May 19 AT 2:27 PM Clark Wimberly 72 Comments

How I lost 100 lbs with Android

If you weren’t aware, Angie and I got married a couple of weeks ago[1]. We had a long engagement (two years), which afforded me plenty of time to work on my pre-wedding goal: weight loss. And it was a tall order- I wanted to hit 200 lbs for the big day, a weight I hadn’t seen the underside of since middle school.

A couple of years ago, at my heaviest, I weighed 305 lbs (if I’m being honest, it could have gone higher- that was just when I quit weighing myself). I was living with my brother, Taylor, and a friend from school and we didn’t have the best eating habits (to say the least). We ate out a lot and when we cooked for ourselves the menu consisted mostly of meat. I’d battled weight since childhood, but living wild with a couple of dudes pushed me over the edge.

In 2008 I moved to Austin to be with Angie and to take a job on the NCsoft web team. Before the year was out, Taylor and I were hatching plans to go full-time on this crazy Android project and he was demanding I order a G1. The rest, they say, is history.

Luckily, with an Android phone, history easily repeats itself. While I can’t exactly write a detailed guide for fool-proof weight loss, I wanted to use this post as an opportunity to thank the developers that created the handful of tools I used to whip myself into wedding shape. On top of plenty of exercise and better health habits from my ever-fit Angie, the following apps played a huge role in my getting more active over the past few years:


CardioTrainer was the main GPS-tracking app I used when I bought my bike. For months I used the free version to track my rides, which started embarassingly short. Sometimes I’d barely crack a mile. I’d ride around the neighborhood in circles then run back to my computer to nerdily gaze at the GPS track I’d just generated.

For a few weeks I literally thought there might be something wrong with my bike (brakes rubbing, an untrue tire) based on how quickly my legs were gassing. I had built the bike myself[2], of course, it was a total possibilty I’d mucked that up.

Eventually though, I was packing on 4, 8, even 10 miles during a session and CardioTrainer plotted all of it on a nice map with a sea of interesting data (total distance, top speed, pace, calories burned, etc).

Once I had the hang of things, I upgraded to CardioTrainer Pro, one of the few apps to this day I’ve ever paid ten bucks for. The feature I was really after was the interval training, a function that verbally instructs you to speed up and slow down over a pre-set amount of time. I’d ride over to the school at night and circle the track, alternating between full-blast pedaling and a cool-down pace.

That’s when I realized that those sneaky bastards at WorkSmart Labs had finally tricked me into straight exercise. I wasn’t even analyzing the tracks when I got home- I was doing it simply because I wanted to, because the app had made it enjoyable.

Up that enjoyable vein, WorkSmart Labs has released a plethora of solid fitness-based apps. For a while I was using one of their diet-tracking apps. Recently they’ve announced a weight-loss app. Around the holidays they had Burn the Turkey. This is a team that cares about making health and fitness enjoyable. Their passion shows in the apps they build and the improvements they’ve pushed in the past year or so have been astounding.



Shhhh! Don’t tell CardioTrainer- but sometimes I use Endomondo to track my rides, too. I especially like the design and community features of the Endomondo website, where you can add friends and sign up to participate in group challenges. Using the friend system, you can challenge your contacts from Twitter, Google, Facebook, and more. Maybe sometime soon we’ll start an Android and Me mile challenge for some fitness-related prizes.

Initially though, the thing that Endomondo did that caught my eye was integrate with a bluetooth heartrate monitor [3]. I’ve got a friend that is a certified personal trainer and he keeps telling me that along with my cardio, I really need to target specific heart rates. While doing some research one day I stumbled upon Endomondo, which not only offered hardware heart rate monitoring but featured a stark, boxy aesthetic that I sort of dug. I was hooked.

Endomondo has a pro version available, but I haven’t tried it. I don’t feel I’ve even fully explored the features of the free version. Actually, to this day I still have not participated in a group challenge, nor have I taken the plunge and purchased my bluetooth heart rate monitor, so for now we’ll call Endomondo my potential tracker of choice.


My Tracks

By this point, you’re probably noticing a pattern. You’re saying, What is this? A list of GPS apps? While it might appear to be headed that way, I find that I use My Tracks for something completely different: wayfaring.

