My Get-Healthy Toolkit

The gear

  • A good pair of running shoes. I joined my son, a high school cross country runner, to buy new shoes at a specialty athletics store. I realized that I would pay more for a pair of running shoes. However, I would be buying the right running shoes. The owner got “an imprint of my feet”, and filming my run showed how my right foot rolled out. He recommended a pair of stabilizing Brooks Revel running shoes ($100). They have made a world of difference.
  • Generic brand Bluetooth in-ear headphones ($30)
  • Fitbit HR fitness tracker ($100)
  • An old Trek 1500 road bike, which I bought 10 years ago on Craigslist for $180. I use it in my garage on a CycleOps magnetic trainer ($150 on Craigslist).
  • I added to the bicycle sensors from Wahoo: a speed sensor in the back wheel, and a cadence pod on the non-drive side crank arm. Together the pods cost about $70.
  • Fitbit Aria Wifi connected scale ($130)

Mobile applications

Tracking applications

  • I use the Fitbit application to keep track of my steps, heart rate and sleep pattern.
  • I started tracking my runs and bicycle rides using the Strava app, even if it is on the trainer or treadmill. The GPS tracking is pretty accurate and I like how it breaks down the sections of a run. I especially like how the Strava app pipes my mile times in my ear, so I know if I am slowing down or on track to keep a steady pace. I use only the basic free version of the application.
  • Even though both Fitbit and Strava report their activity on MyFitnessPal, I stopped using it. MyFitnesspal appears to have an integration with any health and fitness application. However, it is clear that there is no common way to describe the activity, as a ride on the trainer logged in Strava, shows up as Aerobics, general in MyFitnessPal; a run in Strava is converted into running (jogging) in place (?). Previously I also used MyFitnessPal to log my meals, although that became too cumbersome as I cook a lot of my own food. I did not know how to capture the calories or sodium of my food. And matching my meals with pre-made food resulting equally in incorrect calorie and sodium information.
  • is all about habit forming. Although Done has a nicer interface, it lacks a social component, which is important when it comes to sticking to a set of goals. I am not convinced this application helps me much. Building rituals, good meal plans and getting into a scheduled rhythm seems more beneficial to sticking a plan. I stopped using or Done.

Exercise applications and podcasts

  • Peloton ($12.99/month) provides a set of pre-recorded bicycle training videos, as well as some live streaming programs as well. I did not purchase the expensive Peloton bicycle trainer, but hacked one together using my iPad, Wahoo speed and cadence sensors and the Wahoo application. I tried the Peloton application for a trial week or two, and ultimately didn’t subscribe, largely ’cause I was having too much fun running.
  • The Guardian beginner guide to running podcast is a free 8-week podcast to get you running 30 minutes without a break. You can download the entire series to your phone via iTunes. This was a great podcast to get me going. I now run 30–45 minutes without a break.
  • I contemplated Classpass, or Fitbit Coach ($40/yr), but have not joined either yet. I already have a good set of exercises to start with.

Diet application

  • (iPhone-only) ($40/month) puts you in touch with dietitians and nutritionists. The application is easy to use: all you need to do is snap a picture of your food and a simple description. Your dietitian will comment and guide you. The application has been a great motivator. I’ve mostly stopped eating carbs and focus a lot more on vegetarian high protein based meals with beans, tofu, and nuts. Also I eat a lot more vegetables and fruits.

Is it working?



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Coach, cheerleader, blocker, and tackler for my team. Building the connectivity platform for Autonomous Systems. More info: