As we get older, our responsibilities grow and our bodies slow down. It’s a fact of life that by our mid twenties we stop growing, and with every year we age our hormones and metabolism slow down. Add in job responsibilities, families, pets, and general life, it can be real easy to stop taking care of ourselves.
You never realize how good of shape you’re in until you’re out of shape. I’m no different than anyone else. I just turned 36 this last Sunday, and I really need to get my butt back into shape. Kids aren’t in my life plan, but a full time career as a medicinal chemist is as well as writing for AndroidGuys. It’s too easy for me to not make time to take care of myself. After a long day, a cold beer or two definitely melts my stress away, but puts me in a state of laziness. It’s gone on too long.
I decided to take action. One step at a time.
I’ve been a big guy my entire life. This body that I have been blessed with allowed me to excel in sports all the way through high school. In college I leaned out and got in real good shape. But then life got in the way, and now I honestly could afford to drop about 20 pounds. Maybe 30.
About a week and a half ago I joined in on a friendly walking competition with some friends from the local dog park I bring my dog park to everyday. We downloaded an app called Argus, and since that day I have been working out and feel like I am taking control of my health.
Argus for Android
The reason why I chose to download Argus was due to the compatibility between Android and iOS. My friends from the dog park found an app that we could all use to track our steps and not only compete with each other, but offer support as well. Most of them use iPhones too.
Generally most of us all carry our smartphones with us wherever we go, and the app takes advantage of the built-in hardware that’s included in our smartphones to track our steps. While we could have picked up fitness trackers like Fitbits or Android Wear smartwatches, we opted for the Argus app, since it is free to download and use, at the Google Play Store and Apple App store. The Argus app is compatible with many fitness trackers, so if you have one it might be a good alternative to use instead of your smartphone.
In order to get our group motivated we made a bet to up the stakes. The bet was, whoever ended the seven day period with the least amount of steps would take the group out to happy hour on their dime. While that wasn’t motivation for me, simply competing again amped me up to where I wanted to win. Argus was simply a step tracker for me at that point, but a tool to show that I could win.
The homescreen interface is very simple and nice to look at. The app tracks my steps very well. Sure you can cheat and shake your phone, but there is no real point in that and if you’re going to waste your time shaking a phone just to beat your friends, you should probably find something more productive to do. After day two and 50k steps later, I started to look through Argus to see what other features it offered.
It shows what day you’re on, how many steps you’ve taken, how much coffee you’ve drank, a place to track your heart rate using the camera lens in your smartphone, weight tracking, as well as food and water intake. Naturally I went with what was easiest first and that was tracking my water intake.
From the days of when I used to work out to look good, I know that just a 2% reduction of fluid in your body can result in a 10-20% decrease in athletic performance. Not to mention that water is required to make your body function efficiently. If you don’t have good water intake habits, your physical and mental health can suffer tremendously. Admittedly over the past few years I got real tired of going to the water fountain to fill up my water bottle at work. I usually went a whole day of just drinking coffee to keep me awake which is a natural diuretic. This contributed to my fatigue at the end of the work day.
After tracking my water intake, I brought a bottle into work and started drinking at least two to three full bottles during the work day. By the time I got home, I felt good and hydrated for my workout, rather than feeling empty on coffee. I still haven’t started tracking my food intake yet as that is a whole different level of commitment I am not ready to take on yet. But when I am ready, I can track caloric intake through Argus.
By day five, averaging over 20k steps per day, my friends started to wonder if I was cheating. How could this out of shape guy get so many steps? So I started to track my heart rate during my running/elliptical sessions to show I really was working out. When you have friends that you follow, you get to see the information they input as well. One of my friends is a medical doctor, and validated that I was working out and earning my steps with the increased heart rate that went along with my workouts.
By day seven, the walking challenge bet was no longer about happy hour or winning. It was about how good I felt and finally taking control of my health. Sure my feet ached and my knees hurt, but my skin felt clean, my muscles were awakened, and my mental health improved more than anything else. I also sleep better now too.
I think tracking progress with a scale is annoying and can easily demotivate someone who wants results too quickly. I measure my progress now by how my clothes fit. My pants are a little looser, and that made me feel real good about myself. Sure I have a long way to go, but with Argus, I am getting there one step at a time.
Argus for Android isn’t as good as its iOS version. It lacks the challenge feature which it says is coming soon in the app. I don’t know how much I believe that considering how long it has been out, but there’s always hope. Competition is good for some like me and lacking that feature is annoying when I know that iOS has it.
There’s still the ability to see how many steps my friends have taken as the app shows me who has walked the most throughout the day. Or I can also click on each individual friend to see how much they have walked. When I see a bit of laziness, I give them a call and we walk our dogs together. The beauty of Argus is the social support or competition if you want it. Argus is not perfect, and there are lots of other apps and fitness trackers that work similarly, but the interface, social interaction and ease of use have me coming back for more every single day.
Do you want to get healthier?
According to data from Nielsen, the number one New Year’s resolution is fitness. There is a very high chance that you made a commitment to get in shape. If it’s to look better, feel better, get in shape to spend time playing with your kids, or simply to get healthy for more energy, now is the time to download Argus.
Join in my commitment to get in shape. Add me on Argus. My username is Derrick Miyao and my associated email address is [email protected]. We can challenge each other, or we can offer support when we need it most. I’d love to connect with you. There is no prize in signing up except you will feel better and improve your health. The more people who sign up, and the more who connect with each other, the higher the chances all of us will stick to it.
Argus is free to use with a premium add on of $30 per year which I have not signed up for. The app isn’t perfect, but it is really good. On Android it sometimes lags when it tracks steps, but eventually it will refresh and catch up.
Most importantly though, it is free and your first step to getting in shape. I highly recommend you check Argus out if you want to get healthier. Just about anyone can get healthier.
Download Argus at the Google Play Store and add me, Derrick Miyao. I look forward to it.