An open letter to Rain Fitness Queen Anne

Dear Rain Fitness Queen Anne,

I was rather disappointed in the results of the much-hyped renovations you undertook the past three weeks — during the last week of which there were no locker rooms, bathrooms, or water fountains available for use. While the place does look great, a paint job does not a renovation make.

I hope new clientel are impressed with the updated color scheme and the refinished floors, both of which do look amazing. However, current members will be hard-pressed to find much to be excited about given they now have several hundred square feet less workout space and less equipment. And to top it off, must now work around the personal trainers taking up space with their clients upstairs due to the aforementioned decrease in space downstairs.

I think if you were to have asked current members what they wanted most, you would have gotten a much simpler, and less costly, list. Something like: a clock in the front free-weight area and men’s locker room. Both of which I asked for a year ago to no avail.

Best of luck in the new year — you’re going to need it with your current members.

A week of Fitbit

I’ve had my Fitbit for a week now. Fitbit is an electronic pedometer that tracks your steps and stairs and from them attempts to estimate your calorie burn and miles walked. It syncs to a website via USB dongle which tracks your daily metrics1. It allows you to set goals with the intent of encouraging you to increase your overall physical activity.

The past week I made a concerted effort to not increase my activity beyond the usual to get a baseline (I’m a performance engineer – this should surprise no one). I ended up walking 92,132 steps, climbed 167 flights of stairs, and traversed 43.1 miles. 4 mile and 8 mile runs were included in this as well as my regular gym workouts — a fairly normal week. Interestingly Fitbit vastly underestimates my mileage, by about half, when I run so I consider the distance metric to be of dubious value.

Fitbit starts you out with a daily step goal of 10k/day and 70k/week. I generally, but not always, hit the 10k/day goal. Some days I ended up only walking 8k, and then there were days I did 21k and 18k. I’ll be bumping up my daily goal to 15k steps now that I have a baseline. I’m not all that interested in tracking stairs at the moment. I get plenty of that type of exercise with my lower-body workouts at the gym, much of which Fitbit doesn’t track (it seems to get confused with my weighted traveling lunges for instance).

The Fitbit website incorporates a social aspect to it as well (what doesn’t these days) and lets you compete with friends. As with most social sites you can tweak what friends and the public can see about your profile. Here’s mine if you’re curious. I’m interested to see a few more weeks worth of data. You can’t optimize what you can’t measure!

1 I have the Ultra which requires the dongle to sync, albeit wirelessly from the device to the dongle. At the end of October they’ll be releasing the One model which is suppose to sync to ‘select devices’ wirelessly without the dongle — similar to how the Nike+ FuelBand works.

No help for it: bring out the burgers

Despite downing 2 protein shakes every day and eating everything that’s put in front of me, I’ve not gained weight — muscle mass or otherwise — which has been my objective. Instead I’ve lost almost 10lbs since the beginning of the year.

While I realize I’m not getting anything except derision from most of you about this ‘problem’, it’s quite frustrating for me1. My options seem to be decrease my physical activity (running 7.5 miles in an hour like I did this morning can’t be helping) or I need to rather drastically increase my caloric intake. Since decreasing my activity is unlikely to happen, it’s time to bring out the burgers. This is sure to make my already borderline cholesterol worse, but maybe, just maybe, I can get back up to a buck-sixty this time next month like I was at the beginning of the year. Gotta have goals!

1 Can I claim this is a 3rd world problem? I mean, not getting enough to eat is a common 3rd world problem… I’m joking!2

2 Yes, I’m totally going to hell for footnote 1.

Out at the gym

This morning I somewhat intentionally outed myself at the gym. Chris was curious what a day guest pass costs at Rain, so on my way out of the gym today I asked the front desk attendant who was out on the floor. She asked if I had someone I wanted to join me and, after a brief hesitation1, I replied “my boyfriend” — within earshot of some of the regulars.2

I’m totally out everywhere else in my life, but for some reason I’m always hesitant to be out at the gym. I can’t quantify exactly why that is3, although it’s likely due to not wanting to make anyone uncomfortable in the locker room. Don’t misunderstand, I’m there to work out, get cleaned up, and leave, not hit on, or leer at, anyone. Still, there’s no point giving a homophobe a target.

Then again, it’s entirely possible that everyone at the gym knew I was gay already.

1 The fact that I hesitated, even briefly, bothers me more than anything. I need to puzzle out exactly why that is (both the hesitation and why it bothers me).

2 I think she was relieved to figure out which team I bat for. I think she’s been flirting with me for the past few months. I’m terrible recognizing when gay men are flirting with me, much less straight women, so I could be totally off here.

3 In some gyms (Golds on Cap Hill or 24 downtown) being out is more likely to get you hit on, rather than hit. Even at Rain it’s not like I’m afraid of being beaten up.

Screwed up shoulder, take 2

I screwed up my right shoulder again during my upper body workout last Thursday. I felt great about the workout as it was happening, it was only later that my shoulder became cranky. It has remained cranky ever since – going so far as to protest when doing simple things like picking up my gym bag.

I really need to both ascertain what is aggravating it and then do focused, appropriate, exercises to prevent this from happening again.

In search of a new gym?

Since I started at Isilon, they’ve provided a free monthly gym membership at Rain Fitness. Rain is super-convenient being just half a block from the office which is also convenient to home since the office is just four blocks from my apartment. In two weeks, my office is moving just south of Pioneer Square and the corporate membership with Rain is over at the end of October. When I get back from Rome, I’ll need to have a new gym lined up. And thanks to EMC I’ll be paying for it myself again.

For me, the gym must be convenient or I’ll never go. It also has to be open early because if I don’t go before work, I’ll never go (and I get to work at 7:30, so the gym must be open by 6 at the latest). I seldom go to the gym on days I don’t go into the office, thus it makes sense to have a gym closely located to my office vs having one located close to my house.

That said – depending on the bus routes, there’s nothing stopping me from continuing to go to Rain in the mornings then hopping a bus and heading to work. In fact, the 24 picks up at 7:06, the 15 picks up at 7:18, and the 19 picks up up at 7:31 all within easy walking distance of Rain and gets me to the office between 7:30 and 8.

Thus for the last half of September and the whole of October I’ve decided I’ll try both methods. I’ll take a week working out at Rain in the mornings, and then a week trial at a couple of the gyms down in the Pioneer Square area to test that approach out. Then with luck I’ll have everything figured out by the time I get back from Rome and really need to burn off all those calories I consumed while there!

Thinking = crappy workouts

I have the most “I look cute” moments on days I have a good morning workout. I have a good workout on days that I don’t think too much during the workout. Today I’m destined to have negative “I look cute” moments. Apparently my mind was so engaged in other things that one of the staff asked “Are you OK? You look like you’re thinking too much.” Ouch.