With the summer months already upon us, now is the time that many look to burn off some of that extra insulation built up over the winter months. However, will power on its own is often not enough to rekindle the enthusiasm for regular exercise. Instead we need a helping hand.
If you're well off and willing to put up with the humiliation of some fitness freak whining at you all the time you could turn to a personal trainer, but opting for a digital alternative will be the more attractive option for most of us. This is where the AllSport GPS system comes into play. It's a software application for your phone that lets you plan and track your training progress across a range of activities including running, mountain biking and skiing.
We tried it out on the Blackberry Curve 8900, but it's compatible with all GPS-equipped Blackberry devices and if you live in the US you can also get it for a range of other phones.
There are two components to the AllSport GPS system. The first part is the application that you download to your phone and use to gather information about your training regime. The second part is the Trimble website which is used to track the progress of your training over time. Information gathered on the phone is automatically uploaded to the website after each session, so both are always kept in-sync.
The phone application is rather basic looking. When you start it up you're presented with a text menu of six different activities covering Running, Walking (is that a sport?), Road Biking, Mountain Biking, Trail Running and Board/Ski.
Selecting an activity takes you to the main screen for your chosen sport. The application then automatically starts to look for a GPS signal. Once it's locked on to enough satellites a tick will appear next to the GPS icon and it will beep to let you know it's all set to begin recording data. When you're ready to start your training session you just click on the start button. During your activity the display shows you the distance you have travelled so far, how long you've been training for as well as the calories burned during the current session. There is also other activity specific data shown such as your average pace and average overall speed.
As the application allows you to assign one of the Blackberry's buttons as a lap/split timer you can also record data for individual lap times rather than simply a whole session. Plus you can set it up to play an audible signal every time you've completed a mile or kilometre.
During a session it's easy to switch between the three alternate views. The first plots your position on a street level map downloaded from Google Maps, the second shows a constantly updating graph of your speed while the final one plots a graph of the elevation changes during the current activity.
When you press stop to finish your workout you're shown a summary of the completed session including the distance you have travelled, your average speed, the number of calories burned and rest time, if you've taken any. The phone also automatically uploads all of the recorded data over its mobile connection to the Trimble servers so when you get back home the data is ready and waiting for you in your online account.