equipment while struggling to keep connection with the app. This is because the channel the H7 communicates with the gym equipment requires less battery power, so a low battery can be enough to power that channel (5.8 GHz) than BLE. Check out this great article on changing your Polar H7 battery.

Note: The Fitdigits app does not manipulate the data it receives from a heart rate monitor at all.

Immediate spike caused by conductivity issues

The Experiment: We decided to go out for a run using two devices, the Fitdigits app as well as a Polar watch. We connected both with the Polar H7. The interesting thing about this experiment is that the phone and the watch use two different platforms. The iPhone uses Bluetooth Smart to connect with the H7, while the watch uses a 5.8 kHz signal to pair. This enables us to be comfortable concluding that if both devices spike, it is because of the belt and not because of an issue with the app, or a specific platform (such as Bluetooth Smart). So basically we went out for a run with both devices, and whenever we saw a spike in the Fitdigits app, we compared those results with the Polar watch.

The Results:The run started with a bang, spiking right off the bat and soaring to unforeseen heights all the way out of zone 5! The watch mirrored the results. When the heart chart on Fitdigits showed our BPM going above zone 5, the watch showed exactly the same results, with no discernible difference.

Conclusion We conclude that the spikes are a result of conductivity issues and / or hardware issues, not the app itself. Any time you get a spike or dropout, it is either the result of your body not having enough moisture to get a firm connection with the belt, or, in more rare cases, the hardware going bad, many times the belt, but less frequently the HRM “peanut” (brain) – the part that clips into the belt, goes bad.

We also believe messing with heart rate numbers received from a device is not a good policy, even if it is due to these malfunctions.

ot-hrm-polar-belt-spikes

If you get spikes at the beginning of your activity, typically that points to a connection issue between the strap and your body, since you haven’t yet really begun to sweat. We strongly suggest wetting the strap with either water, saliva, or a conductive gel. Fitdigits has a great blog post on Troubleshooting Your Polar H7, and noted fitness blogger DC Rainmaker also has a great post on How to Fix Heart Rate Strap Dropouts/Spikes.

If you are mostly walking / running / biking, you might consider getting and Optical HRM (like the Scosche Rhythm+ or a Mio HRM) instead of the Polar (or any chest strap). Typically, not being electrical per se, they have less of these issues.

 

If you still are experiencing issues, please contact Fitdigits customer support.