Fitbit & The Beast

I would’ve said beauty, but after you read this, you’ll probably understand why I said beast. You should know, that I am competitive, embarrassingly so. Especially with myself, but having a few unknowing people to crush along the way, has always provided a little more motivation if you know what I mean.

Really though, you should probably laugh. I prefer to avoid confrontation, severely lack confidence, and have insecurity beyond measure. So, for me to smack talk like that, yeah, that’s funny. I’m not much of a lion…perhaps a bunny sporting a lion’s mane but that’s about all, meow.

Don’t get me wrong, however, I do love competition, especially if it’s within my wheelhouse, but you wouldn’t know it until we got into it. As I said, I’m not rough, dirty, or a shit talker but when I have the chance to write down the thoughts in my head, well why the hell not! So here’s my chance to do just that.

The 1st step is admitting it

As I’ve mentioned before, I am sometimes a bit of a dumbass. But what you don’t know is that I can also be a bit of an overly competitive dumbass. Yeah, I can imagine that that statement just conjured up some painful thoughts and I can assure you that the reality is far worse than you could ever imagine.

So, if you’ve read anything previously, you may or may not know that I enjoy getting in a daily workout to clear my head and attempt to maintain this sort of roundish, gelatinous shape I wear. Honestly, I don’t know why I say shape, it’s more of a state of existence really. Just being honest, I’m a real human and I’m not perfect but if you need a dead washing machine hauled up from the basement and out to your truck, I’m your lady.

Anyway, I’ve been active pretty much most of my life, aside from the first couple of years of marriage when I just didn’t have the time nor the money to hit the gym or play in a league (I tried in college but their time commitments were too much for me, I paid to go to school, not to play sports). Once Lea moved to town to go to school, we started to go to a local YMCA and hooked her into the deal as well. Sometimes we managed to actually get there and do some exercising, and sometimes, we found ourselves at a particular restaurant exercising our spoon operating hands while shoveling a certain signature white chocolate brownie into our pie holes. No comments Motheryou hear that Mom?

Good times man, good times.

I forgot to put the warning sticker on the treadmill

We did try, and eventually, I became involved in a ladies beer league in the winter full time but stopped when I started coaching my own kids’ teams. On top of all of that, we bought my sister in law’s treadmill (think early 2000’s) and I’ve been a full-fledged exerciser ever since. I recently had to trash the damned thing because it had also become an unintentional AED defibrillator that offered its services when it felt necessary. I, of course, ignored it by not touching the handles at all and attributed its sassiness to static electricity due to the dry air we experience here, but I guess summer isn’t usually that dry.

Let me just say how very happy I am that the repair person only had one hand on one bar and not both hands on both bars when he offered to see what he could figure in regards to the inner workings of my beloved treadmill, after he repaired my elliptical. I very nearly had to call another repair person to cut the treadmill guy out of my ceiling when he discovered my ancient treadmill’s extra abilities. I wonder if my insurance would’ve covered that?

So yeah, I’ve invested in moving my body for many years and within the past 2 years, we purchased an affordable weight bench with some weights. All worth it if you ask me, I really enjoy the weights more than anything else. The other handy dandy thing I’ve owned for a very long time is a Fitbit. Love em’ or hate em’, they can be quite the addiction.

I should be a professional Fitbit tester

I’ve owned one of these bitties since 2013 and I think I am currently on my 4th. Are they accurate? I have no idea but I continue to wear one and subject it to unimaginable horrors daily anyway.

I admit that I do have concerns and always have about the information they’re getting from these fitness trackers, especially now that Google owns them. I’ve heard some scary stories about what’s been extruded but I find that breaking up is hard to do. Especially since I’m extremely competitive with myself and if others are involved, well…let’s just say it’s hard to tame the beast.

Before Christmas, I decided to update Clem’s Fitbit, and get him a newer, fancier one as his old one went kaputsky. Mine had been on the fritz for a few months as well and a sale came up that made the both of us satisfied with investing in new ones. I admit, I mainly only use this thing to track my steps and tell the time, so everything else is irrelevant but I thought that since many fitness trackers have difficulty tracking steps in regards to elliptical usage, spending a little more might mean a better tracking system. So, that’s just what we did.

I think I’m experiencing late-onset buyer’s remorse

If I still had a treadmill, I’m certain I wouldn’t be having late-onset buyer’s remorse right now in regards to my new Fitbit, but it’s too little too late. So, new trackers and we’re off to the races! Or were we?

