The Apple Watch as a fitness device – Part 1: MotiFIT

It is possible to use the Apple Watch as an effective fitness device? I honestly think so (at least if combined with an external bluetooth heart rate monitor like the Polar H7 displayed below).

I would like to review some of the apps I use and love most, in the hope that others will consider it interesting, and perhaps saving some Apple Watches that could have fallen into the oblivion, bringing them back to a newer and better life as fitness trackers devices outside the obvious native applications.

Ready, steady… Lets Go!

I use fitness apps on the Apple Watch on a regular basis. Some of them are good, but only a few are actually worth it, and can provide a better experience than not using any app at all while practicing sport.

If designing a “normal” app is already a very difficult task, designing a good fitness app that is going to serve a user that is on the move, is even more complicated.

That difficulty is the reason why I have been amazed recently by an application that I use normally for doing ciclo indoor interval trainings, or just to check my heart rate while practicing. It allows me to know just from a glance which cardio zone I am training on  at any specific moment of time, and also if I am reaching my limits and I should take it easy and reduce the cadence or free some resistance over the wheel.

But let me give you some extra information about what heart rate cardio zones are, because this could result a little bit confusing if you are not used to them.

For effectively training cardio, we need to consider the percentage of the Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) at which we are training.
The MHR is the maximum amount of beats that our heart can provide in one minute. The logic behind heart rate cardio zones is, that it is not the same training, for example, at 80% of our MHR for 20 minutes, that training just at 50% of our maximum peak for the same amount of time. Both things produce different adaptative responses in our bodies.

But… how we calculate our MHR? For men, we can use a basic formula: 220-our age.
So for example, if you are 40 years old man,  your Maximum Heart Rate will be  roughly 220-40=180.

Of course there are formulas more accurate that take into consideration your heartbeat while on rest (basically considering if you are more or less fit, or have recovered properly from a previos exercise), but for the sake of clarity, we will keep the formula simple; for men that formula would be 220- age = MHR, as described above, but for women, there is another formula more accurate, which is: 206 – (88% of your age) = MHR

Once we know how to calculate the MFR, we need to embrace the idea that training at different percentages of the MHR, arouse different reactions on our body, and different benefits.

This graphic summaries the cardio zones, and the effect in our body:

 As you can see, each zone has a name (from very light to maximum), and an interval of bpm measured as a percentage range of the MHB.

So, lets say you want to schedule a training session with the main purpose of burning fat. In that case, according with the info,  you might train on the moderate interval that goes from 60% to 70% of your MHB.

Again if you are 40 years old this is from 108 bpm (60% of 180) to 126 bpm (70% of 180).

Easy, right? You must keep your heart beating from 108 to 126 bpm if you are 40 years old and want (mainly) to burn fat.

Keeping track of this while training is a little bit tedious, and need a heart monitor. Apple Watch can be a good one when used with the right tools. That is the reason I have been so amazed recently by a little app, with a cleverly designed user interface, that makes my training better, converting my Apple Watch in an more effective fitness device.

That app is called MotiFIT, and before continuing ,let me clarify that I am not related in any way with the creator of the app. I am just a user.

The app facilitates monitoring your heart beat and cardio zone effortless, and provides accurate and relevant information on the Apple Watch through a beautiful interface.

It can work together with the Iphone or  independently on the Apple Watch, which is the only device I carry (together with a bluetooth heart rate monitor Polar H7) while training. It works also with the internal cardio sensor of the Apple Watch, but frankly not as smoothly as using an external bluetooth heart rate monitor.

The main reason why the application has amazed me, is because its clever UX design. Designing a good app is difficult, designing a beautiful app that properly helps the user while practicing sport is even rarer.

Take a look to just one of the multiple views you can select from MotiFIT interface while the app is running natively on the Apple Watch

 Top left is the hour of the day. Under that, the big number with a heart symbol, represents the current bpm. Below that, there is the flame symbol representing the burned calories.

Then it is the circle metaphor. It grows clockwise filling the circumference with a color bar until it arrives to the zone that corresponds to the current bpm.
Notice that there are different colors: blue, green, yellow and red, each of them representing the different cardio zones, and displaying in real time the current zone with the bar that fills the circle circumference. You just need to take a look to the circle bar and take note of the color at the end (in this case yellow), to know the zone you are currently training on.

So in the example I was training on the yellow zone (hard) at 138 bpm.
As I have simply started the training,  the calories burned were only 7 (flame symbol).  The line on the inner part of the circle, the one that is closer to the heart graphic, displays the average bpm on the whole training. The external line, is the maximum bpm reached during the training.

