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Hi, my name is jimy and I’m the founder of Augment Hub. This piece and its collective series is going to be focused on the practical implementation of tracking health data based on my own experiences.
I want this to be accessible for all those who don’t know where to begin or may be daunted by the many tools and services currently available.
In 2019, it is estimated that 1 in 10 now regularly use a wearable in the US. Those numbers are probably even lower elsewhere around the world.
That means while there is a lot of you who are already tracking your data, there are many more who aren’t.
We’re going to start from the most basic tools and analysis and work our way up. Together we will determine what works and doesn’t.
Any product or tool I mention will be the ones I’m actually using. If it becomes obsolete I will ditch it. If it is rubbish or is difficult to use you will know about it!
I’m excited about what discoveries we make, and I hope that you find this helpful.
Where to Start
I wanted to start with the most basic data possible, so I started with the following:
I am collecting this data in a Google sheet (Excell would work) and using the graphing function to create simple linear graphs (where applicable).
I have decided on a ‘Frequency’ that I will collect data at e.g. Weigh myself weekly, and I have set targets for each category. Currently they are pretty arbitrary based mainly on what I feel I would like the values to be.
I clearly need more data on what is ‘good vs bad’!
I figure this is as easy as it gets. I weigh myself weekly and have set a weight target.
Accompanying my weekly weight measurement I’m also going to track my waist using a tape measure. I don’t know what is good or bad currently so I will get back to you on this.
I’m tracking my calories consumed with the MyFitnessPal app. The app lets you enter the food and drinks you have during the day and it has a sophisticated database of all the various brands so you can be pretty accurate with your calculations.
My Fitness Pal (Just an example. Not my data!)
You can also enter your daily exercise and it will estimate the calories burned.
I have set a daily calorie goal and will track it in conjunction with my weight. I’m currently just transferring the information directly to my Google Sheet, though they do have a number of export options etc.
While I think it is useful, my only concern with it is that it can be a hassle to regularly enter the data. I think manually entering data long term is unrealistic, so I’m going to check out if there are easier options like a voice command.
Steps and Exercises
I have started with the Google Fit app on my smartphone. It can track the minutes you were moving, number of steps and it applies ‘Heart Points’ which seems like a simple gamification system.
Google Fit (Just example. Not my data!)
The app integrates with MyFitnessPal but I’m also directly entering my exercises and time into the spreadsheet as well.
My main complaint with the app is that I need to bring my smartphone along. My phone is pretty large and bulky so it is very inconvenient.
I think I need to upgrade to a fitness tracker asap!
There are a number of things I want to explore next. I will likely cover each topic separately. Next steps will include:
While I am starting to collect information, I’m also wondering what it all means in the context of my health. Is it good or bad? With who would I compare it with? These thoughts have given me the idea of the first tool to put on the site. I will elaborate more once it’s complete.
The MyFitnessPal free version is presenting a pretty simple collection of information. I would like a more comprehensive listing of the nutrients I’m getting and whether I’m hitting the amount I need daily. Going to check out the premium version and other options on the market.
Fitness and Sleep Tracker
Considering how basic the data I’m getting from Google Fit is and also how annoying it is to lug my phone around, the next device is definitely going to have to be a fitness tracker.
While the Apple smart watch series seem to be a much better product, I’m not a fan of closed ecosystems so I’m going to go with the latest Fitbit Versa. I note that it doesn’t have GPS, but I don’t think I need route data etc. at this point in time as I think that would be more relevant to fitness training.
A fitness tracker will also allow me to track my sleep data, which I’m really curious at having a look at. Another product that I have read that could be good for sleep is the Oura ring wearable. It does fitness tracking as well, but it appears its primary focus is sleep.
I’m keen to try out a posture device. I spend far too much time at my computer, and no doubt I have terrible habits. Reviewing what’s on the market, it appears that the best option is currently the Upright Go.
Looking at the currently available tests it surprised me how many varying tests I can get at relatively cheap prices. I can check thyroid function, test my microbiome, nutritional levels, hormone levels, adrenal stress tests, fatty acid tests and the list goes on.
Each of those test categories can have anywhere between a few tests to dozens in terms of data points. For example an Omega Fatty Acid Profile could include Omega 3 Index, Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio an AA to EPA Ratio (no idea what that means) and a Trans Fat Index.
Will start with some simple (affordable) options and prioritise tests that can provide more insight into the other data I’m collecting at the moment i.e nutrient profiling coupled with my food data.
I’m curious to see what there is available. I’m pretty dubious on how effective these tools would currently be so this will be low on my priority list for now.
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