Now, after that long-winded explanation, I can get into why I’m a pissy missy and a sore loser. Last week, my aunt (who’s also a long time Fitbit user as well) created a bingo challenge and invited me and a few others to play along (you can do different things like this within their app). I admit, I don’t usually step out of my comfort zone as I usually follow a routine I like to follow, and change it up how I see fit and often so I don’t usually get bored with what I do. That said, as I mentioned a month or so earlier, I have been healing from a nasty arm injury and had to stay away from the weights for a few weeks…and any hard work on the elliptical included (light work stopped being an issue 3 or so weeks ago, thankfully).

So, seeing as how I felt mended enough to perhaps jump back on the old gal, I thought it’d be fun to join in this challenge and kick off a new regimen until weights could be incorporated back into my routine. Yeah, fun and working out really aren’t synonymous when a challenge is involved for me…embarrassingly so. Again, I have admitted this before and I’m not afraid to say it again, I can sometimes be a total dumbass.

The challenge

Once I finally convinced myself to do it, I eagerly joined and bravely hit the button to accept it. In hindsight, I should’ve asked a few questions first. For reference, I usually do my 10,000 steps a day and I can land anywhere from 10 – 15,000 plus, which includes my daily workout. Not terrible, but definitely doable.

So when the time came for the challenge to start, I was presented with one ugly mother of a bingo card, and one of the squares with the least amount of steps represented was just over 15,000 I believe. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but the rest were around 20,000 plus. The active minutes I would blow through in no time (that was only 3 or so of the squares represented) and I thought that the mileage shouldn’t be an issue if I had to be at that 20,000 steps plus mark. I think they usually say that 10,000 steps are approximately 5 miles and I thought that the 6 and 7 mile goals were more than achievable, and wasn’t overly concerned that the remainder were mostly 8, 9, and 10 miles.

So, I was committed despite being a tad bit intimidated that I was going to end up doing the bulk of this bingo challenge on my elliptical. I usually walk outside with Clem in addition to all of this, but the weather has been bitterly cold so I’ve been stuck indoors. No problem I thought, I’ll just put in some extra time on my equipment and all will be well, I was pumped and ready to bring my A-game.

Strategy

I thought everyone had the same bingo cards with the same mileage, steps, and active minutes as mine, so I plotted how I was going to try and get as many squares checked as I could as fast as I could. The people in this challenge weren’t logging the number of steps I make in a day, so I was thinking this was gonna be easy…famous last stupid words. A couple of the squares that were relatively easy goals to attain, were not within the specific shape I was to make, but they had shortcuts and advantages that I could use to reduce or swap squares within the assigned shape. Strategy plays as much of a role as actually putting in the work physically I figured.

I guess the most important part of the story is this, I’d never actually looked at what mileage I was getting, nor steps from using my elliptical, I mainly went for time. In the past, my first 2 Fitbits had issues with properly tracking my steps and mileage on it but I’d thought that the newer ones had rectified the situation. I suppose that perhaps I should’ve verified this before the fact, as I would’ve spared myself some future hurt.

Anyway, the challenge began on Sunday at the stroke of midnight, right before I went to bed. I wasn’t going to exercise on a Sunday, as I’ve realized the importance of taking rest days and thought no one else would’ve even started the challenge yet, buuutttt, being the competitive dumbass that I am, I decided to hop on the app and take a look to see if any competition needed to be obliterated that evening. Even while writing this I wanna smack myself. Sooo, I had a look and holy shit, I was already behind the 8 ball!

No one beats me, no one

My aunt, I discovered, was ahead by 3 squares already…3! She must’ve clocked in some serious mileage that afternoon, or so I thought. And I’ll be honest, I checked to see the day before how many steps she was sitting at but didn’t bother to confirm my thoughts until after the fact. I panicked and told Clem I needed to go open a can of whoop-ass and get in on this crazy shit…no one beats me…no one.

I’m shaking my head at myself. Jeebus. This is embarrassing.

I’d only had a few steps logged at that time, which according to my bingo card was a fucking minuscule crumb. If I wanted to knock off 3 squares that day, I was going to need a little time per se…like perhaps an hour or so…I thought. It was only, you know, 9:30 p.m.….I still had time.

Sometimes I do go for a bit of lighter exercise at that time of night, it helps me unwind and sleep, but this, this was a different ball game. I excitedly ran down to the basement where I keep my elliptical (I hadn’t considered it a torture machine yet) and hopped on ’cause it was go time. I didn’t waste any time in getting to it and was sweating up a storm within a few minutes. My elliptical usually gives me a good workout, especially when I increase the tension (I call it adding the sauce) and haul ass (my knees are still crunchy as shit from all the previous years of running, but I still sweat my ass off and feel good about it after) but I decided that I wasn’t going to add any sauce so that I could just log my steps and kick the ass off of my poor competitors.

