Food & Fitness

Tracking food and exercise online with Aspire Fitness

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Check out my last blog post about HITT by clicking here.

I’m in the middle of Week Two of the eight-week HITT program I’m doing at Aspire Fitness. Fitness challenges rock my socks off, and this one, I am happy to say, is no different.


One of my favourite exercises so far was the lateral raises and front raises while balancing on the BOSU. The first time I attempted it, I fell off the BOSU so many times that I think I spent the first 60 seconds (of a 90-second exercise) just trying to get onto the darn thing! But when I finally – shakily – was able to balance on it and raise the weights without crashing to the floor, I felt victorious. I really loved the exercise, because not only does it work your arms and shoulders, but it also targets your entire core and legs because it requires so much focus with balancing.  In fact, I adored the BOSU exercise so much that I’ve added it to my Open Sky store. You can get your very own BOSU to keep in your home! You might want to pick up a pair of dumbbells and a stability ball while you’re at it, too 😉

The BOSU looks so innocent. Don't let it fool you.

Online Tracking

I have been tracking my food intake and exercises daily at the Aspire Fitness online program for the past week. I have used a number of online programs in the past, most notably the iVillage program and the FitDay program, and I am a big fan of online trackers. It’s amazing, the kind of databases that these online tracking programs have. There are a number of foods and exercises already in the databases, but you can also create custom foods and exercises. I had really good experiences with both the programs at iVillage and at FitDay when I used them years ago.

The Aspire Fitness online program is equally awesome. It is incredibly user-friendly, and I find myself happily inputting my food to gleefully see, after each meal, what my percentage of carbs, fats, and proteins is, and to look at how many calories I’ve burned versus how many calories I’ve eaten. It’s very straightforward and provides a wealth of information.

At first I thought that the program overestimates how much our basal metabolic rates are because mine said that I burn 2,205 calories just from living, at 5 feet tall – but then I realized that I had set it to my daily living as being “moderately active”. I’m fairly active in that I like to exercise, but my daily living tends to be standing in front of the computer, so I think that that counts as being “lightly active”.  When I changed it to “lightly active”, my basal metabolic rate decreased to 1,956 calories burned. That still seems higher than I would have expected, but a little more appropriate.

Fifty minutes of activity – which is what I’m doing at Aspire Fitness three times a week – burns less than 150 calories (at my size, anyways. And providing that I’m entering it correctly. The whole “light”, “moderate”, and “vigorous” activity levels have always seemed awfully vague to me. But I digress). Most people drastically overestimate how much they burn while doing hardcore exercise. Even on days when we engage in strenuous activity, we probably do not need to eat much more than a couple hundred extra calories for fuel (if we want to maintain weight, that is). So in that way, it makes sense that my basal metabolic rate would be nearly 2,000 calories. I definitely eat around that much in a day!

I very much like the online program that Aspire Fitness uses. One of my favourite parts about it is that it holds me accountable. I need that accountability! I was hoping to stay within 1,400 to 1,800 calories each day, but I didn’t quite manage that over the weekend. Still trying! However, I’ve added up how many calories I have burned and consumed over the past week, and provided that I have counted up my numbers correctly, it looks as though I should have a calorie deficit of about 3,500 – equal to about a pound! So I have lost about a pound in the past week (I have not stepped on the scale, though, because I don’t want to step on a scale until I’m halfway through the program. I’m really hoping that I haven’t made a mistake in my numbers :)). If you check out a blog post that our dear Charlotte wrote recently, however, it looks as though some research disagrees with the whole “3,500 calories equals a pound of fat” concept. Hmmm. We shall see!

For anyone who doesn’t live in Winnipeg, or who does live in Winnipeg but can’t make it to the outskirts of the city to go to this gym, I recommend giving this online program a try. Not only will you be able to add friends to message for support, join challenges with other members, and track your nutrients and exercise, but you will also get one of the Aspire Fitness trainers to personally set up an exercise program just for you. All the benefits of having a personal trainer without leaving your home! Does it get much better than that?

Have you tried an online program? What’s your favourite? Do you find them helpful? Share your opinions in the comments section below!


