Saturday, January 31, 2015


If you were to visit my profile page, you will learn that I've been a member of the Skimble community since March 2010. That means I've been around for almost 5 years. I was surprised to see that I've been around that long. Lot of recording and a lot of photographs have gone up on that site.

So Skimble, what is it, and why do I like it enough that I bought a tee-shirt, besides the fact that I buy nerdy tee shirts. At least in this case it's an exercise & fitness nerdy tee-shirt. Skimble is a fitness/workout tracker, it's a series of apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone that allows you the flexibility to record your exercises and also through its other apps, you can use it, to quote David Prager from appjudgment, to be your personal trainer. He did a review of the first app that had come out, and while this is a few years older, it does give an idea.

When I first started with Skimble, it offered what is referred to as the GPS Sports Tracker app, in other words, an app by which you could log in your various workouts. From rock climbing, which the founders are very involved with, to a myriad of other sports and activities. There was a lot. As you recorded, you received points. Those points were important as this was a social media platform, you would make friends and over the course of a month, you could see how you compared with friends, and also you could compare yourself with the rest of the Skimble community. In other words, there was built in a very method to get involved in friendly competition. The points varied by the workout or exercise, as I was doing weights, you would gain 2 points, it would not matter how many sets or reps, it was two points. If you walked, or hiked, a different scale was used and so on and so forth. It was great to get started and realize there was a reward, as it were by exercising. After recording it, you could check and compare. I remember one time there was a challenge and if you ended up in the top 20 for that month, you would receive a prize of KT Tape. I managed to work out enough that I got some in the mail. That was exciting. I would go to the gym with my Ipod Touch, which I had downloaded the app and record all my workout which I would upload when I got home.

The point system was a strength and a weakness of those early days, the strength, you were motivated to workout. This would be especially true if someone in your friends group had sudden surged ahead of you and that would annoy you. The app would also record all the date so you would know how far, how long and how much of your workout. Since starting with Skimble, I recorded my run, as of the day I write this blog, I just surpassed 2000 miles of running. By the way, Skimble makes allowance for both imperial and metric. At that time I was simply using it for recording after the fact since I didn't have a gps devise.

As for weakness, in some way and there were a lot of complaints, the point system seemed unfair. After all, it wouldn't matter if I did 2 or 3 or even 4 sets of weights, I would only get 2 points. I could use as little as 5 lbs or set a record, which by the way Skimble does acknowledge in a brief message when you upload, it would still give you 2 points. Of course this led to some gaming of the system and if you were wanted to gain the points, you could record each set as a separate workout and get the 2 points for each set. I supposed some may have recorded each rep and got the points. However,the personal records were good to use as motivation and to determine progress. Later when I got a smartphone with GPS capacity, I was able to use skimble to record walks, bike trips and runs. When complete, a map was added to the workout as well, you could give an opinion of the trip. There are charts and graphs that will record the amount of weight a person has lifted, for example. That's a lot of reps by the way.

All my devises have the GPS sports track app on them, if it's allowed. I now take my smartphone to the gym to record and upload my activity immediately.

I'm not sure if they still do it, but every so often they would ask members to give a quick bio of themselves, such as what they do, where they were fitness wise and the goals for the future. I was fortunate enough to be asked to give my story.

The people of Skimble did not rest of their laurels but have since expanded. I think one of the most exciting and one that has truly enhanced the site has been the workout app. This is the one David Prager was reviewing in the above video.

This is going to sound a bit odd, but I didn't jump on the workout component right away. I reasoned I was doing enough and didn't need to get into anything else. It took a while before I decided to add this app.

The workout app has a free and a paid component to it, while the free gives enough there is limitations. Some of the workouts are for the 'pro' group and others are for free. Although the people at Skimble always make sure there are as many free workout as there are those available for the 'Pro' group. Also, there are only certain voices, or trainers for the Pro group. You might have heard the complaint of the mechanical voice, those tend to be for the free explanation. Now I did come to my senses and commenced using it, I seem to recall one of the first workouts I did was the 2 minute elbow plank. I thought to myself that I do a lot of resistance training, how difficult would it be to hold an elbow plank? Yes I lasted 30 seconds, barely. I was chastised for my arrogance and decided I needed to do more of these workouts. I began to incorporate them in my weekly workouts. After a while I decided to upgrade to Pro, which I do on a regular basis, the accounts are only for a year. I don't mind doing this, since once done, it means on all platforms, the workout app is in Pro mode. It doesn't matter if it's Android, iOS or even Blackberry, through Android, it can be downloaded, installed and used. Another motivation was people who used the workout programs were gaining way more points then me, don't underestimate the power of competition. I believed if I was to stay competitive I needed to start doing workouts. At this juncture I should say that my personal mantra for Skimble is:

I exercise: to get stronger, to lose weight and to gain Skimble points

This is quite an app. The workouts range from one exercise to a workout program. Whatever your target or goal, there is a workout program. If it's Core or Abs, Arms, Legs or Cardio, there is a workout. From equipment to body weight workouts, there is a program. It can be used at the gym for a series of workouts, or at the home gym. The time of the workouts can be as little as 15 seconds to over an hour. If you want a Yoga program, there are a whole lot of them for you to choose. The great thing is by putting together a series of workouts, one has an entire program which can be used monthly or even daily. For example my daily routine is all based upon Skimble workouts.

While the people at Skimble put out there own, there is also opportunity for the user to come up with their own workout. Once constructed, they can be shared by others. Each workout is categories by the level, from casual- meaning easy, to intense meaning, intense. Each week there are now programs both as I said, for free and for Pro members. So no one should feel left out. If a person wants to do training in a specific area, there are training programs which give a person a program lasting so many workouts over so many weeks. These are paying only, but the costs are reasonable. As of the writing of this blog, I haven' sampled any of them, but I should suspect they are all good. I use both the Skimble ones and the workouts created by others. While the Skimble ones tend to be consistent, the user generated ones are both good and dare I say, not so good. Some seem to be posted before a lot of review and refinement has taken place and as such either lack detail or don't make any sense. Some workouts seemed to have been composed to deal with a specific workout done by the individual, and they can be good. Some of the workouts are timers, recording a workout that might have been from another source. At least you get the points for working out. Each workout comes with static pictures or videos showing the workout and a trainer to encourage you along the time. There is also a 'timer' which give only the time and no other words. This is good if you've been doing a specific workout and don't need the instruction. The trainer give not only instructions but encouragement. They're good. However I'm still not sure how singing will pass the time as you wall-sit. It doesn't matter if you are new to a specific workout or been doing it for a time, there is a program. So you can develop by changing and by making the time longer. One of the features included is the search, you can search by name or you can see what others are doing and if it looks interesting do it yourself. On the app, you can even download workouts for later use. So it's very handy. Also when recording a workout, or review same, there's always a list of workout recommendations. So you are without excuse.

Skimble has two other apps, Fitness Flow, which provided HD videos for the tablet or smartphone, and Coco's Workout World:

Since I've not used either of them, I can't review.

Skimble is always making upgrades and changes to their apps. If you have issues, it might be a case of wait for a bit and the bugs will be fixed and new programs added. They have changed the layout and look of Skimble over the years. It's not difficult to navigate and check things out. When people ask me fitness questions, my pat answer is "Skimble". It is versatle. The fact that it fits on a smartphone means you carry your workout anywhere you go. As it saves, you don't have to keep a written log. Also when posted people can give words of encourage and 'like' what you did. Always do the same, like and get liked. There is a forum which has both a place for motivation and questions. You can also post pictures of the things you do:

Skimble: it's worth you while and it's how I roll.

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