Getting a start on my to-do list

Anyway, after probably a good 15 minutes at an exceptionally good pace, I managed to check off one of the squares for active minutes which wasn’t within the chosen shape I needed to make on the bingo card, but it allowed me to swap one square for another. So I chose the 24,300 steps square and swapped it with the one showing 6 miles. I figured 6 miles was nothing compared to the 24,300 steps. I still hadn’t checked a single square within the shape, so I was still only showing 0 squares checked, what the fuck?

I got to it and eventually, I hit over 10,000 steps and managed to check off one of the squares within the assigned shape, yasssss! And, I managed to check another active minutes square, this time, it was also within the shape I needed as well, double yasss! Throughout this whole time, I had been running and trying to update the app as often as I could but I started to run into my usual syncing issues and was forced to screw around with my Bluetooth settings on my phone.

When that didn’t work, I was having to turn off my Fitbit and my phone and restart them both. Why the panic? Well, I didn’t know that the challenges had a rolling tally at the time.

A tie…good enough for me…until morning

I thought that any steps and miles I made would magically disappear and reset at midnight so I was desperate to get everything synced and see if I could get any more out of what I’d already done. Before I knew it, midnight had pretty much rolled around. Did you know that kicking ass makes time fly?

I was satisfied that I managed to get on the board and was tied for first. I was thrilled when I saw that anything extra that I’d had, rolled into the next day (I wasn’t left with much but hey, at least it was something), phew. I thought that that would definitely make things much easier…but boy was I wrong about that. As I drug my sweaty, overly tight hamstrings and ass up the stairs, I noticed that everyone had already gone to bed and all of the lights were off (I ran back upstairs earlier to tuck Caelan in…Lola is a night owl so I just stuck my head in her door to say goodnight when I finally emerged).

Clem was up watching TV in our room, waiting for me to join him. I told him that I had caught up to my aunt and that I was going to haul some major ass the next day. Oh yeah, for not ever having any self-confidence in myself, I was sure strutting like a peacocking asshole. How embarrassing.

Exhaustion

Now, remember when I said I’d looked at my aunt’s step count? I made sure I marked it down before it adjusted at midnight…yup, I’m competitive. The next day, I got up, got one kid off to school, followed by the other an hour later, and decided to go down and get back on that elliptical and see if I could check off a few more squares. I was now having to get within the 20,000 step range and I had a lot of mileage squares to cover.

As I got going, I realized how exhausted I was from the night before. I tried to get a good pace going, but I just felt so tired that I knew it would be in my best interest to just leave the elliptical alone and go about my day. I thought I might have more energy later in the evening, so I left well enough alone. I’d make that time up later.

That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, except, by the time I did all of my usual chores and everything else that day, I was still too tired to exercise. I was so beat, that I actually decided to sit down and watch TV with Clem that evening (I’ll be honest and say that I don’t sit too often). Despite not getting many steps from my elliptical, I had at least 14,000 steps for the day. When I looked at my bingo card again, I decided to text my aunt and ask just what the hell was up with the crazy numbers on the card.

Inconsistencies

The first thing she gets back to me with is that I am overly competitive and that I need to chill. I asked if she had the same card and she said she did and that at 10,000 steps/day I should easily finish in a week. Now, I did the calculations in my head, and I realized that that was in fact a bunch of bullshit.

In the past, I’ve had no issue logging some decent numbers (for me) on my Fitbit and what I will mention now is that in the week previous to this, I was using my elliptical as my sole source of exercise, while I was ripping apart my girls’ rooms and doing a massive clean which upped my numbers dramatically. What I didn’t know at the time (I looked it up after I text my aunt), was that these bingo cards that they use with the goals you need to achieve in order to check them off is calculated using your own stats. I don’t believe everyone has the same card in that if they only do 5,000 steps a day, they may only have to achieve 7,000 or so to check off squares on their cards and eventually form a shape and declare a bingo.

I know for a fact, that my aunt is usually around 10,000 or fewer steps a day (it says so on her profile) and after finding out this information, I had been challenged based on very high numbers from the week previous to this. For fuck sakes. Since I’m stupidly competitive, instead of just doing what I could, I felt that I was gonna have to bring my triple A-game.

