Can the Apple Watch Help the Non-Fit Get Fit?

Apple Watch Series 3 Announced at the Steve Jobs Theater

Leaders in the fitness technology world eagerly await each Apple product launch to see how the company intends to help people improve their health and fitness through technology, and determine the impact it will have on the fitness industry as a whole.

From a fitness perspective, the Apple Watch took center stage at this year’s big event, the first to be held in the new Steve Jobs Theater.

Apple calls its smartwatch the “ultimate device for a healthy life,” and while the original Apple Watch was somewhat of a letdown for fitness tracker fans, the Apple Watch Series 3 includes apps and features that rival the best activity trackers out there, giving fitness enthusiasts richer ways to monitor heart rate, track a larger number of activities and biometrics, and interpret results.

By far though the biggest announcement for the Apple watch was the addition of cellular connectivity, bringing the full smartphone experience to the wrist.  For runners especially, this is great news.  No longer will you have to carry your phone and your watch on a run.  Now it’s all on your wrist.

Apple and many wearable makers clearly see the wrist as a key technology beachhead. People wearing these devices will become hooked on data tracking and, the logic goes, they will alter their daily behavior to be more active and make healthier choices because of this data.  While this wrist-up strategy may be fine for fitness enthusiasts and quantified-selfers, we see a day when the technology itself engages a broader audience — the currently disenfranchised consumer — to engage with fitness and stick with it long-term. That’s what we see as the real promise of fitness technology and we see it every day at Koko.

Our team has dedicated the past 12 years to this space, cracking the code on how to engage the 80% of the non-fitness enthusiast population in a more direct, holistic way. In other words, making technology the centerpiece of the fitness activity and experience, not just a tracking tool.  Then using the data created by those activities to not only understand what a person has done or is capable of doing physically, but to precisely prescribe and coach each individual dynamically within the experience. This is how you engage people at a level that truly drives new behaviors that lead to lasting, positive health outcomes, with quantified progress.

We are encouraged by Apple’s push to make fitness more accessible and engaging to more people as part of a healthier lifestyle through technology. We look forward to tech leaders like Apple to help us drive the fitness technology industry to the next level, to truly engage and transform those who need it most.

Mike Lannon
CEO & Co-Founder
Koko FitClub

 

Fighting Back Against Cancer with Fitness: Koko FitClub Member Spotlight

We are getting closer to May 4th and the kickoff to the Koko 5 Million Point Challenge to benefit Relay For Life®.  If you have ever “Relayed” you know that the whole inspiring experience is about honoring and celebrating those who have fought, and continue to fight  cancer.

So, this blog post is one great big celebration of a Florida KokoNut named Terry Best who, in the face of a tough cancer diagnosis, is empowered to fight back with Koko FitClub Coral Springs as his battleground.

Research has shown that for people fighting cancer, exercise can mean a longer life free from cancer.

Besides enhancing overall health, mood and outlook, evidence suggests that exercise actually improves your immune system’s “cancer surveillance,” protecting you against future cancer recurrence. Terry’s story is bound to get you moving, and inspire you to sign up for The Koko 5 Milllion Point Challenge on May 4th benefiting Relay For Life®. (Which just happens to be the day after Terry’s birthday…) Read on!

A Fighter’s Story by Special Guest Blogger, Terry Best

May 3rd, the day before the Koko 5 Million Point Challenge, will be my 65th birthday.  My wife and I have signed up for 12 and 10 cardio sessions, respectively, for this Relay For Life® event.  Before I retired, I always encouraged my employees to participate in the various Relay For Life® activities that were being held in the area.  I never thought it would mean as much to me as it does now.  I never thought I’d be the one fighting cancer.

Sixteen weeks ago I went to my primary doctor to see why I was so tired all of the time.  I joked with my wife that I probably needed my oil changed maybe had to have some of my fluids topped off.  After all, I am someone who takes good care of himself. (I’m 64 years old; 5’9”; 165 lbs; athletic; never smoked or experimented with drugs; having a drink means a glass of wine; and did I mention handsome? OK, OK, maybe I’m getting a little carried away.)  How could there be anything really wrong with me?  My blood tests were always fine, including my cholesterol that, for years, has been “in range” due to the pill that I take each night.  No cancer (EVER) on either side of my family, so that wasn’t even a consideration.  However, I was tired most of the time – unusually tired.  Well, that was sixteen weeks ago.

