This Week’s Workout | Smart Phone Apps

8 Jul

This is my ‘exercise’ face!

Hey Canada! (And anyone else who stumbled upon this…)

Welcome to ‘This Week’s Workout’ – a new fitness series on CBC Radio 1. Each week I attempt to do a new kind of exercise to see what motivates me and helps kick my butt into workout mode. This blog will have:

  • My fitness results.
  • Links to the apps I’m using.
  • Links to the people who are training me.
  • Pretty embarrassing pictures of my back fat.
  • ‘The Great Canadian Cardio Playlist’ that I have compiled with links to the songs so you can get them on Itunes.

Click below to play episode 1 of ‘This Week’s Workout’ that aired on CBC Radio 1. While you’re listening, scroll down for more info details on my week!

 cbc radio





The YMCA treadmill told me to consult a doctor before starting a new exercise regime, so  I went to see Dr. Kathy Van Zeyl , a naturopathic doctor who specializes in sports medicine and clinical nutrition at the Davisville Health Clinic in Toronto.

Dr. Van Zeyl gave me a clean bill of health, though my blood pressure is a little low. Yay! More salt for me!

She also calculated my Body Mass Index and Waist to Hip Ratio, which is a good way to figure out if your weight is a healthy number for your height and age. Turns out I’m within a healthy range, but because I’ve gained 15 pounds in the last 2 years, she figures my metabolism is slowing down (I’m 43) and I need to do more exercise to stay healthy.

Old Time Winnebago

A visual representation of my metabolism.

Dr. Van Zeyl also took my measurements. Which was a rather sobering experience.

My current weight is 162 lbs. My goal weight is 145 though I’d be happy at 150. I’m not interested in starving myself or getting that perfect beach body (that ship has sailed) but I would like to tone up, have more energy and above all, get rid of the back fat that snuck up on me when I wasn’t looking. Cause who ever looks at their back when they’re naked?



SO! Here are my official ‘BEFORE’ pictures….

Note to self: Buy sports bra.

Note to self: Buy a sports bra.

Note: Buy a PADDED sports bra.

Note: Buy a PADDED sports bra.


Lose it 2

Dr. Van Zeyl suggested that I keep a food and exercise log because studies have shown that writing down what you eat significantly reduces the calories you consume. Plus, typing on an iPhone is an activity that must burn some energy, right?

I decided to try the free food and exercise tracking app called ‘Lose It!’ 

This app is a pretty simple way to track what you eat and how much exercise you do. They have a vast food database, including thousands of restaurants (which are mostly American), grocery store items and brand-named foods.

To start, you input your current weight, goal weight, gender, height, age and how many calories you’d like to lose a week (the maximum is 2.)


Because I was super gung-ho, I ignored Dr. Van Zeyl’s advice of only losing 1 pound per week and aimed for 1.5 pounds. (Because starting an ambition diet and exercise plan on Canada Day is a surefire way to succeed.)

For every day of ‘This Week’s Workout,’ I inputted my food and exercise. The great thing about adding exercise is that if I run for 30 minutes and burn 300 calories, I can now consume another 300 calories. The goal is to stick within the daily calorie budget you chose for the plan you created.

‘Lose It’ also has great online support and tracks if you’re over or under your calorie goals for the week. I’m not usually a fan of counting calories, but this is a really simple way to track what you eat to make sure you’re not going gonzo on the dumb food. Because you do feel like an idiot when you have to input 2 beers and a hotdog (don’t judge me. It was Canada Day.)

If you’d like to download  ‘Lose It’  from the iTunes app store, click on the download button below.

apple image



I am pretty keen on running, so I wanted to find a cardio app that would keep me motivated whether on the treadmill or on the track.

Zombies, Run! is hilariously addicting. It’s exactly what it sounds like. You are running because you are being chased by zombies.

Zombies, Run! works anywhere and at any speed. You are immersed in an action-packed story mixed with your own music playlist. As you run, you pick up supplies which can then be used as part of the video game portion of the app to help rebuild your base. This in turn unlocks more missions for you.

If you want to do sprints, you can turn on the zombie chases that force you to speed up to avoid the walking dead.

I’m not kidding when I say that I get a little jolt of adrenaline every time I hear a character yell, ‘WARNING, ZOMBIES APPROACHING!’ If you don’t pick up the pace pronto, you start to hear the moans of the undead in your headphones which is super fun and creepy!

If you’d like to purchase the ‘Zombies, Run’ app from the iTunes app store, click on the download button below.

apple image


gorilla 2

I didn’t get a chance to talk about this app in the CBC Radio story, but I also incorporated  strength training into my workout thanks to the app called ‘Gorilla Workout.’

