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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

A NEAT Way to Burn More Calories (Part 1 of 2)

Exercising regularly is great for improving health and wellness. Exercise can help relieve stress and feel good about ourselves. However, some people are finding that exercising regularly is not helping them lose the unwanted weight that most of us carry. How can that be?

Who Has Time for 60 Minutes of Cardio Per Day?

While exercise is essential for health, you can’t rely on it to be your sole calorie-burning tool. According to “A NEAT(Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) Approach to Weight Loss,” written by Fabio Comana, “We need to burn 2,000 calories each week through physical activity in order to lose weight.” That would equal about 286 calories each day. That may seem like a small number, but in reality it is quite large. You would need to complete about 60 minutes of cardio each day of the week. 

If you are willing to put in the work, you will be successful. However, most of us have other responsibilities that can limit our time in the gym or exercising. So how are we going to burn the excess calories that we are not burning through exercise? 

ThinkstockPhotos-80966263Most of the calories you burn per day happen throughout the entirety of the day, from when you wake up to when you go to sleep. So what if you increase the calories you burn throughout the day, as well as exercising about three days per week, to help you achieve your weight-loss or weight-management goals?

Factors That Affect How You Burn Calories

Recently a research article written by James Levine discussed the idea of NEAT. In Levine’s article, he defines NEAT as “the energy expenditure of all physical activities other than sporting-like exercise.” This includes everything that you do during the day that does not include your planned exercise sessions. In order for us as a population to burn more calories throughout the day, we need to increase our non-exercise activity. 

According to Levine, there are different factors that play a huge role in the amount of NEAT an individual can achieve throughout the day. Following are two major factors that can affect how NEAT a person can be. 

Occupation: If your job requires you to sit for most of the 8 hours you are there, you will have a lower NEAT for that day. Now if your job requires you to stand, walk, and lift throughout the day, your NEAT will be higher than the person who sits at work. This factor may be out of your control, but in a follow up blog, I will provide a few fun ideas to help you achieve more NEAT in the workplace. 

Leisure time: After work, if you are more likely to sit and watch television until you go to bed, your NEAT levels will remain relatively low. However, if you decide to clean the house or mow the lawn after work, your NEAT will be higher for the day. In the follow up blog, I will also provide you with a few fun ideas to do during your leisure time that will help increase your overall NEAT. 

The impact of increasing your non-exercise activity is huge for your health and weight loss or maintenance. Levine’s article concludes that NEAT can burn an average of 330 calories per day in healthy individuals, and up to nearly 700 calories per day in others. That is a huge difference and could be the deciding factor in your weight-loss goals. 

Keep an eye out for the second part of this blog, where I will provide you with 10 ideas for how to be more NEAT during the day. Stay tuned!

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This blog was written by Masie Duncan, Weight Loss Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: cardio staying active weight loss calories weight management workplace fitness

Tasha: Kettlebell Novice to Champion in Less Than a Year

I first met Tasha three years ago when I started working at NIFS. At that time, she was working full time and was in charge of group fitness. Besides the administrative duties of scheduling classes and riding herd over all of the independent instructors, which included getting them paid, she also taught several classes throughout the week. She was in early and always seemed busy.

When I started the Kettlebell Classes Monday to Wednesday at noon, several of our trainers and staff would drop by and take a group training class whenever their schedules would allow. As time went by, Tasha was one who showed up more often. She seemed to really like the Kettlebell and the demanding workouts. 

Getting Competitive

About a year ago, the subject of competing with Kettlebells came up after a class, and I suggested that Tasha go to the Ice Chamber Kettlebell Girls website and check out the videos of the girls lifting and read about their journey into Kettlebell Competition.

I studied for several years with 10-time Kettlebell World Champion and Honored Master of Sport Valery Fedorenko. I was certified by Valery as a Kettlebell Competition Coach and was also named Master Trainer in 2012. The Ice Chamber Girls also studied under Valery, so I knew their technical skills were solid and would be a great example for Tasha to watch. 

