Mac Power Users 467: Fitness Apps & Tech


Does anybody know any MacOS app which can read and track data from the Activity app?
I tried exporting the data to XML from iOS but the export does not contain info on the activities / exercises.


I had many trackers in the last 10 years or so. From Fibit One to Jawbone Up, Withings Activité and now Oura ring.

I don’t wear anything on my wrists for 20 years, and having Withings Up band and Withings Activité watch. First because I’m stressed by a clock… Second, I noticed my skin was reacting badly.

I’m amazed by the data quality of the oura ring. It’s first a sleep tracker, but is meant for a daily use.

About Health App, it seems that Apps need some approval from Apple before requesting authorization from the user. For example:

  • Withings activité is allowed to ask the user approval to write steps to Health app
  • Oura ring is not allowed by Apple and can’t ask user approval to write Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Oura told me this limitation in a tweet.

Third party app can read and write some data, but there is a limitation by Apple of the last 7 days. If you want to sync older data, you may go around and export Health Data app and convert yourself.

Also everytime you update your iPhone (major updates?), a new set of Health data is created. There is apparently now way to consolidated Health App Data. I currently have 7 data sets from my the iPhone 6 then 8.


I wear a Road ID bracelet when I run or ride my bike for an extra layer of security. And I figure that if i really need help in a situation like that, my phone may be shattered.


EKG = electrokardiogram from the German.

ECG = electrocardiogram used in English speaking countries.

And yes, all the medical dramas throughout the 70s would use EKG. :man_shrugging:t2:


I think staying hydrated is very important (it’s right up there with sleep). Among other things, it helps ensure that the kidneys work effectively. Conversely, if too much water is consumed this creates unnecessary pressure on the kidneys.

From what I’ve observed, most people don’t drink enough water. I think a water tracker can be useful for establishing a habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day.

Waterminder (which was referenced during this episode) is a very slick app. I don’t use it regularly as I’ve gotten into good habits around water consumption. But, I still find it useful when travelling. I find that this is when I’m most likely to forget to drink enough water.


Great episode! Appropriately enough, I listened to most of it while strolling around Vancouver and filling in the rings on my Apple Watch.

I’ve been experimenting with sleep tracking apps for years. My current favourite is Pillow. I really like the way the information is presented. And I can see sleep stats on both my iPhone and Apple Watch.

Speaking of the Apple Watch, I almost always wear mine when I sleep, both for the silent alarm and sleep tracking. I put it into Airplane Mode while catching some zzz’s, which reduces the battery consumption dramatically. I also like the idea of turning off the radios off (just WiFi in my case) when I sleep.


Just saw they no longer have blood groups on the examples. I like to think it’s also because I wrote them an email thoroughly explaining why blood groups on bracelets are useless.


Thanks for another great episode.

I have been using My Fitness Pal for a number of years but was frustrated with its clumsy integration with the Apple Watch. Their support actually said that they are still trying to get the integration working.
Based on this episode I have tried Lose It and like it. The integration with the workouts and active calories etc is tight and it is all on one page. I look forward to using it going forward.

Also - tried Happy Scale - I had been looking for something like this in order to review weight changes over time. It looks really good.


I use lose it, then one day i paid for the subscription and I didn’t really need it. I now just use the non subscription lose it.


This was a fun episode to listen to while working out in the elliptical! I bought an Apple Watch specifically for the health tracking. I’ve struggled with weight maintenance and my weight over my life reads like the US total stock market performance chart. Nothing but up up up over a long duration. But I’ve decided to at least reverse the trend for 2019 and the Apple Watch is my most used weapon of choice.

My movement goal is 1100 calories and i try and hit that three days in a row with one day of rest/not caring. Every quarter I take a week off completely. I’m down about 11 lbs since August 2018. Overall goal is to lose 50 to 65 lbs in about five years. Slow and steady wins the race…

I was using MyFitnessPal to track calories but stopped using it when I started seeing more consistent weight loss results. Partly too I can only take so much change and exercise seemed the easier lever. I don’t use any water apps but I do use a glass water bottle that holds about 30 oz. I figure three of those at work should be adequate. I try and stay away from sugary drinks and alcohol but pretty bad at that too particularly the latter. I’m with @timstringer for pillow app for sleep. It’s helpful and I do notice that if I get under 70% quality sleep, I’m a bit off.

