BodBot - an initial review
BodBot has turned out to be one of my favourite apps this year. I’ve been inspired by a number of people and one of the goals I set for myself this year was to get more fit, I needed a way to guide and motivate me as I ventured down this journey. I have tried for many years to keep a consistent routine but have failed every year.
I have traditionally trained towards a goal. I started out my health journey with training for badminton in high school and it was to get better at snowboarding. As I’m getting older, my goals now are now to keep healthy so that I can continue to do the things that I enjoy with my young son. Over the past few years, I’ve tried a few things to keep myself going. I’ve tried programs like the 7-minute workout as well as joined groups of friends on a health drive. Both of them have had limited success for me. I decided to take a different method this year. I started my health drive in December to set momentum, use BodBot as a cost effective guide for driving my goals and find an accountability buddy.
What I love about BodBot
The killer feature of BodBot really is its ability to do adaptive training. It takes input in a few ways that makes it a very effective workout tool. BodBot learns about the user by first interviewing them. It asks for all of the basic questions such as where do you work out, your height, weight, gender as well as how much previous experience you have training and how frequently you'd like to train. Once it gets all that data, it's able to set up the right exercise for you. I've been using Google Fit as the place I've been consolidating all of my health data. I love the fact that it can pick up my weight changes along the way. You can indicate to BodBot what equipment you have in both the gym and at home. From that input, it then selects a series of workouts that you can do based on the equipment that you have. Once BodBot has all this data, it starts to adapt the training for you. It manifests itself in two-ways. It can adapt itself from an overall workout perspective but it also adapts itself inside the workout itself.
The app sets a workout schedule on a weekly basis based on your goals. However, I sometimes miss workouts because of my schedule or if I'm feeling tired. Whenever I miss a workout, the app adapts the next workouts based on the fact that I missed a previous workout. Another thing that I also noticed is that it was able to detect that I waked over 12,000 steps one day and it also adapted my workout from there.
BodBot also adapts to the workout that you're having as well. The workout first starts by asking you how fatigue you are and if there are any muscles that are hurting right now. It then adapts the workout based on that input and creates your workout regiment. BodBot naturally records each of your workout (i.e. The number of reps, the weight or how long) because it's recommending it to you. It uses that data to then helps push you from one day to the next.
The app further adapts your workout by prompting you at the end of every set to see if the set is very easy, easy, somewhat challenging, hard or maxed out. The algorithm within the set seems very predictable and requires the individual not to cheat. However, if you can be honest with the app, the results are actually quite good. I love the fact that if I say that a particular set is too easy twice in a row, it changes the routine altogether.
Another feature I love is that it gives you the option to switch out a workout with another one that is targeting the same muscle group.
Things that BodBot can improve on
Integration with Google Fit seems to be quite limited. It seems to pull down my data like my weight and steps but I'd love for it to also acknowledge it when workouts have taken place outside of BodBot. I currently complement BodBot with my indoor training program which is run on Zwift but it pushes my data to Strava which in turns pushes it to Google Fit. I've seen it recommend a leg workout even though I've taken a pretty hard ride on Zwift the day before.
I'd love for it to capture my heart rate as another input. I currently workout with 2 devices. One that has my BodBot instructions and another to capture my heart rate.
There are a few minor flaws that I'd love to see the developer clean up. There was a day when I did Thursday's workout on a Wednesday accidentally and then I did Wednesday's workout on a Thursday. I think a simple prompt to ask if I had intended to do Thursday's workout on a Wednesday would have been helpful. The bigger issue is that I was able to remove a workout even after I had completed it.
I am loving the app and have been recommending it to anyone I meet. I strongly feel that there is an opportunity to create some social aspects of the app here. I'm not sure what this looks like but potentially an integration to Strava could be a solve for this.
BodBot gets a lot of things right as an app and I would give it a lot of credit for helping me towards my health goals. I have lost about seven lbs since January and my clothes are generally fitting a lot better than they were last year. More importantly though, I feel really good about my health. BodBot provides a good variety of work outs to keep it interesting and I look forward to my workout every morning.