Health Miles step challenge

So, I’ve been in this Health Miles program at work for almost a year now. Click the link where I explain it more but basically they pay you for being healthy and walking.

So for the month of April the company has been doing a step challenge. Basically whoever takes the most steps wins. Plus, there’s money involved. Top guy gets $100, then $75, then $50, then $25 for places 4-10, and $10 for places 11-20.

Now, I knew that I was not going to win because there are just far too many freaks out there. On April 1st (day 1), I uploaded so that I could see myself in 1st place with about 9,000 steps at about noon. I lasted there about all of 10 minutes before someone else uploaded their steps and wasted me with about 15,000. But then an hour or so later, someone else uploaded and had 25,000 steps by 2:00 on the first day.

I was calling shenanigans, but apparently this guy was seen running on the treadmill for about 90 minutes before work, and then for another hour or so at lunch. So like I said, there’s a lot of FREAKS out there.

As some comparison, it is commonly recommended that 10,000 steps a day is a healthy goal to have. In the 9 months or so that I’ve had this pedometer, I’ve been averaging about 10,500, so that’s nice.

So since this challenge started, I’ve been actively trying to get more steps than that. I’ve been working out extra in the mornings (also triathlon training), and for the month, have an average of just over 14,000 steps. So about a 40% increase.

And yet, THAT’S NOT EVEN HALF OF WHAT SOME PEOPLE ARE DOING!!! It’s worse than I can even figure because as part of the challenge setup, there’s a daily maximum of 30,000 steps. So any steps that you take more than that are not counted towards the challenge. But there are 3 people in the company that have maxed out (30,000+) EVERY DAY! Like I said, there are a lot of freaks out there.

So today is the last day of the challenge, so I was trying to do some calculations as to where I stood. For the first week or two, I was holding on to some illusions of earning $25 by finishing in the top 10, but it has become increasingly clear that I’ll be lucky to hit the top 20.

So this afternoon, I looked at my calculations. I was at about 344K steps. But I also had 61K in the bank (I haven’t uploaded since Friday in a sort of sandbagging maneuver so that others don’t know how many steps I have – the pedometer has an internal memory that keeps track even if you don’t upload). I was also banking on a 15K day today, which would put me at 421K.

So looking at the leaderboard, there were 17 people that already had more than 421K, so I knew they’d be ahead of me. But then I realized something – because of the 30,000 / day maximum, anyone that had uploaded today (Wed) with less than 391K steps could not catch me, since the max they could do on Wed (the last day) was 30K. The leaderboard only tells you total steps and the last day uploaded – nothing about how they’ve done on particular days or what time they uploaded. Similarly, anyone with a last upload date of Tuesday and less than 361 could not catch me, and so on.

There was one lady who was at 413K with a last upload date of today. I figured she had likely uploaded in the morning and was probably going to work out later and pass me. Then there was one at 361K and a Saturday date who also looked likely to pass.

That would put me at 20th, and then there were only 2 others who had a chance (everyone else was eliminated due to the 30,000 daily max logic above). There was one guy at 363K and Monday, and one lady at 331K and Sunday. Both of those folks could theoretically catch me but it would be difficult.

I had worked out on the elliptical this morning. I tweaked my back bowling on Friday and it still kind of hurts. So I didn’t want to run on the treadmill for that reason. I tried a few elliptical machines this morning before finding one I liked. They were all various elliptical / stair stepping type things. The first one still felt like it was impactful. Then the second one only was counting every other step of mine (similar to how it works when I bike), but then the 3rd one hit the sweet spot. 45 minutes at about 150 steps per minute, so about 6500.

But in looking at my chances, I figured I’d better seal the deal and so I went after work too. Even used the same smelly clothes (and they were pretty rank). Did another 40 minutes and currently sit at 26,177 steps for the day. So I’m feeling good – even the 413K / Wed lady will have to do another 21K today to catch me.

I’ll keep you posted!

Being a doofus

So it’s always fun finding out that you’ve been (or are being) a doofus. Thankfully it doesn’t really happen to me TOO often (he says with all humility). I mean, there are certainly times when I’ve been wrong on things but not often to the level where I sit back and think “Man that was REALLY dumb”

So I have been going out to the Y to exercise pretty regularly since the new year (I know, me and everyone else). I’ve been training for the triathlon in April. Mostly running, a bit of biking and I haven’t gotten back to the swimming though I definitely need to. But I’ve also been trying to do some weights.

Now, I have almost never done any weight training. I am pretty much a certified wuss in the weights department. Except for legs – for whatever reason, whether it’s playing lots of basketball or always running around the living room trying to jump and touch the ceiling, my legs have always been pretty strong.

So after talking with a few friends of mine that do know a bit about weights (and probably mishearing and misapplying their advice), I have decided to do some of the weight machines in reps. I try to do 15 reps on a particular machine / weight, then rest for a bit then do 10 then 5. Since I’m new, I am still trying to figure out how much weight to do on each machine. Luckily they have cards that you can take and fill out so you can remember from time to time how much weight on each machine. My thought was once I could do 3 reps of 15 on 2 straight days, that meant I was ready to move up to the next weight.

As an aside, these cards are just 8×11 sheets of cardboard-y paper with spots to write down which machine and how many reps. Then you put them in various giant folders, one for each letter of the alphabet. I think the idea is that you put it in by your last initial. Well, as you can imagine, the ‘M’ folder is giant, so it makes it near impossible to try and find your sheet again the next day. So, for purposes of the Y, I am Dan Zmiller :-) . I figured that was best since X is lumped with Y and there is no Q.

Anyway, so I was working on this one machine and I was on a 30 lb. weight. Now I know that sounds incredibly wussy and I’m sure that it is, but this is a machine where the weights are a bit lower. It’s not like the leg press or whatever. But I’m sure it’s wimpy just the same. But that is neither here nor there. What is both here and there, is that on my Zmiller sheet, last time I had done the 3 reps of 15, but this time I was only able to do 10 on the first time. I thought that was weird but just chalked it up to having done another similar machine or being tired or whatever.

But then, as I was walking around the machines, I noticed the additional weights that you can put on. Now those of you who know your way around a weight machine will know this of course, but there are additional weights that you can put on each machine. So, although the weights go (for example) 15, 30, 45, etc. there are also 2 5 lb. weights that you can add. So if you want 25 lbs, you can put the 15 lb. weight on and both the 5 lb. weights for 25. So I went back and it was not 30 lbs, but 40! 10 lbs. isn’t a whole lot, but in this case it is 33% more weight.

I always knew about these but just never thought about them. But now I will know to check them each time before I sit down!