Using Self Tracking to Exercise More Efficiently
sports & fitness
Laila Zemrani wanted to know what would work best for her when it comes to exercise. So, she started self-tracking to exercise more efficiently. She wanted to understand how her body responds to exercise, what type of exercise works best for her, and how she can use her individual data to train better. In this talk, she shares her experiments and what she has learned from tracking her exercise.
Have you ever had this experience when you started an activity an then you realize that you might not really be very good at it. For example, you might have a friend who is doing the same thing, probably with less effort and who is getting better with time.
And so for me, I started from that idea that I wanted to know that when it comes to exercise what is it that would work best for me. So for example, I wanted to know if I have potentially any advantages in certain types of exercise versus other where I should probably not be perusing some types of exercise where i might not have a lot of advantages.
And so I thought there is probably two ways to study this so the first one is the theoretical approach. And so here is what we know is our bodies response to exercise, depends on factors that are very specific to us.
So for example, you can look at your genes, you can look at your environment. So what you eat, how you sleep. But then you look at the latest research but then become quickly a difficult exercise. So it’s hard to know exactly with a high level of precision what type of exercise might work best for you.
So what I thought was self-experimentation.
And so, before I get to that, so when it comes to physical activities there’s two things that actually we’re going to focus on. So and generally people tend to be better at one versus the other.
So the first one is strength which can be measures with muscle mass, and the second one is endurance, so it includes activities like long-distance running for example.
And so what I did here is that I tracked my exercise activity by type, so strength versus endurance and at the same time I tracked my fitness data. And how I did it I alternated between periods of strength exercise, training, and then periods of long distance running for example.
And I get the spreadsheet of what I did and when I did it, and I used a number of tracking devices; a lot actually but here I’m going to focus on two. So the first one was to measure strength, so this includes body fat and muscle mass, and the second one to measure endurance is mostly (strength?), run or race results.
So I’m going to start with this graph and what this represents is my weight actually and it includes two elements. The first one is body fat which you see in green at the bottom and the second one is lean mass. And so as you can see there are periods where the body fat drops a little bit right, and then it picks up. And so then it goes on and on.
So what I wanted to do was to compare this with my exercise data and see how exercise actually effected my – in the case of strength affected my body fat percentage.
And so we move here for example, I started earlier this year with long distance running, and then towards May early May I switched to strength. And then after a few weeks we see is that I have a drop in body fat percentage from 29 % to 25%, which I thought was pretty good because you know, after a few – two months and a half we see certain results.
And then after that we see an increase so what happened is I switched to different types of exercise. So I stopped doing strength training and I switched to long distance. And it goes on and on and it’s the same.
So for example, recently so up until yesterday, recently I started in November against strength training and then we see the body fat percentage drop. So this leads me to understand or realize that I might be a high responder when it comes to strength training meaning that we see results.
Now the second element remember was endurance right, and so this is the entire view. So I also (named it? 04:11) and as you can see I did periods where I was doing a lot of long runs, and so you would think with this effort might see a little bit of results. But what happened is that the circles there they actually represent my half marathon times.
So I started earlier this year and would run 54, so one hour 54 and with all this training I got actually worse a little bit, so one hour and 59 which is actually what I was doing last year and before so not a lot of improvement even though I was trying.
So as a conclusion what I learned is that it might be that in terms of strength training I might be a high responder meaning that we see results. Whereas with endurance training well I mean if I want to do it as an activity I could, but I probably should not be very disappointed if I don’t see a lot of results because I just might be a low respondent.