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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Use technology to help you reach your fitness goal



With the help of technology, getting in shape can be easier than ever. Consider integrating technology into your workout to spice up a stale routine or start a new one. Here are some ideas from Geek Squad to enhance your workout and shed some pounds. Get moving!

Living room workout revamped

  • Use technology to maximize an at-home routine with gaming consoles, such as the Wii Fit Plus for Nintendo Wii. You can connect your gaming console to the Internet to help track your progress. You can also try free workout videos and even connect your computer to the big screen to get a workout-class feel in your living room.
  • Did your workout buddy from last season move to a different city or are you hosting a friendly competition to see who can get in the best shape? No problem! Video conference him/her in to help you shed those last few pounds using Skype or Google Video Chat. You can also host a virtual workout class via group video calling on Skype.

Personal trainer in your pocket

  • Of course, in this day and age, there are apps on iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices to help you diet and exercise correctly. It’s like having a personal trainer and nutritionist in your pocket.
  • For calorie counters and health-conscious cooks, the USDA Food Database App (Android, $0.99) lets you select a food item and serving size. Then, it gives you the nutritional information (fat, carbs, protein, etc.) for that item. USDA Food Database has the nutritional information for more than 7,500 different foods, organized into categories for quick searching.
  • To plan your workouts, Gym Technik (BlackBerry, free for the basic version) is a handy mobile web application that assists in planning your workout routines and keeping track of them on the spot. Initial set-up requires your computer, but you can add workouts and exercises on the handheld.
  • Do you ever hit the weights hard on Monday, but can’t remember on Wednesday how heavy the weights were, or how many repetitions you completed? The Gym Buddy (iPhone, $2.99) allows you to log information for each type of exercise you complete. There’s also a three-second timer for your rest periods as well as a calendar option that lets you view your completed workouts for the entire month.
  • Podcasts are an inexpensive way to help you burn off some extra calories and improve your fitness. Many online programs now offer the option to create your own exercise podcasts based on your desires and abilities. After creating a podcast, you can easily download it to your computer and transfer it to an iPod or smartphone. There’s no need to speed to the gym after work since your podcast personal trainer is available whenever and wherever you want. Check out these programs for customizable e-workouts:
  • PumpOne: At, you can choose your desired workout based on a variety of options, including strength, weight loss goals, endurance, flexibility and heart health. This digital trainer is great for on-the-go exercisers as the program is also available as an app
  • iTrain: iTrain allows you to download a fitness program that includes both a famous Hollywood personal trainer and musical soundtrack to enhance your exercise. Example workouts include climbing, stretching, cycling and boxing. To download a program, visit

Hit the pavement

  • Downloadable maps aren’t just for road trips anymore. They’re for runners too! With a few clicks of a mouse, you can now map out your route, e-mail the chosen course to your smartphone or download it onto your GPS. Some even let you share your route with others. Here are some MapMyRun is available on iTunes for the iPhone as well as for Android and Blackberry smartphones.
  •  Google Maps has its own pedometer-specific site that allows runners to calculate mileage as well as calories.
  • WalkJogRun is also available in the iTunes store
  • Nike+ iPod Sport Kit: Nike and Apple have joined forces to create a chip for your shoe that tracks your workout through your iPod or iPhone. You can either purchase Nike+ shoes with a divot in the sole for the Nike+ chip, or you can opt for a chip holder that attaches to your laces. Either way, you can customize the program to either count down or up on time, track calories and record distance. Plus, a simple push of a button will give you an audio update. Plugging your device into a computer will automatically transport your workout data to where you can track your distance and monitor progress. However, to ensure accuracy, be sure to calibrate your device before usage.

A Geek Squad Agent can help you set things up, but unfortunately can’t do the workout for you.For help, call toll-free 1-800-GEEK-SQUAD to set up an onsite consultation, find a location near you at, or visit Best Buy to speak with an agent directly.


[Last modified: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9:40pm]


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