One look at my doctor’s face after he performed the always popular DRE exam to check my prostate said it all. I was in a state of shock.  There was no cancer in my family and absolutely no (none, nada, zilch) symptoms. During the next few weeks, it seems that all I did was schedule tests, spend endless hours in waiting rooms, take tests, wait for test results, schedule appointments to discuss test results with the appropriate doctors and then, start all over again. Life certainly had changed.

So, after ultrasounds,MRIs, PET Scans, bone scans and, my favorite, a prostate gland biopsy, the verdict was in:  I have a very aggressive case of prostate cancer.  It has spread from my prostate and is also now in my bones. That is labeled as “Stage 4” cancer. Lucky me – my cancer had no patience for Stage 2 or Stage 3 – it decided that Stage 4 is a much better place to be.  After all, with Stage 4 prostate cancer, it’s too late to operate. So, those smart, insidious cancer cells knew that they would be safe from the surgeon’s knife.

The protocol for my situation is hormone therapy, which deprives the cancer cells of testosterone. Without that fuel source, they die.  Unfortunately, at some time in the future, they will figure another way to thrive and we’ll have to go to Plan B.  Fortunately, with prostate cancer, (words that I never thought I’d use together) there are many other arrows in the quiver to use against it. The key for me, and all other prostate cancer patients, is to stay ahead of the curve and be in the right place at the right time when these new medications are available.

So, what does all of this have to do with Koko FitClub?  As it turns out, more than you’d expect.  When my oncologist told me that the depletion of testosterone will deprive the cancer cells of fuel, he also told me that it will cause me to lose muscle tone, gain weight and make me lethargic.  None of these side effects appealed to me, so I decided to do something about it.  While I’ve always been in decent shape, I’ve never liked the gym scene.  My wife and I used to belong to a health club, but I would head directly to the treadmills and spend all my time sweating and staring at a TV that was tuned to some channel that I would have never, ever chosen myself. (The treadmill must have worked at least a little, as I can proudly say that I was able to complete the Disney Marathon a few years ago.) I had no idea how to use any of the strength equipment and, even if I did, I had no idea what the correct weights, repetitions, sequences, etc. made sense for me.  But, as unappealing as going back into this situation was, when you find out that you have cancer, you tend to put things in perspective. I was going to work out.

As many of us do, I went to the internet to find a solution.  The amount of gyms and health clubs in my area is overwhelming, but they are all basically the same.  Pay your dues and figure out the rest.  They had pools and saunas and juice bars and basketball courts and racquet ball courts and spinning and twirling and preening and flirting and . . . well, you get the idea.  What they didn’t have was something for me.  They didn’t have something for a guy who didn’t need to lose weight, didn’t want to have bulging muscles and didn’t have a clue how to use the machines.  I needed a place that would provide both the roadmap to achieve my goals as well as the equipment/atmosphere that would make me feel comfortable doing so.  Then, I found Koko FitClub.

I met with the owner, Rob, and explained my situation to him.  Having cancer was still new to me and he was one of very few people who I had told about it.  I guess I wasn’t expecting his heartfelt compassion and, more importantly, his sincere desire to help me.  Rob showed me how Koko had various customized programs for a wide range of people with different goals, including (amazingly) mine.  Being able to do my entire strength workout  on one machine with a computer screen actually showing me how to do the exercises and adjust to my range of motion and strength variations was a revelation.  Could it be that there actually was a place that met every one of my needs?  And, to top it off, the owner, his staff and the other members of the club had the same mind set as me?  Sign me up!

So, what’s happened in the last sixteen weeks since that “you have a cancer” conversation in the doctor’s office?  Well, my testosterone level is now 0.00.  My PSA level went from more than 22 (2.5 to 4.0 is the target range) to 0.2.  And, my doctors are now using the word “remission.” As I’ve been told my cancer is “treatable but not curable,” “remission” is a wonderful word to hear.

