All Articles Tagged "fitness"
Fitness Trainer And Bodybuilding Champ Dekel “Bowflex Barbie” Nesbitt Says Stop Confusing Muscularity With Masculinity
It’s pretty tough being a woman — especially when it comes to dealing with body image. For instance, there is so much conversation about skinny women and plus-size women, but very little conversation and thought given to women in between. Another example? If you’re too big, people want you to lose weight, but if you drop more than they expected, then you’re told “Don’t lose too much!” And one of the most annoying instances is when you decide to take control of your health, build muscle to be stronger, and eat better, only to have people say that your form is “too much” or that you look manly. That’s been the experience of many fitness enthusiasts who are muscular, take part in bodybuilding competitions, and make greater use of their bodies than looking good in Instagram pics. But for Bahamian-born trainer and champion bodybuilder Dekel “Bowflex Barbie” Nesbitt, she’s not letting other people’s perceptions of what’s “soft,” “appropriate” and “womanly” hold her back. We talked to the 23-year-old fitness enthusiast, social media star, 2016 National Figure Champion and 2015 Central America & Caribbean gold medalist. She explained when and why she got into bodybuilding, talked about men being intimidated by her, and why people tend to confuse muscularity with masculinity. Here’s what she had to say about all of that, and how you too can smash your fitness goals and get active.
MadameNoire: You’re pretty young! What inspired you to start taking bodybuilding seriously? Have you always been active and fit? If not, how did you start taking your health seriously in terms of exercise and how you eat?
Dekel Nesbitt: My love for fitness and lifting weights began when I was 14 after losing my mom to breast cancer. It was my outlet, and to this day, still is. Growing up I was always very athletic and active and played volleyball in college for two years as well. I had always been afraid of the bodybuilding stage up until 2015 when I decided to just go for it. I really liked that it added a lot of structure to my training and gave me a real goal and challenge to train for. Bodybuilding showed me the difference between eating for my goals and eating healthy. Before bodybuilding I ate healthy as I came from a family that did, but bodybuilding took healthy eating to a whole new level for me. It really has shown me how we really do wear what we eat and that our bodies are truly a reflection of what we put into them.
MN: Were you ever intimidated by the idea of bulking up? A lot of women like to say that they don’t want to lift weights and do resistance training because they don’t want to get “too muscular.”
DN: I was never scared of the idea. Realistically, the amount of testosterone that a woman would have to naturally produce to be “bulky” is unrealistic. But even before I knew the science behind it, all I knew was that what I was doing was for me. So as long as I was happy with how I looked and felt, I was satisfied. I began lifting solely as therapy, so getting “too muscular ” was never a fear of mine — though I was reminded not to get “too muscular “quite often.
MN: Do you find that men are intimidated by you in terms of dating, or have things been copacetic? Do you try and get to know guys who also participate in bodybuilding competitions?
DN: It’s funny you ask that. I do know I intimidate a lot of men. One of my favorite quotes is that “Strong women only intimidate weak men.” My boyfriend is a bodybuilder as well and I find that he gives me genuine support because he knows exactly how much time, effort, energy and dedication it takes to do what I do. He makes a conscious effort to make my life as easy as possible in any way that he can. That’s super important as a competitor and as a woman to know that your man truly loves, supports you and has your back.
MN: Why do you think people confuse muscularity with masculinity and say it’s “too much”?
DN: I think that society has taught us to accept the norm for women to be fragile and weak, and for men to be dominant and strong. So when a woman appears to look physically strong, they often connect it to a masculine appearance. The “too much” aspect I think is often linked to the fact that they themselves, whether man or woman, cannot achieve that look or close to it, so they label it as “too much.”
MN: And why is it important for you to encourage other women of color to be more open-minded about bodybuilding?
DN: I think a lot of Black women naturally have the build to excel in the sport. Bodybuilding also has changed my life so much for the better. It has opened opportunities and ignited self-discovery on so many levels for me. I just really want more women in general to experience what I get to as a competitor.
MN: Living in the Bahamas, how has your look and ambition when it comes to bodybuilding and fitness, with Barbie Bowflex Fitness, been received by people?
DN: For the most part, people are extremely supportive. They recognize I’m passionate about what I do know and knowledgeable in my field. The support has really been amazing from fellow Bahamians and people all over, as I do offer online services as well.
MN: What advice would you give to women who are struggling to get moving and active? As you stated, the statistics when it comes to the health of Black women aren’t so great. But it does seem as though social media has given many women of color inspiration to be more active by being able to see fitness enthusiasts like yourself.
