The fitness apps that gave me six-pack abs

iMuscle's anatomical models look a bit leaner than I had in mind.
iMuscle's anatomical models look a bit leaner than I had in mind.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

I saw my six pack for the first time at the age of 40. Prior to that, my abs had been hidden behind a thick layer of fat that I’d built up over years of living a sedentary geek lifestyle. The only exercise I got was racing to be first in line at the Apple Store for a product launch.

Then one day, a doctor told me I had cancer and my whole world changed. There’s nothing like a brush with death to make you take your health more seriously. Suddenly, I wanted to get fit, but true to my geek heritage, I would do it using my iPhone. Abs? There must be an app for that.

Apple’s fitness guru hits the road for tour of Asia and Australia

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Jay Blahnik, Apple'
Jay Blahnik, Apple's Director of Fitness and Health Technologies
Photo: Apple

Apple Watch could become one of the most important devices you can shackle yourself to, so to amp up the Apple faithful into more heatlh-focused nerds, Apple has sent fitness guru Jay Blahnik on a special events tour in Australia, China and Japan.

Blahnik is touring the areas to talking to some of the biggest personal trainers about the intersection between fitness and technology. At the Apple Store in Sydney, Australian personal trainer Michelle Bridges sat down for an interview with Blahnik to talk about some of things she’s learned from filming the Australian version of The Biggest Loser.

You can watch part of their interview below:

From dad bod to six pack: Essential gear for bulking up

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Some of the best fitness gadgets don’t fit on your wrist.
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

After a brush with cancer prompted me to take my health more seriously, I began using run trackers to start my journey from dad bod to six pack.

At first, running was the only exercise I did. It helped me lose my love handles, but I ended up looking too skinny. I decided it was time to put on some muscle. While Apple Watch and other wearables are great for running, they’re not much help when it comes to bulking up. As I soon discovered, some of the best fitness gadgets don’t fit on your wrist.

6 lessons Apple Watch could learn from rival fitness trackers

Apple Watch's Activity app
What would it take for Apple Watch to lap competing fitness trackers?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I’ve started cheating on my Apple Watch. It’s not that I don’t love it. It’s amazingly beautiful. It does stuff I didn’t even know I’d like. But when it comes to running wild in the outdoors, I’ve found a smartwatch that satisfies me more than Jony Ive’s wearable does.

For the past week I’ve been testing the Garmin Fenix 3, a top-of-the-line smartwatch from a company that’s made a name for itself by providing runners and outdoorsmen with some of the best wrist-worn fitness tech. I hate wearing the Fenix 3. While Apple Watch gently caresses my wrist, the Fenix 3 feels like I’ve strapped a tank to it. Yet it boasts features Apple Watch doesn’t have that I’m starting to think I can’t live without on runs and hikes.

I don’t plan to completely break up with the Apple Watch anytime soon, but I’m ditching it during my four-day trek through the Grand Canyon this weekend because there are still a couple things it needs to learn before it can truly be the best all-around fitness tracker.

How gadgets helped me go from dad bod to six pack

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Fitness gadgets saved my life. Sort of.
Fitness gadgets saved my life. Sort of.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

I used to live the classic geek lifestyle, forever hunched over a MacBook, munching on comfort food. Until one day cancer forced me to take my health more seriously.

Now I run marathons and lift weights for fun. But the geek is still strong in me. From GPS watches to bioelectrical impedance analyzers, I’ve used pretty much every kind of fitness gadget.

Here’s the story of how fitness gear helped me get in shape for the first time in my life and swap my middle-aged dad bod for a six pack.