What about the loss of muscle tone and “turning into a dumpling?” When my doctor asked me if I was experiencing any of the side effects that he warned me about – loss of muscle, lethargy, weight gain, etc. – rather than tell him about it, I handed him results I printed from my Koko webpage.  While I had to explain “Q Score” to him, the numbers and graphs of the other results spoke for themselves.

My first Koko workout was on February 4th.  My lean muscle was measured at 137 lbs. (I weighed approximately 167 lbs.) and my eBMI was approximately 17.  My “Q Score” was 58, which was very good for my age group. My lean muscle has INCREASED (remember, I had hoped to just maintain what I had) to 144 lbs. My eBMI remains in the ideal target range at 18.  My strength has INCREASED by 48 percent.  My Q Score is now 88, which is better than the average of any male age group, including those cool young guys in their 20’s and 30’s.  I’ve walked almost 100 miles and have lifted 500,000 lbs. I’ve accomplished all of this without any testosterone and, remarkably, actually enjoyed myself.

My doctor’s reaction was priceless.  Sixteen weeks ago, in this same room, he told me that I had aggressive prostate cancer and, obviously, it was a very serious conversation.  Now, he used the word “remission” and he was smiling from ear to ear (me too!) Having the ability to print out my progress and hand it to my doctor(s) is something that I never thought about when I joined Koko FitClub.  It has turned out to be a terrific way to show them how I’m fighting back.

Fighting back. My treatment – receiving monthly shots in my hip and stomach and taking some pills each day – is relatively passive on my part. It’s up to my body chemistry to react to them.  However, by working out, I feel that I am actually attacking the cancer cells.  Each step, each completed rep, each scoreboard result on the Koko Smartrainer screen is evidence that I’m fighting back.  Koko uses the phrase “Stay Strong.”  That was the perfect reason for me to join.  I would have settled for “Stay Strong.” However, to my surprise, “Get Stronger” is much more applicable to what I’ve been able to achieve.

Terry Best
Certified KokoNut

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Office

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

4 Big Pitfalls People Fall Into When Trying to Get Fit

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Falling victim to fitness myths is an inevitable part of the process, especially when you first start out.

Unless of course, you do your research. Or you have a knowledgable helper.

Either way, mistakes are a part of life. We do all we can to make sure we don’t fall victim to the fallacies. So, to help guide us in the right direction, here is a list of four common mistakes people make when trying to get fit.

ENDLESS CRUNCHES

If you want a flat tummy, you need to work out just your stomach right? 

Wrong.

Doing hundreds of crunches every day will not do anything for that waist line. Just like all other muscles, abs need a rest and recovery period.

Doing them every day fatigues the muscle, yes, but it doesn’t give the necessary time for the muscle fibers to heal before hitting them again. This equates to zero growth.

Abs are the hardest to make show, not only because they are difficult to target, but because abs and waist lines are 90% diet. Your body fat percentage determines the visibility of your abs and the size of your waist.You’re much better off focusing on cardio and weight loss methods like circuits and interval training in order to drop the pounds, rather than continuously breaking and re-breaking down your abs and obliques. The more you engage your core during your workouts, the better.

Endless crunches are actually one of the least effective ab targeting methods out there. De-conditioned bodies call upon surrounding muscles to complete the sit-up, meaning your lower back and obliques will be hurting far before your abdominals.

If you’re going to build your abs, start with seated cable crunches where you have control over the weight, or leg raises where the need for you back and obliques is virtually eliminated.

NOT CHANGING THE WAY YOU EAT

As mentioned previously, half of living a fit and healthy lifestyle is adapting to a healthier diet. People who are new to fitness always make one of two diet mistakes:

1. They Don’t Change a Thing

This is typically a sign of laziness or an incomplete understanding of healthy living. Part of feeling better every day and healthy weight loss is replacing the trans fats, sugars, and preservatives your body is used to with good sugars (fruits), good carbs (like veggies and nuts), and protein-packed foods.

Instead, they do their endless crunches and then go home and eat their large pizza because they ‘deserve it’ after working so hard at the gym!

That is a recipe for stagnancy. You can’t reinvent yourself by hanging on to old habits.

Go to the grocery store, grab some celery, and munch on that instead of a Big Mac and fries.

