Kyle Seth Gray

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

A list of Apple Watch Special Achievements

Turkey Trot 2016

TURKEY_TROT

This was the first Apple Watch badge - it was awarded on Thanksgiving Day, in the US, in 2016 for completing a running, walking, or wheelchair workout of at least 5 kilometers/3.11 miles. .

New Years 2017

Ring in the New Year

This badge was awarded for completing all three rings for an entire week within the first month of 2017. This was the first badge available worldwide, and included a lot more stickers.

Earth Day 2017

Earth Day Badge

This badge was earned by doing an outdoor workout of at least 30 minutes or more on Earth Day. While it was somewhat strict in which workouts counted, the 2018 badge eliminated any need for a specific workout, as long as it was 30 minutes or more.

This was the 3rd yearly badge.

Mothers Day 2017

Mothers Day Badge

In a continuation of Every Mother Counts Partnership [kinda?], this was a badge awarded for walking a mile more in celebration of motherhood. This was only available in the US.

National Parks

Yosemite

Inspired by the hike from Old Faithful to Mallard Lake in Yellowstone, this badge was awarded for a walk, run, or wheelchair workout of 3.5 miles on July 15th. It was also the first big PR push for one of the badges, and was put out alongside a Press Release highlighting Apple's donations to The National Park Foundation. Despite being a celebration of the US National Parks, it was available worldwide.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day USA USA

In celebration of Veterans Day, this badge was awarded for doing a workout of 11 minutes or more. In the US only.

Turkey Trot 2 Electric Boogaloo

TURKEY_TROT_2017

A repeat of the original badge, this was the second Turkey Trot award for doing a 5k (or 4.98897 kilometers to account for someone with miles to not do the last .01 miles and end up being really sad.) on Thanksgiving. This badge was still US only however.

New Years 2018

2018!

Another yearly badge has become the New Years challenge, challenging Apple Watch Users to complete all 3 rings for 7 days during the month of January. This one did have some SQL issues though ;)

Heart Month 2018

beating heart

This was a fun, new unique badge that coincided with Heart Month - a month dedicated to a health heart, heart disease awareness and research, and more in America. This was available worldwide, and encouraged Apple Watch users to meet their exercise goal 7 days in a row starting on February 7th and ending on the 14th, 2018.

This also started the trend of the badges having fun animations.

International Women's Day

double the work

A new badge celebrating international women's day encouraged Apple Watch users to double their move goal on March 8th, 2018.

This was available worldwide.

Earth Day 2018

Earth 2

A repeat of the 2017 badge, this encouraged Apple Watch users to get outside and do a workout of 30 minutes or more to earn an achievement. Unlike the previous badge, however, this badge would be earned for any workout totaling 30 minutes.

This was available worldwide.

China Fitness Day

Red 2018 badge

One of the first internationally specific badges that wasn't US only, this badge was earned on August 8th, 2018 by doing a workout of 30 minutes or more to Apple Watch users in China.

National Parks 2018

Redwoods

Surprisingly not a repeat of the previous years, this National Parks badge happens on the 50 year anniversary of Redwood National Park in California, and also featured a donation campaign by Apple. This badge is achievable on September 1st, by doing a run, walk, or wheelchair workout of 50 minutes or more.

Veterans Day 2018

Veterans Day round 2 USA USA

An exact repeat of the previous years Veterans Day badge, including the model, method of earning, and limitation to the US. Sadly, unlike others, this one isn't an animated badge.
You earn this special award by working out for 11 minutes or more on Veterans Day, November 11th, 2018.

Turkey Trot 2018

2018-2018

Unfortunately, the third annual turkey trot badge was destroyed because of a deployment issue. Because of an improperly configured Amazon bucket, badges weren't being properly propagated to devices [As far as I'm able to observe externally. Who knows what is internally causing this. All I know is I saw the asset for TURKEY_TROT_2018, but I was unable to download it]. This issue was prevalent in an in-between period of the Veterans Day badge and the Turkey trot badge.

Asset catalog 105 was deployed, but wasn't downloading properly to devices which caused users to not achieve the Veterans Day badge. In order to fix this, the asset catalog was rolled back to 104, which didn't have the Turkey_Trot_2018 badge in it.