A few days later, Tasha came up to me and said, “I want to do that!”

Tasha’s Rapid Rise

Her journey into serious Kettlebell Competition Lifting began at that moment, and neither one of us knew how it was going to unfold, but here is what we know thus far.

Tasha began training for Kettlebell Competition less than a year ago along with Catherine Kostyn (a longtime NIFS member) and a gentleman by the name of Neal Baker (who would be shocked that I placed “gentleman” and his name in the same sentence). Tasha’s progress was amazing. She was truly a natural for the sport, but how far and how fast she would go was yet to be revealed.

All three competed in their first competition in Louisville at a club that my longtime friend Dave Randolph owned. He and I were among the first Kettlebell instructors in the country. We were in the same RKC class in 2002, so we go a long way back. We put together this meet for some of his members and my three athletes so they could get some experience on the Kettlebell lifting platform. Tasha won her class and was the most outstanding lifter in the meet. There were no awards, just a community of Kettlebell enthusiasts getting together and having a good time.

Tasha competed several weeks after that in a IKFF Midwest Regional meet. Once again, she won her weight class, and I consider her performance to be the most outstanding of the competition.

The AKA National Championships took place in early August outside Chicago. Tasha won her bodyweight class (58Kg) competing with a 16Kg Kettlebell in the Biathlon (1 arm Clean & Jerk - 10:00 / 5:00 per arm and 1 arm Snatch - 10:00 / 5:00 per arm). Tasha did 175 Jerks and 167 Snatches. That performance set a new AKA National record for her bodyweight and 16Kg Kettlebell. A week after that meet, Tasha was invited to represent the U.S. on the AKA World Kettlebell Championship Team to compete early November in Dublin, Ireland, in the 16Kg One Arm Snatch event. Of course she accepted that invitation!

Allow me to summarize: In less than a year of serious training, Tasha has won three competitions, including the National Championships. She set a National Record and has been invited to compete for the USA at the Worlds in November. By any standards, it’s been a pretty good year. But it is not over. 

I told Tasha, if she gets invited to the Worlds, we’re training to win, not to just be happy to be there. The training program has started and there is less than 10 weeks to go. I have no doubt that Tasha is capable of winning a World Championship. She has the natural talent, the ability to work hard, is extremely coachable and has the deep desire to win. A coach can’t ask for anything more, and the United States could not ask for a better representative.

A Growing Sport

Now that I have had your attention this far, let’s get down to business. Kettlebell Competition Lifting is a small but fast-growing sport. The AKA lacks the resources to send its athletes to the World Championships. The athletes must find their own way there and cover their own expenses. Tasha is no exception. Most of the AKA team members have set up their own GoFundMe accounts, and here is Tasha’s link: GO TASHA

Both Tasha and I are on Facebook, and you can follow her video blogs about her training there.

Also, Tasha and I will be conducting a Kettlebell Clinic on Saturday October 10th at 10am. We will demonstrate proper Kettlebell techniques and celebrate Tasha’s accomplishments at the same time!  You will learn: the swing, clean, rack position, press, push press, goblet squat, and the beginning steps of the Get-Up. You will also experience a version of the Coyote workout to get an understanding of "work capacity" training.

This is a really great story with more news to come, and you have an opportunity to help someone reach for their dreams. We are grateful for the support and your energy and good wishes for Tasha’s success, and for your interest in a little-known but rapidly growing intense sport, and if you are motivated to contribute financially, every little bit helps. 

Peace and Power in Your Life!
Thank you!
Rick

Interested in starting Kettlebell Training? Click here for more information on
NIFS Kettlebell sessions!

Get Started!
 