If you’re weren’t already aware, we live in Austin. Which means we’re surround by dozens of amazing parks absolutely ripe for exploring. Using Google My Tracks I can trot out into the middle of unfamiliar territory, roam around like an animal, and when it’s time to leave? My Tracks shows me the way out.

And as if reversing my recorded track to retrace my steps out of the park wasn’t enough nerd-wannabe-explorer fun, My Tracks offers full My Maps integration for saving points and leaving notes directly onto maps for later use. Stumble upon that hidden creek you always have trouble finding? Mark it with a pin.

As far as I know, My Tracks is run by volunteers and Googlers in their 20% time, which means you’ve got a team of folks really dedicated to providing a solid service even if it isn’t their main bag. As a side note, if you’re going to use My Tracks as your primary location device, make sure you’ve got a full battery (seriously, those few moments I spent trying to get out of a park before dark with a dying device almost made me rethink this whole fitness thing).


Lose It or Lose it

My list is starting to get a bit wild now, as Lose It or Lose It isn’t technically an app- it’s a web service. But being the super-nerd I am, I went ahead and built my own Android-ready implementation (more on that in a bit).

Lose It or Lose It is a service that lets you bet money against your weight loss plan. For instance, I wagered $100 that I could lose 20 lbs in 10 weeks- a modest bet. To keep you honest, each week you’ve got to weigh in, including a picture of your feet on the scale. Your weigh-ins are immediately emailed to your pre-selected friends for screening and support. If you hit all your weigh-ins and complete your weight loss goals, you get 100% of your wager back. Each week you fall through, you’re assessed a small monetary penalty [4].

To make things even more interesting, the independent developers running the site are active too, sometimes losing their own money back to the community. They even run a blog filled with posts and silly videos about the active members and have been known to randomly send out free stickers and tees. After my flawless victory, they even sent me a free Nerd Merit Badge. I liked the vibe of Lose It or Lose It so much I even wagered on a second stint.

Oh, and the Android implementation? I am such a nerd that I went ahead and built my own mobile interface in absence of an official one from Lose It or Lose It. I used Yahoo Pipes to scrape the desktop page and create my own custom mobile webapp. For fun I had the titles swap out on each load (notable entries include Ladies Love It, Lookin Chubby, and Eat Less Sugar) and set the homescreen icon to be a bag of fat.

Through my twenty weeks with Lose It or Lose It, I was only penalized a total of three times (one of which was during CES in Vegas- that was out of my control!). And what happened to my money? It went right in the pockets of Randy and John, the guys that built the service. A few friends have asked What, they don’t give the money to charity? While that’s a noble thought, I’ve really got no problems supporting clever developers that devised a plan to get me losing weight.


Sigh, another location app? you ask? Not so fast! Gowalla is the only location app on my list that is fully about the destination. Gowalla encourages me to go places that I wouldn’t otherwise go. Sure, sometimes we drive “there” and eat. But just as frequently we drive “there” and walk around for a respectable amount of time. Or go hiking. Or ride bikes.

Even recently the founder proclaimed that they have been looking past the check-in to discover the stories in location, which sounds great to me. I’m not a bar-hopper, I’m after meaningful engagement with new places and people.

For a lot of users there’s long since been an argument over Gowalla or Foursquare- Foursquare or Gowalla? It was an easy choice for me for two reasons. I live in Austin and I appreciate quality.

The team that makes Gowalla is here in Austin and I’ve met a number of them many times. They are good peoples. And the product? Forget about it! Over the past year they’ve consistently pushed updates and tweaked features that make both the designer and UI/UX nerd inside of me squeal with delight.

I’ve been using Gowalla back since they only had a web client. Since the release of the native client, I’ve been treated to the release of Trips (like this one I made at McKinney Falls State Park), user photos streams (for capturing gold like this), and even actual prizes for check-ins. Seriously, I’ve won multiple real-world prizes from using Gowalla [5].

I used to tell people I used Gowalla to help locate other friends that potentially might be in or around the same areas. That’s totally still true, but I’ve also come to realize that lots of times I find myself pulling out my phone specifically to grab the shiny icon or pin available only through checking in. Or riding my bike to an extra stop in hopes of finding an extra item. And when I’m done, my entire history is stored in an awesome passport online for easy viewing and reminiscing.