2. They Starve Themselves

It’s called a caloric deficit. Burn more calories at the gym than you ingest during the day. That’s the plan.

The issue is, people take it too far. Going to the gym on an empty stomach feeds empty blood to your muscles. By ’empty blood’ I mean nutrient and amino acid (the building blocks of proteins) free.

Starving your body is one of the worst things you can do. You may lose weight, but your body feeds off stored energy when operating without fuel. And that stored energy can come in the form of fat AND muscle.

This means that ‘fasted cardio’ and lifting on an empty stomach can actually decrease your muscle mass more rapidly than decreasing your body fat. Muscle is always the first to go.

In the long run, it’s better to eat or be eaten – literally.

TOO MUCH, TOO SOON

That kind of says it all. Don’t do too much, too soon. This message is especially for the people who used to be gym rats, took a 20 year break, and then decide they can get back into it at the same level they dropped off at.

The key when getting back into the swing of things (or when you’re first starting out) is learning proper form and technique.

Just because you can push 200lbs on the benchpress without crapping your pants doesn’t mean you should. If you’re doing it with rotten form, then you’re getting little to no benefit from it. Your muscles are not learning or developing properly, you’re increasing your risk of injury, and above all you probably look like an idiot.

You need to start small. Don’t worry about what the other gym goers think, half of them probably have have horrible form anyway. Find a solid coach who can walk you through proper form, flexion and extension, and assess your strength levels. And practice practice practice!

Doing a light weight with perfect form is 10 times more beneficial than doing a super heavy weight with horrible form. Remember that.

YOU GAVE UP

“I went to the gym for like a month and saw zero change, so I stopped. It wasn’t helping me anyway!”

 

If there was ever a face-palm moment – this is it.

Simply put: It takes longer than a month to show signs of progress.

A fit and healthy lifestyle is just that… a lifestyle. It’s not a quick fix.

If you want good health and the energy to go out and live your life, you need to stay committed to it! A month is nothing. You won’t start seeing definition or growth until around two months in.

Stick to your routine, if you get stuck find a way to motivate yourself. That can be as easy as getting a gym buddy to yell at you when you slack.

No matter what you do, quitting should never be an option. Push yourself and have fun testing your limits. No one said it had to be a chore.

Fitness is a garden – dig it, make it work for you

 

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub


Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

3 Types of Fitness Systems to Avoid if You Are A Beginner

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So, let’s say you have never exercised in your life. Sure, you played sports in high school and maybe a couple club leagues in college, who didnt?

Now you’re in your mid 40′s, you have two kids, a 9-5 job and the only thing fitness related you’ve done is stretching your stomach with quick-ready, preservative-infused minute meals so that you can get to work (or sleep) at a decent time.

One day, you wake up and decide ‘this is no way to live, I need to make a change in my life.

Congrats! You just took the first step towards reinventing yourself. Now, the next step is where to do it.

There are so many fitness centers out there that it can be an overwhelming nightmare to know where to start. Here is a short list of gym types to avoid when you first starting out.

BIG BOX GYMS

What’s a box gym?

box gym is the stereotypical gym that you think about whenever someone mentions the word ‘gym.’ These essentially are a wide space floor plan that consists of rows and rows of cardio machines, cable and tension machines, free-weight dumbbells going all the way up to 150lbs, and barbell benches and racks.

So? What’s wrong with that?

Box gyms run on the linear business model of ‘the more people who sign up, the more money they make.’

The average membership of a box gym is only 3-5 months. They take full advantage of the fact that you have no idea what you are doing and will soon leave. They are in the acquisition business, not the retention business.

Take the example of a mother just trying to get fit again from GPP Fitness:

She’s not terribly comfortable in her own skin right now and would like nothing more than to come to the gym, get a workout and go home.  She would like to do this as anonymously as possible.  Invisibly even.  However, unfortunately she has been thrust into the same room to achieve these objectives as those 20 something [people] who view the gym as more of a night club.

This is a fend-for-yourself environment, which is not conducive to someone who needs direction and motivation.

96% of big box gym-ers receive no individual attention or even a head nod in their direction.

That’s why new fitness trends and systems are so sought-after: people need guidance, assistance, or to be shown that their struggles matter.