This blog was written by Rick Huse, CSCS, WKC Competition Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: NIFS group training nifs staff NIFS programs Les Mills kettlebell

Wakey Wakey: Why Waking Up Right Is Just as Important as Sleeping

Since the dawn of time (I’ve always wanted to start a sentence like that), humans have slept for a little while, and then were awakened by something or someone that told them it was time to start the day. We know now the huge roles that sleep plays in so many aspects of our health:ThinkstockPhotos-453226511waking

  • Physical recovery
  • Healthy hormonal environment
  • Stress regulator
  • Cognitive retention and memory
  • Appetite regulation
The list can go on and on. (For more reasons why sleep is essential to your overall health, check out this article from Precision Nutrition.) Bottom line is that we need ample and quality sleep to be at our best every day; I don’t think anyone can argue against that. But there is a pretty important aspect of our daily ritual of rest and recovery that is not always worthy of the front page, and that is how you WAKE UP. 

The Science Behind Sleeping and Waking

We have circadian rhythms that act as an internal clock of sorts, which usually run on roughly a 24-hour cycle. Researchers have identified that circadian rhythms can influence our sleep-wake cycle, and abnormal circadian rhythms have been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression, and other disorders. 

Why am I telling you all this? Well, your circadian rhythms are produced by natural factors in your body, but can also be influenced by the environment. Light is the major cue influencing the rhythms that turn on or turn off genes that control your internal master clock. Having a normal, healthy circadian rhythm can be the difference between waking up ready to conquer the day or having to hit the snooze button a hundred times. 

Using Light to Wake Up

So if light is one of our biggest cues to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, use it! My beautiful wife gave me a gift on my birthday recently that I have found to be so helpful in waking up and feeling rested and ready to go. It’s a Phillips Wake-up Light, and it allows you to wake up naturally with the warm glow of the sun-like light that radiates from this futuristic-looking alarm clock. I absolutely love it! 

The light will begin to glow anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes prior to your set time to wake up (how hard you sleep will determine how much time you should have the light begin glowing). The light begins a reddish color to simulate the sun rising, and gradually becomes brighter and brighter until you wake up and turn it off. And if you were to sleep through the 20-minute light glow, you would be awakened by birds chirping. 

I have definitely noticed a difference in my energy level when I wake up these days, as well as my attitude and mindset heading into a tough day. I was experiencing some not-so-positive reactions to my alarm clock, which really set me up for rough start to the day, which in turn affected me throughout the entire day. Now that I am waking up naturally, and not shot out of a cannon to the sound of the buzzer, the morning is much more pleasant and meaningful.

Other Benefits of Waking Up Naturally

Some other fantastic benefits of waking up naturally include the following:

  • Improved insulin regulation. This is important in managing body weight and body composition.
  • Improved parasympathetic response. Instead of waking up in a “fight or flight” sympathetic response, which will result in elevated resting heart rates affecting many other aspects of health, we stay in a calmer state, allowing the internal environment to adjust appropriately to stress.
  • Decreased muscle tone. I am not talking about losing muscle tissue. I am referring to “turning down” the tone of certain muscle groups that can be putting you into less-than-optimal body positions. For example (and one of the most common), toned-up lats will cause you to be in extension, which can lead to lower back pain. When we are calmer, and not so jacked up, we can allow the body to tone down when needed to improve positioning and movement patterns.
  • Better mood! Life is way too short to be miffed all the time, and it just causes problems in so many facets of our lives. Most of this bad mood is communicated nonverbally, which in most cases is so much stronger than anything you could say. Take my word for it, be happy in both your message and how you deliver it. This can be greatly improved if you feel good and not groggy, which started hours earlier with the whack of the snooze button. 

I highly recommend implementing some sort of a natural wake-up process that works for you. Most of us have smartphones. There are plenty of apps out there that can do the same thing as the wake-up light I describe above. Many of the newer fitness trackers such as a FitBit can also be set to gradually wake you up. Give it a try and let me know what you think, but have a back-up just in case it doesn’t work for you right away—don’t be late to work on my account!

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: stress attitude sleep technology energy

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable: Powerful Ways to Reach Your Goals

I have recently been given the opportunity to participate in some very cool opportunities professionally and personally. And although these two opportunities are things that I have had goals of achieving for quite some time, it did not take away from me being pretty terrified to take them on. I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable—and fast!