Yes, those are my feet, or: Success!

With just a few days to spare before the wedding, I was finally able to dip under 200 lbs! Along with the weight, over the months I’ve also dropped enough sizes to warrant virtually an entire new wardrobe. None of my clothes really fit anymore. But this time it was a good thing! At my wedding I even wore pants with a cut defined as slim fit, a far cry from anything I ever would’ve tried on back in my husky days.

So what’s next? My eventual permanent goal weight is 180 lbs, so I’ve still got a fair bit of work to do. I think the next thing I’ll be trying is moving beyond fitness apps into fitness-specific hardware.

Earlier I mentioned a bluetooth heart rate monitor, but over the past few weeks I’ve really had my eye on a BodyMedia armband or the FitBit. These tools provide a hardware and software solution for tracking all sorts of things from steps taken to calories burned to sleep quality. I’ve also taken a look at grabbing a smart scale from Withings, which can automatically track my weight over time just by stepping on the scale. Anything that removes a step of logging sounds like a total win to me!

On top of even further enhanced tracking, I’m in the early stages of shopping for a new bike, something I’m totally stoked on. When I bought my current bike, I went for a budget model (for me, at least), promising myself that if I was actually able to wear it out that I’d treat myself to something a bit more kickass. Well, hundreds of miles and a rickety budget bike later, I’m finally taking the plunge and ordering myself something that can really go.

So what’s your plan?

Another one of the huge wins of weight loss in the digital age is being able to find support and instruction online. I’m writing this article hopefully to encourage people to get active, but also in attempts at gathering some new tips. What have you guys been doing with Android to stay active? Are there some crazy fun apps I don’t know about yet? A certain exercise that blends perfectly with technology? I want to hear about it!

For years I had told myself that eventually I’d get in shape. And for years, that’s all I did: told myself. I’ve finally had my breakthrough and I just wanted to share. With help from the right people, hard work, and a pocket full of apps you can do pretty much anything.


  1. For the record, I totally got the best of that deal.
  2. Purchased from Amazon, delivered overnight for $3.99 with Prime – Victory Touring Cruiser
  3. Specifically, the POLAR WearLink + Bluetooth Transmitter Available on Amazon
  4. My wager was $10/week- $5 for hitting weight and $5 for weighing in at all
  5. Most notably, an Eye-Fi card –
Clark is a developer living in Austin, Texas. He runs ClarkLab, a small web firm with his wife, Angie. He's a big fan of usability, standards, and clean design.

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  • Anthony Domanico

    Yes, you totally got the best of that deal!

    I’m running with Endomodo for the time being, hoping to get down from 190 to 170 or so in 2011. We’ll see how it goes.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Angie Strickland

      Aw, you’re too nice Anthony! And Clark for that matter… :)

      • Clark Wimberly

        I kept thinking you were gonna realize the jig was up and ask to see my coupon.

        • Angie Strickland

          Haha! Whatever!

      • http://SouthAustralia Biosfear

        Nice work Clark, also, Dammmmmn, what a lucky guy, gorgeous woman you got there! Better look after her well!!!

    • http://Website Justin

      Really, really inspiring story Clark! Keep up the good work man. Glad to see a real word review of Android from a non technical perspective!

      Have you thought of submitting this story to Google? They are a company that I think would love to hear how their Android is really impacting people’s lives in positive ways!

  • Zackery Fretty

    Awesome job man.

  • Jeremy

    Congrats! I am trying to lose over 100 pounds to get down to 200 ish before a backpacking trip next year. I have a Withings Scale and I have a very rough Word Press plugin created for it. If you get the scale hit me up and I will send you the code.

  • Aspeds2989

    What in the world were you guys eating? I’m having trouble making it to 140 :(

    Anyway, congats!