  1. JavaChick

    I’ve tried quite a few online tracking programs over the years – starting with back in 2001 (I only know that’s when it was because I know that I started using it in the months leading up to my wedding). Currently I’m using, chosen because they have an iPhone app that is very usable. So far I’m liking it. They have a really good database of foods and entering recipes is really easy. Sticking to 1200 cals/day is not so easy, but that’s not the fault of the application. 🙂

    1. Sagan Morrow

      I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of I’ll have to take a look at it. Especially if it has a fun iPhone app 😀

      I remember back when I was able to stick to 1,200 calories a day… I can’t imagine how I did it! Nowadays 1,700 often leaves me hungry, heh.

  2. Mary Anne in Kentucky

    I’ve been using fitday again recently, despite how annoyingly slow it is to load–not a bit faster than when I used it on dialup several years ago–and find it difficult. I haven’t made the effort to go to some other site that will let you enter ingredients and come up with nutritional info to enter as a custom food, so I’m not expecting accuracy (especially as it seems to assume you add fat to all vegetables!) but it’s interesting to track how much I eat. I would like to find a program that does a more detailed nutritional analysis, since I’m more interested in what vitamins and minerals I’m getting through food than in my fat/carb/protein balance.

    I tried sparkpeople this time, too, but it’s even slower and less flexible. Fitday has better variety of choice in describing your activity. I dug up the site again after so long that I could not even remember what email address I’d used, much less the password, when after vaguely thinking “I should eat less,” for months I noticed I’d lost weight, and wondered how much I really was eating. I’ve found that just seeing it has gotten me within five pounds of what I weighed twenty years ago. I seem to be stuck there, though. Not not not into hunger, so I may stay stuck here.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Yeah, the whole hunger vs a few pounds thing has me straddling the fence… I don’t like to be hungry 🙂

      It’s fascinating to see the nutrient breakdown, especially because that way we can see if we are under-nourished when it comes to certain nutrients. Calcium is one of those that I’m trying to increase my consumption of.

      It’s been a while since I used FitDay, but I thought that they had a whole breakdown of a wide variety of minerals and vitamins?

  3. Mary Anne in Kentucky

    Many thanks, javachick, for mentioning myfitnesspal. They let you do recipes? The iPhone app looks good, too, but this isn’t the computer I sync my touch to, so I haven’t got it yet. I love that their exercise list includes Basketball, wheelchair.

  4. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    I used sparkpeople for logging for my first six months of weight loss, and it was very helpful. I especially liked that you could add notes about each day. It helped me learn which foods I was eating weren’t helping so much with satiety. I love playing around with these types of programs, so I’ll take a look at Aspire. Thanks for the info!

    And I adore the BOSU! My favorite exercise is squat-bicep curls (flat side up). Least favorite? Pushups, flat side up. I think it’s because I do them at the end of the workout and I’m all pooped out by then. At least that’s what I tell myself. 🙂

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Whoah. Seriously? You can actually do squats when the flat side of the BOSU is up? I could barely stand on that thing, let alone move my lower body up and down! I am impressed, Cammy!

      I think that there really is something about the order that you do exercises in. When I had to start with hill sprints for one HITT class, I found that I didn’t perform the next couple exercises immediately after the hill sprints as well as I could have, because I was still trying to catch my breath. Have you tried doing half your push ups midway through your workout and the other half at the end? Maybe you’d like them more!

  5. Dr. J

    I’m glad to hear you are doing great with your program! I have to say I’m not a big fan of estimated numbers on machines, tables, GPS’s, etc. It usually leads to the never popular question, “Why am I gaining weight when my numbers say…” If you don’t see the results you want, you are over-estimating calories burned and under-estimating calories used.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      Oh for sure. The numbers can be waaaaay off. When I used to like to check how much I was burning on a treadmill, I would typically see the number and then subtract it in half, and guessed that the number I got by halving it was probably much more realistic.

      It can be very tricky to get exact numbers… ultimately, it’s best to listen to our bodies and see the results that way. But I still like playing with the numbers in these kinds of programs 😀

  6. Emergefit

    I’m with my younger and better looking brother Dr. J on this one. That, and I have seen first hand in past 10-15 years that an over dependence on such devices tends to further push us away from our instincts. I use fitness as a platform to encourage people to get better connected with their brains and bodies. Yes, I see the utility in this Sagan, but analogous to the pocket calculator, who among adults can now balance their checkbook without one…? Rhetorical, just for you.

    Just one little guy’s opinion….

    Guy Who Just Used His ie Spell-Check 🙂

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