Dave The Kayaker

Kayaking, musings, and my mid-life fitness journey. DaveTheKayaker


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My review of the Atlas Wearables Wristband 2 gym tracker

atlasI’ve been looking to replace my Amiigo fitness tracker ever since the company announced they were abandoning the project and all of their customers (a foregone conclusion after 18 months of total silence after they commercially launched the product.  Yes, I’m more than just a little bitter about those sleezebags.)

I was never really happy with the Amiigo device because it was never very good at recognizing activities and only after you would synch workouts with the app would you discover that it failed to recognize many exercises and only recorded them as “upper body burst” or “lower body burst.”  Not at all useful if you take workouts seriously and want to track progress over time.  Especially not useful if you do supersets and don’t have a good memory to remember each and every sequence of exercises you did and the amount of weights you used for each set so you can then painstakingly enter each one into an app after the fact.

Heck, I got the thing to get away from a paper workout log but found the paper more effective.

The activity recognition was horrible.  I hoped they would improve upon the exercise recognition algorithms but the company never did and then announced they abandoned the project.  (Did I mention I’m bitter about the whole experience?)

I conducted research online for months and determined that Atlas Wearables had developed a tracker that looked like exactly what I wanted.  (In fact, I had been scouting them before they even launched their product.)

I already have the Amazfit Arc for tracking steps and sleep and heart rate on-demand, so I wanted something that would do one thing very well.  Track my workouts in the gym.

After a month of using the Atlas, I am happy to report it is an excellent device for this task.

Once you tell the wristband which exercises you plan to do during your workout (it can store 15 exercises,) its recognition is very good and when you are done with each set of lifts, you can enter the amount of weight on the bar and even correct the number of reps in case it gets it wrong (which isn’t very often.)   That’s right, it has a touch screen so you can edit after each set and you don’t need your phone to access the app during a workout.  Sweet!

The device is not designed for all day wear and, in fact, it will not track steps, but it excels in the gym.  The battery will probably last two or three workout before you need to recharge it, but I find I prefer to turn off the power saving mode when I’m working out so I only expect to get one workout per charge.

By turning off the power saving mode, the LCD display stays on during my workouts so I save a press of the button every set just “waking up” the device to then enter a weight amount or correct the number of reps.  That might not sound like a big deal to you, but I start with lighter weights and work up to heavy ones and then back down to light ones so it saves me a whole lot of extra button clicking in the gym so I’m happy to sacrifice battery life for that.  If you do all your sets of exercises with the same weight it might not be that big of a deal for you.

Atlas also provides the ability to make edits to your workout post-workout and has an online dashboard to achieve this and the dashboard provides good insights into your training history.

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I am very happy with the device and can report that it does an excellent job recognizing each exercise.  Training new exercises that are not already in its database is easy and straight forward (see video review below.)

I highly recommend it as a gym tracker for the serious gym rat.

You’ll find a link to my video review below, but I do want to give you a “head’s up” that a new tracker claims to be coming out from a company called Actofit that looks promising as an exercise tracker.

Heaven knows that these companies can make any claims they want to prior to launch and I will never again buy another one based on pre-launch hype from an unknown company (like I did with Amiigo,) so I’ll wait to see what early users of the Actofit report.

But I’ll give them some guidance.

The only way to top Atlas as a gym tracker at this point would be to have greater memory so you can keep more exercises loaded in the wristband, better battery life, a sleeker design that would allow it to step out of the gym and be comfortable for all-day wear, waterproof design for swimming and kayaking, and good sleep tracking that includes Heart Rate Variability in order to assess recovery and over-training.

If Actofit or any other competitor wants to send me a tracker for early review I will be happy to oblige, but until then, Atlas reigns supreme as the best gym tracker on the market.

 


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Sleep is an important yet often overlooked part of training 

sleeper

I don’t usually get enough sleep myself, but after 4 straight days in the gym I’ve focused on trying to get good sleep for the past few nights.

I’ve been doing pretty well, my resting heart rate is dropping and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) increasing.  Both good indications.

See also:

The Importance Of Sleep For Weightlifters And Other Athletes


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Dave The Kayaker’s Meat Muffin Recipe

I’ve been experimenting with a well-known, 90-second paleo bread recipe and I think I’ve perfected a very tasty treat for those who are paleo or no grain who still want a treat with the consistency of bread or a muffin.

I give you my secret recipe, Dave The Kayaker’s 90-second high protein paleo bread / meat muffin recipe,  it is a high-protein, no grain bread recipe.

Is it bread or a meat muffin?

You tell me.


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First real test of the new year

I got called out of the country on business this week and only managed to get in one workout in the hotel fitness center.

So today was a test to see if I could snap back into the groove of training, especially since I am still a little jetlagged and am fighting the remains of a head/chest cold I had over the holidays.

I got in a very good lunchtime workout and snapped right back into the swing of things.  I managed to do a medium-difficult upper body workout and then later made dinner for the family which included grain-free, sugar free pizza and white turkey chilli.  A high protein, moderate fat, low-carb dinner that made everyone happy.

I’m feeling good and am ready to challenge my mid-section and lower body in the gym tomorrow morning.

This evening I also learned about the Chattajack 31 race in the American Canoe Association‘s Paddle News newsletter.  I’ll do a little more research into this race and then maybe add it to my racing schedule in 2017.


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Off-season training in the gym

I made it through the holidays without gaining any weight and have actually managed to drop 2 or 3 pounds since Jan. 1.

That might not be a good thing.

I continue my training through the off-season by hitting the gym 5-6 days per week doing body splits.  Today was an upper body day that hit most of the muscles that will assist during kayak racing season.  I did a leg day on Wednesday (after taking a week off for recovery) and am still feeling it.

I’m continuing up the learning curve with my Atlas Wristband and think I am close to realizing its full potential as a training tool and actually using it the right way now.  A few more sessions and I think I’ll be able to do a full review and render my opinion.

I do, however, feel a bit like a dweeb in the gym wearing both it and the Amazfit Arc tracker on the same wrist.  A little too much hardware going on there for a guy who generally considers himself a minimalist.  Oh well, call me a minimalist in search of better training tools.

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I plan to continue to walk the very thin line between adding muscle mass while not gaining fat through March at which point I’ll try to lean out and lighten up as much as possible in preparation for “fast yet light on the water” season.

Mid-life training is a lot like bodybuilding…except without the same results in terms of visible payback, and it takes a lot more effort and attention for a lot less return on investment.

I wish I had my youth to do over.