There’s a saying in business that ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’ – and the same is pretty much true for personal fitness and health. Two of the easiest and most obvious ways to track your personal progress are to measure your weight and to monitor your Body Mass Index or BMI. But if either of these two indicators is to be of real use to you as a triathlete, and me as your coach, they both need to be recorded and monitored regularly and accurately. Without that, it’s far harder to measure fitness progression and to make the training changes necessary to improve performance.
You can, of course, use any old bathroom scales to record your weight, though you’ll need a more sophisticated model to calculate the BMI. But that still leaves you having to record the information manually and then find ways to use it effectively in your training.
So the simpler and easier you make the whole process, the more likely you are to keep it up, and the more valuable the data you collect will be, which is why the Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale has now become an indispensable component in my own training programs, and a piece of kit that I encourage my athletes to get for their own regimes.
What’s the difference?
Just like many modern scales, the Body Scale measures your body weight and percentage of body fat. But then, rather than you having to remember to manually record the data every time you weigh, the Withings will send it automatically to your computer using a standard Wi-Fi connection.
Not only is that a convenient time-saver in itself, but once it’s on your computer you can turn this raw data into ‘living information’, because the Body Scale lets you connect not just with health, training and sports-related websites, but also popular applications, like Training Peaks. This is the ‘go to’ application I use with my athletes to help refine their training.
So here are three reasons why I use the Withings BodyScale:
- First, it captures your weight and calculates your BMI accurately. The scales even tell you to move to one side or the other if you’re not standing in quite the right place on the plate. You’ve got instantaneous measurement too, so there’s no need to wait even a few seconds for your results to come up.
- Second, because of the Wi-Fi transfer, the information is immediately and permanently recorded on your computer and in a format that can allows it to be viewed and interpreted in the best way possible. You can also make sure the data is going to your coach or health care professional, allowing them to monitor and analyze your current health and fitness status.
- Third, by linking to applications like Training Peaks, you can turn raw, ‘dead’ data into living knowledge that reveals short- and long-term trends on the journey to meeting your training and competition goals.
So every time you get on the scales, you create a data point that will be transmitted back to the computer to help generate a highly accurate picture. And can you can do this as many times as you want – even hourly. But just in case you’re thinking this is a bit of a personal luxury, don’t worry – the rest of the family can use it too by setting up their own personal profile. And after they’ve weighed, privacy settings mean that no one else is any the wiser!
And if all this talk of Wi-Fi connections is starting to sound a bit too hi-tech, it isn’t – set up is really simple. Just open the box, stick in some batteries, plug in a USB cable – and you can use it with tablets, laptops, PCs and Macs, or even download an app for your iPhone. There’s even an option to post your weight automatically to Twitter for real time peer pressure.