Two Great Opportunities—And Some Doubts

The first opportunity was to speak with some of the nation’s greatest minds in health and fitness at the Indy Women Fitness 2015 event held here at NIFS this past month. Being on the same program as Mike Robertson, Molly Galbraith, and Bill Hartman was a dream come true, but it came with the following questions to myself:

  • “Am I good enough to be next to these guys?”
  • “How will the attendees respond to my content and approach?”
  • “Am I in over my head?”
The next chance to fulfill a goal of mine will be coming up in the near future, where I will train our city’s heroes when the Indianapolis Fire Department’s new recruit class will be using our facility to train to be the best firefighters in the country. I was asked to oversee their programming and training, an offer I could not pass up! Having two brothers that serve their communities as firefighters, I have been around this group of professionals for quite some time and carry an extra sense of pride and responsibility when asked to elevate their fitness and job capabilities. But soon after accepting this role, here came those same questions:
  • “Am I good enough to be next to these guys?”
  • “How will the attendees respond to my content and approach?”
  • “Am I in over my head?”
First of all, these questions and feelings are completely normal, but failing to overcome doubt and anxiety is a recipe for not stepping up to new opportunities or quitting before you achieve that BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal—more on these in a later post). I have adopted some very powerful ways to get comfortable being uncomfortable from individuals I consider mentors such as Martin Rooney and Todd Durkin, and from reading as much as I can from authors such as Dan and Chip Heath, Zig Ziglar, and Ken Blanchard. 

How to Succeed in Anything

I would like to share some of the best ways I have learned to succeed in anything you want to achieve.

  • Think BIG and tackle the BIG things first. When it comes to goals, if it doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough. Set the bar high and do what it takes to reach it. Try to tackle the big things of your day first, and don’t multitask; focus all of your energy on one thing at a time. Set time limits if you have to, but do only one thing at a time.
  • Practice, practice, practice. I don’t think it comes as any surprise that more practice on anything will make you better at that thing. But just as important is what practice can do to your anxiety level. Practice goes up, and anxiety will go down; and practice can include learning more, rehearsing, or simply visualizing your performance. I think it’s a good thing to be a bit anxious before a major event, but practicing will keep that anxiety from becoming paralyzing.
  • Act awesome, be awesome. Martin Rooney told me once that it is okay to be tired, but it is not okay to act tired. It seems crass, but he makes a great point. If you act tired or anxious, you are more likely to succumb to the symptoms of being tired or anxious. But if you act confident and full of energy, you will eventually be that way, not tired or anxious. 
  • Talk with successful people. One of the best ways to be great at something is to learn from someone who is great at that thing. Obviously they have done something right to be considered a “go-to” in the subject; they have been there, done that, and continue to do it because it breeds success. Find those people and learn as much as you can from them. Get a mentor, and learn everything you can.
  • Do the right thing, at the right time, all the time, no matter what. For example, let’s say you are faced with the internal question of “should I go to the gym today?” Your immediate response may be, “hell yeah,” or it may be, “hell no.” No matter the response, go to the gym because it is the right thing to do. You will find that once you get started on the “right thing,” it gets easier and easier to complete. You know what the right thing is; be like NIKE and just do it, no matter what, all the time!

I still get anxious when new opportunities come knocking at the doors that are sure to take me out of my comfort zone, and I should. But utilizing the preceding strategies has made me more comfortable being uncomfortable!

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM, Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: attitude challenge goals anxiety

Why Do These Stairs Kick My Butt? The Convenient Cardio Workout

ThinkstockPhotos-477523863This is a pretty common question that comes to mind for me. I work out 6 days a week, but still that mild ascent up four flights of stairs to the copy room seems to get me every time. 

Generally I would put myself into the “decently fit” category, but it seems that after climbing stairs I am quite winded and sometimes my legs are burning. This very thing has inspired me and a coworker to add running some stairs into our weekly workout. 

Here are some reasons why, if you’re looking for something to add into your routine for a good cardio/leg workout, you should add stairs as well!