You’d think I’d learn

Why the hell do I do this to myself? I could’ve just left the challenge or did what I could and been happy with that, but NNNOOOOOOO! I have to be a total asshole and step it up and still pull out all the stops to crush my unworthy opponents. I am a stupidly, competitive dumbass-asshole.

Before I went to bed, my aunt had checked off 3 more squares. When I looked at her step count, she’d only logged maybe 10,000 steps that day. What the fuck? The same bingo game card and overly competitive, my ass. It was game on.

I hauled my sorry ass out of bed the next morning and kicked everyone out to school and work as quickly as I could. I fed the dog, got the piggies out on their playtime blanket in the kitchen, made beds, cleaned the kitchen, and down to the dungeon I went. I hopped back on the elliptical (I was beginning to hate that bitch) and I went to town. After 30 minutes or so, I finally had enough steps to check off one of the 20,000 steps squares. What perplexed me the most at this point, was my mileage…or lack thereof.

We all got problems

I noticed after I first started using this new Fitbit, that it was taking me longer to get the steps I’d had previously, and at this point, I noticed that my mileage was taking forever to accumulate. So, what’s an A-gamer to do? That’s right, start walking the basement to try and see if the damned Fitbit is logging miles.

I hopped off and I started to walk from the laundry area and back to the elliptical with speedy determination. Within a minute, the mileage had moved. Either my Fitbit thought I floated like a butterfly on my elliptical, or it just wasn’t feeling me. The damned thing wasn’t tracking the mileage from my elliptical hardly at all I finally figured. So, I looked up how to possibly remedy the situation but when measuring stride length, I needed a track, and let’s just say, a warm one was nowhere in sight and my basement wasn’t long enough to get an accurate measurement…yup, competitive.

Eventually, I decided it was time to see if I had more in me and got going again but with the Fitbit hanging from the strings of the waist of my shorts. I also decided to keep the app open and watch it as it collected my information. The mileage moved, but it still seemed to lag…what the shit?

Insanity

My thoughts went to oh well, the show must go on! And so, I cranked out more elliptical time with the mileage lagging behind. Whatever the case, I was still going to kick someone’s ass…maybe?

Let’s just say, that an afternoon nap was more than necessary just after and I think I managed to check off enough squares to tie my aunt for first place. I was making damn good and sure that my Fitbit was definitely feeling my exercise when it bounced against my thigh. I give myself an E++ for extra effort.

I was feeling pretty tired and was getting a tad bit sore, but shortly after doing the dishes from dinner that evening (I was obsessively watching the damn leaderboard at this point), I saw that my aunt had taken another 3 square lead, along with her friend. Shit, how dare they! So, like the dumbass I am, I told Clem I needed to go back down to the dungeon because I had some more ass to kick. I know, I didn’t realize that the ass getting kicked was my own and of my own damned stupidity.

Pep talks…to yourself when you cannot put on your pants

As I went to go and change, I was wondering just why the hell I was doing this to myself. I practically had a meltdown in the bathroom from trying to lift my leg high enough to get them into my tacky as fuck workout shorts, but I sucked it up. A little cold water to the face and a pep talk to the mirror and I was in fighting shape in no time. Sort of…I was obviously on the losing end so it was quite an emotional speech I had to give myself.

Oh yeah, baby! It’s on! My shoes I mean…

Jeebus. As I got back on the elliptical, I felt hate and despise coursing through my veins for the bloody thing. My bunions were hurting, my ass, my knees, my arms, and especially my ego. I felt like a bloody noodle, and I worked as hard as I could to log in some more precious mileage. If I could’ve bought some, I would’ve sold my children for it…I’m kidding…or am I?

Another of my sorry assed emergences from the dungeon

Long story short, I finally emerged from the basement nearly 2 hours later within one square of my aunt and her friend. I had nothing but mileage and step count squares left, fuck me. Was it late when I emerged from the dungeon, hell yeah it was late, but I was within striking distance. After I showered my disgusting ass off, I fell into bed and literally died. I wasn’t moving as fast on the elliptical anymore, but at least I was getting somewhere (well, I wasn’t really going anywhere, but I was if you know what I mean).

The following morning, I was determined to put the final nail in the coffin on this challenge. No way was I going the full week, I was going to finish this and be done. Honestly, I just couldn’t do another day, let alone this day. I could barely wipe my own ass let alone get my clothes on… especially my sports bra.

