Working with Audio – iOS Apps

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Working with Audio – iCardio, iRunner, iBiker (iOS)

One of the biggest perks of exercising with your phone, besides tracking your workouts with a Fitdigits app, is using all of the awesome audio functionality that the mini-computer we now call smart phones have to offer. Be it jamming to your favorite iTunes playlist, exploring new music on Spotify, or being enthralled by an intriguing podcast, your phone offers you a myriad of options to entertain yourself while working out.

On top of that, Fitdigits apps have some unique audio functionality of its own. Voice feedback gives you a verbal summary of your workout thus far at pre-defined intervals, allowing you to adjust your workout as necessary to meet your goals.

Workout Voice Feedback

Fitdigits, using shrink ray technology perfected in “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”, has inserted a built in personal trainer right into your phone! Voice feedback gives your real time stats on your workout, based on pre-defined intervals. First things first, let’s turn voice feedback on.

Workout Stats & Progress Updates

Select your activity type you want to change settings on, then go to the Gear > Options > Audio & Voice.

Accessing Audio – Workout Feedback

From here you can choose the type of the voice and whether and what it will announce when you transition between Heart Rate Zones. Next are the Triggers. This is your chosen interval for when you will hear voice feedback. You can choose to have voice feedback come in when you you reach a certain amount of calories, elapsed time, and/or distance. For this example, I have chosen to have voice feedback triggered when I travel 1/4 of a kilometer.

Workout Status Audio Options

The final option is what you want spoken when you reach the trigger. I have left all options turned on- I will get my current heart rate, calories burned, distance, time and pace. If you have music or other audio playing, when voice feedback occurs it will dim so you can hear the stats over your music or other audio.

Advanced Audio Settings

When you choose Advanced Audio Settings, you open up more options by using the devices built in voice, which you can also customize to be a variety of voice types and accents, as well as additional features such as Workout Totals @ Finish, extra Personalization, and more. See this post on Advanced Audio for more.

In-Workout Settings

You also have the ability to make some small adjustments to voice feedback once you have started a workout. If you find yourself in a gym without headphones and want to turn voice feedback off, merely tap the gear icon in the lower right, and switch “Voice Feedback” to OFF.

In Workout Audio Options

You will also see an “Audio” volume slider. This is the volume of the voice feedback, and will not change the volume of the rest of your phone. If you feel you are being yelled at, turn the volume down here. You may also want to check the volume settings in the iOS device (slide up from bottom of any screen) or iTunes music, as the level there can also affect the workout feedback volume.

Working with Music, Podcasts & Other Audio

In iOS, the easiest way to quickly change the music or skip a song, is to use the Control Center, a pull down/up menu. The Control Center allows users to change songs, pause music, and more without leaving the app.

Another option to change songs, podcasts, audio books and more is to leave the app entirely. Fitdigits apps will work in the background as you browse through your other apps.

Why monitor heart rates in your iPhone fitness and health app?

I recently came across a website, jackis.com, that did a nice job of highlighting three good reasons to track heart rate: safety, effectiveness and incentive. I would suggest one more accuracy. If you want accurate an accurate calculation of calories burned during your workout, it needs to be derived from your heart rate.

From jackis.com: One of the goals of your aerobic workout is to improve your cardiovascular fitness.   Heart rates taken during exercise indicate how hard your heart is working.  Your heart rate is actually a motivating friend when you learn to monitor it properly, for this allows you to objectively detect beneficial changes that you can’t otherwise see.

The benefits of monitoring your heart rate are:

Safety. The heart rate is a gauge by which to assess the intensity of your workout to make sure you’re not overexerting or overextending yourself.  For example, if your heart rate is above your working heart rate range, it’s telling you to slow down a little and use fewer arm movements.

Effectiveness. If your heart rate indicates you’re not working hard enough, then you can work out a little more vigorously to maximize the effectiveness of your workout.  To maximize your aerobic workout, you need to stay in your working heart rate range for at least 20 to 30 minutes continuously.

Incentive. By monitoring your heart rate from week to week as you participate in an aerobic activity, you’ll discover that you will be able to exercise at a higher level of intensity, but at the same or lower heart rate.  This is the way the heart tells you it is becoming stronger and more efficient.  When you see positive results, it will motivate you to strive for even better results.