The Spark Activity Tracker

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Diet and exercise are very important to me. Since I have Scoliosis, I prefer cycling over any other form of cardio exercise that might hurt my back. I have a mountain bike on a bicycle trainer in our patio and I have a bicycle computer connected to the back wheel. I also use the Noom app on my Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ tablet to log my diet and exercise.

The Noom app added a new feature that allows you to connect your Google Fit account so it can copy all of the cardio information from your Google Fit tracker. I didn’t have a Google Fit tracker, so I went looking for one, however they are very expensive. I went looking for an alternative and found The Spark Activity Tracker from Spark People for only $29.95. It attaches to your shoe or your belt or wherever you want to attach it. It logs your steps and all of your cardio from walking, jogging, running, cycling, elliptical and even when you are just working or shopping. It comes with a USB Wireless Sync Point that allows The Spark to sync when you are in range of your computer where it is plugged in. Once it syncs up with your SparkPeople account, you can then see your progress. It shows daily steps, activity minutes, calories burned and distance covered.

imageUnfortunately The Spark doesn’t connect to the Noom app, but I will be able to use the information from SparkPeople to log my activity to Noom. Perhaps this will be more accurate since it is much newer than my bicycle computer. If The Spark is permanently attached to my shoe, I will never forget it, and the battery will last for a year, so no worries about having to keep it charged. I can also edit the steps in the Noom app so they are the same as in the SparkPeople website.

What I was not expecting was to receive a SparkPeople Exercise DVD that will give me complete weekly workouts for beginners, intermediate and advanced. I am considering buying some weights to go with these workouts. I watched a few of them and they aren’t bad either. I don’t have a lot of space in my bedroom, but I might have just enough to do these workouts.

I was curious to see if The Spark would know the difference between walking and riding my bicycle, and it knew exactly what I was doing because it logged 22 minutes on the bike as “Cycling”. Although, the 2nd day I used it, it logged it as general exercise. I had to reclassify it, and that also affected my steps on the SparkPeople website and app, which gave me more steps. A little strange that I had to do that, but that’s fine.

It’s also interesting how The Spark works. You tap it 5 times and it will show lights to show you how you are doing. If it only has 1 light on the top, you haven’t done anything yet, if it shows half, then you know you’ve still got a ways to go. If all the lights come on, and they blink, then you still have a few minutes of exercise to go. You know you’re finished when all the lights glow and they don’t blink. That’s when you can sigh and say I’m done! And if you meet your goal for the day, the week or the month, you get a trophy. The image at the top of this paragraph is my first trophy which says I met my goal of 6000 steps. I got the same trophy on my 2nd day using it. The trophies are a fun way to encourage you to meet all of your goals. Although, you don’t get an actual trophy, but if you do all of the work and eat right, you get a flat tummy, and isn’t that worth all the trophies in the world?

I was motivated by the Noom and SparkPeople apps, and I was motivated by my bicycle and the bicycle trainer, but even though I had all of those things, I wasn’t 100% motivated. I do feel that this Spark will light a spark under my ass and get me back to work so I can lose this weight. I hope it does.

Kongregate With Me

Are you a big Game Stop fan?  Did you know that they have a website where you can play free video games?  It’s called Kongregate and they have thousands and thousands of games that you can play.

I’m hooked on this one game called Cursed Treasure: Don’t Touch My Gems.  It has a tutorial so you can figure out how to play it.

The object of this game is to keep your gems from being touched.  Unfortunately, you can’t prevent them from being picked up and taken away at first but as you gain level and points you will gain abilities which makes killing the enemy easier.

You have 3 types of terrain and 3 types of towers.  You have to place the green huts on the green grass, those shoot arrows.  Then place the ice towers on the snow, those shoot ice.  Then finally there are the lava/fire towers that you place on the rock, guess what those shoot.

There are 15 levels and you get trophies for playing it.  Your first trophy is for slaying 200 enemies, 2nd for getting to level 10, 3rd for completing 10 missions and the 4th one is for getting “brilliant” on all 15 levels.  That last one is difficult but easy as pie once you have all your abilities.

In each mission, if even 1 gem leaves the mission or if you still have at least 1 gem in the cave then you get a “good” but if all gems are gone you lose.  If even 1 gem gets touched but no gems leave the game you get an “excellent” but if not one gem has been touched at all by anyone, not even a champion, then you get a “brilliant”.

So far, I am level 15, I have completed 12 levels with “good” but got levels 1-5 to “brilliant”.  I have 3 more levels to get to “good” then I can go back to levels 5-15 over and over again until each of them have a “brilliant”.

What do I get out of it?  Heck if I know.  It’s fun to play though.  I really wish this game was on my PSP.  Hopefully when I finish playing this one I might be interested in playing another game.

Oh and this game is the main reason I haven’t been blogging or reading lately lol.

My July SparkPeople Trophies

I got a nice surprise tonight, special trophies for July. These aren’t the normal trophy that you see everyday. I’ve been a member of SparkPeople since 2007 and I’ve never gotten any special trophies like this. I like to think that I was consistent and had good attendance in June but I guess not.

The emails I got didn’t explain why I got each trophy, it just shows that I got them. I think the consistency one is for putting in my daily nutrition and being a good 1500 calories +/-, perfect attendance for logging in every day for spark points and maybe the 500 monthly spark points one is for earning 500 points in July.

I think the point of these is to keep me motivated so that maybe next month in the beginning of September I will get some August special trophies.