Monday, June 9, 2014

Fitbit Advice from Albert Einstein

First, a favor. I’m in the process of designing the cover for my eBook based on this blog, Mama Sweat. I need “testimonials” for the cover; those endorsements that convince a potential reader the book is worth reading. I’d love for these to come from the very people who read my blog. If you’d like to share a sentence or two about why you like Mama Sweat or how it’s been useful in your life as a fit mom, please email me at kara@karathom.com. Naturally, you’ll get a complimentary copy of my eBook, Finding Fitness in the Chaos of Motherhood, for your contribution. (And Mom, I know you enjoy my blog, but I can't include your endorsement.)

Now, let’s talk about fitness tracking devices. It’s no secret, I’m a little OCD about wearing my Fitbit. Nothing can can ruin my day like discovering my Fitbit battery is dead.

Being able to track my daily steps has been a nice void-filler since giving up running during my year on the exercise detox. But now I’ve started running a wee bit. A mile here, two miles there. I kept my Fitbit on, because if I’m going to walk around with my Fitbit while I brush my teeth so I can get 50 more steps, why would I take my tracker off for a run? I am a step hoarder.

Then my husband told me he doesn’t wear his Fitbit for workouts.

That made me stop walking for no reason and take pause. Yes, he had a point. Workouts are workouts. You know how far you’ve gone, so why do you need to track it?

This made a lot of sense and was equally annoying at the same time. (That happens often in our relationship.)

I remember what my exercise detox guru, Katy Bowman, said about the need to walk above and beyond our workouts (exercise dessert), because walking is necessary for our biology. “Movement is the vehicle for cellular feeding,” or something like that. Our cells, our lymph system, our joints, our organs need us to walk, even if we’ve already run 10 miles that day; maybe especially if we’ve run 10 miles that day, if only to say “hey!” to our hip flexors and glutes before the day is done.

In the past I was that endurance athlete who could go on a long training run then fight for the closest parking space at the grocery store. But now it’s sinking in: I needed to walk 10,000 steps in addition to whatever workout I do. The walking is the meal, the exercise is the dessert.

For back up I turned to the Hot (Sweaty) Mama Facebook Page (you’ve liked the page right?) and there is consensus: either people don’t wear their tracker when they workout OR they increase their daily step goal when they do. Nothing like having a bunch of women back up your husband.

OK, it’s coming off next time I run. 

And then, as I read in a fantastic article this morning: "The United States of Metrics," you can fall into two schools of thought about data tracking: "You can optimize everything, or you can do what the ancients did and say, 'Good enough.'" This means that at the end of the day when your Fitbit says 14,976, do not go downstairs one more time, just go to bed.

The article ends with a quote from Albert Einsein, who might have cared about fitness tracking devices not at all: "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Reasons to read finding fitness in the chaos of motherhood: The suggestions, tips and BTDT stories will inspire you in your pursuits of fitness among your own chaos. Just knowing there are other Mom's out there going through the same thing will help you get more fitness in. Case in point: Last Saturday I planned a nice 5k run. As I was getting ready for the run my 4 and 5 year old wanted to run with Mom too! Instead of getting frustrated at the change of plans for my run or abandoning my run all together, I thought "What would Mama Sweat (Kara) do?" I encouraged my kids desire to run and figured out a quick short 1 mile loop for us to do together. My oldest had so much fun he wanted to run another loop with Mom. Bonus here: 2 miles of running for a 5 year old means a great nap later! :-) I finished my "5k" with one more 1 mile loop solo. Sure it was at a slower pace than planned but at the end of the day I was able to find fitness through the chaos and also inspire fitness for my kids