Week 1 Update & Revelations

Getting set up with ActivTrax, one of the advantages I always talk about with my clients is the highly customizable nature of the program. To start the program, your wellness coach will discuss the F.I.T.T.R principles with you and decide which settings are best for your personal goals. What is F.I.T.T.R?

F – Frequency. How many days per week do you want to perform strength training exercises?

I – Intensity. How intense do you want each workout to be?

T – Training Type. Which muscle groups are you wanting to work and how often? Do you want to do full body exercises or set a specific muscle split?

T – Time. Approximately how long do you want each workout to take you?

R – Results. What are your overall results desired?


My starting F.I.T.T.R matrix was as follows:

F –  5 days or more

I – High intensity

T – Isolated muscle groups (with a training frequency of 5 days or more per week, this is one of the only options for me. It is important to remember that muscle groups need 24-48 hours of rest between training sessions, so your frequency will determine what kinds of options you have for training type.)

T – 25-35 minutes of resistance training (with warm-up, abs, and cardio this should make the overall workout time about 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes)

R – Weight loss and toning

One of the things I learned from the first week of ActivTrax was that the workouts, while set as high intensity, were not intense enough for me. One way to make workouts more intense is to watch the rest time between sets. It is not unusual to hear that you should be resting for a full minute between sets, but for the purpose of weight loss I only rest for 30 seconds between sets. Even with this adjustment, I did not feel that the workouts were as intense as I desired. This week I will be changing the time component of my workouts in the system to allow it to give me slightly longer workouts. Changing the time allowed will increase the intensity and the amount of exercises or sets the system gives me. The ease of changing your settings in ActivTrax is another positive about the system. At any point if you need to change a setting, restrict an exercise, or complete a new strength assessment, these are variables that can be easily changed on your own or with your assigned wellness coach.

A few other things I learned in my first week of ActivTrax

Location – The way ActivTrax is set up, it assigns a home YMCA branch to the user (the branch where they complete their initial strength test, usually) and knows all the equipment at this branch that it can choose from when creating workouts. Previously, I had been telling my clients if they went to a different branch and that branch didn’t have a piece of equipment in their workout, they could ask a wellness coach about what they should substitute to work the same muscle group. After trying ActivTrax at three different branches, I was pleased to learn that ActivTrax will create a new workout at each branch you go to. Already printed your workout at the Ankeny YMCA but then decide to workout at Wellmark? Not a problem. Just log into ActivTrax at Wellmark and try to print your workout again. The system will come up with a message about how your pending workout was designed for a different facility. You will only have to wait a few minutes for it to create a new workout that is similar but contains equipment at the current branch.

Cardio Recommendation – ActivTrax shows a section at the bottom of a workout that recommends a length of cardio and a target heart rate zone for that cardio session. Originally, I assumed it always recommended the same heart rate ranges because it always recommends the same amount of time, 20 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the system gives different heart rate ranges based on the intensity/duration of your strength routine. When you use bigger muscle groups, such as back and legs, your workouts include heavier weight and burn more calories or feel more intense. On these days, the target heart rate for cardio is lower. On days where you are using smaller muscle groups, such as shoulders or arms, the heart rate zones are higher, indicating that you will be doing more intense cardio on the days that your strength routines may not feel as intense.


One more note from my first week of ActivTrax is concerning nutrition. I am following the daily calorie and macronutrient values suggested by the ActivTrax nutrition dashboard along with my workouts. When I originally set my goals, I told the system I wanted to lose 1 pound per week. While many people want to lose more in a given week, 1-2 pounds per week is the recommended amount by health and fitness professionals because it is more manageable to keep off in the long-term, as opposed to large weight jumps or crash dieting. Although I set my goal at 1 pound per week, I only lost half a pound this week. Now, if you think back to my post about initial measurements, you will remember that weight is not the only indicator of success. While I am discouraged that I did not lose more weight this week, I am not gauging my success on this one variable and am at peace with that loss. In the end, I hope that my body fat and circumference measurements will show more change than my weight because that will show me that I have changed my muscle mass and body fat percentage.

If you do not lose the amount of weight you want every week, please do not become distraught! Think of the other reasons you are trying to be healthy, other goals you are striving toward, and keep a positive attitude! That being said, I am changing my nutritional goals in the system to a loss of 1.5 pounds per week. I will try this plan for a week, be mindful of good nutrition, and monitor my energy and hunger levels. After this week, I’ll see what changes (if any) occur at weigh-in and decide whether the lower calorie levels are sufficient or if my body needs more energy from the higher calorie levels.

Have you tried the ActivTrax system yet? If you have, how are you liking the system so far? What feedback and questions do you have? If you have not, what else can I help you with this week? I would love to hear from you!


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