Kyle Seth Gray

Kyle Seth Gray's blog. Usually writing about tech, personal experience, but now leaning more towards health and fitness.

Second Life - Motivating Others

It's no secret to anyone that reads anything I write how much the Apple Watch has motivated me.

What's even more inspiring is seeing how my actions are able to inspire others, as well as watching them continue a great fitness journey.

Federico Viticci just posted an amazing story about his commitment to a healthy lifestyle:

The Apple Watch has played a fundamental role in helping me get back in shape and commit to a daily exercise routine. I am not exaggerating when I say that the Apple Watch has become as important as my iPad in my daily life. Like other features of the Watch, there isn't a single, all-encompassing aspect that defines the experience; rather, it's a collection of small but meaningful options that have turned the Apple Watch into a must-have fitness companion for me. Closing the rings and sharing my Activity with friends (hi, Kyle) keep me motivated and publicly accountable. Standard and special event badges are fun to unlock and have the practical consequence of requiring me to train harder for certain achievements.6 Working out with a Polar H10 strap and AirPods connected to my Watch without having to use an iPhone makes me feel free and is delightfully futuristic.

Go give his story a read - it's super inspiring, and is among the many things that keeps me going. It's been awesome seeing Viticci's workouts every day - consistent, improving, and besting mine.

Be sure to also listen to the episode of Connected on Viticci's Second Life.

Apple Watch Year 3 - 1000 move goals

I’ve loved doing these summary posts every year with my Apple Watch. Even though this is only the 3rd one, I feel like I’ve improved a ton, and figuring out what I’ve focused on over the last year helps me gauge what I’m doing well at and what I may need to improve.

Let’s start with the repeats:

  • Since I got my Apple Watch, I've walked 15,000,000 steps.
  • I've walked/ran a distance of 7017 Miles.
  • I cycled 5000 miles
  • I burned a total of 800,000 Active Calories. In the past year, I’ve burned as many active calories as I had burned in the first two YEARS of owning my Apple Watch (Also, that’s 3077 glazed Dunkin Donuts)
  • Ruined 10 pairs of headphones, including three EarPods and 5 pairs of Jaybirds. Just trashed another pair last week just in time. Hilariously.
  • Took out 2 iPhone 6's, lasted the rest of the time with my third. Rocking my iPhone 8 now.
  • Upgraded to the Apple Watch Series 3, which I love. [I may have also just worn it out... the oleophobic coating seems a bit off, but I'm getting that checked next week]
  • GOT INTO AN APPLE AD.

This last year, more than others, I’ve been more interested and intrigued into doing various workouts. I’ve still kept my move streak, and all 3 ring streak, going since I wrote my post last year.

Nearly at the end of summer, I got my first real road bike, and got better at going faster and longer distances. I got to a point where, at the highest, I was cycling about 120 miles+ a week. I was able to, when the weather was right, cycle 15 to 25 miles every day before even getting into work. That led to easily closing my move goal, and having the Apple Watch bump it up to 1110 calories. A day. Which was awesome.
working out! I kept that calorie goal up through December, even into some freezing temperatures, and, when it got too cold to bike outdoors before work and easily smash it, I went to the gym at work twice a day - once in the morning, and a second time at lunch. Usually switching back and forth between the cycling machine and elliptical.

Midway through December though, there wasn’t any feasible way [especially with a foot of snow on the ground] to keep that goal up, so I switched to a 700 calorie goal. It was what my goal had been about a year ago at that time, and since it takes me ~ cycling 16 miles, or running 9 miles, to hit, I still felt like it was a reasonable goal to maintain. All throughout this, I also kept my stand and exercise goals closed.

Starting this year, I was lucky enough to have a co worker who is really really into strength training. And while the Apple Watch doesn’t really have a comprehensive way to track that, it still has an option to. So I switched to doing cardio in the mornings, and weight training at lunch.

Another thing I started to do is swim - I felt like, after learning more and more about the swimming capabilities of the watch, it was a waste to have access to a pool [not Olympic by any means, but like 50 yards away from my office] and not use the swimming workout. So I started doing that.
perfect weeks! all the awards As I come to the end of year 3 with my watch, I can’t help but feel even better, and even more motivated, to continue working into a healthy lifestyle, complimented by pursuing new fitness hobbies, and continuing my goal of exercising no matter when and where I am. Whether it is that pushups at midnight, running around the house and making my parents think I’m crazy, or working out at 4 am because I’m about to get on a 9 hour flight and I want my stand goal closed before than and want to not have to baby my rings throughout a long transpacific flight, I’m doing it. I’m still finding more and more ways to keep my 600+ 3 ring, and 700+ move ring, streak going. And I have the Apple Watch to thank for that.


And today, I've officially hit my 1000th move goal

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In watchOS 4, for some reason, breathe notifications use a series of witchcraft and undocumented mysteriousness to maybe sometimes eventually send you notifications.

I’ve found this to never be the case and be quite awful in practice. In that, I never freaking get notified.

My solution, until September, is to make a notification setting in the Streaks app.

Streaks is this awesome app that can remind you do a bunch of things, and keep up 'streaks'. What's awesome is Streaks integrates directly with HealthKit. Which means, if you do whatever item you want to accomplish (say, 5 breathing minutes), Streaks will notify you and automatically mark the task as complete!

So basically, it's a great habit maker without all the glitchiness of notifications of hummingbird DeepBreathing on watchOS 4.

Notification setting 1 The first setting is simple enough - make a streak that encourages me to do at least 5 breathing sessions every day.
Notification setting 2 Second, you can edit the specific notification times by going into the top bar, taping the sideways … ellipsis, and then scrolling down. By default it only notifies you around the end of the day if you haven't done the task you've set out to do.
Notification setting 3 Lastly, I have custom times set so that I remember throughout the day, rather than at the end of the day, so I remember to Breathe.

Anyways, here's my setup. I honestly really like the breathing stuff in watchOS, but get frustrated when it just doesn't work.

Swimming and wrong measurements

January started with me wanting to actually utilize two things - the awesome swim workout mode on the Apple Watch, AND the pool at my gym.

First swim workout

That first workout, I didn't really even know how to think of yardage with a pool, and because my pool happens to be not-so-standard, I just wrongfully assumed it was... 25 yards.

So that was really an 800 yard workout.

But after some discussion and further measurement/guesstimation/Kyle-just-bring-a-tape-measure, I settled on thinking it was more in the range of 21 yards.

Second swim workout

Turns out, after a solid month and a half of workouts, that was wrong as well.

This was really a 1,170 yard workout.

The pool's actual measurement? 47 feet long, ~15.66 yards. Not 21, and definitely not 25 yards. I'm pretty upset with myself for not measuring WAY earlier. And while it would be great to find a better local pool, nothing is better than one that is literally 50 yards away from my office. [Who knows if that yardage is right 😝]

Despite feeling behind, I definitely have already improved, and average about 80 to 90 laps per workout. And despite that being 1,200 yards, rather than the 1,680 I thought it was, the only way to go from here is going further and longer.

It'll be interesting to see what my Apple Watch thinks of my sudden drop in pace starting next week. And how the caloric estimates differ - Wolfram says it's about a 30 calorie difference, but we'll have to see.

It's been two long years

Two years of cycling a lot.

Figuring out different ways to do cardio.

Trying running bit by bit, never going more than 5 or so miles.

Cycling 100km in one go, 4000+ miles overall.

Doing different ellipticals, from super nice LifeFitness gear to crap ellipticals that my dad got on Craigslist for like $30.

Hiking 15 miles to close my rings because I couldn't bike that day, and I didn't want to run or get injured.

But I did it.

I ran a new 10K after two years.

First 10K in 2 years

New Years Award

Remember that New Years award for the Apple Watch? Remember how a bunch of people got it earlier than they should've?

Turns out™, the badge didn't get a date associated with it.

Here's the condition the original 2017 New Year's badge had for you to earn it:

activityData.history.consecutiveMoveGoalsMet >= 7 AND activityData.history.consecutiveExerciseGoalsMet >= 7 AND activityData.history.consecutiveStandGoalsMet >= 7 AND dates.dayOfWeekToday == dates.lastDayOfFitnessWeek AND dates.startOfToday >= 505267200

In plain language, it was awarded when you had 7 consecutive Move, Exercise, and Stand Goals, AND it was after the end of the week, AND it was after 505267200. I assume that's the start of 2017, but for some reason that in unicode time is 01/05/1986... [Is this some iOS thing? SQL? Help]
EDIT: I'm a doof. It's NSDate. So the date is 2017/01/05

The 2018 award on the other hand had its condition set to:

activityData.history.consecutiveMoveGoalsMet >= 7 AND activityData.history.consecutiveExerciseGoalsMet >= 7 AND activityData.history.consecutiveStandGoalsMet >= 7 AND dates.dayOfMonthToday >= 7

Which means it'll just throw it at you after you earn any perfect week after the badge was downloaded, which was on Dec 27, 2016 at 5:00:00 PM. So anyone getting their perfect week on the 28th, like me and many others , got the New Year's Badge way too early.

What it should've had is AND dates.startOfToday >= 536716800, which would've prevented the super early award winning by many.

My only question is why did it not have the date condition?

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On a similar note, it looks like the Heart Month award coming later this week should be fine, since it's marked as available after the 6th, and just has two queries: activityData.history.consecutiveExerciseGoalsMet >= 7 AND dates.dayOfMonthToday == 14 - 7 days in a row of meeting your Exercise Goal, earned on the 14th day of the month.

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