The kids had no school, and I told Caelan that I was headed down to finish strong. She laughed her ass off at me as I hobbled through the kitchen with my exceptionally tight ass and gave me her smartass-iest look and commented about my being overly competitive. Funny, this was coming from a kid who comes home with the knees completely blown out of her brand new pants claiming that they were a necessary casualty in the dodgeball battle versus the boys at school nearly everyday. I’ll say that I won’t be surprised to see her come home missing teeth, with 2 shiners and her nose broken from playing dodgeball one of these days, after feigning victory over the kid she struck in the no-no zone for the win…apparently, it’s genetic.

I can do it, yes I can!

I had to slide down the stairs on my ass but I made it to the basement. I thought about throwing myself down the stairs, but I didn’t feel like patching up any holes that may occur in the drywall. I had to sit on the basement floor…verrrry gingerly and psych myself up to get my shoes on and tied up. I’m happy to say, I made it.

I tied my Fitbit to my shorts and off I went. 1 hour…2 hours…I had enough steps to finally get the highest step count square that wasn’t within the shape and the highest mileage one as well. The highest step count allowed me to choose a square and reduce it by half, so the last square I had was a mileage one and that’s just what I did. I was now within one square of finishing…the final nail…the strike zone…the last one for all the marbles.

I was nearly at the 3 hour mark when my numb feet and limp legs decided that I should have something to eat and perhaps have some water. I barely crawled up the damned stairs when I realized how insane this whole fucking challenge was. I had 4.5 miles left to go and I thought that if I could, I’d just take the afternoon to finish up whatever I had to do and that would put me within striking distance of the assured win. I’d do one last haul in the evening after dinner, early…in case the others decided to try and beat me to it.

I swear, I’m not usually this psychotic, but it’s been a while since I’ve had a playdate

Yeah, I’m not usually this competitive, but I was so bloody close to victory that I could taste it. I was starting to consider that maybe I took this just a tad too far, but then I came to my senses. Nah, I was going to hand it to them, the 2 leaders were still 3 squares behind…no mercy.

Once I showered and got a few things done around the house (albeit slowly), my phone dinged to signal that I had a Fitbit message. It was around 5 p.m. and my aunt had just checked off all of her squares and she hit her bingo, fuck. Holy shit was I livid…well as livid as I could be for as sore as I was.

So close and no cigar. That was my bloody bingo, mine! Ugh, it’s still eating me.

I don’t know what to say, coach, it just happened

I tried not to rant but I would’ve exploded. Caelan and Clem laughed at me and I sulked. How the hell could I have let her beat me? What the hell is wrong with me? I should’ve jumped back on and finished, it would’ve only been another hour or so…I was convinced I was a weakling.

I’d considered texting to congratulate her and tell her about my Fitbit woes, but I decided that I’d just sound like a sore loser. Man did that ever piss me off. You know, I’ve wondered if this damn thing was accurate. I guess my body was right in comparison to my step count.

In reality, I had nearly killed myself over those couple of days. I finished around noon the next morning during a grocery and errand run but clicking off that last square was not as sweet as I’d hope it’d feel. No, I felt like the dumbest dumbass.

Oh hell no!

That was until my aunt attempted to trick me into joining another stupid bingo challenge 2 days later! Ha, ha fuck that! I declined that right away.

Until I can get back outside, there’s no bloody way I am going to attempt that insanity again. Not only that, I need to get as far away from the 20,000 plus steps a day stats before I even remotely consider another challenge this winter, that was insane for me. Jeebus Murphy, I’m just thankful that my ass finally let go of the bloody hamstrings it was chewing on or whatever the hell that pain was radiating down from my tender ass cheeks into the backs of my legs.

Oh, and those hot/cold muscle liniment rub ointment stuff, yeah, they seem to be a little more noticeable in certain areas and they should really put a picture on the tube that shows just where it’s most hot or cold when applied…perhaps a no-no zone map? Also, it really doesn’t belong on a toilet seat. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned, that’s all.

Obviously, when I use my elliptical and according to my Fitbit, I must move like a gazelle. I should’ve been smarter (that was a harsh lesson), but I’ll take that compliment from my Fitbit, and maybe next time, if there is a next time, I’ll wear 2 Fitbits for my next challenge. If I move like a bloody gazelle, that must mean I’m pretty fucking elegant when I work up a sweat, ha!

Ooh, challenge bitches be jealous, I am the shite when I’m using that elliptical! I’m only kidding, that’s the extent of my shit talking. That said, make no mistake, I am a beast…and a bloody ugly one at that.

2 thoughts on “Fitbit & The Beast

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