Keeping Track

Folks have been asking how I stay motivated to work out lately. Easy: I geek out.

Carrot Graph

Watching the weight drop

That’s a six-month graph of my weight as produced by The Carrot, the fitness site I’ve been using lately. I’ve been weighing myself daily all year because it gives me instant feedback about what’s working and what isn’t, like running versus letting things get derailed by a weekend of eating like crap. All my running is tracked with RunKeeper, which gives me maps and stats.

Seeing that progress on the page really helps. Every time I see a new low on the scale, it’s a thrill. Track, track and track. I don’t go overboard by tracking caloric intake (which The Carrot will let me do if I choose), but I definitely track numbers and overall progress.

The Carrot has become my official replacement for Google Health. I loved GH when it launched, but they’re killing the service on January 1st so I have to move my data. Unfortunately, while they do allow me to export all my data, there’s no import tool in The Carrot. I got lazy doing all the data entry and just transferred weekly weight entries for the first half of the year, which is why the data points are more scattered in the first half of the graph.

Google tried to point me toward Microsoft Health Vault, as both services are geared toward keeping track of all of your medical data and giving you the ability to share it with family members and medical professionals. My data transferred without a hitch, but unfortunately the Health Vault site is a cluttered mess. I want to get in and out with just a few clicks, and both Google Health and The Carrot accomplish that nicely. Health Vault’s a joke. It’s almost as if Microsoft engineers strive for inefficiency. They need to fire everyone and let the Xbox design team take over the shebang.

But I digress. Back to The Carrot.

If you want to track your weight, body measurements, exercise, blood chemistry, etc., it’s all there and chartable. Want to record every meal and count every calorie? They’ll let you do that, too. They even have some programs set up to help you exercise more, quit smoking, or lose weight, though I haven’t looked into them too deeply. I’m not thrilled with their too-shiny Web 2.0 design, but it gets the job done and it does the job very well.

Now if I can continue to train as obsessively as I track, I’ll be a happy (and thinner) camper.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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