STUDIOS

Ah the studio. Where a bunch of people collectively follow an instructor who is deaf to the individual’s goals.

Studios center around one type of exercise or physical activity and turn it into an hour long big room class. The issue with these is that they do no provide you with any lasting skills in terms of form, technique, or noticeable strength gains.

The motto is, burn as many calories as possible and try and keep up. Classes like hot yoga, tae bo, tabata, and zumba don’t do much to pander to a new beginner. Moms, dads, newly weds, people who work difficult jobs, or people who are otherwise indisposed by the responsibilities of every day life don’t have th ability to set aside a full hour of doing something somewhat correctly.

Especially when there are far better systems out there that can optimize your results in half that time!

When you’re first starting out, you need a guide. A studio class does not guide you on a personalized path to success, they pull you along a static path with 40 other individuals.

FITNESS FADS

Hair bands, parachute pants, mullets…

parachute-pants-for-men

We are all familiar with fads. But what are fitness fads?

Essentially, they are the same as fashion fads. They’re popular for a bit and then die out. Normally, because they simply don’t work.

Tae Bo, aerobics, the ab roller, and boot camps. There have been many, many more throughout the years.

They promise fast results with ease and people purchase memberships by the thousands! But when it comes to creating a foundation and setting yourself up for success, you fall slightly short every time because you are following someone else’s plan. 

You’re also spending more money for less benefit.

The bottom line is, each one of these systems has its merits. Some fads are still popular and for good reason!

However, none of them involve personal 1:1 coaching, which is truly what an individual needs when first starting out.

Instead of walking around a box gym for an hour, not knowing what to do, you could spend 30 minutes with a coach, doing exactly what you need to do. Everyone is different, which means everyone has different needs and goals. Lumping yourself in with 40 other individuals in a group class does nothing for personal development. It just makes you one of the pack.

To make sure you get the best return and results from a new fitness program, play it safe and seek out a coach who can work with you to figure out a well-tailored plan that helps you reach your goals. This is our approach at Koko FitClub (in fact, our name is a Japanese word that means one to one), and the basis for our Smartraining methodology, and it helps our clients build both strength and confidence progressively, for longer lasting results and better adherence to their fitness program.

Stay Koko Fit!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub, LLC

Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

A Quick Start to Eating Healthy At Work

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Those of us who are employed at a steady 9-5 understand the struggle “what do I eat for lunch every day?”

Unfortunately, we are typically falling victim to the easy, ready-made meals that we can grab at Target, or a quick Italian sub from the deli down the road. We stick to whats around the office.

Well, it’s time to throw off the shackles of lunch time quick stops and embrace the life of healthy, meal prepped goodness.

Let’s take out all the trans-fats, preservatives, additives, GMO’s, empty calories, and high bad carb counts and replace it with fresh vegetables, good carbs, and high levels of protein and fiber.

Here is an easy lunchtime meal tat will leave you energized for the rest of the day.

 

TUNA AND EGG SALAD

Ingredients

Low-Sodium White Albacore Tuna
2 eggs
Celery
1 tbsp of Low-Fat Mayonnaise
Garlic Powder
Salt
Pepper
Sriracha Hot Sauce (if you like spicy)

Instructions

First, hard boil your eggs with our fool-proof method: Place your 2 eggs in a small boiling pot, fill it with water so that is JUST covers the eggs. Place on a burner uncovered and bring to a boil. As soon as the pot comes to a boil, remove from heat and cover for 10-12minutes. Scoop out eggs and place in a bowl of cold tap water. Drain and set aside to cool.

Open the can of tuna and drain the excess water. Chop up your celery into small pieces. In a bowl, place the tuna, celery bits, mayo, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Peel the hardboiled eggs and dice them. Add the eggs to the rest of the ingredients. Mix with a fork until properly incorporated. Place on your bread of choice or eat as is for a delicious meal. Enjoy!

 

This is a high protein and healthy-fats lunch that will fill you up. Make a bunch at once and save in portions to bring to work or to snack on during the weekend.

Stay Koko Strong!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub


Interested in Koko?
Try 30 days of complete fitness and coaching for just $30.


GET 30 DAYS OF FITNESS FOR $30

About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.