Coach Potato’s Fitness Tracker

[Ron's Note: Coach Potato's Fitness Tracker was an app that used to be sold on the T-Mobile Sidekick/Hiptop family of smartphones. Sadly, the device (and the app) are no longer sold.

The genesis of Coach Potato was basically me going to the gym and wanting a way to track my workouts. During development I would go to the gym, do an exercise, then type away with my thumbs entering data with Coach P. If I hit a bug, or wanted some feature that wasn't there, I'd switch over to the Notepad app to jot down what was missing. I didn't ship the app until it was meeting my workout needs...and I hoped it could meet others' needs too.]

Coach Potato’s Fitness Tracker

Basic Terms

Coach Potato’s Fitness Tracker is an application for tracking your exercise & workouts. There are some basic terms outlined in the instructions:

  • Exercise: A particular activity or motion. Like “Sit Ups” or “Bench Press” or “Kyra’s Yoga Class”.
  • Routine: A set of Exercises that you perform as a group. Like “Upper Body”.
  • Workout: A Routine performed by you on a specific day. Like “Upper Body on January 20th at 3:00pm”.

Exercises

Coach Potato’s Fitness Tracker comes with 70+ exercises built in, but you can create your own fairly easily. Here’s the Exercise layout:
[Note: all screenshots have been cropped, to cleanly fit in a device web browser.]

Notice the folder names like “Aerobic” and “Weights”. These are user-customizable.

If we choose “Bench Press”, here’s the screen where we can edit this Exercise:

Notice the “Main Class” and “Sub Class” menus:

Main Class and Sub Class are categories you can set for your Exercises. They help keep things organized, and are totally user-customizable. Note that the Main Class choices shown above match up with the “Aerobic” and “Weights” folder names we saw earlier.

Each Exercise has a type:

The Type determines what sort of data Coach Potato tracks for each exercise. Some exercises, like Bench Press, need weight values, while others, like “Sit Ups”, only need a count. Sometimes you want to record a time for an Exercise, like when you go out for a jog. Other times you want to record a time and a value, like when you run on the treadmill for 20 minutes on level 11.

The numbers in the line labeled “Default” are the values that will be used when you add this Exercise to a Routine or a Workout. In this case, 3 of 10 x 135 (also known as “3 sets of 10 reps of 135 pounds”) will be used.

More lines can be added, if you like to workout using different reps & weight levels:

Here, we’ve decreased the reps and increased the weight with each set.

The Notes field can record any info for the Exercise:

Photos can be attached to an Exercise, from the Gallery or from the SD card. So if we’re working with a trainer, we could use the built-in camera to take “start”, “middle”, and “finish” pictures of the trainer performing the Exercise. Or if an exercise on a web site looked good, we could stick the pictures on the SD card and use them for reference while we’re working out.

Routines

Routines collect Exercises that you’d like to do as a group. Maybe you normally do the same bunch of Exercises when you go to the gym; you can collect these into a Routine that you can load up when you head in. Here’s a Routine being edited:

Let’s say we want to change “Hamstring Curls” here to “Bench Press”. We can either start typing, or we can click the popup and choose from the list:

Again, notice that the Exercises are grouped in the popup according to their Main Class. We can also sort by Sub Class (“Back”, “Chest”, “Legs”, etc.) if we want.

Now that Bench Press has been chosen, our default Exercise entries are present. If we want to edit these values (maybe this Routine is for a heavy workout, so we want to increase the weight), we can do so. Once we save this Routine, it’s available at any time.

Workouts

When we head into the gym, we can select “New Workout” and choose the “Normal Gym” Routine that we just created. That brings up the Workout screen:

We enter today’s date & time, then start in on the workout. The little potatoes on the left can be checked off as we complete each Exercise.

The little note icon next to the Exercise name means we’ve got a note attached. Click the left-shoulder button to bring up our note and our recent history for this Exercise:

We can also get a rough graph of our history on this Exercise:

These help us figure out whether we want to increase the weight based on our recent workouts.

Let’s say we’re out of gas today, and we just want to do a light series on Bench Press. We can edit the Bench Press sets down to a set of 10 and a set of 6:

These edits will only take effect for today’s Workout.

If we instead want our changes to take effect for this Routine, we could save it to the Routine:

We can also take notes for today’s Workout:

Once we’re done, we save the Workout and Coach gives a little pep talk:

(Yes, if you have no interest in hearing from Coach, you can disable his pep talks in the Settings)

Exporting

You can export your Workout data as a text file:

The file will be generated and attached to a new email:

Once you’ve got the data on a PC or Mac, you can import it into a spreadsheet and graph away.

FAQ

Q: How can I show photos stored on my SD Card?

A: Create a top-level directory called “CoachPotato” on your card. So at the base of your SD Card, you might have a “DCIM” directory and a “CoachPotato” directory.

Place your photos inside the CoachPotato directory. Photos can be in either JPEG or PNG format. Name the photos using the Exercise name and a number. So if you have an Exercise named “Curls”, name your photos “Curls1.jpg”, “Curls2.jpg”, etc. The following file names would work:

  • curls1.jpg
  • Curls1.jpg
  • curls_1.jpg
  • curls1.png
  • curls2.jpg

The photos will be shown in your exercise starting with #1. Images will be scaled to 228 x 114 to fit on the screen. For faster loading, and to save SD Card space, scale your photos before copying them to the card.

Be sure to unplug the USB cable from your device before checking Coach Potato’s Fitness Tracker for the photos!

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