  • Great cardiovascular exercise. Like all cardio exercises, running stairs is good for heart health! Your heart and lungs will be strengthened and can help you get to your goals. Cardio exercise is proven to help reduce high blood pressure and other health-related issues.
  • Strengthens legs and tones butt while engaging other muscle groups. Running stairs helps to strengthen many of the muscle groups, but noticeably the butt and the thighs. While climbing, your glutes, hips, and quads are engaged as well as the small muscles within those areas. Other areas of your body that see benefits are core, upper body, ankle joints, and the muscles surrounding your ankles and shins.
  • Easy to find places to do them. Whether you travel, like to work out outside, come to the gym, or want to work out at home, stairs are usually an option! It’s not hard to find a set of stairs to run, and there are lots of places around that have several sets that would be good to run up. (Here are some exercises you can do when you travel, including stairs.)
  • Helps keep the weight off. Stair running is in the category of moderate to high-intensity cardio exercise. With the amount of intensity that you can give to this, the return can be high caloric burn. As you climb higher and faster, your heart rate will begin to increase, your legs will be working harder, and you will increase your oxygen intake. All of these things aid in boosting your metabolism, and with proper eating habits and hard work you can drop a few pounds.

Here are some ideas for stair workouts for runners. Give it a try for a few weeks and see how you feel. From personal experience, don’t give up…it will be pretty challenging in the beginning, but I encourage you to stick with it!

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: cardio workouts muscles endurance weight management stairs

Video Game Fitness: Is the Trend Here to Stay?

iStock_000015738239_SmallSeveral years ago the Nintendo Company introduced its newest entry into the video game market with the Wii and hit game Wii Fit. The idea seemed bold at the time; graphics were all the rage, but the Wii brought a more simplistic design to the table. While focusing on easy-to-use controls and replay ability, the crossover to the fitness world was quite easy, yet revolutionary. Let’s face it, video games had become synonymous with, to put it nicely, deconditioned individuals. This new technology, however, allowed the gamers to interact with the games in new ways.

Video Fitness for All Ages

What I felt to be most interesting was that this video game phenomenon wasn’t just for 12-year-olds. We started noticing our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles up and out of their recliners and actively working on balance, strength, and conditioning, and even hand-eye coordination as part of senior fitness. What made it work, though, was the fact that it was both simple to operate and at the same time addictively fun.

10 Years of Wii

Fast-forward almost ten years and we can still see this influence among all the major video game consoles on the market. With the constant upgrading of technology, we must ask questions such as, “How far are they going to take this?” and “How can we make the most of these technological tools to help motivate people to stay fit?” 

Although the future is uncertain, we can definitely see that systems such as the Wii are being used for good, purposeful exercise. The in-home system may be your end-of-the-day stress relief, but more and more laboratory studies are using Wii technology to train athletes and assess abilities. Physical therapists are now using the Wii to help individuals with issues ranging from developing balance and stability for the elderly clients to helping an adolescent with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy to develop movement patterns. 

Are Video Games Real Exercise?

Will video game fitness ever gain enough momentum to be accepted as genuine exercise and a good workout? It would seem as though it would be swept out by most skeptical fitness gurus, but we must be cautious when doing so. If the mission is to bring fitness to the masses, in a realistic scenario, skipping this vast population of typically sedentary individuals would be a huge disservice. The best solution, I feel, is to embrace the tools that we have and translate fitness in a convenient way. The development of smarter technology will only enhance experiences, in turn changing lives. This blog makes it easy to see some of the options that are out there. 

In closing, video game fitness is currently alive and well. Making fitness fun isn’t always easy, but it definitely does not have to be dreaded. Don’t get me wrong, your local health and fitness professionals are still going to give you the best, safest experiences with bountiful knowledge, but now we can develop beyond the two or three hours per week we work out at the gym, in the comforts or our own home and among family and friends. NIFS offers video game fitness opportunities in the nursery area for youth. Contact the service desk for more information regarding hours of operation.

Evolve and Rejoice.

