Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Earlier this month Under Armour emailed the subscribers of MyFitnessPal to warn them that their data has potentially been hacked and that they should take suitable measures to protect their online presence.
The purpose of this blog post is not to speculate on the benefits and risks of the online or mobile environment. There is plenty of such speculation in the media as it is about the risks of engaging in the online world without suitable responsibility or protection and the consumer advice is pretty well known with regard to this (use different email addresses for different reasons, use strong passwords, use a firewall, never share personal information unless it is mandatory, etc.).
Rather, the incident with Under Armour and MyFitnessPal raises in my mind the question as to what the actual value of such mobile applications actually is and whether in real terms they offer additional assistance beyond that trusty gym favourite of the dog-eared notebook and pen.
Designing a bespoke exercise programme in itself is not difficult, for example, and there is plenty of information online and available on the gym floor to allow this. Plus, the principles of exercising and monitoring progress are also pretty straightforward.
So what are they?
Well, first of all, start with a baseline understanding of your own level of fitness, weight, abilities and vulnerabilities.
Next, establish achievable goals that you want to reach over a reasonable time period (and the key words here are ‘realistic’ and ‘reasonable’). If possible discuss these with those that can give informed advice and, once you are assured that such goals and time periods are sensible, write these down together with your timeframe as your exercise plan targets.
Then, structure an exercise programme, diet and rest schedule to help you move forward against these targets on a weekly basis. This should include on which days you will exercise and for how long, what exercises you will undertake to what standard, what you will eat and drink, and how much you will aim to rest and sleep depending on your personal responsibilities.
This programme should reflect your plan goals (i.e. are you looking to lose fat or put on muscle, increase overall fitness or endurance, for example, or a combination of some of these) and what you can support in terms of time and resource.
Finally, when you have honestly evaluated your starting and transitional potential, taken advice and set your programme you can then record your progress when working out using your key measures (depending on your targets) and (hopefully!) gauge your progress in building your fitness.
There is a lot of detail in the above, but these are the key principles to designing and monitoring your own exercise plan.
And remember, what appears to work for others may not work for you, and also bear in mind that fitness comes in many forms. The important overarching principle should be to be realistic, informed and committed and to exercise with ambition.
A fit future awaits those that want it in this, the real and secure world.
Which is where we all, at the end of the day, live (or at least should do).
Enjoy your workout.