DN: My advice is to just stop putting it off. Stop making excuses and just start. It doesn’t have to be in the gym. It can be as simple as starting to walk or jog 3-4 times a week. I think a lot of women are afraid of being judged when they go to the gym or some don’t know what to do, but that’s not an excuse to not be active. Another favorite quote of mine is “effort over excuses.” Dropping the excuses and giving 100 percent into creating the best possible version of yourself is so worth it. With the horrible statistics of Black women and obesity, it’s a breath of fresh air to see so many Black fitness women coming to the forefront on social media who can inspire and motivate women of all walks of life to take control of their health and get active.
If you’re interested in taking part in Nesbitt’s online services, being trained by her, or just watching her training regimen, follow her on Instagram at @bowflexbarbiefitness and go to her website, bowflexbarbie.com.
Six pack abs can seem a bit like a unicorn for some people—beautiful, magical, and totally unreal. A lot of us believe that abs are only for people who are willing to live under sever calorie limitations, people who have “abs day” every day at the gym, or those willing to experiment with dangerous diet pills that can destroy your liver and digestive tract. While those three types of people do make up a portion of the folks with abs out there, they only make up a small one. Abs don’t need to be so elusive and shrouded in mystery. Almost anybody can have abs! I say almost because, past a certain age, certain diets and activities that result in abs, are just dangerous. But let’s dive into it: here are myths and truths about abs.
Myth: Everybody should do crunches
You work out your arms to see definition in you arms, your legs to see definition in your legs, and your quads to see definition in that tush. So, naturally, you’d think that you should work out your stomach to see definition in your stomach.
As a newer runner who is now obsessed with pounding the pavement, it’s my goal to run a marathon in the near future. I’ve been training for months now and think I could get a great time. But until I fully work up the nerve to sign up and make it happen, I’m always impressed by the stories of people who do it. To my surprise, quite a few celebrities have actually taken part in grueling marathons, races and triathlons over the years, and finished with great times. From singers to moguls, making time to train and setting goals was something these stars succeed in doing. If you’re looking for a little inspiration to do a marathon someday, or to just start running more in general, check out the damage these celebrities have done on the track over the years.
During the 19th Marine Corps Marathon in 1994, Oprah finished with a time of 4:29:15.
Are you a fan of J.Crew clothing? Yes? So are we (and Michelle Obama)!
Are you a fan of exercise? Not so much? Oh. Okay…
Well, if you’re trying to get more into fitness and you realize, as studies have shown, that a nice set of workout clothes can encourage being more active, you will be glad to know that J.Crew is teaming up with New Balance to bring us a stylish activewear collection. Bright colors. Seamless clothing. Cooling tops. Printed bottoms. The collection, 20 pieces in total, is a color-block and pattern-mixing dream.
Prices range from $15 to $200 and will be available for purchase on October 11, which is tomorrow. And it seems that if you like what you see below, you should act fast. The New Balance for J.Crew pre-sell event took place late last week and sold out within 24 hours. But you can shop in select stores and online on Tuesday.
J.Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons said about the collaboration, “I admit it: I dread the gym, cannot for the life of me figure out how to clip in and out of a spin bike and the thought of ice cream is the only thing that gets me to do any type of physical exercise,” Lyons said in a statement. “But when our friends at New Balance agreed to collaborate with us earlier this year, we jumped. We hope these clothes (along with ice cream) help motivate you to do whatever activity it is you like to do. And if they don’t, we still think they look great sitting on the couch.”
Athleisure is in, so collaborations between sport brands and fashion houses/brands are a must. Alexander Wang is collaborating with Adidas, Stella McCartney also teamed up with Adidas, Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci worked with Nike, and Kate Spade made a splash with Beyond Yoga. Now, J.Crew and New Balance are about to take preppy clothing to the gym, and we can’t wait. Here are a few pieces from the line for you to feast your eyes on:
In this episode of She’s The Boss, fitness guru Lita Lewis (@followthelita) speaks on embracing your body type, how health includes your mind body and spirit and why everyone should know that thick thighs saves lives. She also weighs in on the skinny tea and waist trainer trends that some of your favorite celebrities endorse. What are your thoughts? Make sure you leave a comment below.
To sign up for one of Lita’s online training programs, bootcamps, or to purchase gear/get more information about her brand, click here to visit her website.
Season 3 Episode Schedule
Episode 2 : Lita Lewis “Thick Thighs Save Lives” – Airs October 6th
Episode 6 : Zim Ugochukwu “Explore The World” – Airs October 24th
Angela Simmons has always been pretty serious about health and fitness. If you follow her on social media, you know that she is a vegetarian, and before giving birth, she worked out pretty extensively. During her pregnancy, she also made time to work up a pretty mean sweat, which some of her followers were critical of.
But it seems that all of that hard work paid off. The 29-year-old recently headed back to the gym for the first time since giving birth to her son — 13 days ago. The response from her followers was a unanimous “What baby?!”
Simmons made her return to the gym rocking high-waisted leggings, a zip-up jacket and a sports bra that showed off her stomach. Looking good, sis!
Simmons, who stated that she struggled somewhat with her weight over the years cleaned up her diet and made her health a priority. She started working out every day and mixed up her exercise, sometimes doing strength training, other days doing cardio, even trying her hand at boxing. That’s how she obtained her rock-hard abs and, based on her latest post, how she plans to get back to her pre-baby size.
When speaking on her commitment to health and fitness, Simmons said a few years back that she’s not training for anything other than to be the best version of herself.
“I’m really self motivated and really into health/fitness,” she told ATLNightSpots. “What keeps me motivated is that the results are worth it, and there’s no better feeling than sweating it out at the gym after a long day or to start my day!”
At Four Months Pregnant, Fitness Guru Massy Arias Still Has A Six-Pack And The Internet Can’t Believe It
I’ve been following fitness guru and health coach Massy Arias on Instagram for a while now. Arias, along with other women of color who train like Lita Lewis and Marissa of Body Concept in Chicago keep me motivated when I’d rather be somewhere eating all the carbs I can consume while catching up on 90 Day Fiancé.
Anywho, Arias has everyone talking right now because despite being 19 weeks pregnant, she still has a pretty mean six-pack. Of course, the 27-year-old Dominican beauty has been serious about fitness and her diet for years now (you have to be to call this a snack), so her muscles are well-defined at this point. As she shared in a recent post, Arias’s abs aren’t meant to make any other expecting (or non-expectant women) feel bad. She actually hopes that through posts of her workouts, diet and more, she can encourage women in general to be active:
My goal is to keep living and preaching about a healthy lifestyle. Couple of days before going into 19 weeks of pregnancy and I’ve never felt better. Being active and eating healthy isn’t only about maintaining a healthy looking body, for me it has meant staying physically but most importantly, mentally healthy as well. I am not doing this for me, but for the beautiful princess that is growing inside of me. Even though I’ve been so active for many years now and my routines might be a bit more advanced than what my fellow expecting mothers might be able to do at this point, I want to continue to inspire you all (pregnant or not) to be active. We will all grow at different rates and every woman’s body is different. My starting point and all the years of training has a lot to do with my own growth so take this into account before comparing your pregnancy with any other woman, including mine. I’ll be starting YouTube blogs very soon as soon as my 2.0 #ma60day launches. So get ready to get tons of education in a warrior/fun type of way. LE’TS MOVE, LET’S BE HAPPY, LET’S LOVE OURSELVES! WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #ma30day #mawarrior #childofGod #prego #fitmom #Mondaymotivation __________________________________________________ La meta es seguir llevando y educando sobre llevar un estilo de vida saludable. Al acercarme en unos pocos días a las 19 semanas de embarazo, quiero seguirles hablando que este estilo de vida para mí no es más que mantener un cuerpo estético. Para mí ha significado mantener mi salud física pero también mi salud mental. Yo no estoy haciendo esto para mí, si no para la hermosa princesa que hoy crece dentro de mi. Mi punto de comienzo y los años de entrenamiento que llevo tienen mucho que ver en cómo mi embarazo está progresando. Todos los embarazos son diferentes así que no te compares con ninguna otra mujer. Comensare episodios de YouTube donde estaré educándolos con mis mejores consejos. DALE! WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #hijadecristo
More and more women are going into their second trimester with abs, and experts say that’s perfectly healthy and pretty normal during a first pregnancy, as rectus muscles separate when you deliver. “Some women don’t show, Alyssa Dweck, M.D. said in an interview with Shape last year about women with abs far into pregnancy. “The rectus muscles might be so well defined that they’re masking her growing uterus.”
At the same time though, as The Bump pointed out, you shouldn’t strive to get yourself some abs if you’re already expecting. However, you should just work out some, and do core exercises to prevent diastasis recti.
