Category Archives: Equipment

I Got the Withings Activité Pop Watch

I just got the Withings Activité Pop – it’s an activity and sleep tracking watch, so I can keep an eye on my number of steps each day, as I aim to move 10,000 steps daily.

I already use the Withings scale and have the app on my phone, so I liked staying within the brand here.

The watch looks like a regular watch with an hour and minute hand, and then there is a second dial that shows the daily step progress.

I like the Withings Activité Pop watch so far for counting steps.

A video posted by Shawn Collins (@fatblogging) on

I considered the Apple Watch, but I just want this for the exercise tracking, and don’t really have a need for texts and things coming through my watch. I tried that in the past with a Pebble Watch and didn’t like it.

In addition to the steps being tracked, the Activité Pop Watch tracks sleep, but it’s been inconsistent so far. It seemed to work the first night, but then said I was up for good at like 4am the second night, and that wasn’t the case.

There are three levels of the Activité watches, and the Pop is the lower of the three and the more sporty of them. The other two are more dressy – the Steel and the Sapphire.

So far, I am digging it.

Switching to Intervals to Build Running Distance

I have been running 5k at a time lately, which is six laps around the path of my local park (actually, each lap is a little more than a half mile, but it’s easier to think of it as a half mile).

It has not been getting any easier, which is frustrating, so I’ve decided to switch to 2:1 intervals, where I’ll alternate running two minutes and walking one.

So my latest run was stretched from three miles to four.

The breaks helped out a lot, but they sure did end too quick.

Knocked out 4+ miles doing some 2:1 intervals. I want to work up to 10k.

A video posted by Shawn Collins (@fatblogging) on

Untie Your Shoes Before You Take Them Off

I am towards the end of the life of a pair of my Brooks Adrenaline shoes, and I don’t take care of them the way I did when they were new.

Usually, after a run or walk, I’ll push off each shoe with my other foot, instead of untying the laces and taking them off properly.

Over time, the pressure from pushing on the heel to slide them off has resulted in the back of the right shoe pushing into my foot a bit.

The other day, as I was running, it was pretty uncomfortable, because of this, but I kept going, because I didn’t want to give up over some pain.

When I took off my right shoe, my sock was all wet. I figured it was sweat, but nope. After I took off the sock, my foot was bloody and the sock was trashed.

The cleaning lady for my hotel room might have been curious about the crime scene sock in the trash, but I tipped well and she didn’t escalate things.

I Got Some PowerBlock Dumbbells

I wanted to get into using weights to get some tone and strength in my arms, but didn’t want to deal with tons of equipment.

That didn’t seem like a possibility until I came across PowerBlock dumbbells, which are very compact dumbbells that enable you to easily select a weight you want to lift and the rest of the weight in your dumbbell is left on the rack.

They call it a “selectorized dumbbell”, and they make them for home and commercial use.

They’ve been around since the 90’s, but I don’t follow this stuff, so they’re new to me.

You can change the weight amounts quickly in ten pound increments. I got the Classic 50 PowerBlock, where each block can range from 10 to 50 pounds.

They feel very durable, and I’ve messed around with them, but now I need to find some sort of regular workout to do with them.

I Love the Brooks Men’s Adrenaline GTS 15 Running Shoe

I used to buy the running shoes that looked the coolest to me, and I didn’t really look into much else.

This was a problem, because I’ve got wide feet, and most running shoes don’t have extra wide sizes. So, I’d forsake comfort for fashion.

That was pretty stupid.

But one day I was noticing that my shoes were only wearing in certain areas and other parts were virtually untouched. I went to a local running store, and they put me on a treadmill to run a bit to do a gait analysis on me.

They determined that I was an overpronator. Pronation is the way the foot rolls inward when you walk and run to help the lower leg deal with shock. But overpronation is when the foot rolls in excessively, or at a time when it should not, and this was causing the uneven wear on my shoes and body.

After the store determined this, they suggested the Brooks Adrenaline running shoe. Not only did they come in wider sizes, but that particular shoe would balance me better as my feet strike the ground.

I was skeptical, but I bought a pair and started using them. And they worked. I started seeing even wear on my shoes and my body felt better.

Since then, I’ve always gotten the Brooks Adrenaline, and I keep two pairs now: indoor on treadmills and outdoor shoes. As the outdoor running shoes wear out, I shift the indoor shoes outside and get some new indoor ones.

Looks like I am due soon for the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16’s.

If you’ve been buying your running shoes by looks, instead of utility, head over to your local running store to get their advice. They don’t charge extra, and it could make things easier on your feet, knees, hips, etc.

The Withings Scale is Great for Tracking Your Weight

I heard about the Withings scale a few years ago, when Scott Jangro of spoke about it in a presentation (How to Create a Content Creation Habit), and I’ve been using it ever since.

As the name sort of suggests, it connects to Wi-Fi (and Bluetooth) to upload a record of weight and BMI, and then you can monitor your weight trends over time.

Their Health Mate iOS app and site enable you to see your historical data and set goals, and you can have multiple users all tracked separately. And sometimes a rogue weight ends up on the scale and Withings doesn’t know who to assign it to.

This was happening for a while at my house every week or so. I finally realized that the cleaning lady was checking in on her weight. I bet she never imagined that I was on to her.

I have one of the older models, the Withings Wireless Scale WS-30, and the new one includes additional features, such as body fat measurement and heart rate measurement (through your feet?), as well as continuous indoor air quality tracking (I guess that’s cool).

Withings also sells a line of watches that track activity, similar to the Fitbit wearable. I used one for a while for steps, sleep, etc., but stopped, because I don’t really like wearing a watch. Neat concept, though, and freaky to see sleep patterns.

I am surprised that the scale has lasted three years, and if/when it stops working, I’m planning to get the newer version.