Tracking article in the Telegraph

I was interviewed and photographed for an article in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper which went to print today (article). I enjoyed getting exposure to the whole process of article generation for a newspaper and while there were some aspects I found annoying it was overall an enjoyable process.

My quick thoughts:

  • Newspaper Sensationalism – the Telegraph came up with a title “Meet the Fitness Tracker Obsessives” which fits with what their audience might expect but doesn’t actually match the tone of the article. Obsessiveness carries an unduly negative tenor that just doesn’t fit with the optimism, excitement and feelings of self-empowerment that characterise the QS and bio-hacking communities that I’m involved in. That said, I’m not terribly surprised that a newspaper might represent it this way as their business model is selling subscriptions which involves finding catchy titles that meet their audiences expectations rather than challenge them.
  • Short Form Content – short-form content has limits in how much research the content goes through and I’ve seen some pretty bad content show up as a result but in this case the journalist — Katrina Megget — showed personal interest and a professionalism that made me feel good about newspaper reporting. It was a pleasure working with her on this and I feel her content was very appropriate and caught the spirit of the QS and bio-hacking movements. The telegraph — of course — cut the article down in size — but I still feel the tonality that Katrina produced came through.
  • Photography – being a amateur/hobbyist photography myself I always look forward to chatting up professional photographers. So when the Telegraph photographer showed up I was happy to see that he was using Canon equipment — because that’s the religion I preach, and more importantly allowed me to dig into the weeds a bit more — and while I was jealous of some of his equipment I came away feeling like my photography investments (lenses primarily) were inline with “accepted professional views”. 🙂
  • Silly Photographs – I laughed when the photographer saw that I was dressed in jeans and button up shirt … he said something to the effect of “sorry but I think the newspaper would like a newspaper photograph and maybe imagined you to be in workout clothes with all of your devices attached”. We both laughed but the photo above is what came out (after agreeing that all of my devices wouldn’t fit on my body). To my surprise the article actually had a second photo of me in my regular attire too but I did have to hold up my glucose monitor (btw, that reading of 3.4 mmol was my all time low … I cheated a bit).


HearthMath’s InnerBalance

I have wanted to get one of the HeartMath HRV devices for a long time and yesterday I finally did. I opted for the InnerBalance product which is mildly less expensive than the old standby the emWave 2. Cost aside the main difference with the InnerBalance is that it runs on IOS (and finally with the Lightening connector) rather than the emWave 2 which has it’s own physical unit for processing the signal. To me the smart-phone variant was superiour in every way … 

  • No additional piece of hardware required (other than the earpod measurement sensor); makes it far less cumbersome and mobile
  • The immediate feedback look, particularly when away from a computer screen, has a full display to provide feedback on rather than communicate state through a few LED lights (although admittedly this can be enough in many cases if you’re just wanting to know coherance state).
  • I assumed the ability to share my results more readily since the data and visualisation were already on my phone and therefore available to the network

It was this last point that got me writing this post in the first place … I was shocked to find that when you press the “share” button after a session what you’re sharing is NOT your data from the session but instead marketing material for the product. Really? Wow that is incredibly lame. To make it even more lame, the application I happened to share to was OneDay which I use for a personal journal. How useless is it — for all parties — to share a marketing message with myself. Annoyed.

Oxygen Displacement and Body Fat

BodPod Scale

I went to Westminster University’s polyclinic group and had my body fat measured using a BodPod device. The BodPod uses oxygen displacement to measure body fat and is meant to be of similar in technique and accuracy as the traditional gold standard of water displacement.

Anyway, as my focus this year is first lowering my body fat percentage and then in trying to up my lean mass I thought I’d get a better measurement. The process itself is painless. Three 40 second tests and you’re done almost as soon as you start. My results were great too … 12.5% body fat! Less than I’d expected although possibly a bit low considering I had food poisoning over the weekend. In any case though a good number and officially 1/2 percentage point away from “lean”. 🙂

Besides just direct measurement my other goal was to calibrate this more precise tool with my home tools. I have both a foot and a handle measurement device. Both use the traditional “home tech” of electrical impedance which while not perfect does give a good trend line at the very least … but how accurate is it? Well in a calibration you need multiple points to really gauge so I’ll hold off on any formal statement only to say they were within a reasonable distance. I’ll do the BodPod test again in a few months and may have more to say then.



Since starting my diet 4 days ago I’ve been monitoring whether I have reached a state of “ketosis” and each of the prior days the test reported 0 ketones. Today things changed. I am now happy to report a level of 1.5mg/Dl. I’d still like to get a little higher but it’s nice to see the needle move. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, Ketosis is an elevated state of Ketones in the body that indicates the body is in “fat burning mode”. While extremely elevated levels are quite bad for the body (especially for diabetics), moderate levels are considered a “super fuel” by a growing number of medical professionals … and so yes I’m trying to achieve Ketosis. It’s all part of my nutty plan.

Welcome Slacker

I just bought a new Nike+ GPS sports watch. Since Nike has a public API to get the data out I thought I’d give it a try. Anyway being a boy with a new toy I didn’t wait until I got home to start using the device. Nope put that baby on right away. Turns out that to really customise it you need to do it on a computer but I still was able to get it to record my walk to the train station. When I did get home I plugged it in and was annoyed by the fact that it wants to charge my device before configuring it. Really? Where’s the instant gratification? Ok but at least it made up for it by congratulating on running my longest run to date. Well ok my only run but it still seemed impressed by my feat. That’s of course until it made the comparison to other men of my age:

myWPEdit Image

Yes it turns out that Nike is being a little two faced. Complimenting me one minute and then pointing me out that I’m shit relative to men my age (although interestingly not as shit as the Nike+ community). Well anyway, I’m not really that upset … I’m looking forward to see if this device has any shelf-life.



myWPEdit Image

I’m happy to say … I finally got my MyBasis watch. I ordered it many moons ago but they’re now shipping to the folks who registered early and — via my mother in the states (they only ship to the US at the moment) — I am a proud owner as of last night. What has it told me so far? Well apparently I sweat more while sleeping than I do during the day. Is this abnormal? Who knows. Does it matter? Probably not. Am I excited to know this …. yeah kind of.