Fitpregnancy encourages moms-to-be to keep moving, with simple Pilates-based moves, curls and planks being their exercises of choice. Parents (and Andrea Orbeck) also has a few ab exercises they recommend pregnant women do a few times a week (2-3 times) that could aid in making the delivery process smoother. That includes heel slides, alternating heel drops, and double heel drops.
Check out a few more images of Arias, including how she works out during pregnancy, below. Don’t try this at home if you’re pregnant unless you’ve talked to a doctor and/or worked out at an intense level before baby. Again, the more work you do before pregnancy, the more it shows. As Arias told People last year, she has no background in athletics, but she knew she was determined to change her life by getting fit.
“I had no background in sports and I wasn’t athletic,” Arias said. “Today it’s a different story. I didn’t know that I was going to be able to do all the things that I’m doing now. I didn’t know that I had the potential to be this athletic. I think it’s just that the energy you put out, you get back.”
Omg my loves, today the baby is 4 months strong 👶🏽☺️ follow my journey on Snapchat: MassyFit READ BELOW: So my belly today is playing hide and seek. Some days I see a little bump but then the next day belly is gone. Skin is normalizing and almost blemish free. I haven’t lifted heavy these 4 months to protect the baby but now this little thing is secured and I can lift again. Not doing excessive weight either but in comparison to what I used to lift before, it will be more than what some could lift. Remember, I have a lot of strength so don’t be alarmed. Women lose tons of muscle mass during pregnancy so 2nd trimester will be the best time to pump some iron and mantain muscle mass. Let’s get it @mawarriors WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #prego #ma30day #mawarrior #16weeks #girlboss #girlpower ____________________________________________________________ Mis amores hoy el bebe cumple 4 meses 👶🏽☺️, que felicidad. Síganme en Snapchat: MassyFit. Tengo ya 4 meses sin levantar pesado para proteger a este bebe. Hoy la barriga no sé dónde está pero el bebe está creciendo y súper sano. Ya que el bebe está seguro y buen implantado es hora de levantar pesado y recuerden que mi fuerza es mucha así que cuando me vean levantando no se alarmen. La mujer pierde muchísimo músculo durante el embarazo y el 2ndo trimestre es buenísimo para mantener masa muscular porque ya el cuerpo se ajusta y se nivela! Así que vamos al mambo! Esta será una jornada interesante. Mi objetivo es ser activa durante el embarazo completo! WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #hijadecristo
HAPPY FRIYAY, TAG YOUR BFF HERE IS AN AWESOME BODYWEIGHT ROUTINE FOR LEGS. GREAT FOR BEGGINERS AND MOMS EXPECTING (2nd trimester ). Reps and sets will depend on your fitness level. 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps should be a great range. You can make this harder by adding Dumbbells or barbells to each movement including the side plank. LET’S MOVE IT MOVE IT! WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #prego #19weeks #childofGod #mawarrior #ma30day __________________________________________________ FELIZ VIERNES MIS AMORES AQI ESTA TU RUTINA DE HOY PARA PIERNAS. BUENISIMA PARS PRINCIPIANTES Y MADRES EMBRAZADAS EN EL 2ndo TRIMESTRE. Las repeticiones y series dependerán de tu nivel de entrenamiento pero de 3-4 series de 12-15 repeticiones es un buen rango. Si quieren progresar la rutina solo agrega resistencia con mancuernas y barras. DALE, A MOVERNOS! WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #hijadecristo
HAPPY TUESDAY LOVES [Tag BFF, Let’s get it] Total beastmode body 👩🏾👧🏽💪🏽 Yes I can still do pull ups…during my entire pregnancy. // Feliz Martes mis amores [Menciona a un amigo/a, y retalos] 👩🏾👧🏽💪🏽Si, aún puedo hacer dominadas…durante mi embarazo completo. WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #ma30day #mawarrior #prego #19weeks #hijadecristo
#MONDAYMOTIVATION TAG YOUR BFF 👯 @melanymoves THIS WEEK WE TAKE IT SLOW WITH @TORYLANEZ ‘LUV’ THIS ROUTINE WILL MAKE YOU SWEAT WHILE YOURE LUVIN’ LUVIN’LUVIN, ARE YOU READY? Fitness comes in so many ways, so let’s make cardio a piece of cake and let’s move! WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #prego #19weeks #childofGod #mawarrior #ma30day #luv #torylanez __________________________________________________ ESTA SEMANA NOS VAMOS SUAVECITO CON @TORYLANEZ ‘LUV’ ESTA RUTINA VA A HACER QUE TU CARDIO TRABAJE ESO ABDOMINALES Y QUE SUDES PERO MIENTRAS TE DIVIERTES. Así que menciona a tu pareja que @melanymoves y yo te pondremos a gozar, DALE! WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #hijadecristo