For some reason this was unable to be fixed before thanksgiving, and it came and went without the badge being deployed in time to notify users, and as it stands today [12/9/2018], the Achievements Asset Catalog is still at version 104 which does not include the Turkey Trot badge.

I'm sad that a badge was somehow not deployed simply because of a server misconfiguration. I really hope this badge comes back in 2019. And I hope Apple figures out a way to not have badges reply on buggy deploys.

Dear Apple

Dear Apple,

There is more I can say as to how the Apple Watch has helped me.

Shortly after getting the Apple Watch, I actually went through one of the toughest and darkest parts of my life.

I felt alone, afraid, and constantly weary of my future, and if I should even have a future. If I should carry on.

In a stupid way, my obsession with technology and my love for watches did catapult me towards caring about the Activity rings, and by proxy, exercise and daily activity. I no longer stayed in bed doing nothing - I seized the day, got out early, and found passion in exercise that really lifted me up from where I was.

Thank you to all my awesome friends, Brianna for getting me into running, my Spin instructors for putting up with me, and my friends in person and online to encourage me to bike. And all my followers that put up with all of my cycling posts.

And now, here I am. Alive.

Click here for more of my posts on the Apple Watch.

365

A year ago I attended WWDC 2016

During that week, I met awesome people, and learned about new features coming in watchOS 3: Namely, activity sharing on the Apple Watch. It was a feature I used heavily on other fitness platforms: keeping up with friends who also had the same fitness device, and competing with them on achievements, exercises, and even just plains steps.

I was just over the year mark on owning my Apple Watch, and while I did fill my rings semi regularly, I wasn't too serious on completing everything.

(I could go over my fun injury again or my addiction to running but lucky for you! I've already written those posts.)

I started to get serious about it, and just basically wanted to beat my previous move goal streak of about 90+ days.

So I did.

By the time the 90 day mark rolled around, I just kept going.

And going.

And here I am now, and I've hit 365 days on my Apple Watch.

365 days of hitting my move goal. Early morning workouts before sitting in a car or bus for hours, a 21 mile bike ride before a plane ride, getting out and doing jumping jacks in the middle of a long car ride. So many better and new habits formed by just closing those darn rings.

The strange motivation I get from gamifying my fitness is obviously just one part of it. I built healthier habits by getting up early, eating right, and making the gym/biking a regular occurence. One of my favorite things was going to a spin class every morning before school and work at the begining of this year.

Overall, as I've said before, I'm amazed at what I've accomplished with my personal health. This post is just an high level summary, and I'll attempt to go into more detail as time goes on and on, but it comes down to a simple thing:

I was a scrawny, sports hating kid who never really liked being active. I thought of gym as a chore, and even found ways to get around it in high school (I took my 'gym' requirement online. Yes. That is a thing).

Now I get up at 5:00 AM every day, and either go to a gym, cycle, or if I have a different schedule, find a way to workout. I've worked out in crappy hotel gyms in Mexico, walked a couple of miles when I had no equipment, and even just ran up and down stairs a few times. If you find the right motivation, you can do things you never thought you'd enjoy. Because I definitely have.

Two Years With Apple Watch

A year ago, I wrote this:

I thought that with me owning my Apple Watch for 1 year now, I would add up some totals regarding how much I've done.

I thought I would follow the same format as that post, and provide more stats:

  • Since I got my Apple Watch, I've walked 9,608,040 steps.
  • I've walked/ran a distance of 4526 Miles.
  • I cycled 1998 miles
  • I burned a total of 438,746 Active Calories. (That's 662 1687 glazed Dunkin Donuts)
  • Ruined 8 pairs of headphones, including two EarPods and two pairs of Jaybirds.
  • Took out 2 iPhone 6's, I'm on my 3rd right now. First one got dropped on a mountain, second one got ruined by sweat.
  • Still rocking the same Apple Watch I got on day 1.

    Day one with my Apple Watch Day 366 with my Apple Watch Day 730 with my Apple Watch

Last year I told myself I wanted to "up the ante" with my cycling efforts.

