Friday, August 2, 2013

Never Let The Wookie Win $20

Last article I mentioned how much exercise sucks. Remember no one wants to be out at the gym, and the last thing you want to be is that person who goes to the gym to be seen going to the gym. So if you are like me you need to find a motivator, something to get you up, and get you out moving around. Even the most loyal trooper deserves some R&R, so lets make it count for double.

A friend of mine and I used to go to the gym together. Well, we used to say we went to the gym together. More often than not one of us would bail. If neither of us ditched the other person we both secretly hoped the other would so we wouldn't have to bear the indignity of wussing out, "I was going to go to the gym today, but my gym buddy had to wash their cat". Like I said before, I am really good at coming up with excuses and I had 235lbs to prove it!

So how do we break this cycle of not caring? Remember everything is about motivation and I am like a Toydarian, mind tricks don't work on me, only money. May I suggest turning exercise and weight loss into a game, a competition, a wager? Like most young Jedi I am arrogant and brash, which means I hate to lose. If I play against my gym buddy, instead of with them, then every day they can't troop, is a day I am getting ahead.  Here are some games you can play with your "friend" to help motivate both of you:

Biggest Loser Competition:
This one is a gimme, we have all seen the TV show, in fact a lot of gyms do these competitions in house. It's not hard to convince your coworkers or friends to race to one size smaller, just put a friendly $20 on the line. If you can't convince others to join you, there are other ways of motivating yourself with the same principle

Don't judge me yet. This is actually the thing that I credit most with pulling me off the couch. When you read racquetball I am sure you are thinking of a pretentious sport with lots of yuppies talking about stock options between rallies. You may be right, but this sport has more in common with Tron than Patrick Bateman, best of all it's cheap. For $20 I found a kit that included a racquet, three balls, safety glasses and a rulebook. Apparently they used to print things on paper -- you know like the Declaration of Independence. After recycling the rulebook, I looked up the Wikipedia article for the rules, two days later I was whacking a ball against a wall. This game is quick, tough, and you feel like a Jedi when you make a good play. I can't recommend this enough. Many gyms have courts you can play on, and some towns or schools have free courts.

Nike+ Fuelband
This only works if you have someone else who cares about Fuel with you, and odds are you do. If you are even remotely interested in this high-tech motion tracker I am sure you have done all the research and already found out the only drawback is it converts everything into an abstract and very proprietary metric owned by Nike called Fuel. These points are very consistant in how they evaluate non-resistance based workouts though, factoring in intensity and duration. Fuel competitions are easy to organize as long as everyone has the bracelet and very addicting. After my coworkers put up 40,000 Fuel days, we knew we were in too deep. Facebook integration makes this a very addicting game.

Nike+ Running
Seriously last one then I will stop with the Nike love. Social networking plays a huge role in Fuel and helps broadcast your success which is why I like it so much. With the recent addition of "Challenges" on iOS devices this app just became a total juggernaut. Best part is the program is free and available on Android as well. My favorite feature is the "cheer" function that turns your Facebook friends' "likes" into audible cheers while you are running. It's corny, it's stupid, it totally works. Also power jams while you are on the last leg of your run are awesome. I have a little side confession the end song for Phantom Menace is totally my power jam, when you are about to complete a run all the Gungans on Naboo are cheering for you! Stop reading and download this app.

Bet It All
Whenever I compete, I like to have a wager. Since I am saving up for Stormtrooper armor, it can't be money. This means that whenever I compete with my friends, whether it is a game of Injustice: Gods Among Us, a game of racquetball, or even seeing who can roll the highest number on a D20 we always play for "feats of strength". Whether the wager is 5 pushups for every point between our scores, a lap around the building if you lose, or 50 jumpingjacks if you can't touch your tongue to your nose, everything results in physical activity. This won't turn you into a super athelete, but I am willing to bet it will get you and your friends exercising more and have fun while doing it.


  1. Have you tried Fitocracy? You log exercise and get 'xp' and 'levels' for it, like a MMO. There's a smallish group of 501st people there that I just noticed.

    1. Scott you are totally right. I love Fitocracy, actually a lot of my friends who don't do Nike+ due Fitocracy instead. It sort of takes the "broadcast success" too far though, telling everyone who uses Fitocracy about my workouts. I like having something a little more personal. Also, I am not a huge fan of reporting my workout after the fact, with Nike+ I just turn it on before I run, then turn it off.

      That said, the quests are great, and it is another avenue to broadcast success. The people there are super positive, and will be very supportive if you can't live up to your own goals. If you don't have a network of friends who are trying to get healthy, or worse, have a group of friends who are not supportive then this is definitely your place to go.

      My profile

      501st Group's Profile