Hoping everyone amazing fitness success this year!


I’ve been known to buy an app, or subscription, even when the free version serves me well. Sometimes I support people whose products I don’t use, or don’t have time to use. I like to support people that do good work. It also helps ensure that they will keep making good products.


I was thoroughly surprised that you all did not talk about the Hidrate Spark water bottle. It tracks your water intake automatically. Also surprised that nobody (in this thread, I think) has mentioned it. I’ve used this waterbottle to track my water intake for over a year now.

It also generates a recommended amount to drink based on:

  • Activity
  • location (elevation, temperature, pressure
  • gender
  • body measurements

… traveling to Denver from SoCal? No problem, the recommendation will adjust to the increased altitude. Even if you ignore the recommendations, the simple fact that it tracks all of the water you drink from the waterbottle is all I bought this for.

Only downside is that batteries will only last a number of months, and you have to switch them out. It also seems that my bottle I bought over a year ago seems to not work anymore.

Also, I’m pretty sure I have more fitness gadgets than you, David.


Also no mention of period-tracking apps (can’t imagine why, haha) in this episode. If anyone is looking for something like this, Clue looks like a good choice but I haven’t had much experience with it personally.


Did David say he doesn’t use Bedtime because of the alarm choices? The alarm can be set to none which is useful for letting the Apple Watch wake you up instead.


Loved this episode and so happy we’re talking about ways to become more healthy using tech! One adjustment I’d suggest would be moving the conversation from weight lost to body fat percentage or how someone feels/looks. I’ve been all over on weight according to my Withings scale, Currently I’m at a very low body fat percentage yet am heavier on the scale than I was several months ago. How much someone weighs does not always tell the whole story.

That being said, any measurement is better than no measurement. I just want to point out that hitting a specific number on a scale might not be the true test of how healthy or fit someone actually is. In my experience, people who worry about weight generally follow strange and unsustainable diets and workout plans. When someone wants to look good/ feel good/ or be healthier, they seem to take a more sustainable approach.


I decided against a smart scale because all of them seem to require some sort of registration.
So I build a small shortcut instead that reads your last measurement , writes your new weight and calculates your BMI, too (just because it’s easy to do).

It runs from the widget so adding data to health takes literally seconds.

Here is my shortcut.


I use it too, it’s fine - but tracks a lot more information that I really need! (You don’t have to track that though I should add). I have yet to find anything better though.


Kindara is a really good fertility app, too. Last I reviewed the options, it had the most features/data collection and the most accurate cycle prediction if you collect the major data points. Its support for free-form custom data collection is good, to the point where it could work as a general daily habit tracker. :wink: It has a connection to its own basal thermometer but I don’t think it can do anything with Apple Health.


I just got a Withings Body+ smart scale. Once you set up an account and register, you can see all your data on your phone, but also on any web browser. If you are using more than one Withings device, you can see all that data as well. All the Withings data also integrates with the Apple Health app.

I also have the Withings BPM Cuff, since I’m on blood pressure medication and my doctor wants me to keep him apprised of it. It’s been good so far, and keeps a nice record of the measurements that I can email to him. It even attaches CSV and XML charts! I also use the Morning Glory tracker app to keep a record of blood flow. Don’t laugh, it’s been quite beneficial when used with the blood pressure monitoring, especially for us older guys!


Great show, I was looking forward to a deep dive into fitness and health and learned a lot.

I wear Watch series 2 linked to my first gen iPhone SE. The only ring I truly understand is the standing ring. I’d like to know more about the green exercise ring. I’m really not very clear what it’s doing. I try to record a workout every day, either an outdoor walk or a bike ride. Sometimes it seems it records minutes only during a recorded workout. Sometimes, as today, it doesn’t record minutes at all. This morning I recorded an outdoor workout: 3.17 km, 01 minutes of exercise. For the whole morning I had a total 4.86 km and 6413 steps. One minute of exercise. Doesn’t make sense to me.