And 25 Days of Cheer rolls on! I hope you are enjoying #ProjectCheer ! Today's cheer is brought to you by Matt  (@rundigger). Cheers! If you don't know what #ProjectCheer is all about, read this.

Day 3: Use technology for good (health)

Your fitness and health: take control by leveraging technology.

Even though we are pounded with quick weight loss commercials on TV and are tempted to waste money on silly exercise equipment (who could forget the thighmaster?) it is easier than ever to take control of one's diet and health.

The only thing that’s challenging about taking control of diet and exercise is having the resolve to do it.  Buying a piece of exercise equipment or bottle of weight loss pills is not resolve.  Making the very personal decision borne of the realization that only in one's self lies the ability to change is what displays resolve.  After that, the rest is just details.

It used to be a challenge to track eating habits and results of exercise.  In the past you needed to laboriously write everything down and research the nutrition content of food.  Or, you could pay someone to do it for you.  No more. That iPhone or droid or crackberry you carry around gives you all the tools you need to not only track your exercise but your eating habits.  In the end, it comes down to math and physics.  It’s simply calories consumed vs calories expended.  Your smart phone, being the little computer that it is, is all you need to get the right habits formed.  There’s no longer any valid excuse for not knowing what the caloric value of food you take in or what energy is expended through exercise.

So the point is, leverage the technology available around that fulcrum which is your will to be healthy. There’ll be no stopping you.

So what kind of apps will help?  For tracking food intake, I’m a big fan of the ‘lose it’ app available on iTunes for the iPhone and I’m sure via other platforms.  All you need to do is tap in the food and drink consumed.  Based on your weight, sex, age, etc, and your weight goals, you have a daily caloric guide.  Once the daily allowance is built in the app you’ve got a readily viewable ‘bank account’ from which to draw.  ‘Lose it’ will also allow entry of a wide variety of exercise to track calories burned.  All this will take a bit of tweaking over time to suit individual needs, but it works and works well.  Of course, having a good scale at home is important too.  My preference is to hop on the scale once per week at the same time of day and record the result.  As long as I’m talking about scales, my recommendation would be to get one that incorporates the ability to measure body fat.  You can’t control what you can’t measure, and just knowing how many pounds you weighs is not enough information to feed the formulation of a good goal oriented plan.

There are tons of great workout apps too.  A couple examples are the 100 pushup plan and the 200 situp plan available on iTunes.  There are hundreds and probably thousands of others.  Take some time to research them and see what fits your plan.

If you are a runner or cyclist or multisport fan, there’s no end of data that can be captured by a good GPS enabled timer, a heart rate strap, and a cadence sensor.

All you have to do is resolve to take charge!  Then, leverage the technology.  It’s right there in that phone you’re carrying.

Matt can be found on Twitter at @rundigger or

Photo by: KIUKO