LiveBlog: Make Wearable Fitness Devices Work for You: Reach your Fitness Goals and Maximize Your Healthy Choices- Draft

This session was captured by Lauren of Breathe Deeply and Smile.

Lauren blogs at Breathe Deeply and Smile about running, food, managing stress, fitness, Baltimore happenings and everything in between as she continues on her journey to live a happy and healthy life. Find her on Twitter and Facebook!


This session was sponsored by Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour and discusses how to use all the wearable fitness devices out on the market to help you make the best healthy choices possible and reach your fitness goals.

Session led by Drew Edmonds

Drew Edmonds is a local Savannah trainer who has been in the industry for over 20 years. He  has experience as a celebrity trainer, was featured on Style Network’s show Ruby, owns a group of gyms in the Savannah area, and was voted Savannah’s best personal trainer 2 years in a row.

Today the session is talking about wearable fitness devices, and Walgreen’s is giving away two devices at the session.  Tips for effectively using fitness devices will be discussed along with how you can earn extra points from tracking with fitness devices in the Walgreens Balance Rewards program. Today Walgreens was offering free screenings as part of the Way to Well Health Tour and bloggers was asked to create videos discussing how they manage their wellness with messages of eating healthy, working out, and losing weight.

Fitness devices can effectively help you accomplish your goals and this session will teach you how to maximize their benefits. First Drew led a quick stretching sessions to get the blood flowing which he said is important after everyone spent time sitting in sessions all day. After the stretching session, it was revealed that under two of the chairs were prizes for a Fitbit device courtesy of Walgreens.

As Drew mentioned earlier, you can earn points through the Walgreens Balance Rewards program for using your fitness devices. If you are already tracking using your device, why not earn some extra rewards.

On the Walgreens panel for the discussion today are Monica Olivas, Veronica Kilpatrick, and Jamie Roll. Monica blogs at RunEatRepeat where she shares running tips, weight loss tips, and food diaries.  She was named one of Shape Magazine’s 20 Most Inspiring Weight Loss bloggers and is also a certified personal trainer and running coach.  She has achieved goals in weight loss and in training for and running in a dozen marathons.

Veronica is a pharmacist with Walgreens as well as an avid runner and Crossfit enthusiast.  After giving birth to her two year old son, she got into running and Crossfit after always living an active lifestyle which included dance, gymnastics, and cross-country and track as a teenager.  She recently achieved a fitness goal of completing her first full marathon.

On the end, Jaime is also a Walgreens pharmacist and a group trainer. She works out 5-6 times a week, and her fitness goal is to complete her first half marathon.

Drew will lead a Q&A session along with answering blogger questions. After the session Walgreens representatives including Veronica and Jaime can discuss your health tests results from earlier after the session.

Drew says one of the basic questions people want to have answered is “why am  I wearing this device, how will it help me achieve my goals?”. These devices are great because apps link up with them so you can set goals and track your progress such as getting more sleep, steps a day, or calorie monitoring.

Jaime works with people everyday to help them with their medications and and health questions. She feels it is important to get regular health screenings and track where you are to ensure you are staying healthy.

A second common question is “after you have your goals, how do you remember to wear your devices?”. Drew says to just wear it all the time, everyday. They are durable enough to wear all day, and you can keep a charger everywhere you go so there are no excuses! Monica agrees to wear it everyday and keeps it in her basket of running gear by the door that she uses everyday. She makes sure it is easy and accessible.

One of the big things people track is the number of steps taken says Drew. 10,000 is the number mostly commonly used and represents 5 miles which also meets the surgeon general’s requirements for 30 minutes of exercise a day.  Take small steps to get a lot of steps in. and slowly ramp up your steps. You can do simple things such as parking your car farther-it all adds up. Veronica finds it hard as a mother with a full-time job but makes her family talk an afternoon walk. Monica as a runner tracks more by mileage than steps and likes the little buzz when 10,000 steps hits. She thinks during rest days it’s great for keeping activity levels up. Brittany is introduced by Drew and shares a story about how her 62 year old mother who has diabetes changed her life. She was exhausted from the work and didn’t realize how little steps she takes a day. Now she uses it to track food and exercise which led to her losing 15 pounds and getting her sugar levels under control.

Drew says to be sure to use the app for the calorie tracking features along with MyFitnessPal which allows you to set your macros. Veronica uses it to track food through the Walgreens Balance Rewards which encourages her to make healthier choices and earn rewards.

Drew says most people are not getting enough sleep while some are getting too much. Tracking his sleep and writing down his moods throughout the day have allowed him to monitor how much sleep he is actually getting and its effects. Sleep is important for recovery, and lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain. Jamie recently got the Fitbit device and finds the sleep tracking feature interesting. She was surprised by her restlessness in the beginning and feels it has improved. Jamie says 7 hours is the recommended amount of sleep and also that lack of sleep is linked to obesity and poor food choices.

These devices can also track water intake. As with the steps, Drew said to ramp up your intake by increasing by one cup of water a day or week. Monica drinks more than the daily recommended amount and check her urine to gauge her hydration rather than focusing on the numbers. Hydration changes depending on the season and weather, such as how much you sweat says Monica  Most people don’t drink enough water.  Sometimes it’s hard to drink water especially because people don’t want to take bathroom breaks during work.

Drew asks “how can we use this technology to reach our goals?”  He makes his clients become friends with him on the app and also follows his wife. By having a buddy you can motivate each other or even join company-wide challenges which usually include rewards as incentives. Drew suggests creating your own challenge with family and friends.Veronica is motivated by doing challenges with friends as well. Jamie does the same and is motivated  by the concept of actually seeing what you do and the numbers.

Bloggers in the session suggested taking the dog for a walk, doing sprints in the hallway, or walking on breaks at work to hit step goals on the devices.

Jamie talks about the Walgreens Balance Rewards and how easy it is. You go to the Balance Rewards tab on the Walgreens’ website and after registering, simply linking your devices. It also automatically tracks and adds points for you. If you have a device that can’t be linked you can manually enter your information on the website.  Just for setting goals in the program you get 250 points. Every mile equals 20 points along with points for medical tests and health screening. The points equal rewards for purchases in store.

If you’ve had trouble with the site, Emily from Walgreens can help you with any questions in the back of the room. Another audience member suggests keeping your device at your bathroom sink to remember to put it on each morning. Another person brings up that he heard the Jawbone UP tracks sleep better than the Fit bit. Fit bit is affected by depth of water not the length of time, but all the new versions are becoming water resistant.

Another person has been hesistant to purchase a device because she doesn’t think she would be able to sleep with it on. Monica says she doesn’t wear it to sleep because she thinks her sleep is fine, and also that sleep is not the most important part of the device and should not deter you from purchasing one. Another blogger, regardless of brand, loves these devices. You can try it and can always return or sell it, but it is so worth it to actually know how many calories you are burning and eating along with those last bits of knowledge such as sleep, which allows you to be healthy all around. These devices connect you to you!

Monica likes how it is information for you to use to make you better. It is great because it’s information you don’t have to share with anyone.  It’s great for people who don’t want to go to public meetings or weight loss groups.

On Ruby the TV show, Drew bought Ruby a Body Media because she needed to see real time information based on her heart rate.

Next Drew announces we are going to play a card game with the room split into two teams. A spade equals 30 jabs, a heart equals boogie down, a club equals 10 air squats, and a diamond equals 15 chair dips.The first team to complete 8 cards worth of workouts wins.  One person will draw cards for the team and the game goes quickly. The winning team wins $5 Walgreens gift cards.

Walgreens staff, Drew, and all the panelists are available for questions afterwards.