Last summer, after realizing I still couldn't run as much as I used to, I went out and bought a bike. It isn't a top of the line road bike: it's categorized by Sirrus as a Fitness bike. However, it got me addicted. I used it to commute all of fall semester - 14 miles round trip every day. And on weekends I would check out all the awesome trails around Utah, as well as cycle throughout Utah Valley. I've biked all the way from Provo to Salt Lake a few times, (~55 miles), and as summer is on the horizon, I'm biking every single day if possible.

The biggest thing about the Apple Watch is the encouragement it provides me to be physically active. There's a plethora of different achievements you can get, including event-based awards. You get awards for hitting your Move goal every day of the week, month, and for continuing a streak. The visualization of all your data, and being able to look back and compare previous workouts, really helps a lot in short term and long term motivation.

As it stands today, as soon as I got to the gym after work, I'll have hit a 300 day move goal streak.

The Apple Watch as a motivational device has been priceless to me. Two years ago, I wasn't out of shape by any means, but I definitely wasn't physically able to accomplish what I can now. I remember when I first got my Watch, I would run a bit here and there, but getting to a higher goal of ~800 active calories was hard, and wore my body out. Now, my move goal is 840, and I'm hitting it every. single. day.

Obviously it takes more than a shiny computer to make a change in your life, but I can definitely say that the Apple Watch has changed mine. I often wonder what 2-year-ago Kyle would think if I saw what I was doing these days: cycling 20 miles per day on the weekend, spending about an hour at the gym every morning or evening, and consistently and steadily hitting my goals.

I'm really glad I got the Apple Watch, and I love the Activity Ring based motivation system. It really works for the way I think, and It's encouraged me to keep moving, stay active, and live a more 'fit' life.

Kyle Health - Apps

Your smartphone can be very useful along any part of your health journey. Having a constantly connected device in your pocket at all times can assist with you tracking your health. Both Google and Apple have built in applications, Health.app and Google Health, that assist in bringing apps together to monitor stats such as your daily calories burned, your weight, the amount of protein you've consumed, among a slew of other data. In this post I'm going to cover just a few of the many apps I use to help me live a healthier life.

Read more –>

Where I got started

I wrote up a monologue post about what health means to me, and how I got started with my whole focus on it.

It's definitely a narrative more than anything, but it is me. And I feel like it does express my weird thought process in regards to being more healthy.


Look, I definitely was never ever a natural at this. If you saw pictures of me just a few years back, especially near the end of high school, I wasn’t the crazy athletic kid that took an extra PE class. And I wasn’t one to be involved in school sports either. When I first started college I dreaded the idea of anything sports related, and having to do yet another type of exercise class.

That’s the biggest thing with health. We all should take care in measuring it, maintaining it, and keeping it in high regard. But it can seem overwhelming. A task no one really wants to worry about. But, unlike a hobby such as reading, your favorite sports team, or keeping your morning routine simple, health is different – it’s a requirement. If you woke up tomorrow and didn’t eat, you’d feel terrible. And you’d really eventually die if you ate nothing but those nasty little pumpkins things that we get around halloween but during the rest of the year everyone realizes are a terrible idea.

I kickstarted my own personal journey into health about 4 years ago. It never was a single, streamlined process. It had its starts and stops, and times where I thought it was too much to handle, or that microwaveable dinners were cheap and convenient, and dammit I was going to take advantage of the sales Stouffer’s had.

Four years ago I got into running. Mainly because a friend of mine wanted to get back into their running habit, and, being a good friend, I said “Sure, I’ll show up at 6 am and we can go running.”

Running is what started it for me. After you run, you kind of naturally learn towards those 6 eggs or so that you eat afterwards. And while buying eggs you become curious about the avocados, decide to go to a place like Sprouts, and then suddenly you’re making protein smoothies with avocado, blueberries, and about five different types of ‘all natural’ boosters. And when your run and track it, you realize that the bag of chips you’re craving to dig into a good TV show with aren’t really worth it considering how dense they are.

This whole beginning post is somewhat of a self monologue to where and how I got to where I am, and I’ll do my best to more clearly define the actual health habits I have. Know, however, that it could very well be anything, from a new store you find, a type of food you learn to enjoy, to figuring out how many calories are really in that delicious scone at the bakery you frequently find yourself at… health can be something you find yourself focusing on just after one little habit. And that’s a good thing.

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