Tagged: exercise

Addicted to Fitbit Flex

The other day I had mentioned to RunningWife that I was contemplating the purchase of a Fitbit tracker to keep tabs on my daily activity – after all, I’m kind of a technology nerd so having the online tracking really appeals to me. Being the amazing and supportive wife that she is, by the time I got home that night there was a gift waiting for me on the table.

I’ve had my Fitbit Flex for a little more than two weeks now and I absolutely, positively LOVE it!

The setup was a breeze and the integration with the app on my iPhone was a snap. But Fitbit may have created a monster!

Syncing On The Minute

When I first started wearing my Flex, I was syncing with the iPhone app all the time. And I mean all the time.

Walk from my desk to the printer at work – gotta check my steps!

Go to the bathroom – gotta check my steps!

Get out of bed and go downstairs – gotta check my steps!

I think you get the idea. It was like when you buy a stock for the first time and you’re constantly checking the market to see if you’ve made money or lost money. Or for anyone that has operated a blog before, it is akin to the constant check of Google Analytics to see how many visitors you’ve had on your site.

As time goes by, I imagine this will subside to some degree but it is so easy to quickly check how many steps you have in at any time. The nice thing about having that instant ability to check your steps, miles and minutes of activity is that you can quickly tell whether you need to kick it up a notch or two.

You’re Not Passing Me!

While checking your steps can be addicting, I have found that the real addiction has been how the natural competition with others has motivated me to be more active. As you connect with people on the Fitbit community, they will be displayed in your Friend Rankings.

The Friend Rankings are, as you can likely guess, a listing of the step totals for all of your Fitbit friends. The total is a rolling 7-day total, so as each day ends you might find yourself rising or dropping on the list. Now the really beautiful – and fun – part of this is that you can cheer your friends for the progress they are making and the goals they are achieving.

But the evil genius part is that you can taunt your friends too!

There have been more than a few nights where I am settled in for the night, pleased with the progress that I made that day, enjoying a little TV and then it happens – someone passes me by in the step count and sends me a taunt.

Oh no you didn’t! (Wag your finger and shake your head while saying that for the full effect.)

Seeing that taunt will get you up off the couch so you can do some more walking to add more steps to your daily total and pass the person that just passed you, so you can then throw their taunt right back in their face! Juvenile, perhaps – but it really can motivate you to keep as active as possible.

Long Term Benefits

Ultimately, the important this is to be up off of your butt, leading an active and healthy lifestyle. As time goes by, the appeal of the Fitbit Flex may wane (although being a little geeky I love having the stats to track over time – ask RunningWife about all of the spreadsheets I create, ha!) but before that happens you will have created a habit.

A habit of exercising.

A habit of eating healthy food choices.

A habit that will last you a lifetime, and will very likely extend your lifetime.

Since introducing the changes that I have been making to lead a healthier lifestyle, I have lost 19.5 pounds and am excited to exercise each and every day. I’m looking for ways to get up from my desk at work and be a little more active. Sitting on the couch all night after work is no longer the desirable choice.

Coming downstairs and realizing that I forgot something actually makes me smile now, as I get to run back up the stairs and add a handful of steps to my daily total.

Ultimately, the change to a healthier lifestyle has to come from within and you have to conquer the person in the mirror. But for me, I have found that the Fitbit Flex has been a huge catalyst to making those changes easier and a lot more fun!

First Day Of Interval Training

After the sobering reality between running inside versus running outside, Week 2 began today with the introduction of interval training (according to my personally modified version of #c25k).

Go hard or go home

Wanting to put the embarrassment of yesterday behind me, I committed to doing 3 minutes at my normal pace (a brisk walk to slow jog) and then 30 seconds at a much faster pace (a legit jog). Once the warm-up was complete, it was time to get down to business.

This isn’t so bad.

Through the first few rounds of alternating between walking and jogging, I felt good. The sweat started dripping and I was envisioning new personal bests in terms of distance traveled and my minutes per mile pace.

Hello wall, nice to meet you!

Somewhere around 14 minutes in, the jogging intervals began to feel more intense and the 3 minute walking intervals were spent trying to catch my breath. But I continued to power through knowing that the end result would be so much more rewarding.

There must be sweat in my eyes

When the final buzzer sounded to signal the cool-down phase, I nearly fell off the elliptical and was convinced that the sweat stinging my eyes was causing blurred vision.

Considering the amount of sweat that was dripping off of me and how I was sucking wind, I thought for sure that I had gone at least 3 miles or more. I was expecting to obliterate the 2.6 miles that I had done last week when I had pushed myself a little harder.

2.8 miles?!? A lousy 0.2 extra miles?!?

The effort was far greater than the distance traveled. The introduction of the intervals absolutely wiped me out and the net gain was less than a quarter mile difference. On the bright side though, my minutes per mile pace was nearly one full minute better than my previous best!

And that’s not all

In addition to setting a new personal best on the minutes per mile pace, I also pushed myself to go farther and work harder than I had before – and I did it.

Right now the important thing is to be consistent and begin adopting the exercise as a routine part of my lifestyle. On the drive home from work, I was beginning to make mental deposits into the excuse bank and was looking forward to just relaxing on the couch. Fortunately, I realized that the excuse bank was closed for the day and threw on my shorts and shoes and got to work!

Small steps continue to build on each other, and before long I will be at my goal!

The Greatest Journeys All Start Somewhere

In case you forgot, I hate running.

However, for some reason I have decided that it would be a good idea to register for my very first 5k run and the time is ticking until race day (a little less than two months away!).

One small step…

Every journey – no matter how grand or how miniscule – begins by taking action. It is impossible to reach your goals if you don’t take action; if you don’t keep pushing yourself onward and upward.

Today I took action.

Now, before you start thinking all crazy I have to admit that I did not run. Not one bit.

But I did take that first small step towards that 5k and I walked (okay, some of you might say I lollygagged) on the elliptical for a total of 35 minutes and covered 2.5 miles Yeah, yeah…I know that a 14 minute per mile pace is laughable for a lot of people but considering that I am accustomed to moving 0.0 (you read that in your Dean Wormer voice, didn’t you?) miles, I am proud of the accomplishment.

And you know what?

I actually liked it!

It’s true. When the “cool down” was over, I felt fantastic – other than the fact that my legs felt a little wobbly – and I had to go admire the sweaty mess that I was in the bathroom mirror.

Am I the only one that looks at a sweat-soaked t-shirt and gives myself the manly head nod?

That sweat is a flashing neon sign to the world that I just did something manly. So what if I am the only one to see it, and it was the result of a measly 35 minute stroll on the elliptical machine.

It might seem like something small and inconsequential, but there is an extremely brave message to be gleaned from that sweaty t-shirt.

I took action!