Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Getting Fit Bit by Bit

Dear Everyone: 

The reason I haven't been posting lately has to do with a gadget I bought myself for my birthday back in March.  There it is, below:

I bought myself a FitBit One because I heard glowing reviews from people who were using either a FitBit One or the more trendy wristband version, the Flex, to track their activity (or lack thereof) on a daily basis.  I have worn a trusty Omron pedometer since 2008, so I'm not new to a step-counting device showing me I need to move more.  

Since winter has been so slow to leave us, and the garden is still under snow in a few spots, I thought what the heck, I'll take the transitional month of April and give it all I've got and see what happens.

But I will admit, in the month and a half that I've had this FitBit, things have gotten a tad out of control.  I joined a few FitBit groups and was shocked at how much the leaders are walking, especially in the 50 and Over Women categories.  Just once I'd like to place somewhere on the leaderboard, so I'm finding myself trying to figure out new ways to get more steps in.  
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I've gone from a no-excuses 10,000 steps (five miles for me) every day for years up to 20,000 steps or ten miles since the first of March.   Why? I'm not sure, but I guess it's because I want to see if  working harder will make any changes on the scale.  I have lost two pounds so far, but scale weight varies greatly and since I'm still lifting weights, my measurements are the only true indicator of progress or what they call in the calorie counting world, a NSV.  (Non-Scale Victory.)

So far, for the month of April, I have walked 433,295 steps or roughly 215 miles.  As of tonight I am coming in fourth place out of 170 women over age 50 and in ninth place out of 400+ people of all ages from Wisconsin.  One of the leaders is putting up very impressive numbers: 750,972 steps since April 1.  Wow, that's a lot of walking!  I won't catch the leaders unless I start walking in my sleep, but that's ok, the only person I'm in competition with is me.  

In order for me to get 20,000+ steps a day, I have to get at least 10,000 steps on before noon. 

 Here's a look at today:  I rolled out of bed late, put on my workout clothes and shoes, and grabbed my kettlebell workout DVD and proceeded to 'swing myself fit'.  Hey, that's what the description says on the case, I'm not making this stuff up.  I bought a 15 pound kettlebell from Wal-Mart a few months ago.  They look small, but looks are deceiving and the weight can be daunting after awhile, especially after the sweat makes the grip slippery. So far I have succeeded in not launching it through the window or heaven forbid, into the conglomeration of stained glass lamps surrounding me.  I've been doing kettlebell workouts on and off for a few months, and though I'm not skinny, I do get tired, so they must be working.  Right? 

After a rousing half hour with Gin Miller and her routines of 'rock the baby' and 'pass around the body' and 'clean and presses' and 'hip thrusts' I wiped off the sweat and put the kettlebell down carefully.  Checking the FitBit, I see I only added 1,000 steps to my count.  Ok, fine, get Leslie Sansone cued up, let's go.

Walk, walk, walk, walk, and jog, jog, jog, knee ups, side steps, kick backs, arm raises, half-jacks, and another hour and a half goes by.  Ok, finally, 12,125 steps.  Just as I was finishing up with Ms. Sansone and crew, Carl drove in at 12:30PM.

Easter was this past weekend and I am ashamed to admit we didn't have anyone over.  I had no place to put people for a meal since we have a dining room table full of stained glass.  Gee, doesn't everyone?  
The dining room table.

No, it's not a roulette wheel or (heaven forbid) a target for shooting at, it's going to be a window for Castle Aaargh.  We acquired a bunch of unfinished lamps last fall that were cut out but not foiled, and yours truly got the bright idea to take the pieces and make a window out of them.  The window is truly a work in progress since the glass pieces are dictating the design instead of the other way around.  Usually you start with a design and make the glass fit.
But we have buckets of glass already cut to size so the challenge here is to find a way to use them to their best advantage.  
I spend the time I'm not walking, sitting on my behinder, foiling.
Check out the herringbone border: my bright idea.  Hope it looks good lit.
But anyway, that's why Carl came home early today; he wanted to work on this window so we can move on with life.  I quickly made us both lunch and then Carl and I worked on the window until around 5PM.  I looked at my FitBit and realized I'd only walked six miles and had another four to go.  

Carl sighed, "Do you really have to walk again?"

"I don't have to, but it's only another week or so," I said.  "I'd like to head for the trail, if you don't mind."

The last few weeks I've been walking on the rails to trails system in our nearby town, mostly on my own, since Carl has been trying his best to get the window done.  Silly as it sounds, after exercise class twice a week I park the car in town, grab my Exerstrider walking poles and walk in one direction until I reach the desired mileage and then turn around and walk back.  The route is isolated and peaceful, through some wooded areas and rolling farmland.

Joel and Dave were home last Friday night and kindly dropped Carl and I off three miles from town and left a car parked at the end for us.  I really enjoy having Carl along for company on these walks, though I'm not a total coward and haven't had any incidents on the trail, I do feel more secure with him along.  

Late Sunday afternoon, we drove to town and repeated the same walk again, but I know Carl is only doing it to make me happy.  Walking isn't his favorite past time, especially in the light of all the work we should be doing at home.

Tonight, when I said I had to walk again, Carl decided to come along one more time and we ended up at a nature center called 'Mosquito Hill'. (sounds awful, doesn't it, but it's too early for skeeters just yet.)  The temps were in the 50's and we took a new two and a half mile trail we haven't tried before that went all around the hill itself.  There are big changes in elevation at this park and we were both sweating and glad to reach a bench to sit for a little while.  The scenery and vistas from the top of the hill are beautiful, but you might know, I forgot the camera.

The FitBit counts 'floors climbed' as well as steps and I was surprised to see how many 'floors' tonight's climb rated:
 No wonder we were both tired when we got home tonight.

 I ended the night after another mile walk with the dogs just before dark.  I won't be able to keep this routine up once we get into gardening season.  I haven't planted ONE flower seed yet and it's high time I do so.  I have to knock off this walk-fest and get on with gardening.  Sheesh.

Calories burned.

 The worst part of the FitBit experience happens at midnight.  All the steps, stairs, and calories burned disappear.  Poof. 

Back at Square One tomorrow morning.  

Time to do it ALL over again.