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Fitness Life Hack: Philips DirectLife

Adding Tech To The Gym Mix

As a gadget lover, I get a kick out of implementing technology anywhere in my life where I think it can do some good.  And I mean anywhere. Visitors to my house in the past have noticed a special colored light on the toilet that tells you, in darkness of night, whether the seat is up or down. I’ve had a doorbell connected to a cell phone, and a GPS locator on my elderly grandfather. In short, there’s almost no aspect of my life that has gone untouched by tech.

Except one. When I saw a demo of Philips’ DirectLife fitness gadget at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, I knew I needed to try it. Fitness is one aspect of my life that I hadn’t yet maximized with tech, and I could definitely use the help.  I wanted to find out whether it would be useful for someone like my dad, and also whether or not my personal trainer approved of it.

In an effort to make fitness register as an important part of my life, I signed up with a local gym and see a trainer named Justen for one hour per week. I’m under 30 and I’m not overweight, but I wanted to have more energy and strength, and I wasn’t able to guide myself towards a good workout alone with just dumb luck and will power. I needed help, so I splurged.  

I signed up for training sessions in the fall, before I knew that there were gadgets out there for whipping me into shape. The gym is low-tech, but pretty effective. In a few short months I’ve gained quite a bit of strength, sleep better and have more energy. For those of us with desk jobs, simply getting any activity during the day is hard to manage (and the consequences of not doing so are terrible—check out this recent New York Times article about the hazards of sitting). Training at the gym is one sort of useful life hack, but I knew a gadget would further intrigue me.

Before my DirectLife gadget arrived, I knew a bit about what to expect: I would wear the gadget, it would evaluate me, a long-distance personal trainer from Philips would check in with me, and eventually the gadget would (hopefully) motivate me to exercise. I knew the piece of gadgetry contained an accelerometer so it would have a sense of my movement throughout the day. A web site would turn the data the gadget gathered into useful information. The product sells for $100, with a $12.95 monthly fee for access to the online service and virtual trainer.

  • Nexus52085
    Yeah, I kinda figured that gadget would be pretty limited. However, for a hundred bucks, I didn't think it would be THAT limited. Not worth it in my opinion. I like the fact that this little gadget makes you more aware of what you do on a daily basis, but I can just do that with my cell phone by setting alarams throughout the day.
  • Nexus52085
    ...and MY hundred-dollar device is an iphone. I believe there's an app for that ;)
  • JohnnyLucky
    Interesting article. It looks like the device has limited capabilities.

    I am a senior citizen and I go to the gym 5 days a week for a 90 minute workout. Motivation can be difficult. Some days I don't feel like going but I go anyway. It becomes part of a regular routine.
  • San Pedro
    The biggest thing is just moving more, unless you're trying to build strength, power, muscle, etc. . .

    I've lost a lot of weight since one year ago. Diet is a part of it (portion sizes tend to be smaller in Japan), but the biggest part is just being more active. I have to ride my bike or walk to the train station every day, I'm physically active at work (picking up kids and almost always standing), and on my days off I usually walk even more than usual. In fact, that's one of the main reasons I like to go to the mall so often in winter.

    I think for those people working at desk jobs, a good thing that more places are starting to implement is the standing desk. That's a huge difference. That small amount of calories constantly being burned adds up and is more important that going to the gym once a week. Quantity often wins out over quality when it comes to physical activity. More constant activity means more consistently high metabolic rate.