HAPPY MONDAY, HERE’S TODAY’S WORKOUT ROUTINE. TAG BFF 🌞 Mini bands available : www.MassyArias.com) @mawarriors WOD: 3-4 sets 12-15 reps Note: this routine is safe for 2nd trimester of pregnancy. The goal is to keep your heart rate stable and not over 150 beats per minute for a long period of time. You can do these using only your body weight. Ladies, listen to your bodies first. You shouldn’t be out of breath and unable to carry a conversation. You can mantain your level of fitness depending on where you were before you became pregnant. I don’t recommend if you were very sedentary, to start an intense routine that your body isn’t used to. Consult your doctor first. WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #ma30day #mawarrior #childofGod __________________________________________________ FELIZ LUNES MI GENTE, AQUÍ ESTÁ LA RUTINA DE HOY. Menciona a tu mejor amigo/a mini bandas disponibles : www.Massyarias.com @mawarriors RUTINA: 3-4 series 12-15 repeticiones. NOTA: esta rutina es segura en el 2do trimestre de embarazo. Tu objetivo es llevar un ritmo cardiaco controlado sin llevar a los 150 latidos por segundo por mucho tiempo porque el bebé necesita oxígeno. Puedes hacer esta rutina solo usando tu propio peso. Reinas, escuchen a sus cuerpos. No recomiendo que si llevabas una vida muy sedentaria antes de concebir, comiences una rutina muy avanzada que tu cuerpo no este aconstumbrado. Si pueden mantener tu estado físico durante el embarazo, solo tomando en cuenta que hay siempre que consultarlo con tu doctor! WWW.MASSYARIAS.COM #hijadecristo
On Wednesday my Queen and Princess are half way done through this beautiful journey. 20 weeks In. I can’t believe how fast time is flying. Waiting patiently to cater, love, and protect my family. Grateful to share all these blessings with you all… #blessed #outnumbered #TwentyWeeksPrego #Iamgoingtospoilthatlittlegirl
For some people, yoga isn’t just a discipline, it’s a way of life. For the Centers for Disease Control, however, yoga is not an adequate form of physical activity. At least, it’s not an adequate form in terms of the moderate-intensity level aerobic exercise encouraged for 30 minutes a day to improve your health.
Clearly people haven’t tried hot yoga…
According to a recent study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the intensity of holding most Hatha yoga poses in classes does not meet the criteria for moderate-intensity physical activity. Research was done into past investigations of how many calories are burned in yoga and the metabolic intensity of poses and breathing exercises, including the sun salutations sequence.
Researchers found that most of the poses, and yoga in general, fit the classification of light-intensity activity. The sun salutations sequence, however, does meet moderate intensity. If those moves (including planks, lunges, upward and downward dog) are done throughout the day, it can help you meet the recommended daily activity requirements from the CDC’s Physical Activity Guideline for Americans. But if you do the normal range of Hatha poses, you’re not really getting the burn you could get from, say, 30 minutes of brisk walking, which can help you meet the level encouraged to boost your health.
However, the study also noted that even if it isn’t very intense at times, the benefits of doing Hatha yoga are still great. You can build some serious strength (and muscle-strengthening activities are part of the guidelines), especially in your core. Moves can also have quite the impact on your balance and flexibility. And, of course, one of the greatest benefits of Hatha yoga is that it helps you combat stress and calms you. In this hectic world, such practices can go a very long way in preserving your mental health. And if we’re talking about improving health, per the CDC’s guidelines, it’s also important to look out for more than just the physical.
When I first started working out in college it was exciting. I weighed 246 pounds when I began my journey to healthy living, and during my weekly weigh-in what I saw on the scale never disappointed me. Every week I lost anywhere from three to six pounds. My clothes were becoming looser and when I looked at pictures of myself I saw a new, slimmer me. But after losing 50 pounds, I got bored. My mix of gym and at-home beginner workouts became blase, so I started working out strictly at home and let Shaun T and Jillian Michaels supply me with heart-pumping sweat sessions. But after a few months, that got dull too. Then my weight loss slowed down, which really made me loathe exercising at one point. Why work out if I wasn’t losing pounds? Plus, I became sick of eating the same veggie-based meals. I had slowly lost my desire to sweat it out and I hit a plateau, but by stepping out of my comfort zone I was able to overcome it and find the fun in being fit again.