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Instructor at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise fitness exercise at home Thomas' Corner motivation balance senior fitness technology

Top 5 Nutrition Apps for Health and Wellness

ThinkstockPhotos-469002238Sometimes you need a little help when it comes to your nutrition and diet choices. Even though we think we know what to do when it comes to our diet, it can be helpful to have some extra assistance with tips, tracking, and suggestions. There are thousands of apps out there that you can easily download to your phone.

I have searched through many nutrition apps and found the top five that you should definitely use to help with accountability to your wellness and weight-loss goals.

eaTipster

eaTipster was created by the Dietitians of Canada, and it delivers daily healthy eating tips to your mobile devices. The app addresses common food and nutrition questions and concerns, and provides tips to increase healthy eating, support a healthy weight, and fight chronic disease. You can add tips to your favorites to read them later. Then you can share the tips with friends via Facebook, Twitter, email, and text. One nice perk of this app is you can set daily reminders to receive the tip at a time that fits your routine. 

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a community-oriented site designed to help you lose weight and track fitness goals. The mobile apps let you keep these features at your fingertips wherever you are. You can input or edit your goals, enter your caloric intake (food) and output (exercise) on the go, and add new food data to the library if it doesn't already exist. There's also a progress screen that lets you track your weight and view a graphic representation of how you're doing as you work toward your goals. 

The food database includes over 5,000,000 options and is one of the few free food tracking apps that is this easy and user friendly. Due to its popularity, you can sync MyFitnessPal with other devices and apps such as FitBit, Jawbone Up, and Garmin. The recipe importer allows you to go to any recipe on the web and easily import it and track it. One of my favorite components of this app is that it tells you more than just total calories. You can easily track your sugar grams, calcium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals to guarantee you are getting your needs met.

Fooducate

Fooducate helps you shop and eat healthily by allowing you to quickly pull up nutritional information about food products from barcodes, as well as by helping you make sense of nutritional labels. Fooducate displays a letter grade from A to D, along with a quick summary of nutrition information in plain language, as well as healthy alternative suggestions. If you cook your own meals or eat out, you can also manually enter a meal's nutritional information. In addition, the app also doubles as an intake, calorie, and exercise tracker. This app easily allows you to see what extras are in foods such as added sugars, food colorings, artificial sweeteners, and more, which can be challenging to know without reading every single ingredient. 

HealthyOut

The HealthyOut Healthy Meal Finder app helps you stay on track even when you're going out or ordering delivery. The app helps users find healthy restaurant dishes and prepared grocery items nearby, and supports a wide variety of diet plans. The app comes with a wealth of diet and food filters, allowing you to filter by cuisine, ingredients, or type of dish. You can also view detailed nutritional information on each meal where available. It's a great option when you don't have the time to prepare a healthy meal of your own. The popular “Not a Salad” feature allows you to find a dish that can be just as healthy as the typical salad. HealthyOut is great if you travel a lot or just want to know the best options at your favorite neighborhood restaurant choice.

My Nutrition Coach

My Nutrition Coach is a new app launched by NIFS that allows users to record their food throughout the day and automatically build a daily profile of their diet. The app platform uses photo journaling and meal and exercise input to make tracking quick and easy. At midnight, the profile is passed to my dashboard, where I provide evaluation and feedback on that 24-hour timeline. The information is private, secure, and convenient. Members will receive an email when their daily response is ready for viewing. Users are encouraged to login to the website or app to view responses and graphs that detail their personal ratings and progress.

Your NIFS dietitian will supply you daily feedback, suggestions, and information in the form of handouts and videos based on your daily profile. All you need to do is snap a photo of your meals.

Any one of these apps are sure to help you stay on track with you fitness and nutrition goals. Download one today and get started!

***

What did you eat today? Don’t underestimate the role that proper nutrition plays in your health and fitness. Contact Angie Scheetz [email protected] or call 317-274-3432 to find out more about the My Nutrition Coach app. 

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This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: fitness nutrition weight loss calories accountability technology