    • http://Website b235

      he was eating fruits (apple)

  • gens

    Wow ! Congrats all around [no pun intended :-) ]..looking good !, now, do you know of any Cinderella apps for slightly aging men ? transform my muttness into an prince……..though, I’ll settle for semi-handsome coconut banging porter……… :-)

  • Jonah Bishop

    How did you hold your android phone while cycling? Did you use an armband, put it in your pocket, or some other mechanism? I have a Motorola Droid, and I’ve found that (a) it’s heavy and (b) the battery doesn’t last a very long time when using GPS. That has prevented me from using it as a GPS tracking device when I’m out hiking.

    • Clark Wimberly

      Lots of times I’d put it in my backpack but plenty of times I just tossed it in my pocket. I almost always just ride in plain clothes (shorts, a tee) and I’m so used to carrying the phone I barely notice it. And battery sometimes is a concern if I’m headed waaaay out, but usually my activity is just a few hours worth and it holds up fine.

      I do have a ZAGsparq portable charger though and it works wonders. It can take my phone through a couple complete charging cycles on one tank of juice.

  • http://Website Chris

    Congratulations, losing 100 pounds is no small task.

    I use MyTracks for jogging (mostly to report pace and distance into my headphones during the run) and a couple of food diary / calorie tracking apps can help keep your intake honest. If you are using one of these it helps with temptation because if you eat something, you have to log it… so you get the same twice! One is Calorie Counter, the other is Diet & Food Tracker. Not sure which one I like better yet.

    • http://Website Camille

      CardioTrainer also ‘speaks’ your pace and mileage gone so far into the headset. It allows you to configure how often you want this information provided to you. It really is a very good app.

  • http://Website Craig

    Congrats. I actually got into running and have lost some weight with the C25K/Runkeeper apps.

    Why bother with those bluetooth HRMs when you can get a Garmin Forerunner 305 for about the same price or cheaper?

  • http://Website Ron Dancaster

    A very nice job, Clark. Congrats to you and thanks for the fun read.

  • http://Website Lego57

    Congrats! I lost 65 lbs in 84 days tracking calories and exercise with the Andriod Marketplace app, Calorie Counter by FatSecret, on my HTC-G2.

  • http://Website J.

    I just started to get serious about losing the gut, and like you, I’ve tried a lot of the fitness-oriented apps available for Android.
    I like Endomondo the best so far, but I can tell you that the BT pairing can be a little bit tricky sometimes (maybe a carbon fiber bike would help reduce interference?)

    I’ve bookmarked this post to keep me motivated.

    I topped up over 300 earlier this year, and my goal is also to get back to 200 (I’m 6’4″, I don’t think 180 is realistic)

    You should totally send this story in to Men’ Health “Belly-Off Club”! It would make a great writeup, and a nice plug for the site.

  • Jon Niola

    Congrats Clark! That is awesome. Bet you feel like a whole new person these days!

  • chris

    Congrads Clark! It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to get where you are at, keep up the great work! Thank you for sharing your success!

  • kyith


    i think this is a truely inspiring story on technology and how it help us. i just hope you dun gain it back as quickly as you lose it!

  • http://Website Phroghollow

    I just lost 136lbs(62Kg) in 18months. I used My Tracks (Extensively) but more along the lines of gym and diet. Congratulations on your weight loss Clark, hope you hit your goal weight.

  • Matt Johnson


    Yes, your story is inspiring. I hope you have just as much success with weight maintenance as you did coming down. . Apparently this is one of those metrics where you do not want to have zero has a goal. Bah.

    -Matt Johnson

    • Clark Wimberly

      I’ve been floating around 205-210 for about three months now. 200 was just my magic number for the wedding. In the beginning the weight just flew off but these last pounds have been rough. At least I’m not headed back up, though!

      And I really do feel like there are definite differences in my choices, too. I’ve basically given up sodas and I rarely eat greasy fast food. We still eat out a lot, but in Austin I’ve found a lot more sensible options. Also years ago when I’d order I’d always find myself thinking Is this going to be enough? Should I add a side? at every. single. meal. Now I’ve got no problems ordering a side or starter or soup as my main dish.

      I still eat too much candy, though.

      • http://Website JD

        Congrats on the weight loss, man. I’ve also lost 100lbs over the last 2 years.

        I’m curious if you made any conscious diet choices, such as low carb or low fat, or if you just avoided certain foods (and drinks) and ate normally?

