James Martini archive

Tag : Fitness (6)

Game on

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Published on: January 18, 2013

fitocracyIt being a new year I thought about doing the standard resolution thing but that’s never really worked for me. I stick with things for about a month and then slide back into my old habits. A couple years ago I’d talked with my friend Clint regarding reframing lifestyle and fitness goals as a game but my initial implementation lacked the feedback mechanisms of a true game so it didn’t kick off the usual OCD obsessiveness with which I approach accumulating achievements in the various MMOs I’ve played. I’d created my own Achievements page but, again, didn’t have the feedback mechanisms in place to motivate my inner, lever pushing, monkey.

A few days ago, Jyllian, wonderful woman that she is, pointed me at HabitRPG. Someone else had a similar idea but implemented it in a much better way. The reddit thread on it also reminded me of Fitocracy which has a similar level/achievement based approach motivation so I spent some time today at lunch setting both up. HabitRPG will be used to gamify behaviors that I want to promote and avoid while Fitocracy will be used to deal specifically with the physical fitness and diet goals.

Lets see if the habits developed in decades of gaming can drive changes in Real Life.

//also, i get xp for blogging :)

The Itis

Categories: Fitness
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Published on: August 19, 2011

My knees hurt a little the other day. It’s not entirely unexpected, I’ve had issues with my knees since I fenced too much in college with too little warmup and I’ve been loading about ten pounds a week onto my squats. I took some ubuprofin, glucosamine and chondroiton and took an extra recovery day.

Yesterday: same deal. Not as bad but I figured I’m over 40 so being conservative with the joints was a good idea.

Now not only do my knees still hurt and feel “full” but the second knuckle joints on my right middle and ring fingers feel the same. WTF? I don’t even work those. My left shoulder, however, is just fine even though it’s always been a little stiff.

About the only change in my diet is that I added milk because I was worried about making sure I got enough calcium and protein to support the extra stress I was putting on my body. I guess GOMAD is not in my future (not that I was GOingMAD to begin with). Back to salads, veges, water and meat.

So, in conclusion, don’t grow up kids. Stop aging once you hit about 26 because it’s all downhill from there. If that isn’t an option, get fit as hell in your mid twenties and hang onto it. Trying to reverse a decade of bad food and no exercise in your 40s is not an easy road.

Achievement Unlocked!

Categories: Family, Fitness, Gaming
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Published on: August 14, 2011

I’ve tried a number of ways of staying motivated when it comes to exercise and other long term goals. I’ve written the goals out, stuck them to my wall, put reminders in my phone, just about everything recommended to self motivate but in the long run it’s usually failed. I even tried recasting the activities in my mind as ‘leveling up’ various stats i.e. the gamer’s fitness program.

Looking back, everything I always achieved at had some sort of cert, diploma or other badge of completion at the end. When playing MMOs I always set my eye on the high end achievements and every session attempted to make some progress towards that goal. The more difficult the achievement the more I wanted it. The Loremaster? No problem. Hand of A’dal? Now we’re talking.

A few weeks ago I really didn’t feel like going to the gym. I wasn’t sick or anything, just being generally lazy but I went anyway. When I got back I posted the following on Facebook: “Achievement Unlocked: I Lift Things Up And Put Them Down.” It got a few odd responses from friends who either didn’t play video games or hadn’t seen the Planet Fitness ad. I didn’t realize it at the time but I may have finally hit on the perfect motivational tool for hardcore gamers.

I like gaming for the relaxing pass time that it is and don’t get overly wound up by pvp losses or wiping in raids. I enjoy pvp and raiding for themselves and while motivated to win I can accept losses as part of the ebb and flow of the game. Achievements, however, are another matter. A list of achievements does something deep down in a part of my brain that is obsessively neat and ordered. I will choose an achievement and work towards it with each gaming session. I won’t make myself unhappy with grinding but each achievement comes with a set of goals and each play session allows me to take a step towards those goals. In short, it focuses and guides what would otherwise be unstructured game play.

Yesterday, while working on this website, I thought it might be funny to include an Achievements page like those found in most MMOs and on XBox. I jotted a few down and found that as I went more and more came to mind. Joke achievement lists I’d seen on the internet were looked up and merged in and I started looking at expanding the list beyond just fitness. The list currently stands at 24 achievements and is growing.

That doesn’t sound like a big deal but I’ve spent thousands of hours playing games and pursuing achievements over the past few years. That’s thousands of hours of training my mind to hold on to a goal and to shape my actions towards achieving it.

I put the list up yesterday. As I went about my day today I realized that the list was in the back of my mind and that I was sorting out what could be done in the short term and what needed a long term siege approach, which achievements could be worked on simultaneously and which ones it wasn’t feasible to do at the same time. By plugging my goals into the same achievement/reward model I’ve been trained to pursue by MMOs it looks like I can leverage years of conditioning to accomplish real life goals.

I’m pretty sure that after reading this my wife is going to hack my wordpress account so she can add housework achievements to the list.

Weight, depression and health

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Published on: December 2, 2010

I put on a lot of weight when I was depressed. More than I ever imagined. To be honest my fitness level and general health have declined for the last ten years and it needs to stop or I’ll end up like my father who was morbidly obese by the time I was out of high school or my grandfather who died of a heart attack when he was in his early 60s.

I know a number of people who have addressed their weight by getting surgery to restrict what they can eat but I don’t consider that to be an option. I know what my diet needs to be. I know what I need to do to rebuild my physical strength and endurance. In short, I know what I need to do to be healthy again. It isn’t like it’s rocket science. I just need to do it

Body fat

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Published on: December 1, 2010

So I measured my body fat percentage using a couple of different methods (not including the water displacement one) and came up with numbers between 33 and 38 percent. So, in short, I’m ridiculously overweight. I think I’m going to call it an even 35% at this point.

This number makes me feel incredibly depressed. Looking at a number on a scale is one thing and I could fool myself that it was bone and muscle but plugging my physical measurements into a calculator and having it spit out a number three time higher than it should be is like a kick in the groin.

I’m going to have to do this every week.

Project July

Categories: Buddhism, Fitness, Life
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Published on: June 30, 2010

For the month of July I’m going to be making a concerted effort to post daily, exercise, improve my diet and again become established in meditation. The daily posting will be of primary importance as it is intended to keep me honest regarding the other aspects of the project.

Goals

  • Post daily
  • Exercise at least 5 days a week
  • Track my diet on a daily basis
  • Meditate at least 15 minutes every day

Exercise is primarily going to be strength training with light cardio on the off days. Diet is primarily tracking what I eat and develop a more long term plan over the course of the month. Meditation is to establish myself in daily practice again.

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