“It’s easy, as much as you tell people about how to improve their habits, to definitely lose sight of yours…. It was just another level of accountability that I’ve never experienced before.”Umo & James C.
Oklahoma City, OK
Umo is a registered dietitian and personal trainer. She owns a strength and conditioning facility where she works with “athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and people that are just interested in improving their health and wellness,” she says.
She started her path towards professional sports back in high school, although not necessarily with the “greatest eating habits,” she says with a smile, “which is pretty normal for a high school athlete.”
Her partner James is a certified strength and conditioning specialist for the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). His specialty is long-term athletic development with student athletes ages 9 to 18.
His path to his current self began even earlier than Umo’s—back in middle school—and ever since, he’s been consistently involved in sports. “I played American football from age 12 to college, so until 22–23 years old. And I played basketball [in] middle school, aged around 12 to 15. And then, [in] high school, I did track and field.”
“And we didn’t have the resources,” James continues, “[to] really help us train effectively in terms of how to monitor our load and how to see what we’re doing affects you the next day (the recovery and everything). We [didn’t] have the resources [to afford], like someone who had certifications in strength and conditioning. And I really wanted to be able to provide that type of access or opportunity to kids that are in middle school, secondary school, [and] primary school; so that they can have better chance[s] to be successful in sporting endeavors. Also, a lot of them have better chance[s] to become good citizens.”
Taking sports as seriously as they do, Umo and James have always looked for tools to understand their own capabilities and performance milestones better and to give even more data-driven advice to their clients. They have both gone through a number of gadgets and wearables chasing the data.
“I’ve had different watches that track your steps or track how far you’re running and how many calories you’re associating with [what],” Umo says, “[and] also apps for tracking several different things that are similar—there’s been a lot there—but not really anything that was my kind of interest. [Then] I found out about the HEALBE device.”
“Technology has been so devoted to distraction,” James comments on his old frustration with gadgets. “Previously, I used a different device that was connected to my phone sending me text messages, emailing, phoning or whatnot, even if it was just vibrating—this was all really distracting. The GoBe is a minimal distraction. I really enjoy that part. I really enjoy that the only times it’s gonna let me know something is if it needs to let me know something, like ‘Hey, you need to get a drink of water’ or ‘Hey, you’re in an emotional state right now.’”
The HEALBE GoBe smart band got their attention by occasionally showing up in their family network (where it ended up staying).
“It’s easy, as much as you tell people about how to improve their habits, to definitely lose sight of yours,” referring to her roles as a fitness consultant and mom. Umo appreciated primarily (1) her calorie intake charts she could look from the day prior to see where her macronutrients were at, (2) the “Drink” alert popping up on the bracelet when her hydration levels were low, and (3) the “Emotion” alerts at stressful points. “Just little things like that were so helpful.”
Another function James uses constantly is the sleep monitoring.
“It has also been really beneficial for me,” James comments, “because we have an infant. And when he wakes up in the middle of the night, typically I get up. And just kind of having an idea of ‘This is what your actual sleep state was, this is when your REM-sleep was, this was your level of anxiety while sleeping, this is when it spiked’—really kind of having an understanding versus, say, ‘Oh, I don’t freak out’—is very important. That function made me more aware of the time that I go to sleep. I also use HRV [heart rate variability], and then my score with the efficiency of my sleep kind of make sense. And I make a note: ‘Okay, I need to make sure I sleep earlier tomorrow or tonight—make sure I can get as many things in place to go to sleep earlier.’”
True fitness enthusiasts, James and Umo work really hard, sometimes almost rest-free, investing most of their time and knowledge into their trainees. At the same time, they’re trying to raise their own three kids in the best environment they can.
With James and Umo’s busy schedule, every once in a while, all three of their kids happen to find themselves at either their mom’s strength and conditioning facility or their dad’s training one. And all of them absolutely love those moments.
“Right now, they’re not participating in team sporting activities,” James admits. “They’re still a bit young for that, but they’re learning the fundamentals of all sports.”
“Being so young,” Umo says, “they don’t really know what’s going on. They just think that we’re always jumping in the car, going here and going there. But as they’re getting older, especially our oldest two—when we’re working with natural bodybuilders or whoever we’re doing posing sessions with—they definitely love fitness and they’re excited about what we do. And that’s really nice to know, that they’re basically gonna be raised in a healthy environment.”
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