        • Clark Wimberly

          Overall I’d just say I ate less and ate smarter. I didn’t really follow any specific diet plan, I just made repeated efforts to eat sensible portions and tried not to gorge myself late a night.

          • http://Website sewred

            You look wonderful! And I have to agree, eating really heavy at night is a definite no-no when trying to loose weight, or even just good digestion. Your body is trying to eliminate at night, not digest.
            Great accomplishment, Congratulations!

  • http://Website panic

    a while back you guys posted an article about runkeeper pro being free for a certain amount of time, I’ve been using it ever since to track my walks and what not its also a great app for exercising.

  • http://Website Tb0n3

    Nice work!!! Me too – the 100 lost, the biking, and the geekery about it. Highly recommend sparkpeople app and community for tracking food and exercise. Also use mapmyride. Love my extended battery for all that tracking. And handlebar mounted smartphone case.

    • Clark Wimberly

      Which handlebar mount have you bee using? I’ve made my own a time or two for tracking riding but I was always scared strapping my device to my bars.

    • http://Website Tb0n3

      Ps I just ordered a waterproof solar charger and plan to permanently hook it to the bike and run cable up to smartphone holder. Then I have to stop, it is starting to look like one of those one man bands complete with cymbals …

  • http://Website Batfan

    Congrats man! I know how hard it is. Struggled with my weight my whole childhood ( was 265 @ my heaviest ) and then ended up losing about 90 lbs after HS. Its a struggle to maintain everyday but, its worth it.

  • http://Website J240

    I’ve been looking for an app that tracks distance, calories, pace, etc for running on a treadmill. I tried Endomodo but couldn’t get it to track my running since I wasn’t going anywhere on the GPS… are there any apps out there that will allow treadmill running??

  • http://www.revolució Raúl

    Good going, man!

    I feel like my situation is the same as yours. Those 100 lbs, that whole having that “crazy Android project” (although not full-time), wanting to improve my overall health, and having a beautiful girlfriend to look great for. I’ve already lost some 12 lbs in the past month (I’m enrolled in WeightWatchers).

    Now, I definitely have an inspiration to follow. I’ll follow you on Twitter now and get back to you while I progress.

  • http://Website JB

    Congrats on both the weight loss and becoming a newlywed!

  • http://Website Dennis

    Wow! Kudos to you! Personally, I DO wish I can gain weight. It’s like no matter what or how much I eat, I still remain skinny. :( I think it has to do with my metabolism. :/

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Maybe I should write a post, “How I gained 30 lbs with Android”

      Seriously, if you are the skinny type it can be super challenging to gain mass. I went from 170 up to 205 a couple years back, but it was sooo hard.

      • Anthony Domanico

        Yeah, and now you’re at like 140 you stick!

  • http://Website Ed

    The problem I have with using GPS for tracking runs or biking is this:

    Where do you keep your phone so that it doesn’t get hurt but the gps still works? I wouldn’t like to run with an armband exposing my phone to everyone. How did you do it?

    • Anthony Domanico

      I’ve actually been keeping mine in hand, but that’s uber dangerous.

    • http://Website Clark Wimberly

      I usually put the phone into my backpack or my pocket.

  • http://Website Jim Egan

    Can you make a bet with me that you will lose weight? How about a couple million dollars for 600 pounds?

  • http://Website Rick

    Great job! I love cardio trainer for running. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tyler

    hey thats awesome man. good job! thanks for post

  • http://Website Erin

    Congrats on your loss! I am writing in on fitbit. I have one and my mother has one. We love it. Not only does it track your steps, but it can also track you sleep patterns and level of intensity. The website also has a food log that includes many varieties and brands of food. I have found this feature most useful. But, with whichever gadget you choose, best of luck!

  • Snafu77

    Even though you guys fell off a bit this article is why I still read Android & Me. Great story. Good luck with the marriage and karate body!

    • Anthony Domanico

      We’ve heard you loud and clear. We’ve got some awesome stuff coming up. stay tuned! :)

  • http://Website Dude

    I can recommend you the adidas micoach pacer, which is a kind of eclectronic personal trainer….
    It tells you how fast to ride or run based on your heart rate.
    I used it to get in shape for a 21km run and it worked great!

  • http://Website Roy

    Congratulations Clark!