I was always scared to run on the treadmill or outside. (I tried to run once on the treadmill and got a painful cramp so I didn’t try anymore.) I’m also clumsy so when I thought about hitting the pavement I’d envision myself stumbling to the ground. A few years later, I tried for the second time. By shocking my body and changing up my workout I knew I would start to shed pounds again, so I gave it a try. I paced myself and ran and walked in intervals and before I knew it I was running at least 4 times a week. After my run, I noticed a boost in my mood thanks to what’s known as a “runner’s high.” Research has shown that running, and exercise in general, leads to your brain producing endorphins, a chemical that reduces pain perception and promotes a more positive mood. With some guidance from a trainer and a running app, I then ran my first 5K race. The feeling of accomplishing something I thought I would never do was invigorating.
Another thing that helped me get out of my rut was changing my diet. I became weary of the same ole chicken, seafood and veggies combo. When the grocery store in my neighborhood closed shop, grocery shopping became difficult, especially when I wanted to try new things. So I decided to give HerbaLife a try and it turned out to be a great fit. I have long work days as a therapist, so eating three meals a day isn’t easy. With my HerbaLife program, I have a shake for breakfast and dinner and I eat a meal for lunch. I have my shake before I leave for work and while I am sitting in my last session of the day I sip on my shake for dinner and then head off to the gym. Plus, the shakes come in flavors like Dulce de Leche, Cookies and Cream and Dutch Chocolate, which have all left my taste buds satisfied.
Meeting with a trainer also helped put me back on the right track. I used the same machines repeatedly, so to help me use the gym more effectively, I consulted with a trainer for guidance. She educated me on the right moves to target my problem areas and showed me exercises that help me capitalize on my workouts and burn more fat. I was familiar with certain moves thanks to Insanity and Jillian Michaels DVDs, but there was so much more to learn. Having a trainer advise me and show me new things made me motivated to lace up my Pumas and train harder.
I’m usually solo dolo during my daily fit fest, but having a workout buddy is pretty helpful. Not only does the workout go faster, but I pick up on some of my partner’s different workouts and give them a try. When I am with him I am more likely to pick up the weights and do some strength training, which I neglect at times due to my love for everything cardio.
Being in a funk when you’re trying to be fit can be a major setback. Finding ways to revamp your workout and spice up your diet can be just what you need to get back to going hard in the gridiron.
Fitness trackers serve quite a few purposes: from helping you see how many calories you burn, to how many steps you take, and how many more you can take when your family and friends are on your tail in a challenge. But according to a new study, if you were looking for trackers to help you lose weight, you may lose more without the help of such gadgets. It depends on what motivates you.
According to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers followed the weight loss of 471 participants (ages 18-35) between 2010 and 2012. Those tracked were put on a low-calorie diet, given recommendations for more physical activity, and went through group counseling sessions. They all saw progress in their weight loss.
Six months in, a random number of the participants were given fitness tracking devices (older models worn higher up on the arm, not today’s complex FitBits and Jawbones) to count their steps and calories burned. Other participants were told to self-monitor their diet and log their exercise habits into a website. Eighteen months down the line, those who just logged their exercise without the help of a tracker lost, on average, five more pounds than those who used the activity tracking. As it turns out, those who used the trackers ended up moving less. The study’s lead author, Jack Jakicic, told The New York Times that he thinks people were discouraged by not reaching certain daily goals they set for their steps and calories, goals they could monitor very closely via the tracker. Because of that, they gave up on certain days, burning less calories and losing less weight overall. Jakicic also said, “People may have focused on the technology and forgotten to focus on their behaviors.”
So it seems that for some people, fitness trackers left them feeling a bit discouraged at times, while those who were just instructed to focus on exercise patterns did much better. It’s very interesting and speaks to individual discipline and drive. I believe that trackers can definitely motivate you by encouraging you to meet step goals, which, in turn, help you burn quite a few calories. However, I also know the disappointment of not getting far with a step goal during the day and deciding that I might as well just stay in the house during the evening because I wouldn’t reach it. When I didn’t focus on any of that, pre-tracker, and instead, just focused on working out by myself or with a trainer, I was super motivated to keep going because I was seeing results. Too much tracking sometimes left me feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, I can see how this study could turn out this way. Again, it pretty much just depends on the person and what really pushes you — and what deters you.