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App helps college students recover post-workout

Thursday - 7/24/2014, 10:37am  ET

Zoe Sagalow, special to WTOP.com

WASHINGTON -- Now there's a smartphone app to help people exercise smarter, telling them how many carbohydrates and how much fat they burned.

Jim Hagberg, who designed the app, says he sees it as useful to not only athletes but anyone who exercises. "[The app] can be used by recreational athletes, active individuals, athletes of any age -- so there's a wide range of people who could use this," he said.

Hagberg, a kinesiology professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, led the development of the Training Optimization System app, which is planned to be released as an Android app Thursday. He incorporated Training Optimization System as a company a few years ago. Hagberg and his team plan to release an iPhone version of the app in the next few months.

Originally, Hagberg says he was motivated to design the app by his work with student athletes at the University of Maryland. He said college students are often preoccupied with what's next on their to-do lists and might not do what they need to in order to restore their bodies from exercise, leaving themselves dehydrated and low on carbohydrates.

"They've got eight million things on their minds ... but they are tied to their smartphones," he said. And that's why Hagberg decided to reach the students through a smartphone app.

The app tells users how many carbohydrates or how much fat they burned during a training session so that they can replenish themselves before their next training session or competition, Hagberg says. In order to use this feature, a user would need to determine heart rate using a heart rate monitor and then enter that information into the app.

The app also tells users how much water they lost so they can rehydrate after their workouts -- a feature Hagberg says could be useful for people exercising outdoors in the D.C. area's hot summers. This requires that users weigh themselves before and after their workout, he says, and enter the weights into the app.

In the next year, Hagberg says his team plans to add 10 to 15 features to both the iPhone and Android versions of the app, including providing information about preventing injuries and "more feedback on an individual's metabolic and cardiovascular responses to exercise."

The Training Optimization System app will be available in the Google Play store on Thursday.

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