I was contacted by a person working for a diet/fitness tracking app called Slim Kicker and asked to review it, good or bad, on my blog. The comment/request appears on my “About the Author” page. Now there are a few things that I don’t like in life, and one of them is watching what I eat. I’ve always tried to outrun my diet even though most professionals in the industry say it can’t be done. One look at the laundry piled upon my washboard abs leaves me with the understanding that they’re right – to an extent. Everything in life, as I see it, comes down to definitions. In the case of my physical appearance, just how much is good enough – the key words to define are “good” and “enough”. In the end I’m pretty happy with my balance – I don’t necessarily eat great, but I eat well and I get to enjoy what I eat.
That notwithstanding, I decided to give the app a try, if for nothing else than to get an idea of where the folks at Slim Kicker think I’m at and maybe get a better understanding of how I eat, because I really haven’t a clue…oh, and to see if the app actually crashes when I enter in my post Tuesday club ride dinner. Yesterday was my first full day with the app which is only available for the iPhone right now. It seems easy enough, you enter in a bunch of information; height, weight, age, activity level – the simple stuff, and it kicks out a profile for you based on what you enter. The app interfaces with a web page where you can change your photo, tweak your profile and view your progress (it’s based on a “level-up” game).
From there I started entering in everything I ate immediately after finishing… Banana, apple, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, burger, burger (I cooked them on the grill Sunday and made two extra for lunch), Coke (just had to see what would happen – I never stop for a Coke on the way home from work) – STOP… Right there I was over my alloted sugar for the day – a banana, an apple and a 16 oz Coke… I knew right then and there, this is not going to be easy. When I entered the Coke, a nice little message popped up on the screen: “There is no place for soda in a healthy diet”… Oh boy, here we go.
I earned points for entering in what I ate and it tabulated that against my overall profile target calorie consumption goal for the day: 3106 calories – and more on that calculation in a minute.
From there, I went home, packed up the bike and headed over to the meeting place for the evening ride. And this is where we start getting into trouble… The exercises listed in Slim Kicker are not set up for someone who already happens to be fit to the point of amazingness like me. Their hardest cycling effort is 17.5 mph and that is listed as “very fast”… That’s recovery pace for me. Last night’s ride averaged out to 21 mph (though 2 other guys came up with 21.5/21.6) – I burned calories at a rate of 56 per mile according to Endomondo (though that admittedly doesn’t take drafting into account). The best Slim Kicker’s got is 50.6 calories per mile… Over ten miles that’s not a big deal – over 230 miles in a week it is.
Now, here’s where the water gets muddy. The 3,106 calories that they give me is supposed to include what I burn daily. If I do the math (and I can) for last week, according to my calculations, my basal caloric intake needs to be around 17,080 for the week, but I burned 8,590 calories between riding and running – I needed to consume 25,670 calories last week. With the Slim Kicker as my guide I’d have consumed 21,742… That’s a little more than a pound less than what I really need.
That notwithstanding, I’m going to stick with the Slim Kicker for a week to see how I do – it’s got some excellent features to it. It calculates my daily needs in terms of calories, carbs, protein, fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, and sugar and gives me a nice little graph for each one based on the food I eat/enter so I can actually see where I’m at for daily allowances – and that’s really cool.
So, to finish, for dinner I went to Burger King (aw yeah!) and entered in the following: 1 Whopper, 1 Classic Chicken sammich, Small Onion Rings and (2) 12 oz Cokes (I got a large but only drank half – I think that works out to 16 oz, but whatever). This is how my day ended (have mercy Elisa):
Now, I’m not worried about the sodium – even though I almost doubled what they recommend, I know for a fact that I have to consume that much or I’ll end up deficient – that happened last year and it wasn’t pretty. My sweat ended up tasting like water and my performance went in the tank until I figured out what was wrong and started downing Gatorade like it was going out of style… In addition, every other Tuesday is a big salt day for me because it’s a huge fast food day – I only eat like that once every other week on club ride night. What does have me concerned is the sugar and the carbs… Way too high, and I got a nice little chiding about that from Slim Kicker – something about too much sugar adding to the waist line… I did have a chuckle over it.
There will be more to come on this subject later in the week, as I get into it a little more but for now I can tell you; I wish I’d had this 12 years and 40 pounds ago. Starting out in my lifestyle change this would have saved me a lot of time, effort and trouble in dropping the weight. Slim Kicker would have been a fantastic tool for managing weight loss and fitness. Even now, with my balance figured out quite well on my own, it can be a great tool for fine-tuning my diet.
I’ll post more as new things pop up.
Disclosure: I did not receive anything to review this app. It is a free app available for the iPhone. The person who contacted me did offer to allow me to review their new pay app for free when it comes out early next year but I figured I’d take the initiative and start with the free app first. I have written a few follow-up emails to Sue at Slim Kicker with some suggestions, but was not influenced in any way, shape or form to write a positive review of their product. The opinions expressed in this post are mine alone and were not guided or tinkered with by anyone at Slim Kicker – they didn’t try to influence me either. Her initial request is available on my “About the Author” page as linked above (scroll down to the comments) for anyone to see.
UPDATE: WTF!!! How do you diet people live like this!!! I can see the folks who want to lose weight, but good GOD! It’s lunch time and I’ve just blown through my entire carbs for the day – and it’s Pizza Wednesday. 😀
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: UNCLE!!! Sodium’s through the roof too – Where’d that come from? Somebody pass the damned Chia seeds already! You ever wonder who looked at a Chia Pet and said, “Damn, I’ll bet those seeds taste GOOD!?
Cut the lunch in half to save on the carbs, but I’m already over on sugar… Two apples and a banana… Really? Rode hungry today – first two miles sucked but my stomach didn’t bother me so much when my legs were protesting the abuse. 😉