Using only your own body weight, ‘Gorilla Workout’ is a great way to do simple plyometrics in any location without any costly equipment. Each workout targets specific muscle groups to help you strengthen and tone your core, abs, chest, back, arms, and legs, which you can do in the smallest of spaces with a variety of fitness level options.

The app also has super handy instruction videos in case you don’t know what a ‘Dead Bug’ or a ‘Bird Dog’ is.

If you’d like to buy ‘Gorilla Workout’ from the iTunes app store, just click on the download button below.

apple image

RESULTS Ok. Here is the moment of truth. Did I reach my goal of losing 1.5lbs in 7 days using the smart phone apps?

To be honest, it was a tough week. It was Canada Day PLUS I travelled to the United States to celebrate the 4th of July with my boyfriend’s family.


If I don't eat this meal, the terrorists win.

If I don’t eat this meal, the terrorists win.

Here are the before and after pictures of my measurements.

Ok, so no change on the chest. That’s not surprising after only 7 days. Let’s take a look at the hips…

YIPEE! Lost .5 of an inch off the hips. That feels good. Now let’s  check the waist….

WHAT THE?? I gained half an inch on my waist??

Ok…there’s one more thing to do…weigh in. My starting weight was 162. My current weight after a week using smart phone apps is:


163.4? I GAINED a pound and a half? I was supped to LOSE a pound and a half! DAMN YOU CANADA AND AMERICA DAY!!!

Ok, clearly I did not push myself hard enough on week 1 of  ‘This Week’s Workout.’ But stay tuned because for next week  I will be tackling the very difficult suspension training program called TRX. My trainer will be Niki Aron from TRX Train Station in Toronto.


This 30 (ish) minute playlist of all Canadian music will get your feet moving and your heart pumping. If you want to buy any of the songs from iTunes, just click on the download button!

download on itunes

One Week – Barenaked Ladies

Mental Image: You stumbled on the treadmill and the hot guy beside you is looking at you. You bust out a fast run to show you’re in control. But you embarrass yourself again when you start singing, ‘Chickity China the Chinese chicken….’

download on itunes

Song #1: Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire (3:29)

Mental Image: You are about to pull off the biggest bank heist in history, but your get away car just got away. You’ve got a bag of cash with a $ on it and you have to run!

download on itunes

Song #2: Make A New Dance Up – Hey Ocean (3:30)

Mental Image: You are in love. Running through a field with daisies in your hair wearing a gorgeous Anthropologie dress.

download on itunes

Nowhere With You – Joel Plaskett Emergency (3:01)

Mental Image: You’re a little bit needy. Your buddy has things to do. You have nothing to do and want to hang out. You run after him yelling, ‘WHATCHA UP TO PAL?’

download on itunes

Scar That Never Heals – Jeremy Fisher (3:38)

Mental Image: The lyrics are ‘She runs guns,’ so what the heck. You’re super happy that you survived the Zombie apocalypse and are running guns to the neighbours because you’re sweet like that.

download on itunes

Oh Alberta – Elliot Brood (2:50)

Mental Image: It’s 1921. Your beautiful love has been kidnapped by a scoundrel with a twisted moustache. She tied up to the caboose of a train and you’re running along the tracks to catch her. You have a hobo bindle.

download on itunes

Safety Dance – Men Without Hats (2:45)

Mental Image: GRAD 86! Screw your curfew. You’re not going home yet because Bob McCatherine just asked you to dance. You run like the wind back to your girlfriends to discuss how dreamy he is with his polo shirt and hammer pants.

download on itunes

Peace of Mind – Grapes of Wrath (3:41)

Mental Image: You’re a misunderstood teenager. Your Dad just grounded you for coming home late from the school dance. You run out the door screaming, ‘YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME!’ You keep running until you grow the hell up.

download on itunes

No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature – The Guess Who (4:52)

Mental Image: Remember your Dad who grounded you? Well this song is for him. He’s a misunderstood teen who ran away from home and is hitchhiking across Canada. No one will pick up this shaggy haired drifter so he starts loping down the highway like a lone wolf. Probably carrying a hobo bindle.

Got a song you think I should add to the Great Canadian Cardio Playlist? Comment below! Got some inspirational words to keep me moving? Comment below! Got anything to say? Comment below!

One Response to “This Week’s Workout | Smart Phone Apps”

  1. Shannon July 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Love this! I have actually been looking or fitness apps so it was hilarious AND helpful!

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