  • http://Website petraeus prime
  • IvanSF

    Congratulations Clark!

  • Taylor Wimberly

    Nice job cutting me out of both pictures.

    • Anthony Domanico

      Pfft… I see half a taylor in the left one.

    • Angie Strickland

      Plus I’m pretty sure the article isn’t about you! ;)

  • http://Website Andy_jr

    Congratulations, Clark & Angie!

    • Angie Strickland

      Thanks :)

  • Killa

    Congratulations! I love reading success stories like this.

    “Maybe sometime soon we’ll start an Android and Me mile challenge for some fitness-related prizes.” I would absolutely LOVE it if you guys did this!

  • http://Website Art

    Can anyone recommend a good USB solar charger for android phones? I have a Moto Droid and when using any of these GPS apps the battery tends to drain like hell.

    Also, I just started messing with that Noom weight loss app and it does have Cardiotrainer built in the app, which is a big plus.

  • http://Website Gordon

    weight is 90% diet. you can’t work out enough to overcome a shitty diet. calories in vs. calories out. an average man should eat 2,000 calories/day. stick to that and you’ll never be fat.

    • Anthony Domanico

      It’s not as simple as that, because a calorie is not a calorie. Drink 120 calories of alcohol, or juice w/ fructose (not high-fructose corn syrup necessarily, but fructose), and 96/120 calories go to your fat-making cells. Consume 120 calories of fruit, and only 24/120 calories go toward your fat-making cells.

      Yes, in general, consuming less calories will result in weight loss, but you still have to be smart about the calories you’re eating.

    • http://Website Rev. Spaminator

      Actually that is not quite accurate. If you are active enough the body will forgive just about any diet*. The question is are you willing to burn a rugby match worth of calories everyday just to hit the buffet every evening?

      *Exceptions here would include diets high in mercury, lead, arsenic and/or uranium.

  • Brad

    First of all, congrats on the weight loss and thanks for the post. I’m sure it will inspire many!

    On the bodymedia device, it is the bodybugg pushed by 24h fitness, but the device is cheaper when purchased anywhere else (Look up bc bodymedia often has coupons). The monthly fee is kinda meh but if you’re not going to a gym then consider it your cheap personal trainer+gym membership.

    I haven’t gotten the new version that syncs with Android via bluetooth but it’s on my maybe list for tech purchases this year.

    It’s really great if you can go back and review your body’s metrics if you’ve been super tired lately, like maybe you aren’t sleeping enough? I found that when that is happening, I’m more prone to eating bad foods and not working out. If you can just be aware of how your body is doing it’s kinda exciting. (total data junkie).

    When I first got the device I decided to document how it worked, with me. I dropped in a few sample graphs from my data so you could see how precise it is. Some of the links have died bc I’m too busy to find my login info to fix them but most of this information still holds true about the GoWearFit / BodyMedia device. Feel free to contact me if you wanna know how it’s been since I last posted.

  • http://Website SSp

    Great article Clark, thanks for sharing. Using CardioTrainer myself for the same reasons.

    Side note, CardioTrainer supports a bluetooth heartrate monitor also.

  • http://Website Rev. Spaminator

    So I’ve decided to take the “Clark Wimberly Challenge”. What good is a cool phone if I can’t use it to make my life a little better?

    Just CardioTrainer and my tunes. When I get a little stronger I’ll start bringing the dog along. (Walking with him is a whole different level of workout.) I’ve given myself no time line to loose the weight just so long as the numbers on the scale keep going down.

  • http://Website Raymond

    There must be some misunderstanding. I guess you bought an Iphone.

    The only way to lose weight with phone, or tablet is buying a Macintosh.
    You will be left wit no money to spend on food.

  • http://Website Katshead42

    This article is awesome! Congrats on the weight loss and getting married.

  • DroidPower

    Hey Clark, congrats! I was digging around the site to read up on some fitness app and your post came up. This is a very inspiring story!

    I was wondering, has your fitness app selection changed since a year ago? I just started using apps to track my workouts, and I would like to learn/explore new apps.

    I created a thread to discuss all this here, and I hope to hear your opinions.

  • Linda Ford

    How to lose weight :))