Simply, beautiful, useful, precious.

And this is just a view of several available.

Who said that the Apple Watch was not a serious training device, when combined with the right applications like motiFIT?

Vehicle design

I have a personal frustration. At the beginning, it  was small, but I have noticed recently that the pain  is increasing over the years, and not getting better.

My issue is that I am cannot draw properly,  but still I am fascinated about product design. I am doomed by my lack of ability, and each year that passes the frustration weights more and more.

So, if it is true that we reincarnate into something new in the next iteration of this bucle called life, I want to know right now what do I have to do in my remaining existence, so I will behave properly for the rest of my life in order to reincarnate myself as an industrial designer in my next existence.

I am particularly eager to reincarnate as a vehicle designer, but if that is not possible, I will settle being “just” a good product designer.

Take a look to the videos of the Royal College of Art


Llaves, malditas llaves

Tengo un problema con las llaves, pero no solo con las mías: que son pesadas, voluminosas, y me generan no pocos quebraderos de cabeza, sino con todas las llaves en general. Con la tecnología subyacente. Con el concepto propio de llave.

Me cuesta comprender como, en pleno siglo XXI, podemos seguir transportando trocitos de metal de un lado a otro para poder acceder a cada uno de los sitios a los que legítimamente tenemos acceso.

Me resulta tan anticuado esto de estar usando llaves, que a veces pienso que todos los demás avances tecnológicos de la humanidad son una falacia.

En mi opinión, mientras no consigamos desprendernos de ellas, de las llaves, es como si un trozo de la Edad de Hierro viajara aun en el bolsillo del pantalón de cada uno de los humanos.

Es un fracaso que, como especie,  aun tengamos que llevar encima cien trocitos de metal cortados de formas distintas para poder entrar a los sitios.

¿Por qué ha sobrevivido esta tecnología? Quizás la simplicidad del concepto es lo que la hace tan persistente en el tiempo. La llave es simple de usar, no necesita corriente eléctrica y para duplicarla es necesario tener (casi siempre) la llave original, así como herramientas especializadas (lo que la hace en apariencia bastante segura).

Eso hace que su uso se haya extendido hasta tal punto que ahora resulta muy difícil desprenderse de ellas. Quiero creer que es por ese motivo por el que han sobrevivido durante siglos, y no debido a un  extraño complot judeo-masónico-comunista.

De cualquier forma, en mi búsqueda permanente de alternativas al manojo desordenado de  llaves con el que me muevo habitualmente por el mundo, he llegado a varias soluciones interesantes que me ha permitido poner orden al caos.


Tengo actualmente dos de estos “porta llaves”. Su diseño es simplemente brillante, ocupa muy poco espacio en el bolsillo del pantalón o la chaqueta, y cumple perfectamente su cometido a la vez que aporta bastante estilo al clásico llavero sobrecargado.


How to be seen while cycling

I am an early bird, and I prefer to do exercise in the morning.

The problem is that I also start working quite early, so that means that I had to rise very early if I want to do some exercise before starting to work.

As it is clear to me that I am so exhausted on the evening that I need to go directly home and then I would never train, I force myself to wake up very early, like 6:15, whenever I want to achieve something.

The problem (particularly in winter),  is that there is no light at that time, and that my favorite sport is cycling and it can be very dangerous to ride with no lights.

I solved the issue partially with a couple of HALO belts.

This is what I normally bring with me:

LED USB Rechargeable Reflective Safety belt

They will see you, that´s for sure.

Now I just have to find a head lamp good enough for the mountain bike.

Prehistoric computing

Thanks to the effort of I have discovered that all the numbers of the old Spanish computing magazine: MicroHobby, can be downloaded in a PDF format.

When I saw them, I remembered almost every single cover of the magazine (and I am impressed by the quality of those covers).

Furthermore I have discovered amazed that I did a very small contribution on number 1 (I completely forgot about this, truly)

This was probably 1990.

Yes, computers have been part of my life always.

Why I keep this blog?

Running this blog is my way to celebrate life, and to try to achieve more.

By writing down what I do and what do I accomplish, I definitively feel that I do more things, and I am more conscious about how time flies. This is my way of realising that although it flies (that bastard called time), I accomplish things every single day of my life. A life well lived, that´s the only epitaph I wanna read on my grave, and yes, I am doing all the best to make it real.

So, definitively I will keep posting during 2016.